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Colorado Rockies prospect rankings, mid-season 2019: The top 5

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A familiar name tops the Rockies’ top prospect list

It’s time to unveil the top 5 of the mid-season 2019 Purple Row Prospects (PuRPs) list. First we revealed prospects 30-26, then we had prospects 25-21, next was prospects 20-16, followed by prospects 15-11, and yesterday we covered prospects 10-6. As a reminder, in this edition of the PuRPs poll, 29 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 2019 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. Grant Lavigne (725 points, 29 ballots) — Preseason Ranking: 6 — High Ballot 2, Mode Ballot 7

How did he enter the organization?

2018 Competitive Balance Round A, Bedford (NH) HS

Why did he make the PuRPs list?

Lavigne has paired a strong draft pedigree (42nd overall in 2018 with a $2 million bonus) with a fantastic debut professional season that saw the 19-year-old lefty-hitting first baseman hit .350/.477/.519 (160 wRC+) in Grand Junction against pitching that was on average 2.6 years older. In doing so, Lavigne displayed not only a strong feel for hitting but also excellent plate discipline, walking more than he struck out and doing damage when the ball was in the zone.

Moved up to the Low A South Atlantic League this year, Lavigne hasn’t found the going quite as easy. In 427 PAs for Asheville against pitchers who are 2.5 years older on average, Lavigne is hitting .239/.355/.332 with 23 extra base hits (5 HR) and is just 7/14 stealing bases. While that line is still above average for the league (107 wRC+) and is still impressive for a young hitter, there are some concerns.

Lavigne is still walking ~14% of the time, but his strikeouts have increased to 24% of his PAs (up from 15%) and his power has been largely absent, a red mark against a first base prospect. He’s struggled against left-handed vs. right-handed pitching (.560 v.s .723 OPS). The needle is also pointing downward — from April to July, Lavigne’s OPS has gone down each month. Defensively, Lavigne has 14 errors in 90 games at first base. In all, Lavigne is experiencing some growing pains as a prospect but still has held his own at a very advanced level for his age.

What do the scouts say?

MLB.com has Lavigne 4th in the system and 9th among all 1B prospects:

Scouts lauded Lavigne’s raw power as the Draft approached, seeing his bat speed, strength and 6-foot-4 frame all pointing to future over-the-fence ability, some of which showed up during his first taste of pro ball. There’s confidence he’ll get to that power because of his advanced approach from the left side of the plate. He works counts, draws a ton of walks and rarely gets fooled, giving him the chance to eventually be a plus hitter with plus power.

While his below-average speed does limit him to first base as a pro, he’s surprisingly athletic given his size and has the chance to be a solid defender. His bat should profile at the typically run-producing spot as well, with the Rockies excited to see what he can do over a full season.

The 50 Hit/Power/Field combo carries the profile for Lavigne.

Lavigne is ranked 7th on THE BOARD by FanGraphs with a FV 40+ grade:

After he looked just okay against his elite peers on the summer showcase circuit, Lavigne generated a ton of buzz as a senior the following spring. Northeast popup high schoolers have a dubious track record because they spend all spring mashing bad high school pitching, but lots of teams were in on Lavigne’s spike in power and thought he fit in the second tier of high school hitting prospects in the draft behind the likes of Nolan Gorman and Jarred Kelenic. Lavigne has not shown that kind of power with the wooden bats in pro ball and his exit velos are actually a bit below big league average, though that’s less worrisome considering his age. He’s a first base-only defender and needs to absolutely mash to profile. We’re cautiously optimistic that he can do it, but he’s out of the gate a little slower than we anticipated.

Forrest Stulting of Baseball Prospectus got a look at Lavigne in April:

Lavigne’s potential to be a power-hitting first baseman got him drafted 42nd overall in last year’s draft, and the lefty already displays plus raw power to all fields and a solid understanding of the strike zone. As a cold-weather kid from Bedford, NH, there is room for rapid growth with reps. His heavy uppercut bat path can get long, making it harder for him to get the barrel on inside pitches–something I witnessed in his four plate appearances. In the field, Lavigne is still working to learn first base. There were a handful of plays where his instincts were clearly not developed. He is also not an athletic or agile fielder, which made routine plays look harder than they should. In addition, his throwing motion has a significant hitch just before release. It was evident in both pregame workouts and in-game he was not entirely confident in his arm. But at just 19 years old, Lavigne has time for his defense to catch up with his offensive upside.

