After a later-than-usual Purple Row Prospects (PuRPs) balloting period from the Purple Row community, the tallies are in on Colorado’s top 30 prospects. The top 30 prospects will be revealed over the next few weeks to give Rockies fans an overview of the players who could make an impact on the next few Rockies squads.
First up: an introduction to the list and then a rundown of every player to get votes from number 58 to 36. In a separate post tomorrow I’ll reveal the five honorable mention PuRPs and move to the top 30 after that.
There were 20 ballots this time around (down from 23 last time). 30 points were granted for a first place vote, 29 for second, etc. Until a player was named on seven ballots, his vote totals were modified on a sliding scale to avoid an individual ballot having too much say over the community forecast — though none of the top 30 players on this edition of the list were listed on fewer than eight ballots.
If necessary, the first tiebreaker went to the player who was ranked on the most ballots, then to the one who ranked highest on an individual PuRPs ballot, the third tiebreaker was the mode ballot. All prospects in the system who retained their Rookie of the Year eligibility (fewer than 130 ABs, 50 IP, and 45 days on the active roster — IL and September service time are not included, except for 2020) as of March 4, 2022 were eligible for selection on this list.
Since the mid-season 2021 balloting, no PuRPs lost eligibility but the Rockies did add some prospects via their 2022 Latin America class. As a result, the system is a bit stronger in my estimation compared to what it was a few months ago.
In the 20 ballots there was room for 58 players listed in the top 30 of at least one PuRPs ballot, down from 59 in the mid-season 2021 list. There were 49 players named on multiple ballots (up from 46), while 32 were listed on at least seven ballots (flat from last time) and therefore had unmodified point totals. There were 20 different prospects receiving a top 10 placement on at least one list (up from 19 in mid-season 2021). The top 20 made it on over 85% of ballots, indicating a strong consensus for that group. Here is a link to this list’s polling thread.
For each player on the PuRPs list, I’ll include a link to individual stats and contract status (via Baseball-Reference) and notes on their scouting reports, if applicable. For the sake of full disclosure, I’ll also include where I put each player on my personal ballot. With players receiving votes, I’ll provide the B-Ref link and voting stats, plus a short blurb. All ages will be as of the day the article was posted.
Remember, statistics are not the end-all be-all when evaluating these players. Context is hugely important (notably, the player’s age relative to the league’s average, the league’s average offensive numbers, or the player’s 40-man roster calendar), as is the fact that injuries to prospects can affect both their tools and their stats. I’ll try to make mention of instances where this is the case as we go on.
More discussion on the voting will be included in the final installment of this series, but to begin, here are the players who ranked 58 to 36 in 2022 pre-season PuRPs voting:
Single Ballot Players
58. Dugan Darnell (0.1 points, 1 ballot) — the 24-year-old righty reliever signed as a minor league free agent from the Indy leagues before the 2021 season and promptly dominated A-ball (0.66 ERA, 0.37 WHIP) before earning a May promotion to High-A. With Spokane, he continued to pitch well (2.38 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 13.6 K/9 in 41 2⁄3 IP) with 15 saves. The Rockies just might have uncovered a diamond in the rough with Darnell.
T-55. Nick Bush (0.3 points, 1 ballot) — the lefty starter is a 25-year-old who started 2021 pitching for High-A Spokane, where he posted a 2.58 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and 10.3 K/9 in 52 1⁄3 innings before receiving the promotion to Double-A in early July. In 35 IP with Hartford, Bush was roughed up a bit more (5.40 ERA), though his 4.58 xFIP is indicative that’s he been a bit unfortunate to get those results at 0.7 years younger than league average. Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs described Bush mid-season as, “a vertical arm slot lefty whose fringe fastball velocity plays up due to deception, and his curveball has terrific depth. He has a passable change that could help make him a spot starter.”
T-55. Taylor Snyder (0.3 points, 1 ballot) — the 27-year-old righty-hitting utility player has methodically worked his way up the ladder since getting drafted in the 13th round back in 2016. Starting 2021 in Double-A, Snyder tore it up at Hartford (139 wRC+ including 18 HR in 250 PAs) before getting the bump up to Triple-A in late July. In 231 PAs with Albuquerque, Snyder cooled down to .245/.294/.477 (84 wRC+) at a league average age. FanGraphs listed him as a prospect of note in its January system review:
Snyder plays all over the place and had some of the best peak exit velos in this entire system. He hit 30 combined homers in Hartford and Albuquerque in 2021. Now 27, he is a much more realistic fit in the outfield corners than on the middle infield but his combination of versatility and power make him an interesting sleeper.
