The highlights from the farm system came from three of the four best infield prospects in the Rockies system: Brendan Rodgers, Garrett Hampson, and Colton Welker (Ryan McMahon, the fourth, didn’t play yesterday).
Rodgers, who is a cyborg, disappointingly let his batting average fall below .400 with a 1-for-5 night. But his one hit was a home run, so despite it all his slugging percentage increased from .701 to .704. His OPS north of 1.000 seems to demand a promotion, but as Bobby DeMuro writes in his excellent and thorough scouting report of Rodgers, there are good reasons to keep Rodgers in Lancaster for a little longer.
First, Rodgers is a free swinger who is able to make a lot of contact against High-A pitching. His near .400 batting average gets a huge boost from his .429 BABIP, and he’s able to post that BABIP because he doesn’t struck out much. Rodgers’s walk also sits at a paltry 2.6 percent. When he does get promoted, he could be in for a tough debut against advanced pitchers because his “just hit everything” approach won’t work quite as well. Something similar happened to Ryan McMahon in 2016. At the same time, it might not do Rodgers any good to just hit everything in Lancaster. The challenge will be good for him and his progress.
Rodgers’s teammate Garrett Hampson, who came to the Rockies out of college and is two years older than Rodgers, also had a nice night. He went 3-for-5 with a double. Hampson doesn’t have the pop Rodgers has, but he’s a solid middle infielder with good bat to ball skills and high sense of the zone, which leads to walks.
Finally, Colton Welker, who has been playing third base for Asheville this season, went 4-for-4 with three singles last night. That raised his season line to .363/.404/.542. Unlike Rodgers and Hampson, the 19-year-old Welker is more likely to remain at his level than see an in-season promotion. But that doesn’t make his full-season debut for the Rockies any less exciting.
It was the middle infielder show last night, and it might be today as well; however, the focus should really be on the starting pitching. Purple Row prospects start three out of the four minor-league games today.
Jordan Patterson (No. 13 PuRP): 1-4, HR
Rosell Herrera (PuRP from the past): 0-4
Noel Cuevas: 2-4, 2 HR
Dustin Garneau: 1-3, HR
Sam Moll (No 28 PuRP): 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K
Matt Carasiti: 1 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 2 K
Dom Nuñez (No. 14 PuRP): 1-3, BB
Correlle Prime: 1-4, 2B
Parker French (No. 26 PuRP): 6 IP, 9 H, 4 R, BB, 4 K
Brendan Rodgers (No. 1 PuRP): 1-5, HR
Garrett Hampson (No. 22 PuRP): 3-5, 2B, 2 K
Sam Hilliard: 2-4, HR
Roberto Ramos, 2-3, HR
Colton Welker (No. 19 PuRP): 4-4
José Gomez (No. 30 PuRP): 0-5, K
Vince Fernandez: 2-4, HR, 2 K
Max George, 1-3, HR, BB
Triple-A Albuquerque: Harrison Musgrave (No. 25 PuRP)
Double-A Hartford: Sam Howard (No. 20 PuRP)
Class A Advanced Lancaster: Peter Lambert (No. 11 PuRP)
Class A Asheville: Ty Culbreth