Adam McInturff of 2080 Baseball filed a report on Lavigne in April (granular details at the link), here is his conclusion:

Very advanced hit/power combo for a cold-weather prep bat drafted last year. Could mash enough to be a regular 1B and hit in the middle of a lineup. The bat-only profile adds significant overall risk, offense will have to fully carry him to the big leagues.

Here is some video of Lavigne accompanying the 2080 report:

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

Lavigne has a lot of offensive potential and has displayed what he can do last year. The struggles this season show that he’s not on a rocket ship to the majors, but Lavigne remains an intriguing prospect in the lower minors. The defensive limitations of Lavigne’s profile cause me to discount him slightly as a prospect due to the increased risk on the hit tool for him to provide big league value.

Similarly, there’s now, by my count, six PuRPs whose most likely major league role would be at first base in some capacity. I think Lavigne is one of the best of those prospects, but it’s a consideration when thinking about the value he’ll be able to provide. The offensive potential and Rookie ball production were enough for me to rank Lavigne 6th on my personal list with a FV 45 grade. I’m looking forward to what he can do in the offense-heavy California League next year.

★ ★ ★

4. Colton Welker (780 points, 29 ballots) — Preseason Ranking: 3 — High Ballot 2, Mode Ballot 4

How did he enter the organization?

2016 4th Round, Stoneman-Douglas (FL) HS

Why did he make the PuRPs list?

The 21-year-old third baseman has provided the Rockies with excellent play at every level over the last four years, rewarding the Rockies for going over-slot with him in the 4th round four years ago. The 6’2” Welker has been among the youngest players at every level in which he’s played, yet he’s yet to produce an offensive line below league average while holding his own defensively at the hot corner.

Often the biggest hurdle for a prospect is handling the jump from High to Double-A ball, something Welker is dealing with this year. In 333 PAs this year with Double-A Hartford against pitchers who are on average 3 years older than him, Welker has a .259/.312/.366 line with 30 extra base hits (8 HR). That’s easily his worst offensive output so far as a pro, but Welker’s line is worth a 108 wRC+ in the more offense-neutral Eastern League.

Welker started off hot, posting a .952 OPS in April, but saw his OPS drop each month and an injury cut his July short a couple weeks ago. He has been a more potent hitter at home, posting a H/R OPS split of .832/.641, while defensively he’s spent the majority of his time at third with 4 errors so far in 50 games there.

What do the scouts say?

Welker ranks 3rd in the system according to MLB.com and 10th among all 3B prospects:

Welker continues to show an innate ability to make consistent hard contact, recognizing pitches extremely well and not getting fooled often. While his strikeout rate has gone up, so has his ability to draw walks, and he started tapping into his power more in 2018, with the ability to drive the ball to all fields from the right side of the plate. While speed isn’t a part of his game, he’s far from a clogger, with good instincts on the basepaths.

Welker has more than enough arm to profile well at third and his hands should allow him to stay there. His lack of speed might eventually be an impediment.

The 35 run grade is the only below average tool, with strong recommendations of his defense coming through in the 60 arm/55 field evaluation.

FanGraphs rates him 4th in the org on THE BOARD with a FV 45 grade:

The caveat surrounding amateur prospects like the one Welker was -- big-bodied, risk of first base-only, limited power projection -- is that they need to hit all the way up the minor league ladder for teams to value them, and Welker has done exactly that. He’s a .333 career hitter and has above-average raw power that manifests itself as doubles, largely because Welker is a free swinger who relies on his feel to hit to make contact rather than hunting pitches he can drive. He remains a tenuous bet to stay at third base, at best projecting as a 50 glove there for some teams, while he’s below average in our estimation.

