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Pebble Report - The Colorado Rockies’ farm system at the mid-way point

Colorado Rockies news and links for Monday, June 26, 2023

The Colorado Rockies returned home this weekend riding an eight-game losing streak. The good news is it was snapped on the club’s first grand slam since the Clinton administration when Elias Díaz cleared the bases with one swing on Friday night. The team followed that up with a calamitous 25-1 loss on Saturday. The club actually won their series against the Los Angeles Angels, but the events of the rubber game are what still resonate the most in baseball circles.

Instead of focusing on the major league product, let’s instead take the time to give the minor league ranks their full due. All four levels reached their midway points this week, making this the perfect time to take stock of each affiliate so far this season.

With that in mind, let’s dive into a special edition of the Pebble Report.

Top 30 PuRPs

Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes (0-6, 27-48 overall)

Heading into the season, the idea of the Albuquerque Isotopes achieving their first winning season as the Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate was not far-fetched. Unfortunately, as evident by their recent road trip against Reno (ARI), things have not gone according to plan.

The bright spots have all come in the batter’s box. Nolan Jones had a torrid start to the season, hitting eight homers and posting a 1.181 OPS in the first month of the season – resulting in a 174 wRC+. Coco Montes tore the Pacific Coast League (PCL) apart for two-and-a-half months to the tune of a .321/.401/.560 slash line and Elehuris Montero again proved the level was beneath him with a 170 wRC+ and 13 HR in 28 games.

It’s no coincidence that all three of those players are now fixtures on the Rockies, watering-down some of the potency of the Isotopes roster. Aaron Schunk (HM PuRP) has shown well in his first taste of Triple-A action, putting him on the radar for a possible September call-up if he can continue to progress while Hunter Stovall has also held his own in his first season with Albuquerque. Michael Toglia (No. 13 PuRP) has had an up-and-down year to this point, streaking lately and likely receiving a much longer stint on the MLB roster with the recent trade of Mike Moustakas and C.J. Cron still on the IL.

However – as is tradition in the PCL – suppressing offense has been the real challenge for Albuquerque again this season. Of pitchers to throw 25 or more innings this season, only Ty Blach holds an ERA under five while Ben Barymer is the only other arm residing below six. Jeff Criswell has been on the receiving-end of an offensive outburst on multiple occasions, but did show significant progress for a month between April and May with a 3.33 ERA over 27 innings and a K-to-BB of 29-to-9. Unfortunately, the veteran depth has not been a reliable supporting cast as Logan Allen, Matt Koch, Josh Rogers and Phillips Valdez have all largely struggled in various roles after being signed as minor league free agents in the winter.

Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats (2-3, 29-38 overall)

The first-half of the Hartford Yard Goats’ season was a let-down with a 29-38 an absurd negative-109 run differential. The results speak for themself, but the truly disappointing part has been the setbacks and injuries suffered throughout the year. None stand out more than Zac Veen (No. 2 PuRP) who just underwent wrist surgery, ending his year after posting another underwhelming Double-A performance.

Julio Carreras (No. 24 PuRP) suffered a hand injury earlier in the season and has yet to come to form as the starting SS. Warming Bernabel (No. 7 PuRP) has been on the IL for the past month and has also under-performed with a .630 OPS. That is the same figure as Drew Romo (No. 4 PuRP), who has stayed healthy but yet to break-through with the bat. In the meantime, sluggers Hunter Goodman (No. 19 PuRP) and Grant Lavigne (No. 20 PuRP) have largely served as the backbone of the Hartford lineup.

The pitching staff has also largely been a part of the problem. Andrew Quezada has put together a respectable year thus far with a 4.20 ERA over 55 ⅔ IP. Chris McMahon (No. 15 PuRP) has returned after missing nearly all of the 2022 season and has trended upwards while Joe Rock (No. 11 PuRP) has returned to form after being shut down six weeks after a shoulder injury in his opening start.

While the Yard Goats have left much to be desired to this point, they could be a sleeping giant in the second-half with more potential call-ups from the lower levels – a trend that has already started with the promotions of Gabriel Hughes (No. 8 PuRP), Yanquiel Fernandez (No. 12 PuRP) and Braxton Fulford.

