Colorado Rockies Top 10 Prospects Chat

Moderator: Tracy Ringolsby will be here at 2 p.m. Thursday to chat about the Rockies’ top prospects

J.P. (Springfield, IL): Thanks for chatting, Tracy. What were evaluators' opinions of Yency Almonte's season, as well as his ceiling?
Tracy Ringolsby: Rockies were impressed with Almonte both as a person and a pitcher. He was found money for the Rockies. They were ready to release Tommy Kahnle, and wound up dealing him to the White Sox for Almonte. They like his added size and strength and feel once he refines his slider and develops a changeup he could be a starter, but most likely will initially get a look in the bullpen.

Kelly (St. Cloud MN): Did the Rox make a good pick in Robert Tyler? Could he be a fast riser?
Tracy Ringolsby: Let’s give Tyler an opportunity to compete before making judgments. The Rockies obviously hold him in high regard based off drafting him as early as they did in the draft. He was a late sign, which limited his introduction to pro ball in the summer, and a strained hamstring cost him the instructional league. the live arm is certainly there. The question is whether he can develop a breaking ball. If not he has the fastball/changeup to be a late-inning reliever.

J.P. (Springfield, IL): Do you see Garrett Hampson sticking at short in the foreseeable future? As he walked almost as often as he struck out in Boise (and swiped his fair share of bags), do you believe he's ready for full season ball?
Tracy Ringolsby: He is considered an eventual shortstop, but who knows what will happen as his climbs in the minor leagues. Don’t be misled by the fact he figures to get plenty of playing time at second base or even third base. The Rockies are focusing on creating flexibility for prospects to create more potential big-league opportunities. It’s wise. To slot a player into one position limits his options to make the big leagues.

Harry (Denver): What are your thoughts on Pete Lambert? Future reliever or something more?
Tracy Ringolsby: Lambert is one of the rising stars. He has the arm and pitch assortment to be a top of the rotation starter if he commands the curveball. There’s no thought of putting him in the bullpen. Too many tools for that.

Grant (NYC): Forrest Wall - prospect or suspect?
Tracy Ringolsby: Prospect. Don’t be fooled by his playing time at third base and center field as well as second. It’s all about expanding options for a player to get to the big leagues.

Mike (Miami, FL): I've been a fan of "Walkoff" Willie Abreu and his considerable pop from his Miami days. What else does he bring to the table, and will we see him in the top 30?
Tracy Ringolsby: He is a potential run producer with good power. His move to a full-season team this season will give a better long-range read on his potential.

Tony (NC): Are the Rockies really committed to giving Tom Murphy a chance to be the everyday catcher this year or will he backup/platoon with Wolters?
Tracy Ringolsby: He will be given a chance to play on an every day basis. Wolters will be in the mix as well, and will help Murphy in his transition but the expectation is there will not be a platoon, although when Wolters starts it will be against a right-hander.

J.P. (Springfield, IL): So, what should we make of Mike Nikorak at this point? Still cause for optimism?
Tracy Ringolsby: He’s still an exciting prospect. His first year in the system was spent cleaning up mechanics. The past season a strained ligament in his right index finger limited him last summer, but he was impressive in instructional league. This is a young man with a power arm.

Jim (NJ): How far from the top 10 is Forrest Wall?
Tracy Ringolsby: Two spots.

Nick (Pickens, SC): Ryan Castellini seems like a solid prospect. Whats the command/control like?
Tracy Ringolsby: He is slightly above average in those areas, and has a live arm. Key for him will be developing consistency with the slider. The fastball and changeup are a great starting point for his development.

Lou (Biloxi): Høffman or Marquez for the 5th rotation spot in 2017?
Tracy Ringolsby: They will go into spring the top two in the battle, but let’s not overlook Kyle Freeland or Antonio Senzatela. I would be surprised if all four of those pitchers get an opportunity this season.

Jared (Michigan): What are your thoughts on Robert Tyler? How about Ben Bowden?
Tracy Ringolsby: Both are prime prospects. Right now they seem more likely relievers, but with a third quality pitch that could change.

Jake (CO): What are the chances Kyle Freeland develops a third pitch and starts in the bigs?
Tracy Ringolsby: He has the fastball, curveball and a slider. He’s a solid starting candidate and could be in the rotation this year. As he becomes more consistent with a changeup he will be in the mix for a top of the rotation spot, but right now could fit at the back end of the rotation.

Jason (Jacksonville FL): What can you tell me about Jose Gomez? What's his celing ?
Tracy Ringolsby: There is potential. He shows run production for a middle infielder but also needs to refine his play in the field. There is a good skill set. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts to pro ball and builds off his base.

