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Colorado Rockies prospect rankings, mid-season 2022: numbers 30-26

Let’s start looking at the top 30!

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Now that we’ve looked at the players who received votes and the Honorable Mention PuRPs for mid-season 2022, it’s time to examine the players that made the list. As a reminder, in this edition of the PuRPs poll, 28 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 and contract status (via Baseball-Reference), PuRPs voting stats, a note on the 2022 season to date, and a scouting report from national prospect writers where possible. For what it’s worth, I’ll also include where I put each player on my personal ballot. All ages are as of the date the article is posted.

Remember that the statistics pages are not the end-all, be-all when evaluating these players. Context is hugely important (such as the player’s age relative to the league’s average or the league average offensive numbers), as is the fact that injuries to prospects can affect both their tools and their stats. I’ll make sure and note where this is the case.

30. Daniel Montano (90 points, 13 ballots) — Preseason Ranking: NR — High Ballot 18, Mode Ballot 21, 30

How did he enter the organization?

2015 IFA, Dominican Republic

Why did he make the PuRPs list?

When we did balloting for the pre-season list, Montano didn’t appear in anyone’s top 30. The 23-year-old lefty-hitting, righty-throwing outfielder is back on the PuRPs list for the first time since the pre-season 2019 list due to an offensive breakout in his last season before minor league free agency. Montano entered the system with a lot of hype and a $2 million signing bonus back in 2015, but his slow progress (2.5 years in the Dominican Summer League, a lackluster full-season debut, the lost 2020 season) dropped him off the radar. In 2021, Montano repeated in Low-A and got a mid-season promotion to High-A, but didn’t particularly stand out from the crowd.

This year though, Montano lit it up in a return trip to High-A. In 133 plate appearances with Spokane, Montano hit .321/.420/.523 (163 wRC+) with more refined plate discipline (15% walks, 19% strikeouts). That earned him a promotion in late May to Double-A Hartford, where Montano is about 0.9 years younger than league average. Against more advanced pitching, Montano’s .258/.366/.459 line in 247 PA is still well above average (127 wRC+). Additionally, Montano has hit 11 of his 12 home runs this year in Hartford and has maintained a 14% walk percentage, though his strikeout percentage has climbed to 27%. Defensively, Montano has played all three outfield positions this year, though mostly on the corners.

The most recent scouting video I can find for Montano is this 2080 Baseball look back in April 2019:

What do the scouts say?

Scouting reports of Montano date to a time where he was on scouting radars, at least three years ago. For example, FanGraphs rated him as a 40 FV prospect back in 2018:

Montano was a high-profile Latin American signee and hasn’t been seen much because the Rockies don’t have an AZL affiliate. The most looks I’ve had at him have come this spring as he hits leadoff in extended spring training, and there’s a solid all-around skillset here, but no electric tool or superlative skill, nor the kind of physical projection that indicates one is coming. He’ll have to hit a bunch to profile, but he’s a competent teenage hitter and has a fair chance to do so. Realistically, he’s an average everyday player at peak.

A year later, Montano was down in the prospects of note section: “Montano has quick hitter’s hands but may not do enough with the bat to profile in a corner.”

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

Montano is making a good last impression on the Rockies and other major league clubs as he nears minor league free agency. If the Rockies don’t add him to their 40-man roster this off-season, Montano will enter the open market. If Montano is back in the system next year, he’s a candidate to be a 2023 or 2024 contributor, but likely not in a starting role. Montano’s offensive surge this year put him just off my list this time around, but at a 40 FV designation as a player with a potential big league future.

★ ★ ★

29. McCade Brown (91 points, 14 ballots) — Preseason Ranking: 29 — High Ballot 15, Mode Ballot 24

How did he enter the organization?

2021 3rd Round, Indiana University

Why did he make the PuRPs list?

The 22-year-old 6’6” right-handed starter has the size and the draft pedigree to draw attention. Brown was the 79th overall pick in the 2021 draft out of Indiana and was signed to a slot bonus of $780.4k. At Indiana, Brown had just thrown 61 innings across 12 starts with a 3.39 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and an impressive 14.3 K/9 rate with a less impressive 6.3 BB/9 rate. It was the first major action for Brown, who barely pitched in both 2019 and 2020 for the Hoosiers (due to a back injury and the coronavirus respectively) after starting out as a walk-on, throwing 6 2⁄3 total innings between those seasons.