High-A: Spokane Indians (4-2, 36-32 overall)

The Northwest League hosted a very competitive first-half, with the Spokane Indians’ 33-32 record coming in second-to-last in the league. Hughes headlined a strong pitching staff for most of the first half with a K/9 of 12.90 over eight starts. Jarrod Cande has been the most consistent starter with a 4.03 ERA over 60 ⅓ IP and holding the opposition to a .234 BA. Carson Palmquist (No. 28 PuRP) has flashed his brilliance with a 33.1% strikeout-rate but the reigns have been tight on Jaden Hill (No. 6 PuRP) all year as he has been a strict pitch count and has yet to reach the fifth inning in a start.

Offensively, Fernandez shined brightest in a formidable lineup with a .959 OPS and 141 wRC+ before getting promoted to Double-A at the tender age of 20. Fulford also made quick work of High-A with a .909 OPS. Despite the departures, the lineup still has a generous amount of talent with Jordan Beck (No. 9 PuRP) and his team-high 18 HR standing out. Adael Amador (No. 3 PuRP) has carried over the same high-level of bat-to-ball skills and elite plate approach from Fresno in 2022 and no hitter in the minors was more impressive to start the season than Sterlin Thompson (No. 14 PuRP), who managed a .463/.513/.746 slash line in the first 18 games before hitting the injured list.

Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies (4-2, 34-29 overall)

The Fresno Grizzlies just missed out on the California League playoffs in the first half, finishing with the third-best record in the league and four games behind the division-winning San Jose Giants.

The story all season has been Ryan Ritter (HM PuRP), a fourth-round selection out of Kentucky in 2022. He leads the California League in total bases (124), is tied for the most HR (14), sits second in SLG% .549 and fourth in OPS .926. Jesus Bugarin has shown glimpses of his multi-tool profile his first full-season stint and Andy Perez’s bat has produced more pop than expected with 14 extra-base hits.

On the mound, Blake Adams quickly established himself as a potential late-round steal, outclassing the league with a 2.60 ERA in eight starts. Jordy Vargas (No. 10 PuRP) has been as-advertised in his first full season with 61 K in 12 starts, one more than Michael Prosecky who sports a 3.72.

Fresno may have entered the year with a less eye-catching roster than in years past, but they’ve proven every-bit as competitive while likely to get further fortified after the draft in July.

Week of 7/31-8/6 (Hitters)

Name PuRP Ranking Level H/AB HR BB SO SB
Name PuRP Ranking Level H/AB HR BB SO SB
Ezequiel Tovar 1 MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Zac Veen 2 Double-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Adael Amador 3 High-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Drew Romo 4 Double-A 3/17 0 3 6 0
Benny Montgomery 5 High-A 3/19 1 3 7 0
Warming Bernabel 7 Double-A 4/19 0 2 4 0
Jordan Beck 9 Double-A 6/18 0 8 1 0
Yanquiel Fernandez 12 Double-A 4/9 0 0 3 0
Michael Toglia 13 MLB 9/28 0 5 7 1
Sterlin Thompson 14 High-A 4/20 0 2 7 3
Dyan Jorge 16 Low-A 3/21 0 1 3 0
Brenton Doyle 17 MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Hunter Goodman 19 Double-A 3/12 1 1 4 0
Grant Lavigne 20 Double-A 5/22 1 3 12 0
Julio Carreras 24 Double-A 6/23 0 1 4 1
Ryan Ritter HM High-A 7/19 0 0 10 0
Aaron Schunk HM Triple-A 3/17 0 1 6 0

Week of 9/11-9/17 (Pitchers)

Name PuRP Ranking Level G/GS IP R/ER BB SO
Name PuRP Ranking Level G/GS IP R/ER BB SO
Jaden Hill 6 High-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Gabriel Hughes 8 Double-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Jordy Vargas 10 Low-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Joe Rock 11 Double-A 1/1 5.0 0/0 1 10
Chris McMahon 15 Double-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Ryan Rolison 18 Triple-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Sam Weatherly 21 High-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Victor Juarez 22 High-A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Karl Kauffmann 23 Triple-A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Jackson Cox 25 Low-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Case Williams 26 Double-A 1/1 2.2 7/6 3 3
Helcris Olivarez 29 Triple-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Carson Palmquist 28 Double-A 1/1 6.0 1/1 2 5
Noah Davis 29 MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
McCade Brown 30 TBA (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Gavin Hollowell HM MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Jeff Criswell HM Triple-A 1/1 5 3/3 3 6
Riley Pint HM Triple-A 2/0 3 0/0 3 5