Jeffrey Paternostro of Baseball Prospectus had this to say about Welker in May:

Welker and Tyler Nevin are currently in a corner infield time-share, with Welker getting the bulk of the starts at third base. He’s a fringe defender there, more comfortable moving laterally than coming in on balls. The arm is only average, and he never looks fully confident making plays, although he generally gets it done at the hot corner. He’s much more comfortable at first, showing good hands and footwork. Welker now looks significantly thicker than 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, making a slide across the infield likely even in an organization that hadn’t just locked up Nolan Arenado long term. That would make him a right-right first baseman, so he will have to mash. And man oh man, he certainly tries to mash. I’ve yet to see him shorten up, or do anything other than “swing really damn hard.” There’s plus bat speed and good loft, and there’s some beauty in the violence–like a Seijun Suzuki film–but he can get long as he attempts to hit every baseball he sees out of Dunkin’ Park. This has left him vulnerable to pulling off better off-speed as well. I want to see how he progresses and adjusts to Double-A throughout the year, but it’s likely to be a tough profile.

Keith Law of ESPN.com ranked Welker 104th overall in his pre-season prospect rankings:

Welker just keeps hitting, although there’s always the skepticism about the hitter’s parks in which Rockies prospects play. Welker has gone through Grand Junction, Asheville and Lancaster -- probably the best hitter’s parks in their respective leagues -- so far as a pro. His bat-to-ball skill is real despite a lot of quirks in the swing that should impede him -- from how he’s hard to his front side to the lack of any sort of hand trigger to how uphill his path through the ball can get. He’s a 45 defender at third with great hands but limited range.

Here’s some tape of Welker from the Eastern League All-Star Game in July courtesy of 2080 Baseball:

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

The scouting reports paint a picture of a dangerous hitter and an improving fielder, but one who will remain a corner infielder. He’s also getting consistent Nolan Arenado comparisons, but that’s a very nice dream at this point. Furthermore, the presence of Arenado likely relegates Welker to first base where he would join a cluster of strong prospect depth at that position. That makes him a player who is ripe for a trade, as he will have more value in other organizations than with the Rockies. After weighing the excellent production and the scouting reports, I ranked Welker 4th in the system with a FV 50 grade as a corner infielder who seems destined to be a big league regular.

If Welker’s injury isn’t too serious, he’s a candidate for an Arizona Fall League appearance this year with a Triple-A nod next year a likely proposition despite the players currently occupying those slots. Welker’s future major league utility will probably rely heavily on his bat due to the corner infield defensive profile, so it’s been encouraging to see him get off to this kind of start offensively in his professional career and even more so to hear that he’s showing strides defensively at the hot corner.

★ ★ ★

3. Ryan Rolison (788 points, 29 ballots) — Preseason Ranking: 5 — High Ballot 2, Mode Ballot 3, 4

How did he enter the organization?

2018 1st Round, University of Mississippi

Why did he make the PuRPs list?

Rolison has been the pop-up pitching prospect for Colorado this year, working his way into some national top 100 lists and showing off the promise he displayed that led the Rockies to take him 22nd overall in the 2018 draft and give him a ~$2.9 million bonus. The 6’2” lefty was very polished and effective in his Rookie ball debut, but that was expected given the draft status — observers wanted to see him in more advanced leagues before passing further judgment.

Assigned initially to Low A Asheville, the 22-year-old quickly proved he had mastered the level with a three start cameo where he posted a 0.61 ERA in 14 23 innings. A quick promotion to High A Lancaster followed, where Rolison was thrown into one of the most offense-friendly home parks and leagues in the minors. With Lancaster against hitters that were on average 2.2 years younger than him, Rolison started off strong with an ERA that stood at 1.99 through 7 starts at the level by the end of May, including 5 quality starts. Since then, Rolison has posted just quality starts in just 3 of his 9 appearances, raising his ERA at the level up to 4.85 in 85 13 innings.

