The Colorado Rockies have a top-heavy farm system with solid depth and a lot of potential. Jonathan Gray and Eddie Butler look like aces, and the next four prospects on this list could become All-Stars. None of the top six prospects are finished products and it may be a few years before the Rockies reap the benefits of their strong system. It is worth noting that the organization has recently failed to adequately develop big-time prospects like Drew Pomeranz, Tyler Matzek, and Christian Friedrich.
1. Jonathan Gray, RHP 6’4” 255 lbs.
Gray was the 3rd overall pick in the 2013 draft and he’s lived up to the hype so far. He’s split time between the Pioneer League and California League, throwing a total of 37.1 IP. Gray posted a 1.93 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and 12.3 K/9. His stats were stellar and he has the potential to be an ace. His fastball works in the mid-90s and can get up to 100 MPH. Gray’s off-speed pitches and command need to be refined if he is going to reach his potential.
2. Eddie Butler, RHP 6’2” 180 lbs.
Butler spent time at three minor league levels last season and was superb at every stop. His combined ERA (1.80) and WHIP (0.99) demonstrate how special Butler can be. His 8.6 K/9 is fairly average, but was an improvement on his 2012 rate. Butler’s fastball gets up to 98 MPH, he throws a plus slider, and his changeup has great potential. Scouts are divided on whether Butler profiles as a top-of-the-rotation starter or a reliever in the long run. However, they all agree that Butler has a high ceiling and should be highly effective in the majors.
3. Rosell Herrera, SS 6’3” 180 lbs.
Herrera played in the South Atlantic League in 2013 and put up impressive numbers, hitting .343 with a .419 OBP and 49 extra base hits, including 16 HR. He also stole 21 bases. Herrera is a good athlete and has the physical tools to develop into an All-Star. He has a big frame and may eventually move to 3B. While Herrera has a good eye and a solid walk rate, he did strikeout 96 times last year. This didn’t hinder him last season, but he should work to reduce his strikeouts.
4. Ryan McMahon, 3B 6’2” 185 lbs.
McMahon was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2013 draft and his performance so far makes that draft position seem too low. McMahon hit .321 with a .402 OBP in the Pioneer League last season. Additionally, he had 11 HR and 32 total extra base hits in 59 games. McMahon can flat out hit. McMahon is good enough defensively to stick at 3B in the long run, but he’s not going to excel at the hot corner in the majors. He should develop into a good everyday player at the Major League level.
5. Tom Murphy, C 6’1” 220 lbs.
Murphy split last season between Single-A and Double-A. He is one of the best hitting catchers in the minors, which is especially impressive given that he throws and receives well enough to stay behind the plate in the majors. Murphy has a lot of power and a good eye, as demonstrated by his 2013 stats. He hit .289 with a .376 OBP, 22 HR, and 31 doubles. Murphy needs to improve his game calling and reduce his strikeouts.
6. David Dahl, OF 6’2” 185 lbs.
Dahl was the Rockies 2012 1st round draft pick and he was stellar in his debut. Unfortunately, he absolutely fell apart in 2013 after a demotion and subsequent hamstring injury. He only appeared in 10 games last season and failed to live up to scouts’ expectations. If he bounces back and plays as he did in 2012, Dahl will be a special player. He’s a five-tool player who can play all three outfield spots. Dahl has the talent to become an All-Star.
7. Kyle Parker, 1B/OF 6’ 200 lbs.
Parker played in the Texas League in 2013 and the Rockies seem unsure of where he profiles defensively. He may end up playing a utility role and platoon at the corner outfield spots and 1B. Parker has good power and has hit at least 21 HR in all three of his minor league seasons. His BA (.288) and OBP (.345) dipped last year and he simply has to get on base more to become a successful Major League player.
8. Chad Bettis, RHP 6’1” 200 lbs.
Bettis pitched in 16 games (8 starts) in the majors last season. His stats were underwhelming, but he will probably spend time on the Major League roster this year. Bettis missed all of 2012 because of a shoulder injury, and this hampered his velocity in 2013. His fastball sits in the low-90s. Bettis pitched well in Double-A before his promotion, posting a 3.71 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 9.7 K/9. If Bettis continues to struggle with injuries, he may need to move to the bullpen.
9. Raimel Tapia, OF 6’2” 160 lbs.
Tapia hit incredibly well in the Pioneer League in 2013. His .357 BA was excellent and he showed solid pop with 33 extra base hits in 66 games. Tapia is raw and needs to draw more walks to continue to succeed at more advanced levels. He stole 10 bases on 19 attempts, which is unacceptable given his speed. He must become a more disciplined runner to maximize his natural gifts. Tapia’s power should continue to develop as his frame fills out.
10. Trevor Story, SS 6’1” 175 lbs.
Story had a down year in 2013 in the California League, hitting a paltry .233 with a .305 OBP. However, he has tons of potential and will be a good player if he can regain his 2012 form. In 2012 he hit .277 with a .367 OBP and 67 extra base hits (18 HR) in the South Atlantic League. Story has the tools to be a good Major League hitter, but scouts believe he will move away from SS in the long run. He will probably end up at 3B, 2B, or fill a utility role. Story also shows good baserunning skills as he stole 23 bases on 24 attempts in 2013.
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