Season to Date (Hitters)

Name PuRP Ranking Level H/AB HR BB SO SB
Name PuRP Ranking Level H/AB HR BB SO SB
Ezequiel Tovar 1 MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Zac Veen 2 Double-A (IL) 36/172 2 23 43 22
Adael Amador 3 Double-A (IL) 78/255 12 37 32 14
Drew Romo 4 Double-A 83/327 13 29 67 6
Benny Montgomery 5 High-A 110/438 10 52 135 18
Warming Bernabel 7 Double-A 68/302 6 15 68 2
Jordan Beck 9 Double-A 132/487 25 73 142 20
Yanquiel Fernandez 12 Double-A 127/479 25 32 132 1
Michael Toglia 13 Triple-A 79/308 16 53 82 3
Sterlin Thompson 14 Double-A 104/355 14 38 74 17
Dyan Jorge 16 Low-A 56/198 0 13 35 10
Brenton Doyle 17 MLB 15/49 5 8 19 1
Hunter Goodman 19 MLB 83/348 25 41 98 0
Grant Lavigne 20 Double-A 101/445 17 77 142 4
Julio Carreras 24 Double-A 73/311 5 33 81 13
Ryan Ritter HM Double-A 124/441 24 62 152 20
Aaron Schunk HM Triple-A 126/439 14 42 116 12

Season to Date (Pitchers)

Name PuRP Ranking Level G/GS IP R/ER BB SO
Name PuRP Ranking Level G/GS IP R/ER BB SO
Jaden Hill 6 High-A (IL) 16/16 43.2 47/46 25 57
Gabriel Hughes 8 Double-A (IL) 14/14 66.2 51/46 26 83
Jordy Vargas 10 Low-A (IL) 13/13 64.0 35/30 24 69
Joe Rock 11 Double-A 19/19 90.0 53/45 32 108
Chris McMahon 15 Double-A (IL) 15/15 67.0 48/44 25 66
Ryan Rolison 18 Triple-A (IL) 4/4 11.0 11/11 6 9
Sam Weatherly 21 High-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Victor Juarez 22 High-A 20/20 91.2 66/65 35 94
Karl Kauffmann 23 Triple-A 18/18 86.1 70/65 38 60
Jackson Cox 25 Low-A (IL) 10/9 31.0 27/25 20 32
Case Williams 26 Double-A 23/23 101.2 87/80 51 79
Helcris Olivarez 29 Triple-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Carson Palmquist 28 Double-A 19/19 92.1 44/40 37 134
Noah Davis 29 MLB 14/14 56.0 33/29 33 48
McCade Brown 30 TBA (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Gavin Hollowell HM MLB 19/0 23.1 9/9 10 27
Jeff Criswell HM Triple-A 28/25 116 103/100 69 130
Riley Pint HM Triple-A 45/0 55.2 42/38 54 81

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Rockies trade Mike Moustakas to Angels for minor league pitcher | Purple Row

The Rockies moved veteran INF Mike Moustakas over the weekend to their opponent at the time, the Los Angeles Angels. The club acquired minor league RHP Connor Van Scoyoc in return.

Rockies suffer worst loss in franchise history in 25-1 annihilation by Angels, give up club-record 13 runs in one inning | The Denver Post

Kyle Newman provides further detail into an abysmal performance on Saturday against the Angels. The Rockies surrendered 21 runs combined between the second and third innings.

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Upcoming Schedule

Triple-A Albuquerque: 6/28 - 7/3 vs El Paso (SD)

Double-A Hartford: 6/28 - 7/3 @ Binghamton (NYM)

High-A Spokane: 6/27 - 7/2 @ Vancouver (TOR)

Low-A Fresno: 6/28 - 7/3 @ Stockton (OAK)

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