This week Baseball America finished releasing their League Top 20 Prospect lists and Rockies prospects fared very well, placing 12 players across five leagues of competition; the Dodgers had the most of any organization (17, plus two who were traded away mid season and one, Julio Urías who did not reach playing time qualifications). That’s down from 14 on last year’s lists, though shortstop Trevor Story made two lists.
I’ve linked each league but unless you have a Baseball America account you won’t be able to read the full scouting profiles of each player, just one at the top of the list. Two Rockies placed number one in their respective leagues, though, so you’ll be able to read about them in depth. To be eligible, each player needs to log a minimum number of at bats or innings pitched in a given league; players who just missed are listed in the full article.
Riley Pint claimed the top spot in the Pioneer League, so you can read all about how the BA staff feels about him before having to log into an account. When you’re just 18 years old in rookie ball, the emphasis tends to be more on bullpen, workouts, and development than on the results on the field. Also making the list was outfielder Pedro Gonzalez (no. 11), third baseman and 2016 fourth round pick Colton Welker (no. 15), and shortstop Jose Gomez (no. 17).
Short season leagues don’t typically have a lot of prospect talent to offer, though current Braves major leaguer Dansby Swanson was playing for the Hillsboro Hops last year. No such quick risers in this year’s list, but Hawks shortstop and 2016 third round pick from Long Beach State Garrett Hampson came in at no. 7.
Shortstop Brendan Rodgers was number one on last year’s Pioneer League list, but slipped down to third this year thanks to standout performances from Nationals outfielder Victor Robles and Pirates starting pitcher Mitch Keller. No other Rockies made the list.
First the bad news: the California League was a bit of a desert of prospect talent this year, which means Bobby DeMuro’s quest of dozens of games and hundreds of miles driven was quite possibly fruitless. Granting that it was an apparently low bar to clear, Nuts starting pitcher Ryan Castellani was honored with the number one spot on the list. After leading the league in innings and strikeouts, he caught the attention of Visalia manager/Bobby’s manager crush J.R. House:
“He’s kind of a clone of a Max Scherzer in the way he pitches,” Visalia manager J.R. House said. “He has a really good arm (and) good stuff all the way around. He’s a babe in the game and he’s going to get stronger every offseason. ”
Fellow starter Yency Almonte also made the list at no. 14.
Outfielders David Dahl (no. 4) and Raimel Tapia (no. 11) also made the list in the Yard Goat’s first season of competition.
Finally, Jeff Hoffman came in at no. 5 on the PCL list, the only Isotope on the list. This is no knock against the Rockies system; the PCL was unusually deep in talent this year, especially with pitching talent. Five pitchers made it into the top 11 slots, which is impressive considering how teams are increasingly having their top starting pitching prospects either skip or only stay briefly in the PCL.
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What do you think? Who would you have like to have seen higher? Who is the one prospect you think Baseball America is missing in the Rockies system right now? Let us know in the comments.