When I recently interviewed Colorado Rockies assistant general manager for player development Zach Wilson, there were three quotes about three different Rockies prospects that jumped out to me.
There is always excitement for the “next generation” of the Colorado Rockies and what young players will bring to the team … and just how quick that will happen. I recently asked Wilson, who oversees Colorado’s farm system, about three prospects, two pitchers and one position player, and he shared his thoughts on where each of them were in their progression toward making an impact at 20th and Blake.
Within those thoughts were some very interesting quotes about each of the prospects. Here are three of those quotes from Wilson, with one about each prospect.
Outfielder Zac Veen (rated as Colorado’s top prospect here)
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Here are some of Wilson’s thoughts about Veen facing professional competition after a layoff forced by COVID-19.
"“He steps right in and he’s facing 95-96 (mph) right out of the gate, and he is right on everything as an 18-year-old high school kid who hasn’t played baseball for the last six months,” Wilson explained. “That was really impressive to see those tools show up right out of the gate, especially with the downtime that he’s had.”"
You can read more about Wilson thought about Veen during his first professional workouts by clicking here.
Pitcher Ryan Rolison (rated as Colorado’s second-best prospect)
How did Rolison grow as a pitcher in 2020?
"“I will say he made some great strides this summer and during instructional league on a couple areas of growth for him, which was his changeup, which he is a lot more confident in now, and can use in all sorts of different counts,” Wilson said."
So what’s next for Rolison, who has impressed at every opportunity in 2020? That’s one of the questions I asked Wilson and he answered that and more about Rolison here.
Pitcher Justin Lawrence (not currently listed among Colorado’s top 30 prospects)
Lawrence was suspended for the 2020 season for reportedly taking Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (DHCMT, a performance-enhancing substance prohibited under Major League Baseball’s drug policy). After climbing as high as Triple-A in 2019, Lawrence will be looking to prove himself to Rockies management in 2021.
Wilson told me he was eager to see Lawrence flash his talents again.
"“It’s now been over a year since he’s pitched, but when he is at his best, it’s 97 to 100 (mph) with a sweeping slider,” Wilson said. “That, and both his pitches are swing-and-miss pitches, and he mixes in a quality change in there too.”"
You can read more of Wilson’s thoughts on the return of Lawrence here.
As a side note, Wilson told me that this year’s Arizona instructional league was “the most important instructional league ever and I’ve been around conducting these things for 20 years.” You can read why he thought that here.