Slowly but surely, the Colorado Rockies pitching pipeline is starting to come back into form. After a season riddled from injuries, players atop the PuRP pitching list are starting to ramp up. The majority of the progress has been with the Arizona Complex League to this point, but the full-season squads are starting to reap the benefits. No team has enjoyed these spoils more than the Fresno Grizzlies, who made short work of Visalia (ARI) on the road in a six-game sweep.
Promotions of prominent prospects Riley Pint and Michael Toglia to Triple-A and Zac Veen to Double-A grabbed the headlines last week, but one player lost in the roster shuffle a bit was Jordy Vargas (No. 21 PuRP). Vargas showed well in his debut with four strikeouts in four innings. But that appearance was modest compared to his second start, where he showed just how dominant he can be. Vargas tossed five shutout innings against the Rawhides in the first game of the series, registering eight strikeouts while allowing just one hit and one walk.
END 5 | Jordy Vargas has tied his career-high with 5 innings of work! Vargas has 8 strikeouts, 1 shy of his career-high. He has fanned 7 of the 9 Rawhide starters as well! (5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K). ⚾️ #RaisetheBear pic.twitter.com/J07ewfazb6— Fresno Grizzlies (@FresnoGrizzlies) August 17, 2022
But for how spectacular Vargas was, Jaden Hill (No. 12 PuRP) made a solid case for one-upping him in his Low-A debut in game two. It was an inauspicious start with a lead-off single, but Hill looked untouchable from that point on. He would go on to strike out seven of the next eight Visalia hitters before inducing an inning-ending double play to finish his evening. Hill, a second round selection in 2021 that has spent most of the year rehabilitating from Tommy John Surgery, finished the evening with seven strikeouts and three hits allowed over three scoreless innings.
The first seven outs of Jaden Hill's Single-A career all came via the K.— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 18, 2022
The @Rockies' No. 10 prospect worked three scoreless frames for the @FresnoGrizzlies: https://t.co/vTF9LjuTJG pic.twitter.com/sC6GQoeioZ
Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes (3-3, 53-63 overall)
Albuquerque’s pitching staff took a few lumps in their series against Tacoma (SEA), but had a respectable week overall. Riley Pint (HM PuRP) made his third Triple-A appearance, allowing his first run with the Isotopes in his lone inning. Karl Kauffmann (No. 20 PuRP) delivered a stable line in his start, allowing three runs in five innings with three walks and six strikeouts. After issuing 34 walks 77 ⅔ innings with Double-A Hartford, Kauffmann’s control is appearing to still be a work in progress as that figure has ballooned to 25 in 32 ⅓ innings with the Isotopes.
Albuquerque’s power showed-up in a big way against the Rainers. Alan Trejo bopped a ridiculous five home runs in 26 at-bats, including consecutive multi-homer games and the 12th Isotopes grand-slam of the season. Sean Bouchard tagged four home runs of his own and Michael Toglia (No. 7 PuRP) added two as well, finishing the week with a .407/.448/.815 line. All told, the Isotopes slugged 15 home runs in six games.
Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats (3-3, 66-47 overall)
Overall, it was a slow week with the bats for the Yard Goats, but there were a few exceptions. The first was Brent Doyle (No. 10 PuRP), who went for extra-bases in a third of his hits and stole two bases. Aaron Schunk (No. 24 PuRP) joined Doyle in the three-way tie for the hits lead, going deep and finishing with a .956 OPS. The third member of the hit kings of the week was Kyle Datres, who finished with the most impressive line of the week (.400/.571/1.000) while going deep three times and drawing five walks.
Will Ethridge delivered an impressive pitch-to-contact outing, tossing four shutout innings with two hits allowed but no strikeouts. Mitchell Kilkenny also threw well with one run allowed over 4 ⅔ innings and five strikeouts. Out of the bullpen, Jared Biddy threw 3 ⅓ scoreless innings with four strikeouts while Gavin Hollowell punched out four in his two scoreless innings.
High-A: Spokane Indians (3-3, 58-53 overall)
Chris McMahon (No. 9 PuRP) made his return to High-A after four appearances in the ACL. McMahon struck out four in five innings without issuing a walk, but was touched up for four runs and six hits. The finest starting performance came from Andrew Quezada, who held Tri-City (LAA) scoreless for six innings while striking out five. Boby Johnson and Will Tribucher combined for seven strikeouts and no base-runners in 4 ⅓ innings out of the bullpen.
Arguably the best hitting performance from the system came from the bat of Hunter Goodman (No. 27 PuRP). Goodman flexed for five home runs and ten RBI in 28 AB, finishing with 28 total bases and a 1.357 OPS in a series that could result in Northwest Player of the Week honors. Mateo Gil had eight knocks, three going for extra-bases. Eddy Diaz (No. 30 PuRP) went 13-for-19 with five doubles and an absurd .684 average. Colin Simpson mashed two long-balls and Braiden Ward hit an even .500 with two stolen bases.
Fresno Grizzlies (6-0, 69-45 overall)
Jordy Vargas and Jaden Hill led the way for the Fresno rotation, but they were not alone in stellar pitching performances. McCade Brown (No. 29 PuRP) tied his career-high with six innings pitched, registering a quality start with three runs allowed while punching out six. Jarrod Cande also showed flashes of good and bad in his 3 ⅔ innings. The good was an impressive eight strikeouts but the bad was four walks, ultimately leading to three runs allowed. Angel Chivilli had a strong showing out of the ‘pen, striking out six with no walks allowed in three innings.
After a scary hit-by-pitch on the hands a few weeks back, Benny Montgomery (No. 2 PuRP) looked just fine against the Rawhide with seven hits, two for doubles and one leaving the yard, and five driven-in with five walks. Yanquiel Fernandez (No. 26 PuRP) continues to progress in reaching his power in-game, sending two out to go with seven runs scored. Juan Brito (HM PuRP) finished with nine driven-in, four coming on a grand-slam. Juan Guerrero finished with the best week, however, going 10-for-19 with three doubles, a homer, eight RBI and a 1.237 OPS.
★ ★ ★
Week of 9/19-9/25 (Hitters)
|Colton Welker||11||SF Triple-A (IL)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Jameson Hannah||HM||Double-A (IL)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Week of 9/19-9/25 (Pitchers)
|Ryan Rolison||4||Triple-A (IL)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Helcris Olivarez||13||ACL (IL)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Sam Weatherly||14||ACL (IL)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|McCade Brown||29||Low-A (IL)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Season to Date (Hitters)
|Colton Welker||11||SF Triple-A (IL)||12/37||2||7||6||0|
|Jameson Hannah||HM||Double-A (IL)||27/99||1||25||12||7|
Season to Date (Pitchers)
|Ryan Rolison||4||Triple-A (IL)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Helcris Olivarez||13||ACL (IL)||1/1||2.0||0/0||1||0|
★ ★ ★
Triple-A Albuquerque: 8/22-8/28 vs Round Rock (TEX)
Double-A Hartford: 8/22-8/28 @ Portland (BOS)
High-A Spokane: 8/22-8/28 @ Everett (SEA)
Low-A Fresno: 8/22-8/28 vs Stockton (OAK)