T-55. Mateo Gil (0.3 points, 1 ballot) — Gil was probably the fourth most notable player from the Arenado trade, but he’s an interesting prospect in his own right. The 21-year-old righty infielder (he split time this year between second and third in A-ball) has the MLB bloodlines as the son of Benji Gil and boasts a projectable frame and toolset that led FanGraphs to list him as a prospect of note:
[Gil] body comps to Aledmys Díaz but doesn’t have that kind of pop. He’s still just 21 and has a big, strapping frame, so maybe more is coming. For now, he’s in 40-grade territory in the hit, power, and plate discipline areas.
In 2021 Gil had a 25% K rate this year as part of his .249/.294/.396 line in 396 PAs with Fresno (79 wRC+) as a player who is a year younger than league average.
T-53. Jake Bird (0.4 points, 1 ballot) — the 26-year-old righty reliever emerged a stronger pitcher in 2021 than we’d seen before thanks to a big jump up in fastball effectiveness. After pitching well in Double-A, Bird got the call in early June to Triple-A. Between the two levels, he had a 3.38 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, and 9.1 K/9 in 58 2⁄3 IP this year. He was ranked 29th in the system by MLB.com during the 2021 season, though he’s fallen off the list now:
While at UCLA, Bird largely pitched in the 90-92 mph range with his fastball. Now he’s up to 95-98 mph with a fastball that features a lot of sink. He has three secondary offerings at his disposal, though it’s his curve that is his best option. He does have a slider and even a little feel for a changeup.
Bird is still learning to command all of his offerings as he’s struggled with his walk rate at times, but he shows no fear in going right after hitters and is very aggressive with using his heavy plus fastball. He’s getting the chance to pitch in a variety of roles now, but his upside is likely highest as a back-end reliever.
Bird wasn’t protected from the Rule 5 draft this year by the Rockies, so he’s a potential player as an upper level reliever that could be lost if/when the draft eventually happens.
T-53. Sean Bouchard (0.4 points, 1 ballot) — the 25-year-old righty has hit well at every level. Interestingly, Bouchard actually moved up the defensive spectrum, going from largely a first baseman in his first two professional seasons to splitting his time between first and the outfield (with a little third base sprinkled in). It’s a transition that helps Bouchard’s prospect stock, as his 2021 .266/.336/.494 line with 47 extra base hits in 381 PAs (123 wRC+) in Double-A Hartford looks better when there’s some defensive utility behind it. There’s still a logjam of similar prospects in the system, but Bouchard is firmly in the mix heading into 2022.
51. Ronaiker Palma (1 point, 1 ballot) — A 2017 international signee out of Venezuela, the 22-year-old is an athletic catcher noted for his high-contact ways at the plate who finally made his full-season debut in 2021 with Fresno after a strong start with the complex league team. In 73 PAs with Fresno at a league average age, Palma hit .221/.250/.235 (32 wRC+). Despite the rough performance, FanGraphs likes Palma’s profile enough to rank him 32nd in the system as a 35+ FV prospect:
Palma is built like a Volkswagen Beetle and is extremely difficult to make swing and miss in the strike zone. He’s been in pro ball since 2018 and has only struck out 36 times during affiliated games. He’s also barely played, in part due to injury, and has only averaged about 40 annual games as a pro. Healthy Palma is a plus athlete with great catch-and-throw skills thanks to the quickness of his release. His offensive skill set is similar to Yohel Pozo and Willians Astudillo, and Palma has a seemingly pathological need to put balls in play, though he doesn’t yet have the same kind of power on contact as either Pozo or Astudillo. For now, he’s an interesting sleeper at a very shallow big league position.
T-49. Brian Serven (1.6 points, 1 ballot) — the 26-year-old catcher (Colorado’s 2016 fifth rounder) hit just .250/.308/.504 (93 wRC+) in 276 PAs in Triple-A in 2021, but he is probably the first call for the Rockies if one of their catchers gets hurt.
T-49. Alberto Pacheco (1.6 points, 1 ballot) — the 20-year-old lefty starter made his professional debut in the DSL in 2021 at about 0.7 years younger than league average. In 46 IP, Pacheco stood out with a 2.93 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 10.0 K/9 rate. Longenhagen of FanGraphs described Pacheco as “another of the club’s great group of DSL arms. He’s a short-armed lefty who sits about 92 and has a precocious changeup.”
