With the 2022 minor league season set to start this afternoon and spring training drawing to a close, minor leaguers have arrived with their teams and rosters are being set. All four of the Colorado Rockies’ minor league affiliates announced their Opening Day rosters for the 2022 season. With plenty of exciting young talent on each team, it should be another fun minor league season for Rockies fans following the farm system.
Low-A Fresno Grizzlies: Friday, April 8th at 7:50 PM MDT vs Stockton Ports
Introducing your 2022 Fresno Grizzlies Opening Night roster! ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/FMTOVv6QuN— Fresno Grizzlies (@FresnoGrizzlies) April 4, 2022
The Low-A Fresno Grizzlies begin their second season as a Rockies affiliate having already tasted success. The Grizzlies won their division in Low-A for the 2021 season and made a playoff run. Manager Robinson Cancel won Low-A West (thankfully now renamed back to the California League) Manager of the Year, and highly touted Rockies prospect Zac Veen was named Top MLB Prospect and an All-Star.
Veen has moved on, but OF Benny Montgomery takes his place. Montgomery was the Rockies’ 2021 first round pick and is the organization’s no. 3 prospect per MLB.com’s rankings. Other names to watch include RHP Tyler Ahearn, LHP Evan Shawver, OF Zach Kokoska, and SS Adael Amador (no. 17 PuRP).
High-A Spokane Indians: Friday, April 8th at 7:35 PM MDT vs Vancouver Canadians
Meet the team! Spokane’s roster includes 10 returning players from 2021, a pair of highly-touted prospects, and five of Colorado’s top 30 @MiLB players. #GoSpo— Spokane Indians (@spokaneindians) April 4, 2022
The High-A Spokane Indians also enter their second year as a Rockies affiliate after a playoff introduction in 2021, finishing second in the High-A West division (now renamed back to the Northwest League).
The Indians’ roster is packed with star prospects. Headlining the team is no. 1 overall prospect OF Zac Veen and no. 2 overall prospect C Drew Romo. LHP Joe Rock (no. 16 PuRP), the Rockies’ 2021 competitive balance pick, completely skipped Low-A and will join the team as well. Other names to watch include big righty Tony Locey (no. 31 PuRP) from the Nolan Arenado trade, speedy infielder Eddy Diaz (no. 30 PuRP), big first baseman Grant Lavigne (no. 22 PuRP), and OF Yorvis Torrealba—the son of Rockies great Yorvit.
Double-A Hartford Yard Goats: Friday, April 8th at 8:05 PM MDT vs Binghamton Rumble Ponies
The headliner for the Hartford Yard Goats is shortstop Ezequiel Tovar, who is skipping High-A after a blistering hot spring. Tovar slashed an insane .550/.550/1.100 with three home runs, two doubles, seven RBIs, and two stolen bases. Oh, and he only struck out once in 20 at-bats. Tovar is on the Rockies’ 40-man roster and is a possible candidate for a late season call up—potentially skipping Triple-A entirely.
There are plenty of other names to watch in Hartford as well. The Rockies no. 7 and no. 8 prospects in OF Brenton Doyle and 1B Michael Toglia, RHPs Karl Kauffmann (no. 20 PuRP), Noah Davis (no. 19 PuRP), INF Aaron Schunk (no. 24 PuRP), and C Willie MacIver (no. 28 PuRP) round out a squad rich with prospects. The Yard Goats will also host former first round pick RHP Riley Pint for his first assignment above High-A. Pint briefly retired for the 2021 season but returned to the organization in March.
Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes: Tuesday, April 5th at 6:05 MDT @ Oklahoma City Dodgers
The Albuquerque Isotopes’ roster is full of familiar faces. Fan favorite speedster Wynton Bernard is back in the Albuquerque outfield, as is infielder Taylor Snyder. RHPs Frank Duncan and Nate Griep return as well, hoping for a big league callup at some point this season.
The Rockies optioned OF Ryan Vilade, RHPs Justin Lawrence and Jordan Sheffield, and LHP Ben Bowden to Triple-A to start the season. Vilade finds himself blocked by a very full outfield on the big league squad, while Ben Bowden and Jordan Sheffield struggled during spring training with the big league squad. Fireballer Julian Fernández will also start the season with the Isotopes, needing polish on his secondary pitches.
For prospects the Isotopes are headlined by corner infielder Elehuris Montero, the key name from the Nolan Arenado trade. Montero is ranked by MLB.com as the organization’s no. 4 prospect after a strong 2021 season with both Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque. Montero slashed .261/.320/.435 with a home run this spring.
Montero is joined in Albuquerque by RHP Ryan Feltner (no. 15 PuRP). Feltner’s 2021 season saw him start in High-A Spokane, get promoted to Double-A Hartford, and make his major league debut all in the span of a few months.
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With the rosters set, it’s time to play ball. The Albuquerque Isotopes will be the first of the Rockies affiliates to kick off the season. They’ll be playing the Oklahoma City Dodgers tonight at 7:05 PM MDT. The Rockies themselves will wrap up spring training this afternoon with two split squad games against the Cleveland Guardians and then it’s off to Opening Day on Friday!