After revealing the players who appeared on a single ballot yesterday, it’s time to show players who were voted onto multiple ballots but who didn’t quite make it into the top 35 and honorable mention Purple Row Prospects (PuRPs) status for mid-season 2023, as voted on by the Purple Row community.
For each player, I’ll include a link to individual stats and contract status (via Baseball-Reference), as well as notes on their 2023 season if applicable. For the sake of full disclosure, I’ll also include where I put each player on my personal ballot. All ages are as of the day the article is posted.
52. Isaiah Coupet (1.1 points, 2 ballots) — the 20-year-old lefty pitcher was Colorado’s 4th round pick this year out of Ohio State, signing for a slightly under-slot $600k bonus. Coupet threw 50 2⁄3 innings this year with OSU, posting a 3.55 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 12.8 K/9 rate in 11 games (ten starts).
Eric Longenhagen ranks Coupet 42nd in the system with a 35+ FV grade:
Coupet is a low-90s lefty with a huge breaking ball. Sitting 90-91, his mechanical inconsistency points to the bullpen despite his strike-throwing track record at Ohio State. A hamstring injury cost him chunk of 2023. His best pitch is easily his 78-82 mph slider, which has elite spin rates. A low-80s changeup has bat-missing sink on occasion. He projects as a depth starter/second lefty out of ‘pen.
Coupet can generate more than 3,000 rpm on both his slider and curveball. He favors his low-80s slider, which has two-plane depth, but his mid-70s curveball is a plus pitch in its own right. His fastball sits at 89-91 mph and tops out at 93 without much life, and it gets hit hard when he doesn’t locate it with precision.
While Coupet’s sinking mid-80s changeup doesn’t have much velocity separation from his heater, it still misses bats. He lacks size at a charitably listed 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, so he probably wouldn’t have the durability to hold up as a starter in pro ball. His slider and curveball are his only real weapons and he’s best suited for a role as a breaking ball-heavy reliever.
51. Coco Montes (1.4 points, 2 ballots) — the 2018 15th rounder was briefly on the PuRPs radar back in 2018 when he absolutely murdered Pioneer League pitching, and now the 26-year-old righty-hitting utility infielder (splitting time between second, short, and third) is back. In fact, Montes hit well enough this year in Triple-A to get himself a stint with the Rockies, mostly in June. With Albuquerque this year, Montes has hit a stellar .314/.404/.544 with 15 homers and 37 extra base hits in 364 PA, good for a 126 wRC+. His stint in the Major Leagues has been less successful, as Montes hit only .184/.244/.316 (37 wRC+) in 41 PA, though he did hit a late inning game-tying homer in his big league debut.
50. Jesus Bugarin (1.7 points, 2 ballots) — the 21-year-old righty Venezuelan outfielder was signed in late 2018 but is only now making his full-season debut in Low-A Fresno, where he is about league average age. In 400 PA, Bugarin is hitting .271/.293/.396 with nine homers among his 25 extra-base hits (83 wRC+) while manning center field. He’ll be Rule 5 eligible this off-season.
49. Riley Pint (2.0 points, 2 ballots*) — the 25-year-old former fourth-overall pick was added to the 40-man roster this off-season to ensure he stayed with the team. The 6’5” right-hander lives in the upper 90s with multiple potential plus secondary pitches, but has been plagued by command issues throughout his professional career. He’s now a bullpen arm with late inning potential if he can harness the stuff.
This year, Pint has spent most of his time in Triple-A Albuquerque in the hitters haven that is the Pacific Coast League. He’s been knocked around this year at the level, allowing a 7.35 ERA (but a much lower 5.16 xFIP indicating some poor fortune), 1.79 WHIP, and a 12.9 K/9 rate against a 7.9 BB/9 rate in 45 1⁄3 frames across 36 games. That mix of numbers will not be unfamiliar to those who have been watching Pint move up the minor league ladder.
Pint made his big league debut (and so far, only appearance) for the Rockies in mid-May, when he was brought into the game to protect a six run lead in the 9th inning. After getting a quick out, Pint sandwiched a double around three walks and then departed.