52. Riley Pint (0.6 points, 2 ballots) — the 24-year-old former fourth overall pick returned to the fold after a brief retirement just as PuRPs balloting was winding down, so many voters (myself included) didn’t really consider him an option. With Pint, the arm talent is extremely high and I’m glad to see him back in affiliated ball. If the command knot gets untangled, he’s a top 10 prospect (if not higher), though that’s an awfully big if. Pint will be exposed to the Rule 5 draft before the season starts, however unlikely his selection may appear now.
48. Angel Chivilli (1.7 points, 2 ballots) — the 19-year-old Dominican righty repeated the DSL level in 2021, where he was 0.7 years younger than league average. In 38 2⁄3 frames, Chivilli posted a 3.49 ERA with a 1.16 WHIP and 10.5 K/9 rate. Though he mostly served as a starter in the DSL, FanGraphs sees him as a single inning relief pitcher in ranking Chivilli 34th in the system as a 35+ FV prospect:
Another of the many long, athletic pitchers with formidable DSL fastballs was Chivilli, who repeated the level in 2021. He dominated as a 16-year-old back in 2019, and now has 90 strikeouts and 18 walks in 83.2 career innings pitched. He experienced a whopping five-tick bump in velocity from his 2019 fastball and was sitting 93-94 mph in ’21. Chivilli only throws a fastball and a changeup right now, and his low-slot delivery pushes him toward the bullpen. He’s a notable young relief prospect.
47. Jack Blomgren (2.3 points, 2 ballots) — the 23-year-old middle infielder was Colorado’s fifth rounder in 2020 out of the University of Michigan (he signed for full slot value of $394k), where Blomgren played shortstop and was a fiery glove-first leader on a team that was the runner-up in the College World Series in 2019.
Based on that description, it’s no surprise that Blomgren was described thusly by Keith Law of the Athletic in February:
Shortstop Jack Blomgren has a shot to be a good utility player, with strong contact skills, some speed and a high baseball IQ. The Rockies could try him in center to help boost his value as a jack-of-all-trades bench piece
Blomgren made his professional debut in 2021 with an assignment directly to High-A Spokane, showing how highly the Rockies think of him. At 0.8 years younger than league average, Blomgren hit .284/.406/.392 with 30 SB (7 CS) and a 13% BB% in 345 PA, netting a strong 124 wRC+. Though his athleticism might not measure up to the top prospects on this list, Blomgren seems more likely than most to maximize his ability and potentially eke out a big league career.
46. Breiling Eusebio (4.7 points, 3 ballots) — the 25-year-old Dominican lefty has been in Colorado’s system since getting signed in 2013 for $100k, including a recent re-entry into the org from minor league free agency. Eusebio’s case as a prospect rests on scouting reports, which have in the past said he clearly had the best stuff in the system among left-handed starting pitching prospects. Unfortunately, in seven professional seasons, he’s never made it higher than High-A ball due in large part to injuries and a struggle post-TJ surgery to regain his form.
In 2021, Eusebio was assigned to start off in A-ball Fresno, where he was decent enough in 59 1⁄3 IP (3.19 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 9.7 K/9 rate) to earn a promotion to High-A Spokane in early July. With Spokane though, he posted an ugly 9.82 ERA (6.09 xFIP), 2.03 WHIP, and 4.9 BB/9 rate in 25 2⁄3 IP over seven appearances.
Still, it was good to see Eusebio healthy and at a reasonably age-appropriate level (he was 0.8 years older than league average) and his 85 IP in 2021 was a career high for him. Eusebio is another arm with untapped potential who could be a surprise contributor and a 40-man roster add if he shows well in 2022.
45. Robby Martin (5.1 points, 3 ballots) — Colorado’s eighth round pick in 2021 was Martin, a 22-year-old outfielder from Florida State University who signed for a slightly above-slot $200k. In 91 PA split between the ACL and Low-A Fresno, Martin hit a respectable .256/.352/.436 with eight XBH.
Martin was ranked the #104 overall draft prospect by MLB.com (one spot behind Rockies third rounder McCade Brown), and is now ranked 27th in the system:
The left-handed hitter has added a lot of muscle to his 6-foot-3 frame since he began his college career. He had been more hit over power, with more doubles pop than over-the-fence ability, though those trends were reversed in 2021. He has made consistent hard contact in the past, but might have to tone down his approach to cut the strikeout rate that came with his power upsurge.
