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The Grand Junction Rockies welcomed new draft picks to the Colorado Rockies’ organization with a memorable first week of play on the Western Slope.
The Grand Junction Rockies are off to a hot start with a roster made up primarily of players drafted two weeks ago in the 2015 MLB Amateur Entry Draft. Because of their proximity to Denver, and because of their roster make-up of new, relatively unknown players in the Rockies’ system, the baby Rox should be a team to pay attention to all summer long in the hitter-friendly Pioneer League.
The last week (6-3): Heading into play Saturday night, the baby Rox have gone 6-3 to start the season with some wild games under their belt already. In the nine contests, the Rockies have allowed 82 runs, while scoring another 82 of their own, and every game has seen at least one team score at least 8 runs until Friday night’s 2-0 Rox victory over Idaho Falls. The baby Rox ought to play for the touchdown a little more often, and stop being so conservative in kicking field goals — it might’ve won them a game on Thursday, when they lost to Orem 15-11. (Kidding.)
Trending up (Ryan Stephens): You could pick nearly every hitter for this category so far this year, but center fielder Ryan Stephens is hitting .429/.467/.893 with three home runs, two doubles and nine RBIs in five games (28 at-bats) in the very early going for the GJ Rox. Roberto Ramos has added three more doubles and another three home runs, and Daniel Suero has hit two home runs of his own, both in 32 at-bats.
Trending down (The pitching staff): Safe to say the pitching staff has had a lot of trouble in Grand Junction; in nine games, the club has allowed 109 hits and 28 walks in 84 innings, good for a 1.63 WHIP and a 6.96 ERA. The club does boast the highest ERA in the Pioneer League (by just one point; Helena is tossing up a 6.95 ERA), but shockingly, there are four teams who allow more base runners per inning that the baby Rox. That’s something?
One to watch (Brendan Rodgers): The third overall pick in the 2015 MLB Amateur Entry Draft made his professional debut on Thursday night and went 4-for-6 with a home run and a double and three runs scored — it doesn’t get better than that. The next night, he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Baseball! Nevertheless, he bears watching after getting a $5.5 million bonus from the Rockies two weeks ago.
Quick hits: Hunter Brothers, the brother of Rockies’ and Isotopes’ reliever Rex Brothers, pitches for the baby Rox. In three games, he’s allowed six hits and five walks in 7.1 innings pitched, though he did throw 3.1 scoreless innings on Thursday, June 25 … 2015 Fifth round pick Parker French had a tough pro debut this week, allowing seven runs on eight hits over 2.1 innings against Idaho Falls … University of Northern Colorado product and 2015 32nd round pick Jensen Park has started hot at the plate, slashing .450/.476/.700 with a home run and two doubles in 20 at-bats over his first five games.