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Rockies pitching prospect Tommy Doyle has yet to justify his high draft spot

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Pre-season 2018 prospect rankings: No. 30, Tommy Doyle

30. Tommy Doyle (129 points, 18 ballots)

When Colorado selected Tommy Doyle with their 2nd round pick (70th overall) in the 2017 draft, there was a little consternation among Rockies fans and the scouting community. After all, the 21-year-old righty profiled as a pure reliever after spending his junior year coming out of Virginia’s bullpen. Beyond that, Doyle was considered to be an overdraft—Baseball America ranked him 136th pre-draft and MLB.com had him 168th. Finally, Doyle wasn’t a bargain draftee either, signing for slot money at $837,300.

Unfortunately, Doyle’s debut didn’t alleviate those concerns in his first season with Rookie ball Grand Junction. The 6’6”, 235 pound hurler appeared in 20 games in 2017, throwing 21 innings with a 5.14 ERA, 5.53 FIP, 1.86 WHIP, and 7.7 K/9 rate. That’s not an auspicious debut for a high draft pick college reliever.

Here’s Doyle’s scouting report from MLB.com:

Doyle has the chance to have an excellent power fastball-breaking ball combination, with decent arm action, a strong frame and a solid delivery. He’s been clocked up to 97 mph at times this spring and can back it up with an 82-83 mph slider. He flips in a below-average curveball and might be better suited focusing on just the slider at the next level. He does have a changeup, but he doesn’t throw it often and it’s a below-average “show me” kind of pitch rather than a viable weapon.

Command has been an issue in the past, though his walk rate has improved this spring. He’s not the type of college reliever who will run up Draft boards, but he’s impressed enough in front of a lot of evaluators to be a solid Day 2 consideration.

The Rockies obviously saw more in Doyle’s arsenal than did the national scouts given their pick of him late on Day 1 of the draft. Here’s a taste of Doyle in action for UVA:

Doyle has the frame, power fastball with movement, and good enough secondary pitch to be an intimidating relief option for Colorado. The early exit polls weren’t great with him, but I’m unwilling to let a small sample size undo the prospect capital gained by the stuff and draft spot.

Despite the slow start to his pro career, I expect Doyle to find his feet professionally and move quickly up the minor league ladder, perhaps getting a jump to Lancaster by the end of the year. Given his pedigree and role he’ll probably be the first 2017 draftee from the Rockies to reach the Show. I ranked Doyle 21st on my personal list with a 40 FV as a potential impact set-up man, though I don’t blame prospect-watchers who aren’t excited by Doyle just yet.