Longenhagen ranks Pint 38th in the system as a 35+ FV player:
The former top draft pick still has issues with walks and fastball playability, but sheer arm strength and the quality of Pint’s slider enabled him to wear a Rockies uniform. He sits 94-97 mph and his best cutters/sliders are late-biting benders in the 86-89 mph range. He’s only throwing strikes at a 55% clip as of list publication, which puts Pint in an up/down bucket almost by default.
Pint remains an intriguing late inning relief talent, though I fear we are no closer to seeing that for the Rockies than we were at the beginning of the season.
*Pint’s high ballot was worse than the next two players, meaning he ranked below them in the tiebreaker
T-47. Connor Van Scoyoc (2.0 points, 2 ballots) — the 23-year-old righty starter, a 2018 11th round pick of the Angels, was acquired in late June for Mike Moustakas. In 24 1⁄3 innings over four starts with High A Spokane, Van Scoyoc had a 3.33 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and a 8.1 K/9 rate — in line with his pitching results in the Angels organization. He was promoted to Double-A in late July and has made three starts with Hartford, allowing 17 runs on 21 hits in 13 1⁄3 innings (11.48 ERA) with 10 strikeouts and eight walks.
Van Scoyoc, who is Rule 5 eligible, was listed by Longenhagen in the “Potential Depth/Spot Starters” section of his system write-up:
[Van Scoyoc] sits 91-93 with a very strange angle that helps his fastball play in the zone as a bat-misser. He can cut or sink his heater and has an above-average curveball, but he isn’t a typical athletic fit on the mound and his arm action is so long that it has an intermission.
T-47. Karl Kauffmann (2.0 points, 2 ballots) — the right-handed starter (and pre-season PuRP No, 23), who turns 26 today, has been aggressively promoted by the Rockies over the last two years. The 2019 second round pick didn’t throw a pitch in affiliated ball until 2021 due to the pandemic and a long draft year season, but once he did Kauffmann was in Double-A quickly, followed by a late 2022 promotion to Triple-A. Kauffmann was Rule 5 eligible but not selected this off-season, so he headed back to Albuquerque to start 2023.
In the pitching wasteland of the PCL, Kauffmann has thrown 79 2⁄3 frames over 16 starts of 6.89 ERA ball (5.93 xFIP) with a 1.85 WHIP, 6.2 K/9 rate, and 3.8 BB/9 rate. None of those numbers are particularly promising besides the ability to stay healthy and soak up innings, which is what the Rockies have asked Kauffmann to do in four separate stints this season since selecting his contract in mid-May.
With Colorado, Kauffmann has appeared in six games, starting the first three and providing long relief in the latter three. He has a 8.72 ERA with the Rockies in 21 2⁄3 innings and a 1.80 WHIP, 3.3 K/9 rate, and 4.6 BB/9 rate. Again, not great results but at least it’s at the MLB level.
Longenhagen ranks Kauffmann 37th in the system as a 35+ FV player:
[Kauffmann] throws a one-seam sinker, a splitter, and a sweeping slider, all of which have enough action to keep him off barrels even though his heater only sits 90-92 mph. He’s able to work his sinker down and in to right-handed hitters and force them to top it into the ground, while Kauffmann’s slider gives him a weapon that moves to his arm side and punishes hitters for anticipating his sinker’s action. Kauffmann’s splitter bottoms out with plus dive just as it approaches the plate, but it’s tough for him to command and has fallen behind his slider in terms of usage. Every team needs plenty of pitching depth, so Kauffmann is poised to have a lengthy big league career as a fun-to-watch spot starter. He probably needs to sharpen his command by a full grade to profile as a stable and consistent back-of-the rotation type.
46. Tommy Doyle (3.7 points, 2 ballots) — the former PuRP and 2017 second rounder made his major league debut with the Rockies in 2020 — a cup of coffee of 2 1⁄3 innings over three games — then has largely disappeared from prospect radars due to injuries. The 6’6” righty reliever threw just 9 1⁄3 innings between 2021 and 2022, but reappeared in 2023 as a big league-caliber reliever.