John (NJ): I am REALLY high on Peter Lambert. I saw him throw last year and was blown away by his poise, overall mechanics and pure stuff. His delivery reminded me of Jake Arrieta. How close was he to the top 10? Thanks in advance!
Tracy Ringolsby: As close as you can get without being in the top 10. You are a good evaluator, although I’d say he’s more like Kyle Hendricks.

Norman (Greenville,SC): How good is Pedro Gonzalez ? Is he ready to start in Asheville ?
Tracy Ringolsby: He might have the highest ceiling of any player in the organization. He, however, is very raw right now. It will be an interesting decision on whether he goes to Boise or Asheville. He is a very intelligent player as well as athletically gifted.

Gino (Atlanta,GA): how do yo compare Colton Walker and Tyler Nevin as a 3b? Who's better prospect ?
Tracy Ringolsby: It’s hard to compare right now. They both are legitimate prospects. Nevin basically had a lost 2016 because of a severe hamstring strain, but was able to avoid surgery. Welker has the potential to be a bargain for a fourth-round choice.

Dexter (Atlanta, GA): What's wrong with Nikorak ? Was He close to the top 10 ?
Tracy Ringolsby: Injuries have slowed his development. He is among the prime prospects in the organization, but has to get on the mound and pitch to get better.

GT (Asheville, NC): Is Hampson ready to start the season in High A ?
Tracy Ringolsby: I wouldn’t expect that. I would see Brendan Rogers making the move from Low A to High A with Hampson going to Low A.

Ryan (In a Recliner): Castellani, seems to be getting some positive reviews. I believe it was an earlier chat on here that said he may sneak into top 100. If I'm recalling correctly, do you agree he's top 100? Does Coors cloud any ranking he may have?
Tracy Ringolsby: The Rockies are very high on Castellani, but it’s not likely he will wind up in the top 100. I don’t see Coors impacting any rankings.

Bob (Cleveland): how do you see Tapia panning out this year and in the future? I have read reports he's a possible batting champ. Is the hit tool that good?
Tracy Ringolsby: Given the outfield depth at the big league level and the desire to have Tapia playing I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at Albuquerque to start the season. With David Dahl losing his prospect status, Tapia is the top outfield prospect and second best position prospect in the organization. He has an ability to make contact, and more than putting the ball in play actually driving it. He is an exciting offensive player and solid defensively.

Clayton (Chicago): How big of a step back did Ryan McMahan take in 2016? And can he regain his mojo?
Tracy Ringolsby: I don’t think he took a step back at all. I think it was a good year for him. As the late Hal Keller would so often explain, you can’t tell how good a player can be until you see him bad. McMahon added first base to his resume last summer, adding to the options for him to get to the big leagues. He is a quality athlete and only 21. Don’t overreact to a stumble.

Tyler Durden (Paper Street): Is this a Top 5 farm system? Or maybe Top 8? Or where would you rank it???
Tracy Ringolsby: I can’t really compare to others but I doubt there are many organizations with as many legit prospects.

Brian (Southwest Detroit): I love this system. Is it as deep and strong as I think or am I just drinking the Rockies Kool-aide? Would you say a top 5 or 10 system?
Tracy Ringolsby: Most of baseball is seeing what you do. The current Rockies, actually, are not big on promoting their players. They focus on developing them. Their attitude is hype doesn’t win games.

Dante Bichette's Ghost (Florida): I'm still smarting that the Rox took Mike Nikorak instead of Daz Cameron when they had the chance. Where will Nikorak rank in the Top 30?
Tracy Ringolsby: Let’s wait and see how things play out. Nikorak is still a prime prospect. He has faced some challenges, but the ability is still elite. And his attitude is solid.

Taylor Spink (Cooperstown, NY): Was there any love for Forrest Wall? Whatever happened to him, anyway? Is he still a prospect? Thanks!
Tracy Ringolsby: Nothing happened to him. He is still a prime prospect.

Justin (Tucson, AZ): No Forest Wall? We're his lackluster numbers in the Cal League enough to drop him that much? Noticed in Instructs that he was playing CF
Tracy Ringolsby: No. He is still very much a factor in the Rockies prospect list. I don’t think you can say he dropped much at all.

Danny V (Glastonbury, CT): Hi Tracy. 2015 2nd rounder Peter Lambert got knocked around a bit in his first taste of full-season ball, but still put up respectable numbers for a 19 year-old. Did he receive any consideration for the Top 10? Thanks for the chat!
Tracy Ringolsby: Nobody is worried about him at all.