Rolison’s 9.5 K/9 rate and 2.6 BB/9 rates are solid, but he’s been hurt by the long ball of late, allowing 15 homers in his last 9 starts. Here is where that home park comes into play, as Rolison has made 10 starts there as opposed to 6 on the road. The 10 home starts have produced a 5.90 ERA against a solid 3.34 road ERA with 12 of his 19 HR against. The struggles are explainable given the context, but they still put a damper on what had been a very strong season by Rolison to that point.

What do the scouts say?

Rolison is 2nd in the org per MLB.com, 10th among all left-handed pitching prospects, and ranks number 89 overall in MLB:

Rolison is the epitome of an advanced college lefty, one who should be able to use his four-pitch mix and outstanding feel for pitching. His best pitch is his plus curveball, a power breaking ball with depth that was one of the best breaking balls in his Draft class. He’s able to manipulate it and turn it into a solid slider as well, and he has a fading changeup that he didn’t use much last year but has shown a solid feel for in the past. All of those offerings support his 91-93 mph fastball that he commands extremely well. There might be a tick or two of velocity coming as he matures.

Not likely to be a huge strikeout guy, though that curve can miss bats, Rolison goes right after hitters, filling up the strike zone. His goal is early contact, changing speeds and quadrants to get weak contact. His savvy plus his stuff could have him progress rapidly through the Rockies system.

The report is highlighted by a 60 grade curveball as well as a 55 fastball and 55 control to pair with a 50 slider/50 change-up mix.

Baseball Prospectus has had several write-ups of Rolison so far (from April in Asheville, from the Cal League All-Star game in May, from Lancaster in July — that one is less sanguine), but I’ll share this June report from Jacob Bickman as the most representative of the good and bad:

Rolison has a slender 6-foot-2 frame, with additional room to fill out as he matures and develops. The mechanics are clean and repeatable; Rolison extends well with some windup, and fires from a high three-quarters arm slot. The fastball sat 92-94 in my look with minimal movement, though it looked firm early on. He lost velocity in the later innings, however, eventually ticking down 91-92. For the most part, Rolison did a good job of hitting his spots with the fastball, and he filled up the zone. His best pitch is a plus power curveball, which came in 82-83 and generated swings and misses all night. He shows excellent feel for the pitch, manipulating its shape and dropping it in on both righties and lefties. The hook has good, late break, and he’ll throw it in the zone for a strike or take it strike-to-ball and fool hitters. Rolison didn’t throw his changeup (82-83) too much during his start, leaning more heavily on his curve to right-handers.

The pure stuff is above-average and projectable, and when coupled with above-average command there’s a lot to like. His struggles in this start came primarily as a result of leaving the fastball up in the zone and yielding appropriately hard contact when he did. There were plenty of flashes of the command potential, however, and it looked like more of an off night than the product of persistent problems.

Rolison now rates 3rd in the system on THE BOARD from FanGraphs with a FV 45+ grade:

Rolison came out of the chute [as a college sophomore] blazing hot and had top-10 pick buzz for the first month of the season, then slowly regressed. Scouts thought he needed a delivery adjustment in to make him more direct to the plate, a way to improve his fastball control. They also thought he was too reliant on his curveball. To that point, hitters late in the season would sit on the pitch, knowing he had trouble locating his fastball and that he barely threw his changeup. It led to some bad outings, including one at South Carolina where he allowed 11 runs. Since being drafted, Rolison has worked more frequently with all three of his pitches, throwing 66% of his pitches for strikes, and his velocity has remained in the 92-94 range even as he throws every fifth day (mostly) rather than once a week. He could end up with three above-average pitches and be a No. 4 or No. 4/5 starter.

Here’s some video of Rolison’s appearance at the Cal League All-Star game, including some good slow motion looks at his arsenal at the end of the video:

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

Rolison combines a plus breaking ball with above average command and a four pitch mix, plus he’s a left-hander to boot. That makes him a good bet to move quickly and act as one of the few prospects in the system who seems likely to comfortably be able to contribute to Colorado’s starting rotation in the next two years. We might even see Rolison in the Arizona Fall League this year in advance of a Double-A placement next year. I ranked Rolison 3rd on my PuRPs ballot with a FV 50+ grade as a high probability lefty upper to mid-rotation starter at the big league level.

