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Rockies' prospect open 2022 MiLB season with a bang, Montero provides first look at club's future

Patrick Lyons Avatar
May 1, 2022

Over 22,600 human beings have been fortunate enough to play in the Majors.

Each player can recall that first base hit or batter they struck out, in addition to the experience of simply putting on a big league uniform for the first time.

Many can even recall the phone call or meeting with the manager when they learned of their promotion to The Show.

3B Elehuris Montero, the Colorado Rockies most recent prospect to earn a spot on the roster, simply cannot get over where his baseball journey has taken him.

“I still don’t believe I’m here. It’s surreal,” Montero said through interpreter and teammate Carlos Estévez.

He arrived at Coors Field during the game on Friday night, and though he didn’t get an opportunity to participate, the view from the top step of the dugout displayed a whole new world.

“It feels a lot different because everything looks beautiful,” he shared about the views of the cathedral at 20th and Blake.

Mar 1, 2021; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Colorado Rockies Elehuris Montero #47 poses during media day at at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Mandatory Credit: MLB photos via USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, he makes his Major League debut batting ninth as the designated hitter for Colorado against Cincinnati.

The promotion of Montero to the big league club is a great reminder to examine the other Rockies top prospects in the system.

With all due respect to Tim Lopes, Pacific Coast League Player of the Week for April 12-17, here are some of the best minor league performers for Colorado through the first month of the season.

Albuquerque (Triple-A)

Montero was the most notable name performing to expectations in ABQ at the moment with RHP Ryan Feltner still with the varsity squad following his start on Wednesday in Philadelphia and 40-man members LHP Ryan Rolison and 3B Colton Welker on the injured list. 

Before the 80-minute flight to DIA, Montero had a slash line of .288/.356/.450 in 20 PCL contests with four home runs and 12 RBI to his name.

His contact rate was similar to last season, though his walk-to-strikeout ratio decreased. The 23-year-old did have two stolen bases, one shy of his career-high for an entire season.

Hartford (Double-A)

Seemingly everyone’s favorite Rockies’ prospect these days, SS Ezequiel Tovar, is off to a tremendous start. 

Tovar noted in Spring Training that he added 15 pounds of muscle to his frame and it’s shown through 72 at-bats.

The 20-year-old has tallied five doubles, one triple and five home runs – highlighted by a walk-off, three-run blast on April 23. His .639 slugging percentage was fifth-highest in the Eastern League through Saturday. 

C Willie MacIver has also found his power stroke in 18 games so far, hammering seven home runs, second-most in the EL. His 14 RBI are tied for fourth-most along with Tovar and 1B Michael Toglia. 

OF Brenton Doyle has begun to heat up in the last week, homering on back-to-back nights and raising his average by 100 points since mid-April. The no. 7 prospect in the system according to MLB Pipeline has 13 RBI, tied for 11th-most in the league. 

Spokane (High-A)

One of the more intriguing pitchers heading into the year was LHP Joe Rock. The southpaw out of Ohio University was taken 68th overall in the second round in the 2021 MLB Draft and pitched well in his professional debut during the Arizona Complex League.

He skipped Low-A Fresno and began the 2022 season in High-A Spokane despite being more than two years younger than his rotation mates.

Through four starts, the 21-year-old has a 3.27 ERA and an 11.9 strikeout-per-nine rate. His 29 punch outs are third-most in the league.

On April 17, no. 1 prospect OF Zac Veen finished his day 0-for-4, dropping his batting average to .138 after the first eight games of the season. 

The 20-year-old proceeded to rack up 15 hits in his next 38 at-bats (.394), more than doubling his average and earning the Northwest League Player of the Week Award in the process.

Somewhat surprising in the midst of his stellar play is his continued penchant for stolen bases. While he swiped 36 last season, Veen trailed teammate Eddy Diaz for the league lead last year; now, he sits at the top with eight.

C Drew Romo has also continued to turn heads following a successful 2021. He’s currently in the midst of an eight-game hit streak and leads the NWL in batting average (.342) through April. 

His 14 RBI is good for third-most, just ahead of 1B Grant Lavigne (12), Diaz (11) and Bladimir Restituyo (11). 

Fresno (Low-A)

SS Adael Amador is still just 19, a full two-years younger than the competition in the California League, but he’s not exactly playing like a teenager. 

This week, he managed to belt two home runs in the same game before following that up with long balls in the next two contests. For the season, Amador has six, most in the six-team league. 

The shortstop from the Dominican Republic also ranks in the top 10 in eight other Cal League categories: tied for first in total bases (46), third in OPS (1.090), third in slugging percentage (.648), third in hits (24), tied for third in extra base hits (10), fourth in batting average (.338), seventh in OBP (.442) and ninth in walks (14) among all qualified hitters.

Excluding RHP Case Williams from the six-man rotation, Grizzlies’ starters have combined to throw a combined 79 innings over 17 games with a 3.42 ERA.

LHP Evan Shawver (1.13 ERA, 8.4 K/9) and 19-year-old RHP Victor Juarez (3.72 ERA, 9.8 K/9) stand out from the pack in April.

DIAMOND DETAILS

OF Wynton Bernard may have lost his status as a true prospect a few years ago despite not having made the big leagues yet, the 31-year-old outfielder has continued to put together a fine resume with the Isotopes over the last two seasons.

Bernard, the first ‘Tope to homer in three-straight affairs since Sam Hilliard in June ‘21, has six on the season, most on the club and fourth-most (tied) in the PCL.

Despite being a few ABs short to qualify for the batting title at this point in the year, Bernard has a .391 batting average that would be best in the league. He’s second in XBH (13), third in RBI (19), tied for fourth in home runs (6) and fourth in total bases (45).

 

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