Martin has only manned outfield corners during his time in college, with a slightly above-average arm that plays well in either spot. He lacks the pure speed to play center and scouts aren’t sold on his overall defense, thinking left field is likely his best as a pro.
Law of the Athletic put Martin in his Others of Note section:
Corner outfielder Robby Martin looked like he might go in the first round as a freshman at Florida State but never repeated that performance, falling to the eighth round in 2021. He has some pop but would be better off trying to use the whole field instead of pulling the ball in search of homers.
44. Isaac Collins (5.6 points, 3 ballots) — the 24-year-old righty has split time defensively between 2B and the outfield since getting picked in the ninth round of the 2019 draft out of Creighton. Assigned to A-ball to start 2021, Collins showed quickly in 79 PAs against pitching that was on average about two years younger than him that he was ready for a higher challenge (128 wRC+), so he got promoted to High-A at the beginning of June.
At an age-appropriate level in High-A, Collins showed his hot start was not a fluke with a .312/.399/.495 line (140 wRC+) in 364 PAs with Spokane, including a 11% walk rate. Thus far, Collins has eluded the gaze of the national prospect watchers, but if he keeps up this production it will be hard to ignore him. He enters 2022 as a potential player to add to the 40-man roster with a strong campaign.
43. Will Ethridge (6.0 points, 3 ballots) — the 24-year-old righty starter was mid-season 2021’s #30 PuRP, but has fallen to the receiving votes category this time around. The 6’5” hurler was Colorado’s fifth rounder in 2019, signing for a slot bonus of $327.2k.
Ethridge was assigned to A-ball Fresno to begin 2021, where he put up six strong starts (31 2⁄3 IP, 2.56 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 9.1 K/9 rate) to earn a quick promotion to High-A Spokane in early June. In 12 starts with Spokane at an age-appropriate level, Ethridge saw a dip in performance, with a 5.70 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 7.6 K/9 rate in 66 1⁄3 IP.
Ethridge was ranked 34th in the system by Fangraphs a 35+ FV prospect:
Ethridge has long been a low-90s sinker/slider/changeup backend starter prospect. He fills the zone with vanilla stuff — 90-93 mph, mid-80s slider and changeup — and has a giant, innings-eating frame. He projects as a fifth or sixth starter.
In prospect circles, players like Ethridge (who just missed my personal ballot) are known as “pitchability righties” — high-probability starter prospects with questions as to whether their lack of a plus-out pitch will be successful against more advanced hitting. With that profile, it was good to see Ethridge hold his own in High-A after showing he’d mastered A-ball. For me, it will be Double-A and above, when the hitters get more dangerous and disciplined, that are the bigger questions for Ethridge.
42. Gavin Hollowell (6.4 points, 3 ballots) — the 6’7” 24-year-old righty hurler didn’t see his 2021 season start until late June, but he was strong in relief, mostly at Low-A Fresno. Hollowell threw 24 innings, posting a 2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 12.4 K/9 rate with five saves — albeit as a player about 1.1 years older than league average.
Hollowell was ranked 30th by FanGraphs as a 35+ FV prospect:
A sixth rounder from 2019, Hollowell was throwing very hard during instructs, 94-96 mph in Eric’s looks. He has a pure relief look to his delivery (and his resume), coming from a low, funky slot. It’s creates very strange angle on Hollowell’s slider, which flashes plus. He threw strikes at a good rate in 2021 and looks like a fast-moving middle relief prospect.
Law of the Athletic described Hollowell as “a sinker/slider reliever who throws a ton of strikes and so far hasn’t had trouble with left-handed batters” in listing him in the “Others of Note” section.
Hollowell is currently ranked 29th in the system by MLB.com:
The first thing the Rockies did with Hollowell is get the 6-foot-7 right-hander to stand up tall on the mound to create plane and leverage as he came to them with a crouched-over delivery. At instructs last fall, he was sitting 94-95 with his fastball, now with a lot better angle. He couples it with what’s best described as a power slurve. It has mid-range break with long three-quarter tilt to it, coming in at 83-84 mph. It plays very well, and misses a lot of bats, from his release point.
Hollowell is a two-pitch reliever, but one who has thrown both for strikes since joining the Rockies. He was repeating his new delivery well and there’s a chance he could start moving quickly, with his power stuff giving him the ceiling of a seventh- or eighth-inning setup type if it all clicks.
Mark down Hollowell as another player to watch in 2022 who has a 40-man roster decision looming.