★ ★ ★

2. Peter Lambert (816 points, 29 ballots) — Preseason Ranking: 2 — High Ballot 1 (3), Mode Ballot 2

How did he enter the organization?

2015 2nd Round, San Dimas (CA) HS (Football Rules!)

Why did he make the PuRPs list?

It’s a prospect victory lap for Lambert, who recently exhausted his rookie eligibility and appears to be firmly entrenched in the big league rotation for the foreseeable future. The 22-year-old right-hander moved quickly through Colorado’s system and has shown well for the Rockies at a time when they really need him to step up.

Lambert began the year with Triple-A Albuquerque in the offensive hellscape that is the Pacific Coast League. Considering what’s happening in Triple-A this year, Lambert’s 5.07 ERA, 7.6 K/9 rate, and 2.4 BB/9 rate in 60 13 innings at the level against hitters that were on average 4.8 years older than him more than qualifies as holding his own. Lambert received the call to the Show in early June and debuted with an impressive outing against the Cubs in which he allowed one run in seven innings while striking out nine and getting his first hit (and the win).

In 46 innings across 9 starts so far with the Rockies, Lambert has a 5.67 ERA with a 6.9 K/9 rate and 1.8 BB/9 rate. Lambert’s 4.21 xFIP indicates that he’s been unfortunate to receive the results he’s gotten so far. He’s also been good on the road — in four road starts, Lambert has yet to allow more than three runs in any of them. Beyond the pitching, Lambert has gone 7-for-14 at the plate to add some value offensively. Altogether, Lambert has contributed 1.3 rWAR to the Rockies already, with plenty more (we hope) to come.

What do the scouts say?

Lambert is 2nd in the system and 118th overall on THE BOARD at FanGraphs with a FV 50 grade:

Like clockwork, Lambert has taken his turn in a Rockies minor league rotation every fifth (or sixth or seventh, depending on off days) day since he signed. He’s also a robotic strike-thrower and has walked just 5% of hitters he has faced as a pro. Lambert has basically been this way since high school, when he was just too advanced, even for SoCal high schoolers. Nothing he throws is plus, though you could argue that the fastball is due to its odd approach angle. It sits in the mid-90s and lives in the top part of the strike zone, riding in on the hands of righties. His changeup is average, flashing above, and Lambert has long deployed it with veteran cunning, and he’ll run it back onto the glove-side corner of the plate for looking strikes. He’s a hyper-efficient strike-thrower with a four-pitch mix, a high-probability fourth starter with little likely upside beyond that.

Jeffrey Paternostro of Baseball Prospectus gave his scouting report of Lambert when he was called up to the big leagues in June:

Lambert is not the ideal arm to pitch home games at Coors, but honestly, is there such a thing? The velocity sits in an average velo band, and while he will cut it at times to lefties, or run it arm-side in the low-90s, but overall the pitch can be a bit true. It’s command over movement, but the command profile is above-average as he can work it to all four quadrants. His best secondary is a mid-80s change with tumble and fade. He sells it well, although it can get a bit firm at time, and the velocity separation is merely adequate. Consistently being able to turn it over against major league bats will be key, but it’s a potential above-average offering. Lambert throws a curveball and a slider, but neither has shown enough to be a consistent out pitch in the majors. He commands the curveball well, and there’s good 11-5 shape at times, but it can get a bit humpy and isn’t a true power breaker. It’s more of a spot than chase pitch. The slider offers a different right on right look, and is a short breaker with some depth. Either breaker could show as fringe or average depending on the day.

There is some effort in the arm action here, but the delivery is relatively simple and Lambert is a good athlete who repeats well. He’s a four-pitch strike thrower and mixes his stuff well. He will throw anything in any count for a strike, but there isn’t a ton of margin for error here even before considering the Coors run environment. He’s a low risk, league-average starter type, but that profile can have a much bigger delta in the Rocky Mountains.

