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Rockies Prospect Rankings: The Top Five

The midseason PuRPs rankings reaches its conclusion as we find out who is number one.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

It's time to reveal the top five of the midseason 2016 Purple Row Prospects (PuRPs) list. the best of the best for a farm system that is among baseball's best. Last week we revealed prospects 30-26, then prospects 25-21prospects 20-16prospects 15-11, and yesterday prospects 10-6. As a reminder, in this edition of the PuRPs poll, 52 ballots were cast, with 30 points granted for a first place vote, 29 for second, etc.

For each player on the PuRPs list, I'll include a link to individual stats (via Baseball-Reference), PuRPs voting stats, contract status (via Rockies Roster), a note on the 2016 season to date, and a scouting report from a national prospect writer. For what it's worth, I'll also include where I put each player on my personal ballot. All ages are as of the time the article was posted.

5. Riley Pint (1,340 points, 52 ballots) -- Preseason Ranking: NR -- High Ballot 2, Mode Ballot 4

How did he enter the organization?

2016 first round, Kansas HS

Why did he make the PuRPs list?

The number four overall pick in this year's draft, Pint signed for $4.8 million with the Rockies and brings with him a very potent arsenal. That includes a triple digits fastball (he's touched 102 and sits in the mid to upper 90s), a power curveball, and a plus changeup. Better yet, the 6'4" 18 year-old righty has a relatively low mileage arm thanks to him opting out from year-round baseball as was famously chronicled in Jeff Passan's book "The Arm". That doesn't mean Pint will be immune to injury, but it's a promising sign that Pint has taken care of his arm well to this point. Ryan Schoppe did a good job of summarizing Pint in his pre-draft profile.

Since signing, Pint has made five starts for Grand Junction against players who are on average 3.4 years older than him. The Rockies are definitely metering the arm usage at this point, so Pint has been on a pitch/innings limit so far. In 15 2/3 frames, Pint has an elevated ERA (5.17) and WHIP (1.72) while striking out 12 hitters and walking six. That's not too much of a red flag at this point given both the sample size and the fact that he's allowed an unsustainably high .385 BABIP given his stuff.

What do the scouts say?

Pint was rated as the second overall draft prospect by but somehow he ranked just sixth among 2016 draftees in their updated top 100 list - 48th overall. That was good enough for fourth in the Rockies system:

Pint had the highest ceiling in the 2016 Draft, so the Rockies were delighted to get him with the No. 4 overall choice ... After adding 15 pounds of muscle before his senior season, Pint consistently works at 93-97 mph and tops out at 102 with his fastball. His power curveball already is a plus pitch, and he can manipulate it into a harder slider when desired. Though he didn't need a changeup against Kansas high school competition, his already grades as a plus pitch with good fade.

For all his upside, Pint does come with risk as well. He doesn't throw strikes on a consistent basis because he has trouble repeating his mechanics and arm slot. The effort in his delivery leads to some concerns about his future command and health.

Before the draft, David Rawnsley of Perfect Game scouted Pint's high school performance, in which Pint hit both a grand slam and 99 on the radar gun:

Pint's three innings on the mound were nothing short of spectacular. He pitched at 95-99 mph in the first inning and settled in at 93-96 for the next two frames. Pint struggled at times last summer to throw strikes with his fastball but he seemed to be throwing with less effort and more compact mechanics this time out.


The biggest revelation of the outing, however, was Pint's changeup, which he threw 8-10 times almost all at 88 mph. Throwing an 88 mph changeup to high school hitters seems at the surface to be doing them a big favor but the movement and location on the pitch made it no favor. Pint manipulated the grip to where he alternately got both standard changeup fade and run but other times created cutter/slider type action on the pitch.


Pint's curveball, which he threw maybe 6 times and primarily in strikeout counts, was a third pitch that showed plus at times. It was mostly 83 mph from a consistent release point and arm speed as his fastball and had big hard biting action about half the time.


Overall, it was as impressive a pitching performance as I ever recall seeing for a high school pitcher, especially considering the time of year and location.

When's he going to get to the Rockies and how good will he be once he's there?