Brown did make a cameo appearance for Colorado’s complex-level team near the end of 2021, but in all practicality 2022 is his first year as a professional. Assigned to Low-A Fresno in early May, Brown has made 15 starts this year and thrown 77 innings as a player who is on average 0.8 years younger than the league. Brown has a 4.79 ERA with an excellent 12.4 K/9 rate and a good 2.2 BB/9 rate. His 3.48 xFIP indicates he’s been unfortunate with his results thus far but is pitching at a high level.

Here’s Brown from his first start with Fresno in early May:

What do the scouts say? ranked Brown 103rd overall among 2021 draft prospects and slots him 30th in their system ranking as a 40 FV player:

Big and strong, the 6-foot-6 Brown has the look of a durable innings-eating starter if he can harness his stuff. While his fastball was more low-90s in college in 2021, he was regularly in the mid-90s, occasionally touching higher, during instructs. It plays up regardless of velocity because of high spin rates up in the zone and he has the ability to get positive results down in the zone as well. His out pitch is a power breaking ball that can sometimes fall between being a curve and a slider, but looks more like the former at its best, with hard, biting and late action and depth.

Brown had largely been a two-pitch pitcher in the past, but he has exhibited some feel for a changeup. That and his ability to command his stuff, particularly the fastball, will be the key to what his future looks like. The Rockies are committed to seeing if it works in a rotation, knowing that fastball-breaking ball combination might trend up in shorter stints out of the ‘pen.

Fangraphs ranks Brown as a 40 FV prospect and now slots him in 32nd in the organization:

Brown’s ticket to the big leagues is his curveball, an upper-70s jawn with a power pitcher’s shape. His delivery isn’t overtly violent, but Brown has never had great touch-and-feel fastball command, and he walked 43 hitters in just over 60 innings in 2020. There are a couple potential avenues for Brown if you want to use some of the lack of innings/geographic components he shares with Rock as a reason to round up on his strike-throwing projection. More likely, Brown eventually moves to the bullpen, where he’ll again sit in the mid-90s and become a two-pitch middle reliever.

Keith Law of the Athletic ranked Brown 16th in the system in February:

Brown is a 6-6 right-hander with a workhorse body and is 93-95 mph already. His curveball has good shape and could end up plus, but his command and control are questionable.

Kiley McDaniel of put Brown in the 40 FV bucket pre-season:

Brown flashed a plus heater and hook at Indiana, but had a shorter track record of success and command, so he’s a bit of a developmental type. Since he’s 6-foot-6 and a solid athlete with a recent stuff bump from a cold weather background, there’s a little more time to see how it goes, but the bullpen is the most likely outcome.

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

Brown’s stuff was good enough to get him drafted high and he has shown pretty well in his professional debut. Still, Brown hasn’t had the reps over the last few years to refine his arsenal and repeat his delivery, which makes him a player with strong upside but a lower middle relief fallback role. The potential and pedigree led me to rank Brown 26th on my ballot with a 40 FV grade. Brown is probably at least two years away from big league contribution, but he has some time to develop as Rule 5 status isn’t yet an issue.

★ ★ ★

28. Case Williams (95 points, 10 ballots) — Preseason Ranking: NR — High Ballot 5, Mode Ballot none

How did he enter the organization?

2021 Trade (Cincinnati)

Why did he make the PuRPs list?

The 20-year-old righty starter is likely best known as Colorado’s fourth round pick in 2020 out of Douglas County HS 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. Williams has pitched well in his first full year in the organization, drawing the attention of PuRPs voters. 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 happy 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.

Williams repeated in Low-A to start 2022, where he was still 1.8 years younger than league average. This time around, Williams brought down his ERA (to 4.22) and WHIP (to 1.39) while increasing his K/9 (to 9.0), and decreasing his BB/9 (to 3.4) in 89 23 innings across 16 starts for Fresno. That was enough for Williams to get a promotion to High-A earlier this month, where he is 3.2 years younger than league average. So far with Spokane in two starts, Williams has thrown 9 13 frames, allowing five runs (four earned) on ten hits and four walks while striking out 11.