41. Bryan Perez (7.3 points, 3 ballots) — the 18-year-old Dominican righty pitcher, who signed in 2021 for $750k, was impressive in his professional debut in the DSL as a player 1.7 years younger than league average. The 6’2” Perez, who is the nephew of former big-leaguer Edinson Volquez, threw 32 1⁄3 innings across 11 appearances, posting a 2.78 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP and 9.7 K/9 rate.
FanGraphs ranked Perez 30th in the system as a 35+ FV prospect:
Perez has huge arm strength for his age, sitting in the mid-90s and touching at least 98 mph while in the DSL. His secondary stuff is currently fringy but firm, about average in terms of spin. There might be a really good slider here eventually but for now Perez is more of a notable developmental sort with very precocious arm strength.
That profile is quite interesting to me, and Perez was actually the last cut from my personal PuRPs ballot. I look forward to if the Rockies assign him stateside to the ACL for 2022.
40. Case Williams (7.4 points, 4 ballots) — the 20-year-old righty starter is perhaps best known as the fourth round pick in 2020 who was traded to the Reds before he could debut with the Rockies, then re-acquired in late July of 2021 as part of the Mychal Givens trade.
The 6’3” hurler began 2021 with Cincinnati’s A-ball affiliate as one of the younger players in the league (about 2.9 years younger than average). With that context, it’s easier to be sanguine about his 2021 season despite the 5.73 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 5.6 BB/9 rate, and 6.1 K/9 rate in 75 1⁄3 IP between the two orgs. Even if Williams repeats the level in 2022, he’ll still be one of the younger players in A-ball.
Williams was listed as a player of note in the Fangraphs system write-up, saying only that “[Williams] sits 90-92 mph and has an average breaking ball.”
Williams, who was clearly desirable enough as a prospect to be traded twice, has been thrown into the fire not only in games but with his professional circumstances so far in his career. Let’s hope some stability and coaching can coax out a strong starting pitcher out of him in the near future — right now the package falls a bit short for my personal ballot.
39. Juan Guerrero (11.4 points, 5 ballots) — the 20-year-old righty slugger from the Dominican Republic is the first player on my personal ballot to appear (he was 28th).
After signing for $650k in 2018 as an infielder who primarily spent his debut season at third base, Guerrero was moved to full-time corner outfield duty in 2021 in the Arizona complex league. Against competition that was on average 0.8 years older in 2021, Guerrero mashed to the tune of .318/.394/.500 with 18 XBH in 171 PA, good for a 133 wRC+.
FanGraphs ranked Guerrero 27th in the system as a 35+ FV prospect:
The spindly Guerrero has very precocious feel for contact and a swing that is much more elegant and precise than it is explosive. He can hit and has done nothing but since entering pro ball, slashing .319 with an OBP just south of .400 in both of his first two pro seasons. Narrowly built, it’s not obvious that Guerrero will develop typical big league strength and power, especially not for a left field, which is where he’s trending on the defensive spectrum. He’s another very young 2022 40-man eval in this org, so he might move quickly if the Rockies want to stress test his bat to better inform their decision about whether to 40 him or not. He’s a very interesting sleeper who could blow up if he comes to camp with more physicality.
As the above report notes, Guerrero will be 40-man eligible after this season and has yet to play in full-season ball, so his assignment by the Rockies will be really interesting.
38. Brayan Castillo (13.7 points, 4 ballots) — the 21-year-old righty pitcher is another player on my personal ballot (he was 23rd) who didn’t make the community list. The 6’0” Dominican was signed for $150k back in 2017 but didn’t make his stateside debut until 2021 with the ACL team. Against competition that was on average 0.9 years older than him, Castillo had a 5.11 ERA with a 1.74 WHIP, 5.8 BB/9 rate, and 10.2 K/9 rate across 24 2⁄3 innings.
While those numbers seem middling, national prospect gurus have taken a shine to Castillo. Law of the Athletic ranked Castillo 18th in the system in February:
Castillo has been 93-97 mph with two above-average secondary weapons, needing work on his command and control. He’s 21 with just 24.2 career innings outside of the DSL, so there’s a ton of variance here, but he has the delivery and weapons to be a back-end starter.