Pint is a long ways from Coors Field, but that shouldn't stop Rockies fans from imagining a fully developed pitcher with Pint's stuff profile fronting the big league rotation. A harmonic path through the system would get Pint to the Show in late 2020 or 2021, but there's quite a bit that could go awry on the way. I suppose that's why a potential ace like Pint is ranked only fifth in the system (he was fourth on my list) - if he were closer to the big leagues, his ceiling would merit a higher placement here. As it is, Riley has a 60 Future Value as a #2 MLB starter.


4. Raimel Tapia (1,373 points, 52 ballots) -- Preseason Ranking: 6 -- High Ballot 2, Mode Ballot 5

How did he enter the organization?

2010 International Free Agency, Dominican Republic

Why did he make the PuRPs list?

Quite simply, the dude can hit. Despite unorthodox mechanics (especially a strange two strike crouch), Tapia is a career .316/.364/.445 hitter over six professional seasons. The 22 year-old lefty outfielder has played in 550 games so far in his professional career and has 689 hits in those games. He's never posted a season stateside with an average below .300 and he hasn't had a wRC+ below 112 in that time. Tapia is a hitting savant and you can't tell me otherwise.

This year for AA Hartford, Tapia got off to a slow start, hitting just .214/.277/.333 in April. All he's done since then is hit .354 in May, .375 in June, and .339 in July to bring his season line up to .326/.366/.452 in 447 plate appearances with 32 extra base hits (128 wRC+). Lest you think Tapia may be a platoon bat, he's actually hit better (.379/.439/.558) vs. lefties in 98 at-bats this year than he has against right-handers (.311/.344/.422). In addition, Tapia has cut down his strikeouts to 10.7% of PAs and raised his walks to 5.6% of PAs. Tapia's ability to consistently barrel the ball is uncanny and it's going to be his ticket to the big leagues.

For much more on Tapia's prospect outlook, check out Bobby DeMuro's profile of Tapia from this winter.

What do the scouts say?

Tapia has been on the preseason Baseball Prospectus top 100 for the last three years now, including #42 this year, but BP had been alone in rating him at that level. In this year's midseason lists though, Tapia has been a mainstay. He placed 79th in Baseball America's list, moved up to 32nd on BP's midseason update, and was slotted 86th overall for That was good enough to rank fifth in Colorado's system, with the below commentary:

No one questions Tapia's ability to barrel the ball or his bat speed, but there's a variance of opinion as to how much of an offensive impact he will make. Those who believe in him the most see a potential .300 hitter with 15-20 homers per year. Others wonder about his rail-thin frame, his pronounced two-strike crouch and lack of patience and think he'll be more of a .270 hitter with 10-15 homers.

Tapia has solid speed but is still refining his base stealing and defense. He has split his time almost evenly between center field and the corners as a pro, and his reads and routes will need to improve for him to cover center in Coors Field. He most likely winds up on a corner and has the solid arm strength for right field.

Tapia was sixth in the system this winter for Dan Farnsworth of Fangraphs:

The biggest thing that stands out about Tapia is his energy and competitiveness on the field. He has a great all-around tool set highlighted by a hit tool that just hasn't quit and plus speed. His defense is fringy for center field, and his arm only has a chance at playing plus in right field, but he can likely fit at any of the three positions without being a liability. His speed gives him some upside if he can run better routes in the outfield.


I was impressed by his excellent contact ability, yet surprised to see how often he chased out of the zone or looked fooled on breaking stuff. He has a decent eye at the plate, though his ability to hit anything spoils his approach and limits his on-base potential despite having the talent to hit .300 in the big leagues.

His swing has been scrutinized by evaluators for years now, but I don't see a big problem with it. His lower half has a quick twitch quality but is frequently unstable. His whole base collapses on low pitches, eating away at some of his potential power. He has a very good line drive path and plus contact.


With even mild improvement [in plate discipline, he's a plus hitter, which is where I would bet he ends up. The power has a chance to be above-average if his approach improves, but he most likely graduates the minor leagues with 40 power. Overall, an excellent part of the Rockies' upper-level prospects group.

Hit: 50/60/70 Power: 35/40/50+ Run: 60/60/65 Field: 45/50/55 Throw: 55/55/60
Overall: 40/55/65+

Baseball Prospectus was, as usual, the high organization on Tapia preseason:

[Tapia] still shows preternatural feel with the bat, and barreled just about anything Cal League pitchers had to offer. He is hyper-aggressive at the plate, but can manipulate his swing to maintain good contact.