Here’s some pre-draft video of Williams courtesy of Perfect Game:

What do the scouts say?

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.”

And that’s about it right now for Case Williams scouting reports.

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

Williams was clearly desirable enough as a prospect to be traded twice already. He has done well as one of the younger players in the league in both of his professional seasons, and looks like a good bet to stick in the rotation for now, though he’s probably three years away from the big leagues. The main thing lacking from his prospect profile is corroborating scouting reports to match the performance and youth. Without that, I wasn’t comfortable rating Williams higher than a 35+ FV prospect, off my consideration list.

★ ★ ★

27. Jackson Cox (123 points, 18 ballots) — Preseason Ranking: NR — High Ballot 17, Mode Ballot 21, 26, 29

How did he enter the organization?

2022 2nd Round (Toutle Lake HS, WA)

Why did he make the PuRPs list?

Cox was Colorado’s second-round pick this year, 50th overall, out of a rural high school in Washington state — the only high school player the Rockies drafted this year. The 18-year-old righty starter signed for a $1.85 million bonus, well over the pick’s $1.54 million slot value, to get him out of his commitment to Oregon. Cox has yet to make his professional debut, so the PuRPs ranking here indicates a belief in the stuff that got him drafted that highly and paid above slot.

Here’s some video of Cox from a prospect showcase earlier this year courtesy of the Prospect Pipeline:

What do the scouts say?

Nobody ranked Cox above where he was drafted, but some scouts were more excited about him than others.

Cox was ranked 58th in his draft class by and now slots in at 12 in the system as a 50 FV player thanks to a 60 grade curveball and 55 fastball:

Cox is an athletic right-hander with the chance to have three pitches that are at least above-average when all is said and done. He’ll sit around 92 mph with his fastball and is up to 96 with ease, thrown with excellent running life. His real calling card right now is his curve, a plus hard slurve with deep and late bite that routinely registers spin rates over 3,000 rpm, giving him one of the better breaking balls in the class. He has very good feel for a changeup, which could develop into another out pitch.

The right-hander repeats his delivery very well and can fill up the strike zone with all three of his offerings.

Kiley McDaniel of was less impressed, ranking Cox 80th as a 40 FV player, saying that “Cox will flash a 3000+ RPM breaker and gets into the mid-90s at times, but the consistency and delivery (high elbow in back) muted some interest.”

FanGraphs ranked Cox 111th as a 35+ FV player, placing him 37th on Colorado’s list:

If you’re looking for elite spin rates in a prospect’s foundation, this is your guy. Cox’s breaking ball routinely spins in the 2900-3100 rpm range, and has huge two-plane wipe. His fastball, which will reach 96 mph but sits more 92-93, is relatively true due to Cox’s generic three-quarters arm slot, and without mechanical alteration it might get hit a ton in pro ball. A short-strider with a bit of cross-body action to his delivery, it may be as simple as tweaking Cox’s stride length or direction to create more carry on his fastball. Cox is of medium build, not maxed out but not possessing round-up physical projection like a lot of other pitchers in this class. While his fastball could improve by altering its shape (you can also change hand position to get there, à la José Urquidy), Cox may not throw much harder than this at peak. Still, high schoolers with a breaking ball like this tend to garner a bonus in the low-seven figures, which would put Cox in the back half of the second round.

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

In ranking Cox, I split the difference between the opinions of the national scouts I follow while considering the draft spot and over-slot bonus in ranking Cox 21st on my list as a 40 FV player. He’s got a foundational breaking ball to build around and mid-round starter potential. Then again, he’s a high school pitcher who is a long ways away from actualizing that potential into big league success.

★ ★ ★

26. Hunter Goodman (160 points, 22 ballots) — Preseason Ranking: 27 — High Ballot 12, Mode Ballot 24

How did he enter the organization?

2021 4th Round, University of Memphis

Why did he make the PuRPs list?