FanGraphs ranked him 23rd in the system as a 40 FV prospect:
Castillo worked more efficiently during 2021 instructs than he did during the summer. After walking nearly six batters per nine on the complex, he was pitching deep into games in the fall, sometimes going five or more innings while most other starters were going two or three. His starts had pace and lots of weak action on the infield thanks to Castillo’s mid-90s two-seamer, which has nasty sink and tail. Everything Castillo throws is hard, as both his curt slider/cutter and changeup are typically in the 84-88 mph range. Neither of them has a lot of movement but they both move late enough to induce weak contact and garner whiffs when they’re spotted perfectly. If his fall strike-throwing progress is real, then Castillo could be a hard-throwing sinkerballing starter, probably one who doesn’t miss many bats. Though he was heavily scouted during the fall, the Rockies left him off their 40-man, exposing him to the delayed Rule 5.
Jeffrey Paternostro of Baseball Prospectus listed Castillo as a prospect on the rise back in November:
Castillo is on the older side for a complex league arm—he turned 21 at the end of the season. He’s on the smaller side for a pitching prospect (it’s never optimal to have my listed height and weight). I don’t throw 96 though, nor do I have feel for a full suite of three secondaries. Given the size and age, you’d hope Castillo picks the best secondary and works out as a two-pitch bullpen arm, but there might be a bit more here even if time isn’t on his side.
Castillo has a profile that teams like, but will they like it enough to pluck him from the Rockies in the Rule 5 draft despite his lack of experience in full-season ball? If they don’t, Castillo will be a strong possibility to get added to the 40-man after 2022 if he maintains his fall instructs gains.
37. Julian Fernández (14.3 points, 4 ballots) — this actually represents Fernández’s highest PuRPs ballot finish, though most of the 26-year-old Dominican righty reliever’s votes came back in 2017. The 6’6” Fernández was signed back in 2012 by the Rockies, but didn’t rise above A-ball with the club before getting selected in the 2017 Rule 5 draft by the Giants, mostly due to a fastball that touches the triple digits.
Unfortunately for Fernández, he blew out his elbow in spring training 2018 and had Tommy John surgery. The Giants tried to pass him through waivers after the 2018 season, but the Marlins claimed Fernández. He spent all of 2019 rehabbing the injury and was returned to the Rockies after the season. Of course, Fernández then lost the 2020 season to COVID — all of which to say that he hadn’t thrown a professional inning in over three years as the 2021 season began (but had gained two years of major league service time in the process).
Assigned to Double-A Hartford in early May, Fernández was pretty good in 28 2⁄3 innings, posting a 3.45 ERA with a 1.29 WHIP and 7.5 K/9 rate before receiving a late July promotion to Triple-A. In one of the most notorious hitter’s parks in the minor leagues in Albuquerque, Fernández was dominant. In 14 IP, he allowed one earned run on 14 baserunners while striking out 18.
That was enough for the Rockies, who were in need of relief help, to add him back to the 40-man roster in September, where Fernández finally made his MLB debut. Though he was touched for eight runs on nine hits and four walks in 6 2⁄3 innings, Fernández displayed the arsenal that got him selected in the Rule 5 draft four years prior. Strangely enough, not a single day of Fernández’s 2.033 years of MLB service time counts toward his rookie eligibility since it came on the 60-day IL or in September.
FanGraphs ranks Fernández 36th in the system as a 35+ FV prospect with 70 fastball and 20 command grades:
Fernández sits 97-101 mph and has a relatively new changeup. He is likely to continue to be very wild, limiting him to an up/down projection.
Fernández needs to refine his command to become a true late inning weapon, but the pieces are there for an impact reliever to emerge.
36. Niko Decolati (20.0 points, 4 ballots) — the 24-year-old Colorado native was the team’s sixth rounder in 2018, after which the college infielder was converted to the outfield. In his three professional years, Decolati has produced at an above average offensive clip each season. In 2021 with High-A Spokane at an age appropriate level, Decolati slashed .264/.341/.402 with 26 XBH in 424 PA (101 wRC+, 9.4 BB%).
The knock on Decolati before he was drafted was that his production had yet to measure up to his tools, which have in the past been highlighted by a 60 run, 55 arm, 50 power, and 50 field evaluation by MLB Pipeline. The production from Decolati has actually been decent so far, but the national prospect watchers haven’t been moved currently to rank Decolati among the best in the system. Nor did the Rockies add him to their 40-man roster, exposing him to the Rule 5 draft. For a player often listed as one of the best athletes in the system, it’s a development I can’t quite square with. Decolati may have just missed out on a spot on my personal ballot, but he’s an interesting prospect worth following at higher levels in 2022.
★ ★ ★
Thanks to all who voted this time around! Next time I’ll reveal the five Honorable Mention pre-season 2022 PuRPs, and then we’ll get into the players that will make up the top 30.