Doyle threw 29 2⁄3 innings across 26 appearances in Triple-A, where he mastered the PCL dragon somewhat in allowing just a 2.64 ERA (with a 4.95 xFIP that indicates good fortune) with a 1.21 WHIP, 9.7 K/9 rate, and 4.6 BB/9 rate. That was enough for Doyle to get the call back to the Show in mid-July. With the Rockies, Doyle’s 3.97 ERA in 11 1⁄3 innings across six games represents a big step forward (and a positive rWAR!).
Longenhagen places Doyle 36th in the system as a 35+ FV player:
[Doyle’s] upper-80s slider is still a plus pitch, while his fastball isn’t quite hard enough to project him in a steady middle-inning role. He’s ticketed for up/down duty.
45. Helcris Olivarez (5.1 points, 3 ballots) — the 23-year-old lefty pitcher (and pre-season PuRP No. 27) has big league stuff and was once thought of as a MLB rotation piece, but the fact is that he hasn’t been both healthy and effective since 2019, and never in full season ball. At some point, health and effectiveness need to align before Olivarez is taken seriously as a prospect again.
Olivarez is nearing a return (likely in fall instructs) from the shoulder injuries that have cost him almost all of the last two seasons, and indications are the Rockies will be turning him loose in the bullpen in hopes of getting the big league stuff to play in, well, the big leagues — presuming he makes it through the Rule 5 draft again.
44. Cade Denton (7.3 points, 3 ballots) — the 6’3” 21-year-old right-hander is a reliever through and through, one of the best acclaimed such arms in the 2023 draft. The Rockies took Denton in the sixth round out of Oral Roberts University and signed him for an over-slot (by $163k) bonus of $500k.
Denton threw 64 innings with ORU as a junior with a 1.83 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 12.1 K/9 rate, and 2.1 BB/9 rate. He’s made his professional debut with the complex league team, where he has three scoreless innings across two appearances, with six strikeouts, no walks, and just one hit allowed.
Longenhagen places Denton 41st in the org as a 35+ FV player:
Utterly dominant as both a sophomore and junior at ORU. Low-slot reliever with mid-90s heat and tail. Lateral attack with fastball/slider combo. Righty hitters flinch a lot against Denton. Slider often lacks depth but is still tough to discern from his fastball. Middle relief projection with shot to improve slider’s bat-missing ability in pro ball.
Denton attacks with two pitches that move in opposite directions and work against both left-handers and right-handers. His fastball sits at 93-95 mph and reaches 99, approaching the plate on a flat angle before veering toward the right. His low-80s slider is a slightly better offering that breaks toward the left and also features good depth.
Denton occasionally will unveil an upper-80s changeup, but he’s mainly a two-pitch guy who racks up a lot of empty swings and weak ground balls with his fastball and slider. He’s athletic and repeatedly fills the strike zone while working from a nearly sidearm slot that provides deception.
43. Sam Weatherly (8.1 points, 3 ballots) — like Olivarez, the 24-year-old is a lefty pitcher with high octane stuff who hasn’t been healthy much in the last two years (11 2⁄3 innings last year and none this year). The 2020 third rounder (and pre-season PuRP No. 21) flashed his potential in 2021, but he hasn’t shown it above Low-A and he’ll be Rule 5 eligible this winter. It all adds up to a shrug of an evaluation until we see him on a mound again.
42. Alberto Pacheco (9.0 points, 3 ballots) — the 20-year-old Dominican lefty starter (who signed for $400k in 2019) made his stateside debut in the complex league in 2022, then this June he made the jump to full season ball in Low-A. In 55 2⁄3 IP across 10 starts with Fresno against hitters on average about two years older than him, Pacheco has a 4.37 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, and 8.9 K/9 rate (3.2 BB/9 rate).
Pacheco was thrown into the “Potential depth/spot starter” group by Longenhagen in his system evaluation:
Pacheco is a 20-year-old lefty with plus command of below-average stuff. His slider command might enable him to outpace this projection.