Kyle (Jacksonville, FL): Would it be fair to compare Ryan McMahon's projected MLB profile to that of Trevor Plouffe, albeit being a left handed hitter?
Tracy Ringolsby: I wold give McMahon a higher projection.

Glenn (Ozark plateau): Tapia best OF defense? Has his defense improved that much or are Rockies OF prospects that bad?
Tracy Ringolsby: He is capable of playing all three outfield spots. He is making adjustments to center field, where he has the skill set but needs playing time.

Chase (Hartford): Left-hander Sam Howard ranked top 5 in ERA and top 10 in K's in Rockies minor leagues, any chance he makes the top 10? Thanks
Tracy Ringolsby: We’ll see how he progresses this year. He’s one of the organizations prime prospects.

Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Name a sleeper from down deep in the minors - Asheville or below.
Tracy Ringolsby: Pedro Gonzalez.

Tony (Los Angeles): How confident are the Rox in Tom Murphy as their long-term catcher. Do they think of Wolters as a starter, too (i.e, a platoon) or do they see one as eventually getting more starts?
Tracy Ringolsby: Murphy has a chance to be the primary man behind the plate at Coors Field for some time. Wolters made tremendous strides for a converted catcher. With his attitude and still set I wouldn’t put any limit on him. He’s a proven overachiever.

Warren (New London): If Brendan Rodgers is an outstanding shortstop prospect, he must be the only one in this history of baseball who played only 50.9% of his games at the position in his first full season. Are the Rockies still trying to reinvent the wheel, or do they not see him as a long term shortstop?
Tracy Ringolsby: When you have young players at the big league level the smartest thing an organization can do is create versatility with its prospects. It creates more opportunities for the player to make the move to the big leagues. Why pigeonhole a young player?

Patrick Guttin (Sandpoint, Idaho): So yeah.....Ryan McMahon...ummm...yeah...lol. Well, he DID start hitting late in the year, what's the prognosis doc? Is Ryan a future hard hitting Rockie starter or utility corner IF/OF guy or is he losing the brass's faith?
Tracy Ringolsby: He had a challenge as one of the youngest players at Double A on a team that did not play a home game. There’s nothing wrong with him. It’s a game of adjustments. Don’t overreacted to a stumble. Most players have a challenge they have to overcome if they are going to meet great expectations.

Pat Murphy (Spokane, Wash): Dom Nunez....I love the guy...did he make the 11-15 range? Does he still fit as a starting catcher somewhere down the line or are we looking at a career backup? His bat seems to play.
Tracy Ringolsby: He’s in the mix and is considered a potential every day catcher. It would be foolish to pigeonhole him as a backup so early in his transition to the position.

Michel (Montreal, Canada): What are your thoughts on Colton Welker and Forest Wall (he seems to be downgrading each year but he's young for his level I believe) ?
Tracy Ringolsby: They are part of the exciting group of prospects the Rockies have been amassing.

Fabio (Italy): Where is Riley Pint 5 years from now, in terms of starting pitcher rankings and home stadium? thanks
Tracy Ringolsby: He will be in the big leagues, overpowering hitters at Coors Field and on the road.

Brodie (Los Angeles): What happened to David Hill? What was his injury? Is he healthy now? He was pitching very well for Asheville. Strong K/BB before injury.
Tracy Ringolsby: He underwent thoracic syndrome surgery, but should be full speed in 2017.

Sebastian (Greenville, CA): Any update on Phil Nevin? Best case scenario for his bat during peak years?
Tracy Ringolsby: He was limited to the one at-bat last year — a double I should add — because of a severe hamstring strain. All is well. The hamstring did not tear away from the bone so surgery was not necessary.

Jake (Canada): Can you talk a little bit about Rosell Herrera? Former top prospect, seven (?) minor league seasons, now 24, had a nice year in AA and brought back on a minor league deal. Still a prospect? Can he be an everyday Major Leaguer?
Tracy Ringolsby: He will have to prove himself. He has talent, but as you put it, seven minor league seasons. Obviously the Rockies still have hope for him or they wouldn’t have brought him back.

Jake (Canada): Can you talk about Stephen Cardullo? Interesting story, fights his way back from Indy exile, plays great in AAA, but fell flat in his first MLB run. Does he get another? Can this guy have an impact on the big club?
Tracy Ringolsby: Great story of a young man who wanted a chance in pro ball, made the sacrifices and got to the big leagues. He’s back with the organization and an emotional favorite of anyone who has met him. With what he has done it is not wise to doubt anything about him.

