It’s a new year, there’s a new season coming, and there are new faces to highlight. There tends to be a lot of negativity towards the Colorado Rockies’ bottom-of-the-pack ranked farm system. However, it remains important to recognize that even a lower-ranked farm system has plenty of exciting and interesting faces that could represent the future of the organization. The top prospects in the Rockies organization are fairly well known, but when you take a deeper dive into the minor leagues, you discover some talented young men who deserve to be highlighted. We’re going to be taking a look at players in the Rockies’ system over the next few weeks and shining a spotlight on players from each level that could have a very promising future.
RHP Nate Griep: Double-A Hartford Yard Goats, Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes
At 28 years old, right-handed reliever Nate Griep is the oldest player I’ll be highlighting. Drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2015, Griep came to the Rockies organization via a minor league waiver claim after the 2019 season. After playing college ball with Kansas State — mostly as a starter — the Brewers organization converted him to a reliever during his first professional season with the Rookie-league Helena Brewers. Griep has taken to the bullpen well, delivering a sterling minor league career.
In six seasons of minor league baseball, Griep has a career ERA of just 2.95 through 278 total innings. He’s posted an ERA over 3.00 just twice: a bloated 8.02 in 2015 with Helena before being fully converted to a reliever, and a strong 3.49 in 2018 with the Double-A Biloxi Shuckers.
Griep has the familiar pitch arsenal that the Rockies like in their relievers: a four-seam fastball with lower spin sitting comfortably in the low-to-mid 90s, a slider that rangers from 84-86 mph, and a low-to-mid 80s changeup.
Despite being 28, Griep has only played Triple-A ball for a combined 10 2⁄3 innings in his career. After being claimed off waivers, he played with the Tigres del Licey in the Dominican Winter league, posting a 2.61 ERA in 10 1⁄3 innings pitched. Like many minor leaguers, he did not play during 2020 due to the cancelled minor league season. Griep started the 2021 season with the ACL Rockies to tune up before being assigned to the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats, and finished the season with the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes. Across the three levels he pitched a 2.52 ERA over 25 innings with 31 strikeouts, six walks, and just one home run given up.
He’ll likely start 2022 with the Isotopes in what will be his first consistent Triple-A service time. However, if he gets an invite to spring training he has a legitimate chance of competing for a spot in the big league bullpen. After six years in the minors, I think it’s high time he got his shot.
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After nearly thirty years of existence, the Colorado Rockies have hired their first female scout. Jack Etkin of Rockies Magazine explores Emily Glass’ long and interesting journey to becoming a scout with the Rockies. She will be covering the areas of Colorado and Wyoming for the team.
Noah Yingling over at Rox Pile continues his series of exploring the Rockies’ draft history. This time he’s tackling the Rockies’ less than stellar 2000 draft, where the Rockies—a team that has historically struggled with catchers—could have drafted surefire Hall of Famer Yadier Molina.
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