Colorado Rockies Farm System Update: Fantastic in Fresno

May 28, 2022; Hoover, AL, USA; Florida second baseman Sterlin Thompson (26) throws to first after fielding a bouncer up the middle to record an out against Texas A&M in the SEC Tournament at the Hoover Met in Hoover, Ala., Saturday. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-The Tuscaloosa News Sports Sec Baseball Tournament Texas A M Vs Florida

The Colorado Rockies farm system has improved dramatically over the last two years. 

That combined with a recognition that there were several players already in the system who were underrated and overlooked for a while has led to a sudden and swift rise of the farm rankings lists provided by prospect evaluators.

A new Top 10 according to MLB Pipeline is populated with a myriad of fresh faces for us to familiarize ourselves with so let’s begin with a look at the players ranked 10-6 and why they are promising for the Rockies’ future.

For reference, the remarkably intriguing, switch-hitting giant Michal Toglia, who is making some waves already in MLB, is ranked 14th right now.

  1. Jaden Hill (SP)

Like most of Colorado’s pitchers in 2022, Hill has spent most of the season hurt which has delayed his projected arrival in the Bigs to 2025.

Once he did get out there, though, he pitched pretty well with a 3.48 ERA at the complex league before being moved to A-ball in Fresno where he has pitched to the tune of a 2.45 ERA over 7.1 innings pitched.

The peripherals have been solid as well with an astronomical 17.18 K/9 and a 2.45 BB/9 rate so far. The Rockies’ second-round pick in 2021, Hill has a ton of pedigree and talent with a fastball, slider, and change-up that all grade out above league average. Scouts have compared his stuff and action to Walker Buehler and Colorado clearly hopes he can get healthy and have a similar kind of recovery from Tommy John that the Dodgers ace had.

  1. Jordan Beck (OF)

Beck was taken with the Rockies’ third pick in the most recent draft and has immediately begun to show off the skills that had so many calling this a steal for the club in the sandwich round.

A big guy (6’3, 225) Beck boasts pop and athleticism with evaluators giving him above-average grades on power, defense, arm, and speed even if none are seen as elite.

So far in 26 games of pro ball, he has hit. Slashing .306/.404/.469 for a 141 wRC+ in the complex league he too was moved to Fresno in August and got right to work. Over 11 games in A-ball he is hitting .282/.462/.487 with two home runs nine RBI, and 11 runs scored. That’s good for a 153 wRC+ buoyed by an impressive 25 percent walk rate.

  1. Warming Bernabel (3B)

Bernabel is a microcosm of the Rockies system and its rise. Mostly overlooked during his first two years on the farm, his consistent hitting now up through High-A has forced evaluators to give him his props. A 129 wRC+ in A-ball earned him the promotion and he has slashed .305/.315/.486 since.

He has also stolen 23 bases this season and has never struck out at a clip higher than 15 percent. Also seen as a decent defender at third base, it remains to be seen whether or not he can pack the punch often needed at a corner position. He’s hit 14 home runs this year, though, which when combined with his excellent contact rate certainly makes for a potentially interesting package here.

  1. Sterlin Thompson (IF/OF)

Whenever someone says the Rockies “didn’t get anything” for Trevor Story you can politely remind them that they actually got the draft pick that ended up being used on Sterlin Thompson.

Like Beck, he is a versatile all-around hitter, athlete, and defender who also brings a unique element of having extensive experience and comfort playing second and third base. His approach and contact skills are heavily praised and have shown up in a .348/.380/.500 slashline so far in Fresno.

Thompson might be the best pick among these players a bit further away from the bigs to be a fast riser as he has an advanced feel for hitting and a strong baseball IQ that could push him forward.

  1. Benny Montgomery (OF)

With all of these corner guys hitting the ball over the park, someone is going to need to roam around the middle. Montgomery may well be tabbed to be that guy with speed and defense grades that come out well above average to elite.

He seems primed to become the Rockies centerfielder of the future if he can hit enough. 

He had a quality rookie campaign (116 wRC+) before getting off to a slow start this season and then really ramping it up. He currently sits with a slashline of .313/.394/.502 for a wRC+ of 132 so far in 2022. 

All of these players are long-term projects none of whom are currently slated to make it to MLB before 2025, though all are trending in the right direction and each has the potential to jump up their timetable with a very strong 2023.

Either way, they should all be arriving around the same time and represent a great deal of talent spread across various skill sets. It would be nice to see a few more pitchers among the bunch, especially considering the only one has pretty big injury concerns attached.

Still, its easy to see why the Colorado Rockies farm system has so quickly become one of the best in the business. The club quietly put together several strong drafts and took a few key risks that so far look like they might pay off huge somewhere down the line.

The big league team is tough to watch right now, but these players are providing some semblance of hope for the future.

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