SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Outfielder Zac Veen, the Rockies’ top pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, has climbed quickly, from No. 50 at the end of last season to No. 36 on the 2022 MLB Pipeline Top 100 Prospects list.
If he looks down, he won’t see any organization mates on that list. But that might not be all bad for the Rockies, who seem to relish in their just-you-wait-and-see stance.
Catcher Drew Romo, the team’s other first-rounder in ’20 and this year’s No. 2 Colorado prospect, just missed out on the Top 100. Club officials and coaches rave about his ability to extract the most from pitchers -- a known attribute even before he turned pro -- and his contact-oriented, switch-hitting bat that was a question going into his pro career.
Much of the talent remains toward the bottom of the system. Triple-A Fresno, with Veen and Romo as leaders; and High-A Spokane, with 2020 picks Sam Weatherly (No. 12), Chris McMahon (No. 13) and Helcris Olivarez (No. 17), both made their respective playoffs and could represent prospect “waves” that the organization values.
Every bit as intriguing as the stars of the future are the ones who entered the spring as part of the depth picture, but could end up with big league roles. Among the top ten, prospects who could be forced to grow in the Majors at some point this season are corner infielder Elehuris Montero (No. 4), lefty starting pitcher Ryan Rolison (No. 5), first baseman Michael Toglia (No. 8) and corner outfielder and first baseman Ryan Vilade (No. 9).
The Rockies are also receiving a return on their investments in Latin American talent. Outfielder Yanquiel Fernández (No. 16), infielder Dyan Jorge (No. 18) and infielder-outfielder Juan Guerrero (No. 24) are new on the Rockies Top 30. Others signed out of Latin America who stayed on this year’s list are shortstop Ezequiel Tovar (No. 6), infielder Adael Amador (No. 10), infielder Warming Bernabel (No. 14) and Olivarez.
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2021 preseason list to the 2022 preseason list.
Jump: Ezequiel Tovar, SS (2021: 21 | 2022: 6)
Always known for his defensive wizardry -- he could play shortstop in the big leagues right now -- Tovar’s bat started showing up with a lot more impact. He’s had strong contact skills, but started impacting the ball more in his full-season debut and earned a promotion to High-A right after he turned 20.
Fall: Aaron Schunk, 3B/2B (2021: 5| 2022: 19)
Schunk entered pro ball with a reputation for a solid approach at the plate and hit like it (.306/.370/.503) during his debut after being drafted in 2019. Things snowballed on him in 2021 and he let the game speed up on him, finishing with a .633 OPS and concerns about him swinging through too many fastballs.
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.
Hit: 60 -- Zac Veen
Power: 55 -- Michael Toglia (Zac Veen, Benny Montgomery, Elehuris Montero, Brenton Doyle, Hunter Goodman)
Run: 70 -- Benny Montgomery
Arm: 60 -- Drew Romo (Zac Veen, Benny Montgomery, Elehuris Montero, Ezequiel Tovar, Brenton Doyle, Aaron Schunk, Colton Welker, Julio Carreras)
Defense: 70 -- Ezequiel Tovar
Fastball: 65 -- Jaden Hill (Helcris Olivarez)
Curveball: 60 -- Ryan Rolison
Slider: 60 -- Sam Weatherly
Changeup: 60 -- Jaden Hill
Control: 55 -- Chris McMahon (Ryan Rolison)
How they were built
Draft: 19 | International: 9 | Trade: 2
Breakdown by ETA
2022: 8 | 2023: 9 | 2024: 6 | 2025: 7
Breakdown by position
C: 2 | 1B: 2 | 3B: 5 | SS: 3 | OF: 6 | RHP: 8 | LHP: 4