It sure has been a fun season so far in terms of top prospect callups, hasn’t it? With news that Rockies top prospect Brendan Rodgers is expected to join the big league club in Philadelphia this weekend, that means that five of the top 10 in MLB Pipeline’s overall preseason
It sure has been a fun season so far in terms of top prospect callups, hasn’t it? With news that Rockies top prospect Brendan Rodgers is expected to join the big league club in Philadelphia this weekend, that means that five of the top 10 in MLB Pipeline’s overall preseason Top 100 Prospects list are, or have been in the Major Leagues.
And this week alone has seen Top 100 guys Keston Hiura join the Brewers and Austin Riley make his big league debut on Wednesday in Atlanta. Now it’s time for Rodgers, ranked No. 10 overall, and he’s been swinging a hot bat lately, with a ridiculous .442/.489/.721 slash line in 11 May games to bring him to .356/.421/.644 with nine homers in 35 games for the season. And before you think this is because of a hitting-friendly home in Albuquerque, Rodgers has actually hit better on the road (.430/.500/.759).
If you’re excited to see what he can do against big league pitching, starting with a hitting-friendly park in Philadelphia, you’re not alone. Here’s what Rodgers brings to the Rockies’ roster.
Hit: Rodgers’ bat speed has stood out since he was a high schooler in the Orlando, Fla. area heading into the 2015 Draft. He’s always had a knack for barreling up the baseball and making consistent hard contact, particularly to the pull side. Over the past two seasons, the infielder has improved his overall approach at the plate. While he never struck out at an alarming rate, he also didn’t draw many walks. But that has gotten better as he’s advanced. His walk rate this year in Triple-A (9.2 percent) is his highest to date in his career after a nice uptick in that area in Double-A last year. And he’s continued to keep his strikeout rate (16.4 percent) low -- he is both working counts to get better hitter’s pitches and not missing those pitches.
Power: That premium bat speed has already translated to good power and the 22-year-old might just be scraping the surface. His .644 SLG so far this year is a career high, and better than at any stop other than when he played at the launching pad of Lancaster in the Class A Advanced California League. He can get a little pull happy at times, and five of his nine homers this year have gone to left field, but his two hit to center and two the other way are signs of him starting to recognize he has the ability to drive the ball out to all fields.
Run: Rodgers’ speed has never been a big part of his game as he tends to get fringe-average grades. But he’s a good baserunner, one who stole 12 bags a year ago. He may never record crazy home-to-first times, but he’s pretty good underway and has excellent instincts.
Arm: This is perhaps Rodgers’ best defensive attribute. It’s a plus arm and he’s shown he can make all the throws from anywhere on the infield, whether it’s from the hole at short, up the middle at second or from behind the bag or coming in on a bunt at third. He’s learned to throw from the different angles and spots from all three positions.
Field: Despite the lack of pure footspeed, Rodgers can certainly handle playing shortstop every day thanks to his footwork, hands, arm and excellent footwork. He’s shown that sliding over to second or third hasn’t been too arduous a task for him. If he were to settle into playing second base every day, he could be a plus defender there when all is said and done.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.