Colorado Rockies Prospects Prepare for Arizona Fall League
By Kevin Henry
Seven prospects for the Colorado Rockies will be looking to hone their skills when the Arizona Fall League kicks off on October 11 in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Pitchers Shane Carle, Rayan Gonzalez, Zach Jemiola and Jerry Vasto will join infielders Ryan McMahon and Pat Valaika and outfielder Noel Cuevas on the Salt River Rafters roster. Colorado is one of five Major League Baseball teams represented on the Rafters, joining the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers and Milwaukee Brewers.
Carle went 5-8 for Triple-A Albuquerque this season with a 5.42 ERA. The 25-year-old right-hander started 19 of his 27 games for the Isotopes last season. He had an interesting split, going 5-2 at home with a 4.05 ERA but 0-6 with a 6.67 record on the road.
Gonzalez posted a 2-2 mark and 3.12 ERA with Double-A Hartford in 2016. The 25-year-old right-hander had an impressive stretch before the All-Star break, going 2-1 with a 2.15 ERA in 27 games out of the bullpen.
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Jemiola was a workhorse for Hartford last year, going 8-10 with a 4.39 ERA in 27 starts. He started the year strong, going 3-0 with a 1.52 ERA in April but had some struggles after that. He finished the year surrendering 15 homers while opponents batted .292 against him.
Vasto split time between Class-A Modesto and Hartford last season, totaling a 4-4 mark and 2.26 ERA. In 54 games out of the bullpen, the 24-year-old southpaw struck out 70 in 55.2 innings.
McMahon entered the season as a top 50 prospect for MLB.com, Baseball America, and Baseball Prospectus but struggled out of the gate in Double-A, logging a .192 average in 21 April games. The 21-year-old hit just .242 on the season but did account for 12 homers and 75 RBI. However, he’ll have to cut down on the 161 strikeouts he had last season.
Valaika is the only member of the Rafters roster to actually see time with the Rockies this season. Former Colorado manager Walt Weiss had some very complimentary things to say about him right after his call-up. The 24-year-old hit .263 during his 19 games with the Rockies with one homer and two RBI.
The lone Colorado prospect in the outfield, Cuevas started the season in Albuquerque but hit just .234 in 44 games before being sent to Hartford. He sparkled in Double-A, logging a .340 average in 50 games. He was named as the Eastern League Player of the Month in July. Cuevas batted .425 (37-for-87) with seven doubles, one triple, two home runs, 14 RBIs, 16 runs scored, two stolen bases, a .440 on-base percentage and a .598 slugging percentage in 23 games during the month.
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Salt River will play its home games at Colorado’s spring training facility, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale. The season runs from October 11 until the championship game is played on November 19.