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Evaluating Chase Dollander and the Colorado Rockies on day one of the 2023 MLB Draft (plus Pebble Report)

Colorado Rockies news and links for Monday, July 10, 2023

For the Colorado Rockies top selection in the 2023 MLB draft, it always felt like it came down to two college arms: Chase Dollander of Tennessee University and Rhett Lowder from Wake Forest.

With Lowder coming off the board as the seventh overall selection by the Cincinnati Reds and the Kansas City Royals selecting amateur catcher Blake Mitchell, the road was paved for the Rockies to land Dollander with the ninth overall selection.

Dollander entered the year in the same conversation as LSU products Dylan Crews and Paul Skenes for the top overall selection after an outstanding 2022 season where he earned SEC Pitcher of the Year. He finished 10-0 that season with a 2.39 ERA, striking out 108 in 79 IP compared to just 13 walks. He took a big step back in 2023, however. The strikeouts were still abundant with 120 in 89 IP, but he doubled his walks and home runs allowed from the prior campaign – leading a significant jump in WHIP from .797 to 1.27.

There was no major drop in his stuff, and he still offers a top-of-the-rotation profile with a four-pitch arsenal headlined by a plus-fastball that consistently sits in the mid-to-upper 90’s. But he was incredibly reliant on that fastball in 2023, throwing it 65% of the time, and his slider is a clear secondary offering with his curveball and changeup needing the most refinement in the adjustment to pro-ball.

Ultimately, a drop in control likely led to Dollander’s reliance on his heater, sitting in hitter’s counts far more often than in 2022. And the command of his offerings in those situations left much to be desired, leading to the rise in the opposition’s damage in 2023. But he’s a top-10 pick for a reason, and there’s belief his setback is not irreparable according to Jim Callis of in Kyle Newman’s write-up of the selection for The Denver Post:

“He was dominant as a sophomore, and this year he rarely even went over five innings and had at least one bad inning in almost all his starts,” MLB Pipeline senior writer Jim Callis said. “A lot of scouts think it’s an easy fix with him, because his arm angle got lower this year. You can raise it back up and he could be who he was as a sophomore.”

But for all the warts that showed in 2023, there is still a durable 6’2” righty with an easily repeatable delivery and four unique, high-caliber offerings. That profile gives the Tennessee hurler arguably the highest ceiling in the pitching-needy Colorado system and, although he still has considerable development needed, there is a real ceiling of a future ace that could have a quicker trip through the minors than other picks considering the level of talent he has faced to this point in his career.

The Rockies dipped into the college pitching well again with the 46th pick, selecting LHP Sean Sullivan from Wake Forest. Originally a product of Northwestern University, Sullivan had a strong stint in the Cape Cod League to finish 2022 before transferring to Wake Forest — anchoring a rotation with Lowder that went deep into the College World Series.

At 6’4”, Sullivan leans heavily on a fastball that hovers around the 90 mph range and a lanky, sidearm delivery. This package produced strong numbers with 14.3 K/9 in 2023 and a .175 opponent average-against and could prove a successful unique delivery in a rotation — similar to previous Rockies’ draft selections Joe Rock and Carson Palmquist.

The organization rounded out the night with Cole Carrigg from San Diego State with the 65th selection. Announced as a catcher, the switch-hitting Carrigg has the versatility to play all over the field and showed a plus-arm in the draft combine.

Like Dollander, Carrigg caught scouting eyes with a tremendous sophomore season in 2022 where he hit .388/.426/.509 in 54 games with 19 stolen bases. His junior year did not stand out in quite the same way, but he has still shown very well in his collegiate career and has a very visible path as a unique role player in the organization moving forward.


There’s no such thing as a guarantee in the draft, but there is plenty to dream on with the start of the Rockies’ class in the first day of the draft.

Dollander is one of the higher-profile prospects to come into the system in quite some time, and could be a massive addition if the organization can develop him more akin to the pitcher we saw in 2022. But his floor also appears to be that of a volatile number three or four starter — a piece the franchise is consistently seeming to lack.

The need to add pitching to support the wave of hitting currently in the system was reinforced with selection of Sullivan. A supreme contrast to Dollander in terms of physical ability, Sullivan has superb recent results to feel good about and the organization has a good recent track record with this demographic. Meanwhile, Cole Carrigg has one of the most flexible skill-sets in the class and is a high-motor player that could prove a critical complimentary piece to the developing position player core already in the system.