The 22-year-old first baseman/catcher/DH (based on playing time this year, in that order) possesses excellent raw power that he’s been able to get into games in 2022. The ability to at least fake it at catcher also provides Goodman’s profile a bit of extra juice, though it’s unlikely he ends up behind the plate full-time at the big league level. After a 2021 season that saw him hit 21 home runs in 56 games for Memphis and produce a .300/.419/.517 line (145 wRC+) in 74 PA in the ACL after getting drafted, Goodman was assigned to Low-A Fresno to begin 2022.

In 321 plate appearances with Fresno where he was about 0.9 years older than league average, Goodman continued his power surge with 22 homers as part of his 40 extra-base hits and a .291/.367/.592 line (139 wRC+). That was enough to earn Goodman a promotion to High-A Spokane in early July, where he is 0.5 years younger than league average. In 127 PA with Spokane, Goodman has an above average offensive line (.297/.331/.475, 123 wRC+) with 14 extra-base hits, but he has also struck out in 34% of PA while walking in just 5% (steps backward from 24% and 8% in Low-A).

Though he’s officially listed as a catcher, Goodman has only been behind the dish in 33 of his 103 games this year, where he has committed three errors with eight passed balls, throwing out 30% of would-be base stealers. At first base, Goodman has committed ten errors in 65 games at the position.

Here’s some tape on Goodman mostly hitting (and throwing out a base stealer at the end) with the ACL team late in 2021 courtesy of Prospects Worldwide:

What do the scouts say? ranked Goodman 87th overall in the 2021 draft class and currently places him 24th in the system as a 45 FV player:

Goodman made a strong first impression as a pro, showing off his legitimate plus raw power and a better-than-expected approach, both during his brief debut in the Arizona Complex League and instructs. When in hitters’ counts, he does not get cheated and even his outs were loud. His swing comes with a lot of leverage and it can get long, with a tendency for him to get pull happy, with swing-and-miss as a result.

It remains unclear if Goodman can catch long-term, but he did make progress defensively at instructs working with catching guru Jerry Weinstein. He worked on changing his arm stroke, footwork and exchange to help his average arm play better and moved around better than expected. He’s played first in the past, and the power might work from there, but his value obviously is greater if his improvements behind the plate stick.

Fangraphs slots Goodman 30th in the system with a 40 FV tag, with the tools highlighted by a plus raw power grade:

Goodman was among those with the most present raw power in the 2021 draft’s college contingent, thumping 29 homers in 73 games combined between his 2020 and ‘21 seasons. A heavy-handed receiver with mobility issues, Goodman wasn’t likely to stay behind the plate and lots of teams viewed him as a first base prospect with a 40-grade bat. Goodman already seemed to make some stylistic changes in pro ball, ditching his part-time one-knee technique and opting for a traditional crouch all the time, and a slightly narrower one than he used in college. Much of his future depends on the defense developing, at which point Goodman’s hit tool will determine if he’s a bat-first backup (our current projection) or pushes for a bigger role.

Kiley McDaniel of slotted Goodman in as a 40 FV player before the season, saying that:

[Goodman’s] a below average receiver behind the plate that may need to move to first base but with easy plus raw power and solid production. He’s probably a righty bench/platoon that’s either a backup catcher or third catcher/mostly first baseman, but even that is more valuable now with the universal DH.

Keith Law of the Athletic ranked Goodman 17th in the system in February:

He’s power over hit, and isn’t very selective, but he’s a fringy receiver who did show some skill behind the plate in instructs.

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

Goodman is a bat-first prospect, there’s not much doubt about that, but if he can stay behind the plate (assuming robo-umps come to MLB), he has the ceiling to be a regular starter if/when he makes The Show (likely 2024/2025) as the college power has translated well to the pros so far.

The catcher role is a big if though, and Goodman’s high strikeout, low walk tendencies may become even more pronounced as he works up the minor league ladder. Goodman was a 40 FV player for me and was 29th on my list because of the ceiling, but the swing and miss in his game and defensive utility concerns mitigated my enthusiasm.

★ ★ ★

Stay tuned for the next installment of the mid-season 2022 PuRPs list!