Future Colorado Rockies: Asheville Tourists July 11 Update


Asheville Tourists Logo/via Colorado Rockies/Asheville Tourists Twitter.

The Colorado Rockies’ class A affiliate in the South Atlantic League continues to be the classic (and awesomely-logoed) Asheville Tourists.

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Over the last few years, the Colorado Rockies have made some changes in half of their minor league affiliates (Boise, New Britain, and Albuquerque) and have brought on relatively new affiliates elsewhere (Grand Junction). And yet the most consistent piece down on the farm has been in Asheville, North Carolina, and the South Atlantic League. The Asheville Tourists have been with the Rockies since 1994 — the very first year they had a Class A team.

And after spending more than 20 seasons in the league that inspired Bull Durham, the Rox and Tourists have had some success; the club won the South Atlantic League title in 2014. I know, minor league titles don’t matter a ton, but it does teach prospects how to win and lets them play in games that matter. That’s kind of an audition for the real thing, no?

Either way, here’s what the Tourists were up to last week:

The last week (5-2): The Tourists are even better than the last seven days, too; the club is 11-4 in the second half of their season entering play on Saturday, leading the southern division of the South Atlantic League. Oh hey there, team who won the 2014 SAL Championship! Wanna do it again?! Overall, the Tourists are now 43-42.

Trending up (Jerry Vasto): The Rockies’ 24th round pick in 2014 is putting together a really good year, and an even better last ten games. In 10.1 relief innings across his last ten games, he’s allowed just one run — and this season, he’s allowed just 20 hits and 15 walks in 33.2 innings, notching 42 strikeouts in 29 appearances.

This is effectively the professional debut for the small college product from New Jersey, as the 23-year-old threw just one inning last season in short season Tri City, but he’s making the most of his time in Asheville. Anybody who can keep up a .167 batting average against like this 6’2″ left-hander is now can play baseball for money for quite a long time to come.

Trending down (Max George): The 19-year-old shortstop, a sixth-round pick in 2014 out of Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, has struggled in both Boise and Asheville this season. Currently with the Tourists, he’s hitting just .132 in his ten games in Asheville, with 13 strikeouts in 38 at-bats.

He had a nice 2014 in Grand Junction (.301/.433/.463 in 136 at-bats, with 25 walks and 10 stolen bases), but — in a very small sample size — he hasn’t yet adjusted to full season minor league baseball. Fortunately, George is the youngest player on the Tourists’ roster and has a ton of time to do so.

One to watch (Ryan Castellani): The pitcher may be the second-youngest player on Asheville’s roster (six days older than George), but nobody told Castellani about it.

The second round pick from 2014 out of Brophy Jesuit in Phoenix, Castellani may not have the best numbers (0-6 with a 4.13 ERA in 16 starts), but he’s allowed just one home run in 61 innings and has a nearly 3:1 K:BB ratio — both great signs for a teenager pitching in a full season minor league.

In his minor league career, now, Castellani has walked just 27 hitters in 98 innings. I can get with those numbers, and it’s a good habit for any pitcher in the Colorado Rockies’ system to learn early in their career.


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