Keith Law of ESPN.com ranked Lambert 92nd overall in his pre-season top 100, which was actually down from 63rd a year ago:

Lambert’s flaw as a prospect is the lack of a plus pitch, but he throws a ton of strikes with four weapons -- a solid-average fastball that will touch 94 to 95 mph, in addition to a well above-average changeup and an average curve and slider. He just doesn’t walk guys -- 101 in his pro career across 447⅔ innings (5.5 percent of batters faced) -- and he repeats his simple delivery well, coming from a high three-quarters slot that adds some deception. His stride could be a little longer, and he has to avoid spinning off his front heel or risk losing some of that plus control.

He looks like a fourth starter, someone who could quietly be league average for a while, although I still hold out hope he’ll find another half-grade or more of velocity before he peaks.

Here are some highlights from Lambert’s strong MLB debut in June:

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

Lambert is already here and I don’t see him going back down any time soon. It’s been great to see Lambert develop step by step over the last five years and see the fruit of that labor in the Show. He’s a mid-rotation starter who needs to acclimate to the big leagues but who has already delivered significant Major League value to the Rockies. That’s why Lambert ranked so high in his final PuRPs appearance and why he was 2nd on my list with a FV 50+ grade as a mid-rotation starter with a high floor.

★ ★ ★

1. Brendan Rodgers (865 points, 29 ballots) — Preseason Ranking: 1 — High Ballot 1 (26), Mode Ballot 1

How did he enter the organization?

2015 1st Round, Lake Mary (FL) HS

Why did he make the PuRPs list?

It’s no longer unanimous, but the electorate have clearly acclaimed Rodgers as the top Purple Row Prospect for the 6th time in a row. The 22-year-old infielder has been one of the top shortstop prospects in the minor leagues since getting drafted 3rd overall in 2015 and receiving a $5.5 million bonus. Rodgers possesses elite bat speed and plus instincts with no glaring holes in his game and has paired those assets with good minor league production over the last five seasons, adding time at second and third base along the way.

Rodgers began the year in Triple-A Albuquerque, where he took full advantage of the hitter-friendly conditions at the level. In 160 PAs at the level against pitchers who were on average 4.3 years older, Rodgers hit .350/.413/.622 with 20 extra base hits (9 HR), good for a 146 wRC+. That start and an injury to Trevor Story was enough to get Rodgers a call-up to the Show in mid-May. In 11 May games, Rodgers didn’t hit for much power but nonetheless produced a strong .324/.378/.382 line in 37 PAs. June saw less consistent playing time (including a brief demotion to the minors) and that major league line plummeted to .224/.272/.250 in 81 PAs with 27 strikeouts, 4 walks, and just 2 extra base hits — equating to a woeful 25 wRC+. Defensively, Rodgers split his time between second and short with 5 errors and a negative rating in advanced defensive metrics.

That wasn’t a strong showing for Rodgers and unfortunately he won’t get a chance to improve upon it in 2019. He suffered a torn labrum and underwent shoulder surgery in late June that ended his 2019 season and will almost certainly delay his 2020 debut in some capacity.

What do the scouts say?

Rodgers is the lone consensus top 30 (or 50, or 75) talent in the Rockies system, making him clearly the favorite among scouts.

MLB.com is the high site on him, ranking Rodgers 12th overall with a FV 60 grade:

Rodgers has displayed premium bat speed from the outset of his career, with the ability to hit for average and power. He barrels balls up consistently and can drive the ball to all fields, with plenty of over-the-fence power now, and with more to come. He doesn’t walk a ton, and can get a little pull-happy at times, but he did improve his walk rate and lower his strikeout rate in Double-A in 2018.

The Rockies love having their infielders learn multiple positions while developing in the Minors, and Rodgers has proven to be quite adept at it. While not overly quick, his arm, hands and instincts would allow him to stick at shortstop long term and the Rockies believe he’s above-average at second and third as well.

