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Rockies prospect rankings: No. 30 Carlos Herrera on the rise after strong stateside performance

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Herrera can solidify his prospect status with a strong full-season showing in 2016.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Herrera was Colorado's big-budget Latin American signing in 2013, commanding a $1.2 million bonus out of Venezuela. That places him in a similar situation as fellow Rockies prospects who were signed as shortstops like Rosell Herrera (2009, $550,000) and Pedro Gonzalez (2014, $1.3 million), among others.

Herrera, a 19-year-old shortstop (who is 6'0, 145 pounds), made his stateside debut in 2015 after struggling in his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2014. The lefty hitter slashed just .230/.289/.281 (71 wRC+) in 2014 and dealt with a hamstring injury that limited him to 160 plate appearances as a 17-year-old.

Fortunately, Herrera was able to prove his health and ability in 2015. First, he hit .340/.386/.377 (124 wRC+) in 57 DSL PAs to earn a stateside promotion. The Rockies showed plenty of faith in Herrera, as the organization saw fit for the then-18-year-old to jump over rookie ball and head to the Short-Season A Boise Hawks.

In 243 plate appearances in the Northwest League, Herrera acquitted himself well against pitchers who were on average three years older than him. The .267/.319/.339 line with 11 extra base hits Herrera produced might not look like much, but it represents a 91 wRC+ when adjusting for the league's tough hitting environments.

MLB.com recently rated Herrera as the 28th best prospect in Colorado's system, with this to say about the shortstop:
The left-handed hitter has good bat speed and a knack for making contact. Right now, he's more of a line-drive type, but the Rockies think he might develop some more sneaky power as he matures. He's an excellent runner who is already a base-stealing threat. His athleticism plays well at short, where he should be at least an above-average fielder with a strong arm.
It's a profile to dream on for Rockies fans, albeit one that will take years to mature into a major league-ready player. As such, I certainly don't blame the voters who took a wait and see approach with Herrera this time around until he proves himself at a higher level. The stateside debut combined with the scouting reports led me to place Herrera 22nd on my personal ballot.

Next year, it will be interesting to see if the Rockies continue Herrera on the fast track by moving him to full-season ball (even to Modesto, if Brendan Rodgers is placed in Asheville), or if they decide Herrera needs more seasoning in the short-season leagues.

Want to know which players made the PuRPs cut? Follow our Purple Row prospect rankings StoryStream to stay up to date.