The Colorado Rockies are in a good place. While All-Star second baseman D.J. LeMahieu’s likely departure in free agency is unenviable, the team is extremely deep when it comes to bats. It’d be weird if they weren’t.
While we’re all pumped to see Rodgers break through, there is far more to Colorado’s exceptional organizational infield depth.
Rodgers was John’s 16th overall prospect entering 2018, but not far behind was another key name, in at No. 28.
McMahon has proved all he can in the minors and exceeded rookie limits in 2018. The 2013 second-rounder can hit. While awaiting his turn at Coors Field, he hit .337 in 125 games over the past two years for Triple-A Albuquerque.
The lauded bat hasn’t yet translated to the big leagues, but a very clear lack of playing time is what I choose to blame. He turns 24 a month from now, on December 14, and has proven capable at first, second and third base.
Having graduated from the MiLB ranks in 2018, the 3rd-round pick in 2016 out of Cal State was impressive in 24 appearances for the Wild Card champion Rockies.
A 24-year old infielder who made one appearance in center for Colorado, he’s been productive his entire pro career with an on-base approach that compliments a contact bat.
Arguably the biggest riser in the minors over the past year, Welker was selected one round after Hampson in 2016. He turned 21 years old last month, and had a breakout year in 2018.
Like a younger McMahon, he’s mostly a third baseman with a touch of first-base ability right now. After combining for 11 home runs in his first two seasons, in 118 games, he hit 13 home runs in 114 games this year for High-A Lancaster.
He saw a big rise in strikeouts, but that’s an easy sacrifice when you hit .333 and walk 42 times. His bat is one of the biggest risers in the minors, and while the youngster is a work in progress defensively, he’ll reach Double-A next year with lofty expectations.
The 19-year-old shortstop had as high a ceiling as any 2017 draft prospect. The son of one of my old Frisco RoughRider pals — and a good, good man — he would have played for his father James, who is an assistant coach at Oklahoma State, had he not been drafted 48th overall.
Vilade conveniently reminds folks of Rodgers, with defensive prowess at shortstop and a likely expansion coming to second and third base. He can hit for average and power and is as smart a player as you’d expect from top Division 1 school’s coach. Next year is his age 20 season and while he’s a long way from the top, he’s another potential stud in a studly system.
Another son of an accomplished dad, Nevin is the son of former San Diego Padres great and current New York Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin. Drafted in the first round (38th overall) in 2015, Tyler has a power bat, like his dad, but is more of an athlete than a bopper. And like many great people, he’s a part of the May 29 birthday club along with yours truly.
Like Welker, his move to Lancaster was a rewarding one. He hit the same 13 home runs mate across the diamond. Not just 13 home runs, he topped that career-high total with a .328/.386/.503 slash in an even 100 games. He added 25 doubles and a 77:34 K:BB ratio is all you can ask for these days.
He’s currently leading all Arizona Fall League participants with a salivating .420 batting average over 15 games. From his 21 hits, two are doubles and two triples. 14 walks in 15 games (a silly .530 OBP) ain’t too shabby, either.
The 21-year old corner infielder also made two appearances in the outfielder corners this past season, one apiece. Like every other name on this list, the more positions he can acquaint himself with the better. The system is loaded and eventually the Rockies will have what we call “good problems” to have.