The Rockies took outfielder Brenton Doyle in the fourth round last year, meaning he wasn’t a draft afterthought.
But Doyle came from Division II Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W.Va. So Rockies farm director Zach Wilson has answered diamond-in-the-rough questions about Doyle, despite the 21-year-old hitting .383/.477/.611 with eight home runs and 17 stolen bases at Rookie-level Grand Junction.
“This is how I sort of explained it,” Wilson said. “If he went to a school that people had heard of, for me he would’ve been a first-rounder. That’s the type of tools he has.”
Wilson has spent 18 years in the Rockies’ organization, the first nine as a scout. When he looks at the 21-year-old Doyle through a scouting prism, scrutinizing his multiple tools and projecting, Wilson said, “Right now the limitless ceiling that he has is impressive.”
Doyle is 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds with impressive raw power. But early on, the righthanded batter wasn’t taking advantage of the leverage his height creates. He was spread out and slightly crouched.
“So we stood him up taller,” Wilson said, “which allowed him to see the ball a little longer and really allowed him to use his lower half and then create leverage with his arms, the lankiness of his arms.”
Seeing the ball better enhanced Doyle’s pitch recognition and helped him lay off breaking pitches in the dirt.
Doyle, who led the Pioneer League in batting, on-base percentage and OPS (1.088), missed three weeks with a fractured left cheekbone after getting hit with a foul ball while on the top step of the dugout.
Doyle showed the ability to hit balls hard to right-center field and to shorten up with two strikes and make hard contact. He made 33 starts in center field, which he can play well because of how he runs, and 11 in right field, where he has plenty of arm. Wilson said Doyle’s reads, jumps and accuracy are all playable.
“But as you look toward the future,” Wilson said, “and the type of athlete he is, the type of aptitude that he has and what he’s presently able to do, he’s going to be solid-average to plus in all those ways.”
— The Rockies hired Jermaine Clark to scout northern California and northern Nevada. He played 1,041 games in 10 seasons in the minors, 46 games in four seasons in the majors, scouted with the Athletics for nine years and most recently was an assistant coach at Fresno State. He replaces Darin Holcomb, who played four seasons in the Rockies’ system before back problems forced him to retire in 2011. Holcomb spent eight years as a Rockies scout, the past four in the area Clark is assuming.
— Jon Luckens left the organization to become an international crosschecker for the Diamondbacks. He scouted southern California for 12 years and signed current Rockies Nolan Arenado and Ryan McMahon.