Pacheco will be Rule 5 eligible this off-season and he’s yet to pitch above Low-A, but the results are encouraging given his age relative to level.
41. Bryant Betancourt (9.7 points, 4 ballots) — the 19-year-old is a lefty hitting, bat-first catcher/first base prospect from Venezuela who laid waste to the Dominican Summer League in 2022, his second season at the level. In 175 PA at a league-average age, Betancourt hit .355/.462/.674 (190 wRC+) with 11 HR (second in the league) and 11 2B. This year, he is playing for Low-A Fresno, where he is 2.2 years younger than league average. In 370 PA, Betancourt has a .245/.330/.317 line with just one homer (81 wRC+).
Defensively, Betancourt has spent more time at first base than catcher with some DH as well. Playing in full season ball as a teenager is a good sign, but Betancourt will have to hit far more than he has, especially if he doesn’t stay behind the plate as he moves up the ladder.
Longenhagen ranks Betancourt 31st in the system as a 35+ FV player:
Betancourt isn’t a lock to catch, with his ball-blocking currently the most undercooked aspect of his defense. He’s close to physically maxed-out and likely won’t have the raw power to profile at first base if it turns out he can’t stay behind the plate. Betancourt can hit, though. He has a compact lefty stroke with a simple toe tap that keeps him on time. His front foot is down super early and he just shifts his momentum forward without a lot of moving parts. He could be a contact-oriented part-time C/1B but is unlikely to be an impact player.
40. Connor Staine (10.3 points, 3 ballots) — the 22-year-old right-handed starter was the 146th overall pick in the fifth round in 2022 by the Rockies, but many draft outlets had him ranked much higher. Staine was 88th overall in MLB.com’s draft rankings (only two spots behind Rockies third rounder Carson Palmquist) as a 45 FV prospect:
Staine is a 6-foot-5 athletic right-hander with a loose arm and some upside. His fastball was up to 96-97 mph and averaged just over 93 mph this past year at Central Florida, a bit of a velocity spike from earlier in his college career. His 80-81 mph slider also improved, and while it’s probably fringy now, it has an up arrow next to it and it’s easy to see it being an average breaking ball that misses bats. He can fold in a slower get-me-over curve, and while he doesn’t throw it much, he shows feel for at least an average changeup.
While he’s largely been around the strike zone, Staine’s command has come and gone at times this season. A minor back issue slowed him a bit, as did a blister, but his size and pure stuff provide some projection and a college arm to dream on, with the upside of filling a big league rotation spot if it all clicks.
[Staine is] a 6-5, athletic righty with a mid-90s heater, though his three off-speed pitches and command are inconsistent. He had a recent velo spike and the traits to become a back-end starter are here.
Longenhagen put Staine at the head of the “Potential depth/spot starters” group:
Staine got off to a great start in his draft year at UCF before his stuff and command waned as the 2022 draft approached. At his best, he was sitting 94-97 mph with a good slider, but more often he’s 92-94 with fringe command.
Keith Law of the Athletic ranked Staine 15th in the system pre-season:
Staine struggled with injuries and blister problems at Central Florida, and arrived at the Rockies with forearm fatigue, but he has an above-average fastball with good riding life, enough to see a path for him to the majors in relief as long as he stays healthy. He’s a full windup guy with good rhythm to the delivery and shows a three-pitch mix, but nothing beyond the fastball is average yet. The first goal is to keep him healthy, after which the Rockies can try to develop his offspeed stuff.
This year, Staine has pitched in Low-A Fresno, where he is a league average age. In 17 starts, Staine has thrown 77 2⁄3 innings with a 4.98 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 8.3 K/9 rate, and 2.9 BB/9 rate. I think Staine is a 40 FV talent who was one of the last players cut from my ballot.
