Rodgers headlines Rox in Arizona Fall League

August 31st, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- Infielder Brendan Rodgers, the Rockies' No. 1 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline and the No. 6 prospect in the Minors overall, will highlight a list of seven Rockies who will play with the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League.

Rodgers, 22, has hit a combined .264 with 17 home runs and 65 RBIs at Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque, and will be part of a Rafters team that is comprised of players from the D-backs, Marlins, Nationals and Twins organizations, and will play home games at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Rodgers started the season hitting .275 with 17 home runs and 62 RBIs at Double-A Hartford. In 17 Triple-A games, he has batted .206 with three RBIs. He missed 10 days in Triple-A in August with a left hamstring injury -- a problem he experienced in Hartford. Rodgers appeared in his first Major League camp this season.

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Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said Rodgers, who has extensive experience at shortstop and second base, will play around the infield, as much as the roster structure allows. 

"He'll definitely get some work at third to further that development, and over the course of that season he'll play a little bit of everywhere in the infield, except first base," said Bridich, who indicated Rodgers' hamstring issues are just part of learning to handle the rigors of a long professional season.

Joining Rodgers with the Rafters are outfielder Sam Hilliard, the Rockies' No. 9 prospect; righty pitchers Ryan Castellani (No. 10), Justin Lawrence (No. 17) and (No. 20); lefty pitcher Mitch Horacek; and corner infielder Josh Fuentes.

Hilliard, 24, who's listed at 6-5 and 225 pounds, was a pitcher and position player before the Rockies selected him in the 15th round in the 2015 Draft out of Wichita State. After hitting .300 with 21 home runs and 37 stolen bases at Class A Advanced Lancaster last year, Hilliard is hitting .258 with eight homers and 23 steals at Double-A Hartford.

Castellani, 22, a second-round pick out of Phoenix Brophy Prep, was one of the youngest pitchers at Hartford last year and returned this year with mixed numbers (7-8, 5.40 ERA, 88 strikeouts, 67 walks).

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Lawrence, 23, who developed a unique arm slot before being drafted in the 12th round in 2015, has posted a 2.75 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 52 1/3 relief innings, and a .194 ERA against at Hartford. 

Horacek, 26, a Denver native, is 3-3 with a 2.11 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 59 2/3 innings at Hartford after the Rockies selected him from the Orioles in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft.

Tinoco, 23, obtained from the Blue Jays as part of the deal that sent away star shortstop , is 8-12 with a 4.90 ERA in 25 starts at Hartford. The Rockies plan to introduce him to relief work in the AFL. The Rockies used a similar plan last season with righty , who began this season as a Triple-A starter, but debuted in the Majors out of the bullpen. Bridich said the idea is not necessarily to convert Tinoco, but to broaden his experience and options.

Fuentes, 25, has had a standout performance at Triple-A Albuquerque (.318, 14 HR, 92 RBIs, 33 doubles, 12 triples) while becoming known for more than being a cousin of Rockies star third baseman . Not drafted out of Missouri Baptist in 2014, Fuentes has put himself on the Major League radar.

Anderson believes his command is returning

Rockies manager Bud Black announced that lefty , struggling with an 11.39 ERA in five August starts, will make his next start on Monday at home against the Giants. It will be eight days since his last start, when he gave up seven hits and six runs and didn't escape the first inning in a home loss to the Cardinals.

In search of the command that has escaped him this month, Anderson (6-7, 4.79) threw a bullpen session on Thursday and reported making progress.

"When you're working on your command, you've got to try to throw everything where you want it, and it went really good," Anderson said.