The Colorado Rockies have decided the future is now when it comes to outfield prospect Ryan Vilade, who was called up to the big leagues for the first time prior to the Rockies and Washington Nationals continuing their three-game series in the nation’s capital on Saturday.
To make room on the roster, right-handed pitcher Ryan Feltner was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. Additionally, left-handed pitcher Bernardo Flores Jr. has been designated for assignment.
The 22-year-old Vilade, who will wear number 31 with the Rockies, was ranked fifth on Colorado’s most recent prospect rankings from MLB.com. He is slated to start the game on Saturday in Washington, batting seventh and playing left field.
In 433 Triple-A at-bats this season, Vilade was slashing .286/.339/.420 with a .786 OPS, logging seven homers and 43 RBI. He moved around the outfield in Albuquerque, logging time in 54 games in left field, 40 in right field, and 15 in center field. Additionally, he had five games with time spent at first base.
Here’s an example of the power and bat speed Vilade displayed this season, which included a strong recent streak at the plate.
He was selected to the 2021 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game played at Coors Field during this season’s All-Star Game festivities. He started the game as the DH for the National League, and went 0-for-2 at the plate with a pair of groundouts.
So what does Ryan Vilade’s call-up mean for the Colorado Rockies?
As shown with Saturday’s lineup, the Rockies will want to see what Vilade can do at the big league level with games in the 2021 season dwindling down. Colorado already has a crowded outfield but, as manager Bud Black has shown with his usage of another prospect making his MLB debut this season, Colton Welker, he will look to insert him into the lineup when the situation presents itself.
“He’s been on the radar for us since spring training as a guy we were going to keep our eye on,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “We like the overall package of the player, and the bat can be the calling card with solid defense.”
With Connor Joe still out of the lineup with a hamstring injury and the rest of his season in question, those at-bats that Joe would’ve received will likely go now to Vilade. A platoon with Raimel Tapia in left and some relief for Charlie Blackmon in right will likely be his biggest usage.