It is tough to bet on any minor-league bat to be a good bad-ball hitter in the majors, but Tapia might be able to make it work. He still uses that exaggerated two-strike crouch that will drive some crazy.


Tapia has strong enough wrists and hands—and shows enough bat speed—to project average raw if he fills out his still-wiry frame, but he doesn't seem particularly interested in selling out for over-the-fence power.


Tapia looks the part of a center fielder, showing enough speed for the position. There is more to roaming center field than just raw speed though, and he hasn't developed the instincts for the position yet. The glove is even rawer than the bat, and the lack of premium arm strength will force him to left field unless he makes significant improvements in the outfield, something the Rockies seem to have acknowledged, as he's already split time between left and center the past two seasons.

When's he going to get to the Rockies and how good will he be once he's there?

There really are a wide range of potential outcomes with a player like Tapia. He could be an All-Star outfielder and batting champion, he could be a good contact hitter with low power and decent speed that profiles as more of a fourth outfielder, or he could flame out entirely, as many prospects do. Tapia is an exciting player who can develop into much more than that.

Tapia is using his first minor league option this year as a member of the 40 man roster, and it is likely the Rockies give him the call to the Show next year (if he doesn't get a September cameo this year). As mentioned above, the type of impact he'll make at that point is quite uncertain, but I tend to think that Tapia will be able to hit over .300 at the major league level, albeit without a lot of power. I ranked Tapia fifth on my ballot with a 55+ Future Value because I think he'll be an above average MLB outfielder and potential batting champion.


3. Brendan Rodgers (1,481 points, 52 ballots) -- Preseason Ranking: 4 -- High Ballot 1 (13), Mode Ballot 2

How did he enter the organization?

2015 first round, Florida HS

Why did he make the PuRPs list?

2015's #3 overall pick (and the consensus top talent in the draft at the time) signed for a Rockies record of $5.5 million because the high school shortstop is a potential five tool player at a premium defensive position. The 6'0" righty possesses elite bat speed and doesn't have any glaring holes in his game, though the possibility exists that he will grow too big to be an effective shortstop at the major league level.

After a professional debut season cut short by leg injuries and fatigue, Rodgers has shown his prospect pedigree this season with Low A Asheville against players on average 2.4 years older than him. In 393 plate appearances with the Tourists, the 19 year-old is hitting a respectable .277/.342/.466 with 14 homers and 25 doubles for a 130 wRC+. He's produced this line while striking out less than last year (17.8%) and walking more (7.6%), though neither rate is elite. It is worth noting that Rodgers has been much more effective in his home park (.306/.366/.549) than he has been away (.251/.322/.391) - splits that will be replicated throughout his career if he stays with the Rockies.

What do the scouts say?

According to national prospect writers, Rodgers is not only clearly the best prospect in the organization, he is a top 15 prospect in MLB overall. Baseball America was the low major outlet on Rodgers in ranking him 12th on their midseason update, whereas Baseball Prospectus had Rodgers fifth and placed him eighth. had this to say about Rodgers:

With his lightning bat speed and strength, Rodgers generates plus power with an easy right-handed stroke. He doesn't sell out for homers and uses the entire field, which should allow him to hit for a solid average as well. Rodgers has the potential to put up similar offensive numbers to former franchise icon Troy Tulowitzki, whom Colorado traded to Toronto last summer.

Rodgers is a fine athlete with average speed and solid arm strength. Scouts who saw him as an amateur were split on whether he'll stay at shortstop, though most gave him credit for soft hands and good instincts. Rodgers could become an above-average shortstop and also has gotten some exposure to second base this season.

Baseball Prospectus gave Rodgers top billing preseason as well:

Rodgers generates plus bat speed and extension with a relatively simple load and short bat path. The power will likely play only as gap or fringy for a while, but there may be 15-20 home run power in there when he physically matures.

Rodgers has the hands and the arm to play at shortstop at the highest level, although his play there is a bit unrefined at present, as you might expect for a 19-year-old. He has a quick trigger out of the glove, and can make strong, accurate throws while on the move and from a variety of angles.

Preseason Dan Farnsworth of Fangraphs also ranked Rodgers as the top man in the system, giving him a 65+ FV:

Every aspect of [Rodgers'] game shows promise, from his soft hands and strong arm in the field to his promise of power and average at the plate. Throw in above-average raw speed, and the sky is the limit for what he can do at the big league level.

