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With the MLB’s non-waiver trade deadline less than 10 days away, now would be a good time to look at the Colorado Rockies organization and assess their assets.
We broke this up into tiers and also ranked the players. We used a combination of factors to the determine trade value including a projection of future performance, past performance, contract status, team control, age and market value.
1. Jon Gray
2. Nolan Arenado
3. Brendan Rodgers
This category is the absolute best that the Rockies have to offer. Gray is ranked as the highest on our board and Fangraphs agrees, putting him at 30 in MLB and Arenado at 31. Gray is rated higher than the Colorado superstar third baseman for two reasons. The first being that Gray is a young proven starter with ace potential and this is extremely rare and valued in baseball. The second reason is that the Rockies still have Gray under team control for the next four-and-a-half years. Arenado meanwhile is second because he can walk after the 2019 season and his final year of arbitration in 2019 will be north of $22 million for a single season.
Rodgers has had a monster year and some are now calling him the best prospect in the history of the Rockies organization. The 2015 first-round pick still has two years before the Rockies even need to protect him from a Rule Five Draft but that won’t matter because he’ll be on the roster at the latest during next season when he’ll only be 21-years-old. That’s crazy young for a baseball player. Let us not forget he play’s one of the game’s most crucial positions in shortstop and he hits the heck out of the ball. He’s been ranked as high as the No. 11 prospect in all of baseball and he just got to the high minors last month. He is the future of the Rockies and he absolutely should be held right next to Arenado in value.
The Now & The Future
4. Jeff Hoffman
5. David Dahl
6. Raimel Tapia
These three players have all had time in the majors and have succeeded. All three have been top 100 prospects in baseball at some point and each remains very early in their careers. Hoffman ranks atop for the same reason Gray is so high. Hoffman has a chance to be an ace. At the very least, he’ll be a valuable starter at the front-end of a rotation for years. Dahl’s injury past is a concern but ultimately he’s the mold of a great outfielder and has displayed he can play in bigs. Tapia, meanwhile, is unique and has had less success in the big leagues. All three are in very similar spots in terms of contracts and age and the difference is essentially negligible. All three can and two of the three them, based on odds alone, probably will end up being All-Stars.
7. Kyle Freeland
8. Ryan McMahon
9. Charlie Blackmon
10. German Marquez
11. Antonio Senzatela
12. Tyler Anderson
This next group is a hodgepodge of different situations.
At seven and eight are two of the Rockies most prized possessions, one will go on to have a great career as a good starter in Kyle Freeland. The lefty is in his rookie year and has already shown great poise for big moments and has pitched a ton of innings. McMahon has the ability to be a superstar but because he has yet to debut and he’s only spent about a month at Triple-A it’s hard to jump him up as high as Rodgers, even though that’s where the Rockies believe internally is where he is. He’s coming off a bad year at Double-A, but he never played a home game, played a new position and was the youngest player in the league, that’s why he’s jumped back into most evaluator’s top 100 prospect ratings. At BSN Denver we believe he is a stud, who can start as soon as next year and could fill many holes if they were to pop up due to his defensive versatilely.
All-Star Charlie Blackmon comes in at nine, he has a walk year after 2018 and he will most likely be sought after. He’s 31-year-old and that hurts his value but if anyone can beat the age curve it’s Blackmon. In fact, his career arc has only ascended as he has improved in every single season and is now the National League’s finest centerfielder. Blackmon is the classic case of a player at the top of his game vs. age and money.
The next two players fit together. Each have used an option this season and are 22-year-old rookie starters that have flashed some greatness. The traded-for Marquez is ahead of the completely homegrown prospect for one reason, Marquez has higher upside based on scouts and people within the organization that we have talked to. It’s still too early to make a definitive claim on either’s limited big league experience but both have clearly shown they can play at this level and probably will for a long time.
Anderson may seem high to some on this list but he’s in his sophomore season at 27-years-old and his prime will be entirely under team control and cost control. He’s a lefty with a changeup that can tear hitters apart and he’s a really solid pitcher, who has proven over one year that he can be solid.
13. Ian Desmond
The Colorado Rockies major offseason acquisition has had some injury issues this year with two separate trips to the DL totaling in about five weeks lost. Yet, Desi is one heck of a ball player. At 31-years-old he still has a lot of good ball in front of him and his transition to first base has been smooth as well as he’s been serviceable in left. Discounting his first month after the injury, he’s been just shy of the All-Star he has been before. The issue for Desmond and scare for other teams is that the Rockies are on the hook for five years and $70 million. That’s a lot of change for any ballplayer, no matter the quality.
Good players, some questions
14. Trevor Story
15. Greg Holland
16. DJ LeMahieu
17. Tom Murphy
18. Jordan Patterson
19. Chad Bettis
This list includes some good players, good prospects with some good questions surrounding them.
Starting with Story, coming off his unreal rookie season he’s had a sophomore slump. Story wasn’t the highest rated prospect, it’s hard to know where he’s headed in his career but he has lots of team and cost control.
Holland is awesome, maybe the best closer in the NL, but he hits the open market next season.
All-Star DJ LeMahieu, a Gold Glover and Batting Champ might seem low on this list to some, and to some, he might seem high. The stats crowd doesn’t love LeMahieu but tried and true baseball people do. He plays the game with so much savvy therefor it’s hard to appreciate him if you’re not watching him for an entire series let alone season. He’s a free agent after 2018 and the Rockies have options to replace him but he’s still south of 30. Another factor here is that second baseman aren’t as valued as other positions on the diamond.
Murphy and Patterson are both good prospects within the organization that have played at the MLB level in brief stretches. Murphy has struggled to show he can catch in the bigs but he sure can hit and if he does figure out how to backstop he becomes very valuable as that is a coveted position in MLB. Each are on the 40-man and either could be in either spot, Murphy has more potential but fewer options while Patterson has been hot as of late.
Bettis is a proven MLB starter in a good contract situation, under team control through 2020 and he’s 28. The only big question with him is how will he rebound from cancer? Bettis also doesn’t have the potential but he is proven.
Prospects with unknowns
20. Riley Pint
21. Peter Lambert
22. Yency Almonte
23. Ryan Castellani
24. Colton Welker
25. Forrest Wall
These are some of the best Rockies prospects, there are more but these five are some ours and scouts favorites.
Pint is possibly the Rockies top prospect but he’s so far from the big leagues. At 19-years-old it’s not out of the question for him to not step foot in a big league stadium until 2020 and still have a very successful big league career. Pint is just about as good as it gets with his fastball, MLB.com says it’s a 75 on the scale of 20-80, which is rare and exceptional. The 2016 fourth overall pick has a long way to go and this has been just his first year of full season ball.
Lambert is striking out the world at High-A with 108 strikeouts to just 25 walks. He’s only 20 and the 2015 second round pick should be on track to make his move to the big leagues in 2019.
Just behind Lambert is someone ahead of him in the system Almonte. The righty should be here very soon maybe in 2017, he’s already on the 40-man roster, which makes his value less in a way due to him being forced to the big leagues by a certain date. He’s really good, but also 23 (which is about normal but old compared to Lambert), and he came over in the Tommy Kahnle deal.
Castellani is now the second highest ranked pitcher in the Rockies system and third overall prospect. He was taken in the second round of the 2014 draft and is 21 years-old having a solid season in Double-A. Most think he will be a No. 3 starter and reach the majors next season.
Obviously pitching is a great commodity and that’s why there are so many on the list as well as why the Rockies possess as such. But Welker and Wall and are both favorites of ours and should be really solid big leaguers. Both are young and far away, Welker because he’s in High-A, Wall because of injuries this season.