Colorado Rockies Top 20 Prospects

20) David Hill – RHP 

Date of Birth: May 27th, 1994

Height/Weight: 6’2”/ 195 pounds

Bats/Throws: Right/Right 

Acquired: Drafted in 4th Round ( 107th overall) in 2015 

At the bottom of the list of twenty for the Rockies, is 2015 fourth round draft pick David Hill. Just 21 years old out of the University of San Diego, Hill pitched in eight games (seven starts) for the Colorado Rockies short A affiliate Boise Hawks in 2015. In those eight games, Hill put up an ERA 3.09 in 23 1/3 innings pitched, while striking out 23 batters to only nine walks, and putting up a WHIP of 1.24. As with many other stat lines, it is but a small sample size, but Hill was able to show a strong command of the strike zone and a good presence on the mound in that short time. At USD, Hill was a model of consistency for the Torreros, and showed that same ability in his short time in the Rockies minor league system in 2015.

Hill lacks the ‘wow’ stuff that is often seen with the highest profile pitching prospects, but that does not mean that Hill is not great on the mound. Hill is known for having a a great feel for the strike zone, which allows his fastball, which sits 92-94 mph, to profile better than it would otherwise. Hill has shown a strong secondary pitch in his slider, although he has lacked sufficient consistency with that pitch in the past. However, if Hill can show more consistency with his slider, and develop a more refined third pitch, he could certainly be a solid mid-to-back of the rotation starter for the Rockies somewhere down the line.

19) Ryan Castellani – RHP

Date of Birth: April 1st, 1996

Height/Weight: 6’3”/ 193 pounds

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Acquired: Drafted in 2nd round (48th overall) in 2014 

While most of the attention falls on fellow pitching prospects like Jon Gray, Eddie Butler, and Kyle Freeland due to their further development, Ryan Castellani may be the next big thing in the Rockies minor league system in terms of pitchers. Drafted right out of high school in the second round of the 2014 draft, Castellani was a standout performer in his time as an Arizona high schooler. Castellani pitched as high as A ball last year, with the Rockies single A affiliate the Asheville Tourists. Castellani threw 113 1/3 innings in a total of 27 games started, finishing with an ERA of 4.45. However, despite the apparent struggles, he did strike out 94 batters and walked only 29. Obviously not the best season, but for his first full season of professional ball, Castellani performed well.

Despite being two years younger than more recent draftee David Hill, Castellani seems to have a much more advanced feel for pitching than his age would suggest. The best thing Castellani has going for him is his strong pitching frame, that allows him to throw with strong velocity, which should only increase as he grows more into his frame. He currently sits in the low 90s with his fastball, but that could increase as he adds size and strength. He currently sports a curveball and changeup that both need refinement, although he can consistently throw all three pitchers for strikes. Out of all his pitches, his most valuable should be his fastball, given that it has sink on it, which leads to a lot of ground ball outs, something that will play very well at Coors Field. At this point, Castellani really only needs to fine tune his various pitchings, and develop stronger command, and he should eventually be a solid mid-rotation starter in the next several years.

18) Cristhian Adames – IF

Date of Birth: July 26, 1991 

Height/Weight: 6’0”/ 185 pounds

Bats/Throws: Switch/Right

Acquired: Signed as Free Agent in 2007 

Perhaps the longest tenured prospect in the Colorado Rockies minor league system, Adames was initially signed way back in 2007, when he was only 14 years old. Now twenty-four, Adames is not necessarily old for his prospect status, although he has developed a bit slower than the Rockies would have hoped. He did make his big league debut in 2014, but he ended up back on the Rockies Triple A team for most of 2015, before his late season call up. In 511 plate appearances over 116 games, Adames slashed .311/.362/.438 while striking out only 11% of the time and walking 7% of the time. By comparison, in his 58 plate appearances in 26 games with the Rockies, Adames slashed only .245/.298/.302 while striking out 19% of the time and walking just over 5% of the time. Adames similarly struggled in 2014, and has been unable to show what he can do at the big league level to this point.

While it may be surprising he was promoted last season, his glove was likely the main reason for that promotion. Adames sports a strong glove, good instincts, and a great throwing arm. He also displays some versatility, with his ability to also competently both third base and second base, further increasing his big league value for the Rockies. While Adames will likely stick in the Major Leagues due to his strong glove, his bat has left a lot to be desired up to this point. Given his strong defense, Adames has made some strides at the plate, knowing if he does enough at the plate, his defense will be able to carry him in the long term. While it remains to be seen if he can do enough to be a full time player, at the least, given his positional versatility and strong defense, Adames can be a useful utility player.

17) Jesus Tinoco – RHP

Date of Birth: April 30th, 1995

Height/Weight: 6’4”/ 190 pounds

Bats/Throws: Right/Right 

Acquired: Trade with Toronto Blue Jays in 2015

Next up on the list is one of the three players acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays as a return for Troy Tulowitzki at last year’s trade deadline, RHP Jesus Tinoco. The least polished of the three, Tinoco was signed out of Venezuela in 2011 by the Toronto Blue Jays. Upon being traded to Colorado, Tinoco finished last season with the single A Asheville Tourists. In seven starts, over 40 innings, with the Tourists, Tinoco pitched to an ERA of 1.80, with 37 strikeouts to only eight walks, a truly impressive debut in the Rockies organization. Prior to the trade, Tinoco pitched 81 and 1/3 innings with Toronto’s single A affiliate and finished with an ERA of 3.54 with 68 strikeouts and 22 walks. Overall, Tinoco took a big step forward in his development with his 2015 season.

At 6’4” Tinoco has a lot of natural size and arm strength, which helps his long term projections. With such size and power, Tinoco can consistently hit mid-90s with his fastball with a good amount of sink, which allows him to get a lot of ground ball outs. As mentioned above with Castellani, this ability to get ground balls should once again play very well at home run happy Coors Field. Tinoco also has two secondary pitches, his slider and changeup, that have shown some improvement, although his adjustments have been slow to this point. Tinoco has developed slowly, but recently he has made some good adjustments and taken a decent step forward in his development. In the long term, it may be more likely that Tinoco ends up in the bullpen, but he still good be a starter if he works out the kinks.

16) Dom Nunez – C

Date of Birth: January 17th, 1995

Height/Weight: 6’0”/ 175 pounds

Bats/Throws: Left/Right

Acquired: Drafted in 6th Round (169th overall) of 2013 Draft 

Originally an infielder when drafted, Nunez had some catching experience in high school. Out of the draft, the Rockies approached him about moving to catcher, and Nunez agreed with the idea. Nunez got as high as A ball last season, in his first full year in the Rockies organization after being drafted in 2014. Nunez played 104 games with the Asheville Tourists, accumulating 373 at bats, and finished with a slash line of .282./.373/.448 with 13 home runs.

Despite being relatively new to the position, Nunez has so far excelled as a catcher, and has received some rave reviews. He is said to have very soft hands while catching, and is also said to be very agile. Add that to his already well developed receiving skills, and Nunez seems to have what it takes to be a catcher long term. At the plate, Nunez is an above average contact hitter with some decent power potential that could get better as he develops further. Nunez is still relatively new to the Rockies organization, but he is already viewed as the best pitch receiver in the whole organization. Nunez has a lot of developing left to do, but he has already gotten off to a rapid pace to this point.

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