His offense is likely to be the greatest source of value he provides on the field. A future plus grade on his power may be light once he fills out, and he has good enough contact skills to be a well above-average bat overall. He gets good lift to his swing despite his hands being a little steep entering the zone at times, and he can be long to the ball due to his barrel getting away from him early. Both qualities are relatively minor limitations, since he also has excellent hip drive and a really efficient lower half as a whole.


Defensively, there is talk of him moving off short as he matures, but I think that's premature. His range may be average or a little above, but he adds quick yet quiet hands and footwork to profile as a legitimate big league shortstop in my mind. He has plenty of arm strength and can throw from every angle, showing aptitude for throwing on the move. His defense at third would profile as elite for the position, but I still see him as an average shortstop at worst defensively.


Whether he plays shortstop or third base, he has a bright future with one of the highest ceilings in the minor leagues.

Hit: 35/55/60 Power: 40/60/65 Run: 50/50/55 Field: 55/60/65 Throw: 50/60/65
Overall: 35/65/70+

When's he going to get to the Rockies and how good will he be once he's there?

The scouts and national prospect writers think that Rodgers is the best prospect in the system, a future All-Star shortstop and middle of the order bat. I happen to agree with them, which is why Rodgers was first in my personal ballot and why I gave him a 65 Future Value. On his current trajectory, Rodgers would be in line for a call to the Show in late 2019 or 2020. The question is: what type of Rockies roster will be in place when he arrives?


2. Jeff Hoffman (1,504 points, 52 ballots) -- Preseason Ranking: 3 -- High Ballot 1 (19), Mode Ballot 1

How did he enter the organization?

2015 trade with the Toronto Blue Jays

Why did he make the PuRPs list?

The prize in the Troy Tulowitzki trade was Hoffman, a pitcher who had received top overall draft pick consideration in 2014 due to his elite stuff before needing Tommy John surgery. Hoffman proved he was healthy pitching in the Blue Jays system last year and as such became a coveted trade asset and one of the top 50 prospects in baseball. Once in the Rockies organization, Hoffman continued to regain his pre-injury form at the AA level.

The 23 year-old righty starter was assigned to AAA Albuquerque this year, where he's been pitching against players who are on average 3.8 years older. In 109 2/3 innings over 20 starts with the Isotopes, Hoffman has shown why he was such a coveted arm. He's got a 4.35 ERA in the tough Pacific Coast League (4.34 FIP) with a 1.40 WHIP and 3.3BB/9, but the positive sign is that Hoffman has really starting getting the punchouts his stuff indicates he should be getting. Hoffman has 111 strikeouts on the year, good for a 9.1 K/9 rate.

Hoffman's line is also marred by three poor starts (including his most recent one) - 11 of his outings have been quality starts. Recently it looks like the Rockies have reduced Hoffman's pitch count as he has already thrown more innings than he did all of last year. Colorado is treating the post-TJ arm with caution here and I can't say that I disagree with them.

What do the scouts say?

Hoffman is a consensus top 50 prospect in baseball for national prospect writers. Baseball America placed him 49th on their list, while he was 44th for and 18th for Baseball Prospectus. The general feeling is that Hoffman wasn't even higher due to difficulty repeating his delivery, which hurts his command profile.

For, that put Hoffman third in Colorado's system:

Hoffman regained his stuff and his control quickly after having his elbow reconstructed. He sits in the mid-90s with good sink on his fastball and his big-breaking curveball gives him a second well above-average pitch. His changeup shows signs of becoming a plus third offering and he throws a lot of strikes.

Hoffman doesn't miss as many bats as his stuff indicates he should, in part because his command isn't as sharp as his control. In order to help him finish and locate his pitches better, Colorado has worked with him on being more direct to the plate.

BP had Hoffman second in the system this winter:

The lanky right-hander sits in the low-to-mid-90s with his fastball, and the pitch is a heavy one that will show late run down in the zone. As he fills out and adds professional reps, the offering could very well sit 94-96 and be a plus-plus worm-burning weapon.

