Is Colorado Rockies Starter Eddie Butler Still A Prospect?

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May 15, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies bench coach T. Runnells (11) relieves starting pitcher E. Butler (31) in the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies love to tout their top two pitching prospects to anyone that will listen — but does it matter if one might not actually be very good?

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The Colorado Rockies have two legitimate, high-level minor league/big league ready pitching prospects (or so they say) in Jon Gray and Eddie Butler. Gray is another post for another time; he’s thrown well for the past several months in AAA, has a big-time pedigree with legitimate power offerings, and certainly deserves a sustained shot in the big leagues before a judgment call is made about him.

Butler, though, is having that sustained shot in the big leagues right now. We are seeing what he can do. No, 16 big league starts does not make a career, and I’m not saying we use that small sample size of 81.1 innings to conclude he’s worthless (he’s not). But is he really a prospect any more? Sure, his rankings around baseball are still stellar (#77 at Baseball America, #35 for, and #64 for Baseball Prospectus), but will that bear fruit for the Rockies?

If you say 16 starts/81.1 innings isn’t enough to judge whether or not Butler’s a pitching prospect, sure, I’ll grant you that. But what’s enough? Twenty starts? Thirty? What’s the magic number before you give up on the prospect notion, and instead recognize that, hey, he will probably just turn into a back end of the rotation guy?

For the record, in case you couldn’t tell, I’m already at that point. Here’s why.

Next: For The 100th Time, Eddie Butler Doesn't Miss Bats