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Right-hander Pint enters Top 100 prospects list

Bridich expresses confidence in Rockies' young starters
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

SAN DIEGO -- Right-hander Riley Pint, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2016 Draft, moved into MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list on Monday. Pint will begin the '18 season where he spent last year, with Class A Asheville.

Pint, 20, went 2-11 with a 5.42 ERA in 93 innings over 22 starts last season, his first full year in the Minors. Rockies director of player development Zach Wilson said last season was a necessary education for Pint, ranked No. 3 in the Rockies' system by MLB Pipeline.

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SAN DIEGO -- Right-hander Riley Pint, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2016 Draft, moved into MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list on Monday. Pint will begin the '18 season where he spent last year, with Class A Asheville.

Pint, 20, went 2-11 with a 5.42 ERA in 93 innings over 22 starts last season, his first full year in the Minors. Rockies director of player development Zach Wilson said last season was a necessary education for Pint, ranked No. 3 in the Rockies' system by MLB Pipeline.

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"He's continuing to learn his delivery and understand his body," Wilson said. "This year, we're going to allow him to really unleash all of his weapons, so there won't be certain restrictions on him that there were last year in terms of pitch mix.

"Right now, it's about continued experience. There were bouts last year with success, and then there were bouts with some adversity. All those things helped make him better."

• MLB Pipeline's Top 100 prospects

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: With Jesse Winker graduating from @MLB's Top 100 Prospects list, #Rockies RHP Riley Pint enters: https://t.co/TuTZgd5PTS pic.twitter.com/hsKC3xQgxl

Pint's fastball has been clocked at over 100 mph, but his secondary pitches -- especially his changeup -- are far ahead of the heater. So the Rockies had Pint use last season to develop the fastball. A lot of is finding the right deliver for his growing body. Pint is listed at 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds, but Wilson said he has grown to 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds. This year, there will be greater flexibility in pitch selection, although fastball command will still be a priority.

Wilson said it's not clear how big he will be when his growth stops, but he is confident that however big Pint ends up being, his understanding and effectiveness will grow.

"Right now, this is where he's going to start," Wilson said. "He's in a good place as we leave Spring Training. And really, it's not about where you start. It's about that cumulative effect, day after day, year after year of continuing to get better."

Rockies stick with their young arms
Even during their run to the Wild Card last season, the Rockies never made a move toward acquiring a veteran starting pitcher. They didn't do it during the offseason, nor did they seek experienced depth at the end of Spring Training even though their six pitchers on the current staff and Jeff Hoffman (working his way back from a shoulder injury) are the only starters on their 40-man roster who have started a Major League game.

Of course, an unfortunate run of injuries could cause the Rockies to reconsider. But beyond Hoffman, the Rockies' depth is at Triple-A Albuquerque in two pitchers on the 40-man -- righty Yency Almonte, their No. 10 prospect, and lefty Sam Howard, No. 17 -- plus non-roster right-hander Zach Jemiola and lefty Harrison Musgrave, who also could pitch as a reliever.

The fact that general manager Jeff Bridich's philosophy to develop pitchers first has resulted in confidence. Right-hander German Marquez is the only current Rockies starter not drafted or signed by the club, but he was acquired from the Rays before making the Majors. Almonte came in a trade with the White Sox.

Video: COL@ARI: Marquez freezes Goldschmidt in 1st

"If we can get guys who come into this organization, understand what our general philosophies are and how we need to do things to be successful, hopefully all that adds up to not just depth but also talent and performance," Bridich said.

So the Rockies are a bad week of injuries away from someone's big league debut. Almonte and Howard were being used as starters late in camp, while Musgrave was being introduced to relief-type work.

"Both Almonte and Howard -- in very specific ways for each guy -- showed growth from where they were last year," Bridich said. "They both came into camp ready to grow and ready to compete, so there are a lot of thoughts about both those guys as they left Major League camp and went to Triple-A. Is there still work to be done? Do they still need seasoning and certain things to happen before they're truly ready? Probably, but I would say it's nice to see their development."

Video: Top Prospects: Yency Almonte, RHP, Rockies

Injury updates
• Right-hander Carlos Estevez, who missed much of Spring Training with a left oblique injury, will throw a simulated game Tuesday at the Rockies' complex in Scottsdale, Ariz.

• Lefty Zac Rosscup has a wart on his left middle finger. He has taken an injection, and the Rockies are seeing if that works before trying other methods.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

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