While the Rockies’ season came to an unceremonious end via a sweep by the Brewers in the National League division series, there’s plenty to look forward to in 2019 when considering the wealth of prospects throughout the club’s farm system. Following is a rundown of the top minor league players to watch heading into the offseason as Colorado begins to prepare for next season.
The Isotopes featured a handful of players who are likely to challenge for big-league roster spots next spring. Most notably, top prospect Brendan Rodgers (.268, 17 home runs for the Yard Goats and Isotopes this season) will figure to compete with Garrett Hampson for a potentially vacant second base job.
Also, right-hander Peter Lambert (3.28 ERA in 26 starts across Double-A and Triple-A) could be in the mix for a rotation spot. Also, keep an eye on right-hander Jairo Díaz, first baseman/outfielder Jordan Patterson and third baseman Josh Fuentes (2018 Pacific Coast League MVP).
The Yard Goats feature a number of players likely to start in Triple-A in 2019. Right-handers Ryan Castellani and Jesus Tinoco as well as southpaw Mitch Horacek are among the club’s seven representatives on the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League.
So is outfielder Sam Hilliard, a left-handed hitter with raw power. Outfielder Yonathan Daza (who led the Yard Goats with a .306 average) is also one to watch even though his season was cut short in late July after he suffered a shoulder injury.
Right-handed sidearmer Justin Lawrence is playing in the Arizona Fall League, as are corner infielders Tyler Nevin (who took Rodgers’ spot on the team due to the shortstop’s shoulder tightness) and Colton Welker. Nevin hit .328 with 13 home runs and 62 RBIs for the Jethawks, while Welker posted slightly more impressive numbers with .333/13/82.
Meanwhile, Lawerence had a 2.65 ERA in 55 relief appearances, making him, left-hander Ben Bowden and right-hander Reid Humphreys (1.83 in 35 before being promoted to Hartford in late July) the best bullpen arms on the team.
You won’t be hearing these names announced over the P.A. at Coors Field anytime next season, but a handful of prospects in the organization’s lower levels are already making impressions.
The short list of those highly touted players include right-hander Riley Pint (Boise Hawks), shortstop Ryan Vilade (Asheville Tourists) and Grand Junction southpaw Ryan Rolison and first baseman Grant Lavigne down in rookie ball.
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