5 standouts from the Colorado Rockies 2021 draft class

ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - APRIL 01: A Colorado Rockies ball bag sits on the warning track before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on April 01, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - APRIL 01: A Colorado Rockies ball bag sits on the warning track before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on April 01, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

The Colorado Rockies 2021 draft class performed admirably in their pro debuts, primarily in the Arizona Complex League (ACL).

Bill Schmidt, in his first draft as the captain of the ship, continued the recent trend of prioritizing a plethora of pitching. This time, it looks like an awful lot of difference makers are on their way through the minors.

With over three weeks of minor league ball — and 2021’s small sample — we have an idea of which Colorado Rockies prospects from last year’s draft are making the biggest splashes.

Benny Montgomery, as a first-round pick who has played respectably so far, won’t receive further mention.

Joe Rock, LHP, Spokane Indians (High-A)
2022 Stats: 17.0 IP, 1.59 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 21 K

The Rockies’ third pick (Competitive Balance Round B) came via Ohio University where he was a less-heralded prospect, despite putting up gaudy numbers as a 6-foot-6-inch lefty.

Expectations were relatively high for Rock (whose name is perfect for the Rockies organization), but he’s managed to surpass them.

After making four dominant appearances in the ACL last season, Rock was sent off to High-A Spokane. Skipping Low-A isn’t uncommon for high-end draft prospects but it was certainly a huge talent jump for Rock coming from Ohio University.

Impressively, Rock has hit the ground running, looking elite in his first three starts and looking ready for the next challenge.

In 11 innings with Spokane, Rock has a 1.59 ERA backed by 21 strikeouts and just 14 baserunners allowed (6 walks, 8 hits).

The lanky lefty is so effective for several reasons. First, his frame lends itself to a very deceptive delivery and a unique approach angle.

Beyond the physicals, Rock has a solid mid-90s fastball with arm-side movement, a wipeout slider, and a changeup that could end up above-average.

If the Rockies aid Rock in his development, there’s a sky-high ceiling. A promotion to Double-A in the late summer isn’t out of the question and neither is a spot as a top 5 organizational prospect.

Hunter Goodman, C/1B, Fresno Grizzlies (Low-A)
2022 Stats: 73 PA, .294/.342/.515, 3 HR, 6 2B

The second hitter drafted by the Rockies, Hunter Goodman rakes.

The University of Memphis product slugged a ridiculous 21 homers in a 56-game season for Memphis before being drafted. Goodman has picked up right where he left off.

He already has three homers in 18 games this year. The usual expectation for a slugger is that they won’t make a lot of contact and struggle with strikeouts, right?

Well, Goodman owns a .294 average early this year with a reasonable 24.7% strikeout rate after posting even better numbers in the ACL.

Defensively, Goodman has mostly played first base this year after exclusively catching in the ACL. Fortunately, the bat — as we’ve covered — profiles well at first base.

Goodman is one of the more likely hitters on the Low-A Fresno Grizzlies to receive a promotion to High-A Spokane, should he continue to mash.

Evan Shawver, LHP, Fresno Grizzlies
2022 Stats: 16.0 IP, 1.13 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 15 K

Now, we enter more unknown territory. However, by no means should Evan Shawver remain unknown to Rockies fans.

The lefty had a successful career at the University of Cincinnati before the Rockies gladly snagged him in the seventh round.

Thus far in his pro career, the 6-foot Shawver has allowed just two earned runs. This year, he’s struck out 15 and allowed just 17 baserunners (five walks, 12 hits) across 16 innings.

Of course, we’d love a slightly larger sample but the early success doesn’t come as a surprise.

At Cincinnati, Shawver flashed an above-average fastball and slider with a budding changeup, to go along with consistently good command. If the changeup keeps coming along, Shawver could stick around as a rotation cog through the minors.

Mason Green, LHP
2022 Stats: 14.2 IP, 3.68 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 15 K

The Rockies’ 12th-round pick out of the University of Central Missouri (Division II) has quickly proven he’s going to make his presence felt in the organization.

The lefty has a short and repeatable delivery and mixes his low-90s two-seam fastball with a slider that gets heavy sweeping action and a changeup with heavy fade that tunnels pristinely with his fastball.

Green can also tighten his slider into more of a cutter, giving him a workable starter’s arsenal.

Green has had some minor command issues that have led to seven walks in 14.2 innings thus far but he typically works with pace on the mound and gets ahead of hitters where he can use his breaking ball and changeup to rack up outs.

Green has struck out 15 batters on the season, showing his stuff has had no problem translating from the Division II ranks to Low-A. His 3.68 ERA in the early going suggests that as well.

Left-handed pitching has become a premium, especially for the Rockies, and Green’s early success deserves attention as he looks to climb the ranks.

Luke Taggart, RHP
2022 Stats: 11.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.53 WHIP, 14 K

Taggart actually went undrafted out of the University of Oklahoma. Perhaps that put a chip on the righty’s shoulder as he’s sliced and diced his way through pro hitters so far.

Taggart was actually fast-tracked to High-A Spokane this year along with Joe Rock and outfielder Robby Martin (eighth-round pick), making his early-season performance that much more impressive.

In 11.1 innings, the late-inning reliever has yet to give up a run, has struck out 14, and has a WHIP of just 0.53.

What a find this is turning out to be for the Rockies as Taggart is already making his case to finish the season in Double-A.

Next. Where Colorado's top 10 prospects started the season. dark

The MiLB season is long and a lot will happen between now and September but, for now, these 5 names are ones to tuck in your back pocket and check up on throughout the year.