After earning an honorable mention in the summer PuRP list, Sam Moll returns to the numbered ranks of PuRPs. While he debuted, briefly, in 2013 as a starter, the third round pick has been converted to a relief role full-time by the Rockies. The 5'11" lefty, who just turned 24, was expected to be a MLB reliever or back end starter and a quick riser when he was drafted. In 2013, after suffering through a broken toe, Moll threw 30 innings with a sterling 1.80 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and a 8.7 K/9 rate in a favorable pitching environment in short season Tri-City. Unfortunately, an elbow injury in 2014 limited Moll to just 13 innings of what was effectively a rehab assignment in Tri-City.
In 2015, Moll was converted to relief full-time by the Rockies and began the year with High-A Modesto. In 53 ⅔ innings across 25 games for the Nuts, Moll posted a 3.02 ERA, 4.13 FIP, 9.6 K/9, and 2.0 BB/9. Moll was promoted midseason to Double-A New Britain, where he added 14 2/3 outstanding relief innings over 13 appearances for the Rock Cats (1.23 ERA, 1.77 FIP, 10.4 K/9, 2.5 BB/9). In addition to that promotion, Moll was selected to Colorado's Arizona Fall League squad, where he threw seven innings of relief, allowing four earned runs on eight hits with nine strikeouts and one walk.
After his full season debut, MLB.com ranked Moll 22nd among Rockies prospects:
When healthy, he has a three-pitch mix he can command fairly well. Moll will come right at hitters with a fastball he can throw in the 94-96 mph range. His slider is at least above-average and can be a true strikeout pitch in the future. He even has a pretty good feel for a changeup and is adept at pounding the bottom of the strike zone.
Now healthy, Moll has been effective in a relief role in 2015. With his stuff and bulldog mentality playing up in the bullpen, he has the chance to be a poor man's Billy Wagner type short reliever.
As a high likelihood MLB reliever, Moll is an intriguing arm that could be at the back of the next contending Rockies bullpen. Though I don't typically rank relievers on my ballot, the arm talent Moll possesses combined with the remote possibility of him starting in a pinch led me to place him 30th on my list. Moll should begin next season in Double-A Hartford with a potential to move up to Triple-A Albuquerque if healthy and effective (and possibly a big league cameo too). Moll is eligible for the Rule 5 draft after this year, and I think he's a safe bet to be protected by the Rockies.