With a long offseason ahead of us and the Winter Meetings not starting until next week, the time is ripe to highlight some Colorado Rockies prospects throughout the farm system. With cold days ahead of us and snow on the ground, it might be best to warm up with a nice cup of Coco.
Robert Patrick Montes has apparently carried the nickname “Coco” since he was a baby. He recounted the origin of the name in an interview with Five Reasons Sports back in 2019:
“‘When I was a baby, I was born with a full head of hair,’ Montes said, “and so when I got home my mother decided to shave my head. I don’t know why she did it but she shaved my head and my grandfather started calling me “cocoliso,” which is a hispanic way of calling someone bald coconut basically and it ended up sticking to ‘Coco.’”
The Rockies drafted Coco Montes out of the University of South Florida in the 15th round of the 2018 MLB amateur draft. In three seasons with the South Florida Bulls he hit a respectably solid .284/.352/.389 while mostly playing second base and shortstop. He hit ten home runs and had 83 RsBI during his college career. His final college season was also his best, turning in an .887 OPS with 40 RsBI in 57 games as the Bulls’ every day shortstop before getting drafted.
The Rockies assigned Montes to their then-Rookie league affiliate Grand Junction Rockies for his first professional season. Montes thrived in Grand Junction, hitting .476 through his first 20 games as a pro. He slashed .333/.413/.513 over 69 games with the while leading the team in both total hits and doubles. His 42 RsBI were second best on the team while his eight home runs were fourth best. Montes was a daily player, being one of two Grand Junction Rockies to appear in 69 games and leading the club with 310 plate appearances. For his efforts, Montes was named the Pioneer League MVP in addition to being an All-Star and All-Star Game MVP.
Although unable to replicate the same heights as his 2018 campaign, Montes has enjoyed successful seasons at every level. In 2018 with the A-Level Asheville Tourists he slashed .258/.305/.406 over a team-high 132 games and 549 plate appearances. Coco Montes once again led his team in total hits, his 13 home runs were tied for second best on the team and he led the Tourists with 89 RsBI.
Like most other minor leaguers, Montes didn’t play at all in 2020 due to the cancellation of the season due to COVID-19. However, he didn’t seem to miss a step despite missing an entire season. in 2021 with the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats Montes again led the team in games played (116), plate appearances (474), and total hits (111). While slashing .258/.317/.448 with the Yard Goats he hit 13 home runs, had the second most RsBI with 60, and led the team in doubles with 37.
Coco Montes participated in spring training prior to the 2022 season where he went 2-for-5 with a home run and three RsBI. He was assigned back to Double-A Hartford to start the season, but only played 15 games for the Yard Goats before being promoted to the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes. Montes had perhaps his strongest season since 2018 while playing for the Isotopes. He slashed 274/.359/.500 but for the first time in his career didn’t finish the season with the most games played or plate appearances... He finished second just behind catcher Carlos Pérez. Montes played 111 games for the Isotopes with 479 plate appearances (compared to Pérez’s 117/572).
He finished the season with the third most hits (115), third most doubles (37) and third most RsBI (77). He also stole a career high 13 bases for the second most on the team. What really emerged for Montes in 2022 was the power in his bat. Montes was one of five Albuquerque players to hit 20 or more home runs in a record breaking season where the ‘Topes hit the most home runs in team history and the most grand slams ever in a minor league season.
Montes has the kind of positional versatility the Rockies love in their infielders. Similar to Alan Trejo and Garrett Hampson, Montes can play pretty much any infield position. Initially a shortstop only, Montes played both shortstop and second base throughout most of his college career. The Rockies then added third base to his repertoire while in Grand Junction. His bat is a solid mix of contact and power and he’s hit at least ten home runs in his last three seasons. I’ve also been told he makes a darn good smoothie.
Montes is now 26 years old and spending his offseason playing for the Aguilas de Mexicali in the Mexican Pacific Winter League. The Rockies notably did not add him to their 40-man roster in order to protect him from the upcoming Rule 5 draft, leaving the possibility of him being poached by another organization on the table. If the Rockies lose him, they will lose a versatile infielder with solid pop. Hopefully after next week he will remain with the Rockies organization and we might all be able to enjoy a cup of Coco in the spring... and maybe a smoothie too.
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MLB Hot Stove matchmaking: A free-agent fit for all 30 teams ahead of the Winter Meetings | The Athletic ($)
Jim Bowden of the Athletic celebrates the upcoming Winter Meetings by suggesting free agent fits for all 30 MLB teams. For the Rockies he suggests outfielder Andrew Benintendi. A former member of the Boston Red Sox, the left-handed Benintendi hit .304 in 2022 as a member of the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees.
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