His best off-speed offering is a sharp 11-to-5 curve that operates in the low 80s. It already flashes plus-plus, and Hoffman can spot it, run it away, or bury it in the dirt. It projects as a major-league out pitch. The change lags well behind his other two offerings. It is a bit firm, although the velocity separation (mid-80s) is there and it will show some arm-side fade on occasion. Hoffman was willing to throw it to both right-handers and left-handers this season, although that may have been due to it being a point of developmental emphasis. It really only needs to be good enough to at least be in the batter's mind; the fastball/curve combo is that good on its own.

Even with the present-day changeup concerns, Hoffman's stuff is good enough to put him in the front end of a rotation. The main thing keeping him from that lofty projection right now is the command profile. Hoffman's delivery has a lot of moving parts, and his mechanics lack fluidity at present. He will lose his release point at times, and is better at commanding his pitches glove-side than arm-side.

Dan Farnsworth of Fangraphs also had Hoffman second in the system preseason, with a 60 FV:

Hoffman came back from draft year Tommy John surgery with a much more physical build and produced an excellent year split between High-A and Double-A. His fastball velocity came back swimmingly, and he flashed the same ridiculous curveball that had him in the conversation for first-overall pick before his injury.


Though the run on his fastball was not as impressive as it was at ECU, it still jumped out of his hand and showed enough life to project as a possible plus-plus offering. The best thing about his curveball was how much break it had even though he mostly just dropped it into the middle of the zone. His changeup showed good sink when he kept it at the bottom of the zone. He definitely has the least feel for it of his three pitches, but the 55 ceiling I gave his change may be low if he can replicate his best version of it more often.

Make no mistake, Hoffman has mechanical work to do and may still take some time to regain his comfort on the mound. Even with a modest improvement in his overall command, he likely develops into at least a number-three starter. It won't be a difficult adjustment burying his sharp breaking ball when he starts to go for strikeouts again, and his changeup could end up being a better weapon than he was projected to have in college. Consistency with his delivery, particularly finding a rhythm that works for him again, will be the key to seeing him at the top of any big league rotation.

Fastball: 60/65/70 Curveball: 55/65/70 Changeup: 45/50/55 Command: 40+/50/55
Overall: 50/60/75

When's he going to get to the Rockies and how good will he be once he's there?

Hoffman has a level of explosiveness in his stuff profile that is typically assigned to a pitcher with upper rotation potential, though his command had reduced the effectiveness of that stuff. It would stand to reason therefore at the top of the development list for Hoffman in Albuquerque this year is improving his command. From what I've seen and heard lately, Hoffman is doing just that, which is great news for Colorado's rotation in the near future.

How near is that future? Hoffman could get the Jon Gray treatment this year with a call-up to the big leagues on a strict pitch count, or he could spend that time with the Isotopes. Either way, expect Hoffman to be a rotation factor in Spring Training next year. It is a testament to how I feel about Rodgers and David Dahl that Hoffman slid down to third on my PuRPs ballot, but I had no qualms about giving Hoffman a 60 Future Value as a #2/3 big league starter.


1. David Dahl (1,508 points, 52 ballots) -- Preseason Ranking: 2 -- High Ballot 1 (20), Mode Ballot 1

How did he enter the organization?

2012 first round, Alabama HS

Why did he make the PuRPs list?

Dahl entered 2016 named as a top 100 prospect in baseball by all of the major prospect services, just has he did in 2013, 2014, and 2015. That's because Dahl has been a potential five tool center field prospect ever since being picked in the 2012 first round. Unfortunately, Dahl's minor league career has been marred by serious injuries, including a torn hamstring that limited his second professional year to 10 games, a lacerated spleen last year that necessitated its removal, and patella tendinitis (also last year) that scuttled Colorado's plans to send him to the Arizona Fall League.

Because of those injuries, Dahl began the year repeating AA for the Hartford Yard Goats. The 23 year-old lefty outfielder was still 2.4 years younger than average in the Eastern League, but he proved he had mastered the level by July. In 332 plate appearances with the Yard Goats, Dahl discovered his power stroke en route to a .278/.367/.500 line with 13 homers and 36 extra base hits (141 wRC+). Little did we know that his performance in AA was nothing compared to what was coming next.