★ ★ ★

Painful finale for Rockies as Freeland hurts right shoulder |

The Rockies limped into the All-Star Break with a 1-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday to drop another series. The bigger news was the injury of LHP Kyle Freeland, who fell awkwardly on his right shoulder fielding a bunt in the seventh inning. Thankfully, there is no news of an extensive injury to Freeland so far, but the Rockies are now facing-down a rotation that has just Austin Gomber left from the Opening Day roster.

Rockies Journal: Prospect Yanquiel Fernandez flashing star power | The Denver Post ($)

Outfielder Yanquiel Fernandez has soared through the Colorado farm system in the last two seasons, reaching Double-A Hartford this year at age 20. This ascent led to him getting selected to Saturday’s Future’s Game in Seattle, WA. Patrick Saunders discussed the young lefties development with Yard Goats’ manager Chris Denorfia and Rockies player development director Chris Forbes.

★ ★ ★

Pebble Report: July 3 - 9, 2023

The Rockies’ farm system produced a tremendous final week before the MiLB All-Star break. Each level won their respective series, with the Fresno Grizzlies taking five games in their matchup. The affiliates will return to action on July 14th for the final stretch of the regular season.

Top 30 PuRPs

Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes (4-2, 36-51 overall)

Michael Toglia (No. 13 PuRP) has been swinging well since the calendar flipped to June. That continued in the latest series against Oklahoma City (LAD) where he posted a .321 average and .412 OBP, draing five walks to seven strikeouts. One of the biggest turns for the Albuquerque offense of late has been the return of Cole Tucker from injury, and the latest series was perfect example of why as he had a team-high 11 hits, five extra-base hits and a gaudy 1.277 OPS in 25 AB. Willie MacIver has also missed much of the season due to injury, but is back and hit his first two homers of the year in this series.

Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats (4-2, 36-42 overall)

The Hartford rotation excelled against New Hampshire (TOR) with Chris McMahon’s (No. 15 PuRP) three earned runs over five innings marking the high-water mark of week. Gabriel Hughes (No. 8 PuRP) struck out six to no walks in his four innings with one earned run while Joe Rock (No. 11) punched-out nine over five innings with just three hits and a single run permitted. Bladimir Restituyo co-authored the offensive charge with three extra-base hits and a .320/.346/.520 slash-line alongside Grant Lavigne (No. 20 PuRP) who had two homers and a 1.142 OPS.

High-A: Spokane Indians (4-2, 41-39 overall)

Before leaving Sunday’s game with an unknown injury, Benny Montgomery (No. 5 PuRP) was having a tremendous series against Everett (SEA), leading the team with nine hits and two home runs on his way to a .391/.440/.652 slash-line. Jordan Beck was not far behind with his two homers and 1.026 OPS while swiping three bases. The news was just as good on the mound as Victor Juarez (No. 22 PuRP) delivered six shutout innings with just two hits allowed while Jarrod Cande and Carson Palmquist (No. 28 PuRP) allowed one run in their starts. As did Jaden Hill (No. 6 PuRP), who delivered his best performance of the season with one run on two hits in four innings with six strikeouts and no walks.

Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies (5-1, 49-32 overall)

The story on the mound was Jackson Cox (No. 25 PuRP) who was magnificent in his two starts. Overall, Cox threw seven scoreless innings, allowing just five hits while registering a K-to-BB of 14-to-2. Dyan Jorge (No. 16 PuRP) had his first big week in full-season ball against San Jose (SF) with ten hits — two for doubles — seven runs and four stolen bases on his way to a .345/.387/.414 line. Those ten hits matched Skyler Messinger, who hit four homers and drove-in 10 runs and produced a robust 1.423 OPS. Jamari Baylor continued his impressive season with two doubles, three home runs and 1.470 OPS.

★ ★ ★

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

★ ★ ★

Upcoming Schedule

Triple-A Albuquerque: 7/14 - 7/16 vs Salt Lake (LAA)

Double-A Hartford: 7/14 - 7/16 @ Erie (DET)

High-A Spokane: 7/14 - 7/16 @ Tri-City (LAA)

Low-A Fresno: 7/14 - 7/16 @ Lake Elsinore (SD)

★ ★ ★

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