DENVER — Whether the Colorado Rockies have been competing for a playoff spot or fighting at the basement the last few years we’ve seen the club have some exciting moments in September. Some of these have been fond memories of seeing top prospects make debuts. This fall might be a bit different however.
The Colorado Rockies have already called up both their top pitching and hitting prospects this season in Brendan Rodgers and Peter Lambert. Couple that with the fact that 2019 is the last year of an expanded 40-man active roster and there might be less to look forward to.
Hilliard is a 25-year-old left-handed outfielder who is OPS’ing .877 this year after spending time in the Arizona Fall League in 2018. Lawrence is a flame-throwing 24-year-old righty who has had a tough year getting demoted to Double-A, but there is hope for him in the future to be a major player in the bullpen. Castellani is a well regarded pitcher but sidelined with elbow surgery.
Everyone else on the Rockies filled 40-man roster (though Castellani could go on the 60-day DL to open up a slot) has played in the bigs.
Still Antonio Senzatela, Josh Fuentes, Yency Almonte, DJ Johnson, and Jeff Hoffman are players to watch develop in September to decide their future with the club as well as a few non-tender candidates like Chad Bettis and Pat Valaika.
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Non 40-man roster guys who could end up in the bigs are a bit more interesting for several reasons. One they impact possible future plans and there are a handful of guys that are question marks leaning positively.
Left-handed 24-year-old Ben Bowden was nails for Vanderbilt a few years back working out of the bullpen. Now Rule-5 Draft eligible—so he would need to be put on the 40-man roster over the winter to protect him from other organizations anyway—he allowed just three earned runs in 26 games for Hartford. The No. 8 prospect on the Rockies farm according to MLB Pipeline was called up to Triple-A but has struggled.
Dom Nunez‘s long road up the farm has seen him spent all of 2019 in Triple-A. His power numbers have surged but so too has just about everyone else’s in the high minors with the new baseballs. Known as defensive catcher anyway he also needs to be protected this winter from Rule 5.
Left-handed hitting Roberto Ramos has worked his way onto the Rockies prospect list and that might be because his sparking numbers. The first baseman has hit PCL pitching to the tune of .320/.411/.589 this season. The 24-year-old Mexican is another Rule-5 eligible guy.
In Double-A Rockies No. 11 prospect Tyler Nevin is probably not ready but he’s a 22-year-old former first round pick that has already played in the Arizona Fall League and succeeded and made it to the high minors. His numbers probably don’t warrant a call-up with a skipped level but he’s likely to be Rule-5 protected this winter.
Like 2019 has been for contention in Denver, the prospect push towards the end of the season probably won’t be as exciting as it has been the past few years.