Baseball Prospectus released its midseason top 50 prospect list, and the Rockies are well represented. Before going into detail, we should note that two classes of players are excluded from this list: recent draftees and players currently in the majors. That means there is no Riley Pint and no Lucas Giolito.
The Rockies have four players in the top 50 list. The highest ranked Rockies prospect is Brendan Rodgers, who comes in at No. 5. Baseball Prospectus writes that Rodgers "is one of the most talented offensive players in the class." What separates him from others is that he's a shortstop, which increases his future potential. The chance that he has to move off of shortstop, which is a possibility for all shortstops at his level, adds some risk to his profile. The lowest ranked Rockies player on the list is Raimel Tapia, at No. 32. His highlight is that he can hit anything thrown in his direction, but the worry is that he'll never add much power, which means that he'll have to hit over .300 with gap power to make it all work.
David Dahl at No. 14 and Jeff Hoffman at No. 18 fill out the four Rockies on the list. Dahl has spent the season putting to rest the same power questions that Tapia has not yet answered. His aggressive approach and pitch recognition are still concerns, Baseball Prospectus notes, but Dahl's 10-for-14 start to his Triple-A career might signal that pitchers need to adjust to him more than he needs to adjust to advanced pitching, at least for the time being. Regarding Hoffman, Baseball Prospectus writes that he "is close to the ideal pitching prospect: A big frame, a big fastball, three secondaries that project as average or better, including a hard, bat-missing slider with plus-plus potential, and reasonably clean mechanics." From the outside, it doesn't look like Hoffman has anything left to learn or prove in the minors. With the All-Star Game so close, he's not likely to get the call before then; however, don't be surprised if Hoffman's final game before his debut is the Futures Game.
Finally, Ryan McMahon is also included in the honorable mentions—ten players who missed the cut. He has the potential to be a very good major-league hitter, but if he fully transitions to first base, that potential would need to be maximized, Baseball Prospectus writes. This is a sound analysis, although the shape of major-league first basemen has been changing a bit. He can succeed without being the prototypical first base slugger. Think Eric Hosmer.
We talk about Rockies' prospects so much here that it often feels like we're selling hope. There's a reason we talk about them so much though. Based on this estimate, the Rockies have three top 20 prospects. One is likely debut within a month, and another is likely to debut within the year. The team's future success is not written, and it could fall apart for unexpected reasons, but optimism for the future of this franchise is justified.
That future might be hard to see given how the Rockies have played lately.
The Giants defeated the Rockies last night on the strength of Johnny Cueto's complete game. The loss capped off a 1-5 road trip. The Rockies have now lost 13 of their last 19 games. If there previously was a contrived argument to be made that the Rockies could contend this year based on their position in the Wild Card race, it no longer applies. The Rockies are now eight games below .500 and eight games behind the second Wild Card spot. They have four teams in front of them, and they're just 1.5 games ahead of the Padres, who have the third worst record in the National League behind the Reds and the Braves.
Additionally, it's better to use playoff odds to measure the Rockies postseason chances because it projects the remainder of the season for the Rockies as well as the teams with which they are competing. Baseball Prospectus' playoff odds have the Rockies at 0.7 percent; FanGraphs puts the Rockies' odds at 0.4 percent. The Rockies almost certainly have their own projections and playoff odds, and they are almost certainly not very different from public ones. Any public statements from front office officials suggesting that the Rockies have a chance to compete this year should be received as necessarily disingenuous.