Stellar defense was shortstop Ryan Ritter‘s calling card in 2022 when the Rockies drafted him in the fourth round out of Kentucky. So far, he’s come up with good answers about how much he would hit as a pro.
In 65 games for Low-A Fresno, Ritter hit .305/.405/.606 with 18 home runs. He had a 24.4% strikeout rate and 12.6% walk rate. The Rockies promoted him to High-A Spokane in early July.
“It’s above-average power,” Rockies assistant farm director Jesse Stender said. “It’s a hit tool that is emerging and has upside. It’s gap-to-gap (power), but he can also put it over the fence.”
The 22-year-old Ritter has shown the ability to stay inside the ball and not deviate from his plan at the plate by chasing pitches.
After going hitless in three straight games to begin the season, a stretch in which Ritter went 0-for-14 with seven strikeouts, he hit safely in 12 consecutive games.
The Rockies have introduced Ritter to second base, where he made 10 of his 64 starts for Fresno. He has a solid-average arm.
“The hands are quick, the hands are smooth,” Stender said. “The feet are maybe a tick behind, but that’s just because the hands are so advanced. He’s got a good feel defensively.
“He’s primarily (a shortstop), but he’s been working quite a bit, especially in early work, defensively at second base. He’s going to have to play multiple positions, and he can handle them.
“He has all the tools you need on a baseball field to play at the major league level. And in a lot of ways as a 22-year-old, he’s still figuring out who he is.”
— Outfielder Yanquiel Fernandez was promoted to Double-A Hartford after hitting .319/.354/.605 in 58 games for High-A Spokane with 17 home runs and 64 RBIs. The 20-year-old, Cuban-born Fernandez had a big 2022 season at Fresno, where he hit .284/.340/.507 with 21 home runs and 109 RBIs in 112 games.
— Righthander Gabriel Hughes, the 10th overall pick last year out of Gonzaga, was promoted to Hartford after going 4-3, 5.50 in eight starts for Spokane with 54 strikeouts and 15 walks and 30 hits allowed in 37.2 innings.