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Purple Prospects Week, #7-10: Projecting the foundation and praying for All-Stars

Patrick Lyons Avatar
March 25, 2021

You wouldn’t be hopelessly optimistic to get excited for this quartet of purple prospects. 

Less volatility in terms of the projections than those outside of the top 10, all aspects of the game are represented here: catcher, outfielder, infielder and pitcher. Together, they could form a foundation for the Rockies next postseason run several years down the road. 

Between owning the 8th overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft and progress by this group in the first minor league season since 2019, Colorado could begin to climb out of the basement of farm system ranking by the end of this summer if all goes right.

Purple Prospects Week

Purple Prospects #21-33

Purple Prospects #11-20

Friday, March 26: #3-6

Saturday, March 27: #1-2

#10 – C Drew Romo

Age: 19.5; Throws: Right; Bats: Switch

Acquired: 2020 MLB Draft, Competitive Balance Round A

Despite a commitment to LSU, Romo was selected 35th overall out of The Woodlands HS in the 2020 MLB Draft by the Rockies. While recent history of high school catchers making an impact in the majors is incredibly unfavorable and brief, Colorado is hoping to buck the trend with this prodigy.

Romo has incredible defensive abilities behind the plate: great arm, plus receiving, athleticism and maturity to handle a pitching staff. Including intangibles like leadership, he’s mile ahead of his catching peers.

Though some have suggested his ceiling could even be as high as the 9th overall pick of the same draft, teammate Zac Veen, there’s still progress to be made at the plate. A switch-hitter for the time being, his short stroke favors contact over power, especially from the left-side. 

If he can make enough of an impact at the plate to become a big league regular, he’s a shoo-in to become the first Rockies backstop to win a Gold Glove. 

#9 – 3B/1B Colton Welker

Age: 23.4; Throws: Right; Bats: Right

Acquired: 2016 MLB Draft, 4th Rd from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas HS (Parkland, FL)

Coming out of the same high school as the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo and Athletics’ Jesus Luzardo, Welker has been high-profile in the system for what seems like a decade. Still just 23-years-old, he’ll finally have his opportunity on the big stage this season following a disappointing showing at the alternate site in 2020.

Simply put, the bat is his calling card. He hit over .328 in his first three seasons as a professional and before battling shoulder injuries at Double-A Hartford, he hit .308 with pop in the first half. Welker has discipline at the plate and doesn’t strike out much. He’s capable of going the opposite way, but needs to find more power to become a significant corner threat. 

The biggest concern with Welker is finding a home on the diamond. Range at third base needs work, though his arm is more than adequate; his size could be too much for a switch to second base; he’ll be fine at first base defensively, though lacks the typical slugging from the position.

#8 – SP Helcris Olivares

Age: 20.6; Throws: Left

Acquired: 2016 International Signing

Next to Veen, Olivares may be the shiniest gem in the Rockies jewelry box. A bargain of a signing from the 2016-17 international signing class, his ceiling is high enough to think he’ll become the third Rockies left-hander to earn Cy Young Award votes following Jeff Francis (2007) and Kyle Freeland (2018). 

Having yet to play a full-season of baseball in America, Olivares requires more development before becoming a contributing regular. Mechanics are graceful, yet inconsistent. The body is well-suited for pitching and his confidence is perfect for Colorado. 

Mar 1, 2021; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Colorado Rockies Helcris Olivarez #73 has turned heads in his first big league camp at Salt River Fields with 5 IP (3.60 ERA). Mandatory Credit: MLB photos via USA TODAY Sports

The pitch-mix is still developing as well. A plus curveball is his putaway pitch and the changeup is almost there. The fastball sits in the mid-90’s and was clocked at 98mph this spring. 

While Olivares was outstanding with Grand Junction in 2019, it wasn’t until the instructional league last year that he had believers. Between his baseball acumen and athletic build, there’s legit potential for Olivares to become a frontline starter at some point. 

#7 – OF Brenton Doyle

Age: 22.8; Throws: Right; Bats: Right

Acquired: 2019 MLB Draft, 4th Rd from Shepherd University (DII)

Committed to VMI before going to Division II Shepherd University, Doyle was one of the biggest secrets in the 2019 draft. Despite the accommodations and competition during those three years, Doyle won a batting title in his first taste of pro ball.

It’s above average defense in the outfield across all three positions  thanks to his legs and arm strength. Picture Trevor Story in the outfield. That’s what you could have with Doyle. 

A five-tool threat with fantastic conditioning and baseball abilities, Doyle has seemingly gotten better despite the more challenging opposition at each step. One of the reasons has been a change in his stance by Rockies’ coaches. By standing taller in the batter’s box, Doyle has additional time to see the pitch better. Consider it the equivalent of Don Baylor’s coaching on Andres Galarraga. 

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