30. Jose Gomez (118 points, 15 ballots)
Colorado’s 2013 Latin American signing class had two big names with big bonuses, Carlos Herrera (a shortstop) and Erick Julio (a RHP). Both of those players received votes in PuRPs balloting this time around, but it was a third member of that signing class, Jose Gomez, who kicks off this edition of the PuRPs list.
The 6’, 170 lb. 20-year-old shortstop (just turned) made his stateside debut in 2016 for the rookie level Grand Junction Rockies after spending two campaigns in the Dominican Summer League. In the second of those seasons, Gomez hit .300/.380/.395 in 258 plate appearances—good numbers on the surface, albeit lacking a little punch. However, it’s important to remember when looking at DSL stats for hitters that it’s a very difficult league for offensive players to produce a lot of extra base hits. Gomez’s 2015 triple slash translated to a very respectable 126 wRC+, earning him a ticket stateside.
In Grand Junction, Gomez had a monster offensive year. Against pitchers who were on average 1.5 years older than him, Gomez hit .367/.426/.468 with 19 extra base hits and 23 stolen bases in 304 plate appearances—good for a 132 wRC+. Also impressive was the fact that Gomez limited his strikeouts to 7.9 percent of plate appearances while producing that line. In all he struck out 24 times and walked 23 times. That’s one heck of a first impression!
Gomez didn’t make Eric Longenhagen’s top 24 Rockies prospect list at FanGraphs, but he was a prospect of note:
A stocky 5-foot-11, Gomez is an average runner with an average arm and could be a 45 or 50 at shortstop at maturity. He has mature bat-to-ball skills and hit well for his age in the Pioneer League this year but lacks power projection because the body is already pretty maxed out. He’s got a long-term utility profile.
Gomez was off the radar of national scouts before his Grand Junction breakout this year, and it will be interesting to see if similar reports are provided on the other major prospect lists this offseason. Gomez missed my personal top 30 this time around due in part to a lack of pedigree, the utility profile noted above, and the fact that I’ve seen many players hit very well in the Pioneer League but fail in full season ball. Gomez will get his chance to prove me wrong next year, likely in Low-A Asheville.