Levi (Tempe, AZ): Hey Tracy, is a .250 average with 25 home runs reasonable to expect from Tom Murphy at his peak? How many at bats do you think he will get next year?
Tracy Ringolsby: At his peak? I would hope Murphy hits for a better average. I see him as having the opportunity to be the Rockies primary catcher.

bardin (San diego): Opinions appear to be all of the place for Tapia. He has freakish bat-to-ball skills, but he doesn't have much power, he can run very well, but his defense is rather meh. Will his rather odd skill set work in the majors?
Tracy Ringolsby: He drives the ball pretty well. His defense is solid. If he can continue to make the adjustment to center field he will benefit. He gets attention for the way he spreads out with two strikes on him, but what is ignored is he stays low with his swing and drives the ball. He doesn’t just flip it.

Felix (New york): Do you see Salvador Justo as a future closer.His numbers are with a look. Thanks
Tracy Ringolsby: He will have that opportunity. That would be the hope.

Mike (Danville CA): Jeff Hoffman was quite HR prone in his 31 MLB innings, giving up 5 HR on the road in 17-1/3 IP and 2 HR at Coors Field in 14 IP. Is he likely to be prone to gopher balls going forward? His HR doesn't appear to be totally a Coors Field phenomenon (albeit a small sample size)
Tracy Ringolsby: Don’t overreact to a small sampling.

Mike (Danville CA): Do you see either Tony Wolters or Tom Murphy becoming the everyday catcher in Colorado?
Tracy Ringolsby: I think Murphy will get the opportunity. Wolters will, however, get playing time as he continues to develop as a converted catcher.

Mike (Danville CA): When is Brendan Rodgers MLB ETA? If Trevor Story keeps up his performance, which player gets traded or moved from SS?
Tracy Ringolsby: Brendan is coming out of Low A. We will see how quickly he makes the next steps. the Rockies will give him playing time at most of the infield spots. There’s no reason to get into a debate over what happens in the future. The key is to have him force his way to the big leagues. A lot can happen in the next season, much less the next three or four.

Alex (Omaha): You have a good grasp on the minor league system. When do you think is the right time to move prospects for proven pitching? Do you expect the Rockies to make the playoffs this year?
Tracy Ringolsby: I am not big on the Rockies adding “proven” pitching. That has been a disaster over the years. Pitchers with a proven resume worry about keeping everything in tack. The pitchers who have been successful in Coors Field are the home-growns who feel they have something to prove and wear Coors Field as a badge of courage, or middle line to bottom of barrel type who aren’t worried about ERAs, just wins.

Stephen (Denver): Is it safe to say Pedro Gonzalez is an outfielder at this point? And what kind of power do you project from him in a best case scenario?
Tracy Ringolsby: Definitely an outfielder and plus power. He is very raw but has great tools. He’s the guy to watch and see how quickly he rises.

Steven (Lincoln): Thoughts on Daniel Montano? Similar trajectory to Pedro Gonzalez?
Tracy Ringolsby: Let’s wait and see how he handles the adjustments off the field and on the field once he comes to the states. Obviously to give him a $2 million signing bonus there is anticipation.

Nic (AZ): What kind of pitcher do you see Kyle Freeland being at the major league level? Is he a guy that could pitch in the middle of their rotation?
Tracy Ringolsby: The hope is he is a solid middle of the rotation guy. Being from the Denver area he understands pitching at altitude. If the Rockies decide to push the envelope he could initially be a reliever, but the long-range is for him to be a starter and he has the tools to handle that job.

David (Ohio): Do you think there's any chance that Brendan Rodgers makes it to AA Hartford late in 2017? Or does he spend all season in High-A?
Tracy Ringolsby: I think it is very possible. The Rockies organization takes an aggressive approach in the development process. They want to challenge their better prospects. They like the idea of being among the youngest rosters in each league feeling the better prospects will benefit from the challenge.

Mike (Danville CA): What does Colorado do with all their left handed batting outfielders? Do you expect many of them to be traded this year ?
Tracy Ringolsby: I don’t feel there is a major concern about that. They are good hitters. They aren’t platoon types. They have a lineup that will have balance and they won’t have to have the left-handed hitters back-to-back.

Teddy (Spokane): For awhile it seemed like a Rockie could never win a Cy Young due to the inflated stats at Coors. With analytics and advanced stats becoming more involved in the awards process, can you see anyone currently in the organization having a season that could be recognized as the best in the majors, even if it carried an ERA of 3.50-4.30?
Tracy Ringolsby: I would thin it is possible, particularly if the Rockies contend. Jon Gray is getting attention in a hurry. He has a high ceiling. And he developed a fascination with being able to dominate at altitude.

JP (Owasso): What is your opinion of Sam Hilliard? Will he ever hit enough to make it to the big leagues?
Tracy Ringolsby: He has only had two years in the minors so far so let’s not overreact.

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