Upon his promotion to AAA Albuquerque, Dahl hit immediately and didn't stop hitting. His 68 plate appearance stint with the Isotopes reads like a video game with the difficulty turned way down: .484/.529/.887 with five homers and 13 extra base hits. That's a 270 wRC+! At this point, it became obvious to the Rockies front office that Dahl was ready for the Show. Since his call-up, Dahl has done nothing to show he doesn't belong - so far his line is .389/.421/.583 with two homers in 38 plate appearances (154 wRC+).

What do the scouts say?

Dahl is a consensus top 20 among the major prospect services at midseason, which came mostly before his tear through AAA and MLB. He was 20th on's list (fourth among outfielders), 16th for Baseball America, and 14th for Baseball Prospectus.

Here was on Dahl recently:

Dahl has the potential to make an impact offensively and defensively. He has a sweet left-handed swing, impressive bat speed and a line-drive, all fields approach. If he improves his plate discipline and adds some loft to his swing, he has the upside of a .300 hitter with 20 or more homers per season.

Dahl's plus speed and baserunning savvy make him a threat to steal. His quickness and instincts give him fine range in center field, and his strong, accurate arm is better than most at that position. If he can stay healthy, he could do a lot of damage and run down a lot of fly balls at Coors Field.

Dahl really made an impression this year with BP, who had him fourth in the system preseason:

When he was on the field, [Dahl] showed a strong up-the-middle defensive tool set and some offensive projection to dream on. Despite not being an out-and-out burner on dirt, Dahl projects as an above-average center fielder. His instincts and jumps are excellent, he takes good routes laterally, and he is comfortable chasing down balls directly over his head. Everything is very smooth, and at least for now he has plus speed to close on balls when he needs it. The speed plays on the basepaths as well, where he could easily swipe 20-plus bags a year to help round out the offensive profile.

That profile might need some rounding out too. Dahl has the tools to be an above-average hitter in the majors. He is well balanced in the box and shows off a quick, level swing. There is also some natural bat-to-ball ability here, and while the power might not end up major-league average, he should scorch his share of doubles in both gaps. Right now, though, Dahl's approach limits his overall offensive projection. If he doesn't get something he can drive early, he will expand late, and is vulnerable to both soft stuff and fastballs at his throat with two strikes. The defensive profile is good enough that he doesn't have to hit much to have a real career in the majors, but he will need some refinement in the approach to keep upper-level arms from having him for lunch.

Finally, Dan Farnsworth of Fangraphs ranked Dahl third in the farm this winter:

Dahl remained productive and on track for a look in the big leagues by 2017 at the latest. He could step into a big league lineup this year, but he needs a bit more time to improve his approach and possibly grow into some power.

He brings an smooth, middle-of-the-field swing into games that is capable of lacing line drives anywhere between the lines. Dahl has the strength to hit for above-average power, but he swings with the intent of making solid contact and doesn't seem to go for more than gap shots.


While Dahl has shown the ability to hit minor league pitching at a high level, he has yet to add many walks to his resume, which may limit his hit tool if he remains as aggressive against major league pitching. He may be capable of putting up a .300 average in the big leagues, but I want to see signs that it will come with a better-than-average on-base rate before pumping up his hit grade. He has the base-running prowess to warrant a plus run grade, and his speed serves him well in the outfield to profile as an average center fielder.

Dahl already could produce like a league-average outfielder, but he has a higher ceiling that could be worth waiting for if he develops. Look for signs of a more selective approach in 2016, as well as any indication he can turn his high doubles totals into more home runs. It's likely that they happen simultaneously if he concentrates on picking out pitches he can drive. Either way, Dahl has an excellent future ahead of him in the outfield.

Hit: 50/55/65 Power: 40/45-50/60 Run: 55/60/65 Field: 50/55/60 Throw: 55/55/60
Overall: 50/60+/70

When's he going to get to the Rockies and how good will he be once he's there?

Dahl's performance with the Rockies so far has been superb, obviously. I hope he never cools down, but the odds are against it. Even so, the power development Dahl has shown this year has really made the likelihood he becomes a five tool All-Star center fielder much more realistic. The next step is to reduce his strikeout rate while taking a few more walks. Even if he doesn't ever do that, Dahl's defensive profile and speed mean that he will be an above average outfielder for the Rockies for years to come, a reason why I gave a 60+ Future Value and ranked him second on my list.

There you have it - the 2016 midseason Purple Row Prospects list. Stay tuned for a view of the entire list with some general commentary on its composition.