39. Braxton Fulford (12.0 points, 4 ballots) — the 24-year-old catcher was Colorado’s sixth rounder in 2021. Fulford began the year in High-A Spokane as an older player (1.5 years above average) and showed he had mastered the level with a .307/.398/.511 line (145 wRC+) in 162 PA before getting a promotion to Double-A at the end of May. With Hartford, Fulford was splitting time with PuRP Drew Romo before going on the IL in late July. In 90 PA at a league average age, Fulford hit .211/.333/.316 with a homer and five doubles (87 wRC+).
Longenhagen ranks Fulford 30th as a 35+ FV prospect:
[Fulford] and fellow slugging backstop Hunter Goodman were birds of a feather, drafted for their offense and handed to Rockies catching guru Jerry Weinstein to develop. Fulford has gotten significantly better behind the dish since turning pro and now looks like a pretty good bet to stay back there. He has below-average hands and he’s not great at framing borderline pitches or at picking balls in the dirt, but things aren’t so bad that he has to move off the position. Fulford’s swing has a weird double toe tap and a very high front side that prevents him from reaching sliders away from him. It makes sense for him to have a simple swing, as he’s strong enough to do damage with just his hands, but his current cut compromises his plate coverage enough to consider him more of a third catcher prospect than a bat-first backup at this stage.
38. McCade Brown (17.1 points, 5 ballots) — in what is no doubt becoming a familiar refrain with Rockies pitching prospects, the 23-year-old (as of today) right-hander shows potential big league rotation stuff on the mound but hasn’t been on the mound enough. In the case of Brown (the pre-season PuRP No. 30), it was Tommy John surgery this April that ruled him out for 2023. That came on the heels of a decent full season debut in Fresno that saw the 6’6” hurler post an 11.8 K/9 rate in 89 2⁄3 innings.
Longenhagen ranks Brown 29th in the system as a 40 FV prospect:
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. 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 nasty reliever.
McDaniel ranked Brown 14th in the system pre-season as a 40+ FV pitcher:
Brown is an athletic righty who flashes three-above average pitches and the components for command, but he still needs to be tested at higher levels.
37. Kyle Karros (22.1 points, 5 ballots) — Colorado’s fifth round pick this year out of UCLA was indeed the son of noted Rockies-killer Eric (career line .320/.380/.619 against Colorado). The 21-year-old third baseman signed for a slot bonus of $433.5k after a junior season where he hit .284/.372/.420 with five homers in 199 PA. He has been assigned to the complex team, where he’s hitting .311/.436/.400 (123 wRC+) in 55 PA so far.
After his [rough] Cape experience, Karros came back to southern California and got to work, adding 15 pounds of strength to his frame. He changed his setup at the plate, utilizing a more closed-off stance. Now he uses the big part of the field well and has shown he can backspin the ball the other way to right-center field. He’s cut down on his swing-and-miss and rarely strikes out. With an advanced approach and a willingness to draw walks, he should be able to continue to tap into his plus raw power.
While the ankle injury slowed him down and limited his mobility, a healthy Karros has shown he’s more athletic and rangy than he had been in past years. He has a plus arm and most feel he has all the tools to stick at the hot corner at the next level.
36. Ryan Rolison (25.7 points, 6 ballots) — the 26-year-old lefty starter was the number one PuRP as recently as 2.5 years ago and was number 18 in the pre-season list. Injuries are a big contributor as to why Rolison slid off the PuRPs list entirely instead of exhausting his rookie eligibility two years ago, but so too are reports that Rolison’s stuff had taken a step back after said injuries (per Longenhagen).
Rolison is back on the 60-day IL after a 2023 season where he was limited to just 11 innings across four appearances and a 2022 when he didn’t throw any innings due to shoulder surgery. When it comes time for the Rockies to add back their 60-day IL players to the 40-man roster this off-season, they may decide they can’t wait for Rolison to get back to the pitcher he was when he seemed on the fast track to the big leagues in 2021. Rolison was the last cut from my PuRPs list as a 40 FV player and I can’t quite give up just yet, but that time is approaching.
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Thanks to all who voted! Next time, I’ll reveal the five Honorable Mention mid-season 2023 PuRPs, and then we’ll get into the players that will make up the top 30.