You might have wondered what goes through my mind when I put one of my PuRPs lists together. God help you if that's the case, but maybe I can answer a couple questions. What I look at and prioritize, How I put things together. What resources and references I use, that sorta stuff.
We'll start with the biggest difference I have with my list compared to everyone else's lists – I don't rank guys who are locked in as relievers, even guys who are experiencing major league success like Jesus Tinoco. It's a long-held belief of mine that the odds of any guy starting in Asheville or Lancaster right now is just as likely, if not more likely, to make a positive major league impact as anybody converted to relief before reaching the major leagues. Scott Oberg allowed over 5 runs per 9 innings over the first three years of his career. Anybody on this summer's list following the Scott Oberg career path will be effectively useless until Charlie Blackmon is 36. I don't see a ton of value there for the Rockies.
One of the things I do with my free time is put on the radio app and listen to minor league baseball games. Where most people listen to music or white noise as they try to doze off, I put on Lancaster at 10pm and go from there. The announcers give you a pretty solid idea of who is interesting beyond just "having success at this level." I also live within driving distance of one of the Rockies affiliates, amazingly enough. (Also one of the Tigers but they're short-season). While I'm terrible at networking and don't have any scouting connections, I do take in a whole bunch of the Rockies' minor league experience when I can.
Now, I'm not an actual scout, so that only gives me a starting point. If you're going to start putting together your own list, you're going to want to have a link hand to MLB's cumulate org stats for the Rockies, as there's no point in using your own crawler through MLB's data when they make one for you. It would be nice if they included columns like age, or BB%-K%, or OPS+, but that's why you keep your own handful of notepad documents or whatever it s people using apple computers do. You're also well served by plugging in individual prospects into baseball reference and fangraphs.
As our other PuRPs fanposts will attest, age is important. Two guys with .830 OPS in Double-A look a lot different if one is 21 and the other is 25. The position the Rockies have you playing matters a lot too. If your OPS starts with a 65 or lower, you should probably have a "C" in that column if you want consideration. DSL guys, I totally understand why you wouldn't want to rank them. If I hear or read that a guy's got a big toolset, or one advanced skill, or even just a big bonus I'm willing to consider them.
I vastly prefer hitters to pitchers, as pitchers break. This year I had 21 hitters and 9 pitchers which is a bit lopsided even for me, but the Rockies have had some really bad luck on the pitching front the last couple years.
I have generally not valued lack of defensive prowess as a big negative, as I have been expecting MLB to foist the DH on the lovers of Real Baseball at least since before Corey Dickerson was a prospect. One day I'll be right, and if Grant Lavigne and Michael Toglia both grow into slugging first basemen it won't matter that there's only one first base. Speed is also a trait I tend to downplay. If Eddy Diaz singles, steals first, steals second and then Trevor Story homers, well, that's a bit empty, isn't it? If the Rockies played at anywhere other than homer happy Coors Field, yeah, the kid's got real value, but it's mitigated somewhat by the team's circumstances. The Rockies should still draft these guys and sign them internationally, it's just that they should look to trade them at the first opportunity.
I feel the same way about fine command pitchers – the Rockies should have traded a guy like Jack Wynkoop as soon as he reached Double-A, and not wait until giving him a chance to experience altitude and get absolutely wrecked by it. It's extremely predictable and the Rockies just burn minor leaguer value all the time by doing this.
Other people's scouting reports are a terrific resource. I've been reading Baseball America religiously since Sean Burroughs and Mark Teixeira were prospects. MLB.com's Pipeline crew know quite a bit. FanGraphs folks... do good work gathering names and put in a lot of effort, to their credit. I'm not as high on their evaluation skills as other places, though to their credit they were on the Julio Carreras bandwagon before anybody else.
The very last thing I do is wait for six or seven people to publish their lists so I can triple-check whether or not I forgot somebody – not in the "man I should have included that guy" sense, but in the "oh I wrote up this guy's blurb and never copied and pasted it into my list" not that I would ever do that to Raimel Tapia twice or anything. You should try to be less forgetful than I am.
As for list minutiae, my most recently posted list sits in a file on my desktop. As soon as I post it to the polling thread, I delete all the blurbs, change everybody's rank to match the just-posted list, and rename the file looking towards the next list. I don't touch that file again until it's time for the next list barring somebody leaving the system or losing eligibility - which given we do the summer list three weeks before the trade deadline, tends to mean I have to go back pretty quickly.
Don't be afraid to be wrong! In my earlier lists I probably did too much scouting the stat line and overvalued positions the Rockies were weak at, hence the caption and associated image. If there's a guy you really like but it doesn't seem like other people do, rank him high anyway. I mention this a couple times a year but Charlie Drysdale once ranked this 18-year old Venezuelan kid in his top 10 that hardly anybody else even gave a cursory glance to - and Antonio Senzatela ended up being alright if I can put my opinion out there.
This endeavor is a ton of work but a ton of fun. You can see how your own preferences change with time, you can see how a minor league system rises and falls over time, you can follow the careers of guys from the very start and then the Rockies can trade them for Jake McGee. You'll come out having learned more than when you started and you'll have given people something to talk about. Maybe you think it's too late this year, but grab hold of this upcoming purps' list and the honorable mentions, put them in a couple notepad files, and get ready for January, we'll be waiting!