Rodgers is 19th overall on THE BOARD from FanGraphs with a FV 55 grade:

Rodgers stood out early in his high school career outside Orlando, FL as a regular on the showcase circuit who was often the best player on the field at high profile events while also being the youngest. He had mostly solid average tools and good feel through the middle of his prep career. Then in his senior year, the arm strength, raw power, and bat speed all became plus, and he was the odds on favorite to go first overall. But Dansby Swanson, Alex Bregman, Andrew Benintendi, and fellow Florida prep hitter Kyle Tucker all took steps forward in the spring, and the Rockies were able to get Rodgers third overall. In pro ball, Rodgers has benefited form the Rockies’ affiliates being extreme hitters’ environments, which has mostly obscured in the surface stats the fact that Rodgers pitch selection is below average. It improved a bit in his second taste of Double-A in 2018, then became an issue again in his late-season promotion to Triple-A. He’s fringy at shortstop and as a runner, so most scouts see him sliding over to second base long-term, but he’s good enough to play shortstop everyday if a club doesn’t have better options and focuses on shifting and positioning around him. There’s enough here that it’s likely Rodgers is a solid everyday player of some sort in 2020, but he may not be the star that some have anticipated.

Jeffrey Paternostro of Baseball Prospectus wrote up Rodgers when he got the big league call in May:

The elevator pitch on Rodgers is that he’s a potential five-tool shortstop. I’ve never seen all five as loud or as consistently as I’d like, but there have been flashes of a plus hit/plus power bat in the profile, and those will only be amplified by playing him home games at elevation. Rodgers’ swing can get a bit stiff, and I worry how the hit tool will play when he sees more consistent mid-90s velocity in the majors. He does adjust well within at-bats and has a more contact-geared two-strike approach, but you can still get him to fish for better offspeed stuff. Likewise I wouldn’t call the plus power “easy” as there is effort in the swing plane to create the loft. So there is a little bit more delta in the offensive profile than you’d like for a top prospect.

Rodgers will likely play mostly second base with the Rockies which is a better fit for his glove, although he’s always been at least passable at shortstop in my looks. He has an above-average arm and good hands, but his actions can be a bit tentative and he has less than ideal range, despite being a 55 runner underway. Those are mitigated some on the right side of the infield and Rodgers should be above-average and maybe even plus at the keystone. Overall there is an all-star ceiling here if the offensive tools play to projection, but a decent chance he’s a power over hit second baseman that’s merely an above-average regular.

Keith Law of ESPN.com ranked Rodgers 28th overall preseason:

Rodgers was the third overall pick in 2015 behind Dansby Swanson and Alex Bregman, and so far, he has delivered on the promise of his bat, hitting for high contact rates everywhere he has played and always showing good power for a middle infielder. He has been held back by minor injuries every year, never playing 120 games in a season.

There’s still some question as to whether he stays at shortstop; his hands and arm are both plus, but he’s a below-average runner, and his first step might not be quick enough for the position, though he could be plus defensively at second or third. He can hit, though, and should hit for average and power, even without considering the boost he might get in Denver -- someone who should hit in the .290-.310 range with 25 homers a year, not walking as much as you’d like but producing enough for any position to make him an above-average regular for a long time.

Here’s video of Rodgers in 2018 with Hartford courtesy of 2080 Baseball:

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

It can be easy to be down on Rodgers given the sub-par major league debut and the uncertainty surrounding his future defensive utility given his recent shoulder injury. Those are valid reasons for caution on a prospect who the Purple Row electorate has been excited about for years.

With that said, the scouting reports still think that Rodgers is a potential All-Star infielder (likely at second base given the presence of Story and Arenado) who can serve as a middle of the order bat with an average big league regular floor. The Rockies have nobody in their system who even approaches that upside (and proximity) right now, which is why Rodgers was still an easy number 1 pick for me on my ballot with a FV 60 grade.

★ ★ ★

Thanks to everyone who has read along with me through this PuRPs series! Check back soon for a complete list with full voting results for the mid-season 2019 Purple Row Prospect list as well as my view on the state of the system.