It's all coming together for Rockies' No. 8 prospect

April 30th, 2023

DENVER -- It’s nice to know High-A Spokane third baseman , the Rockies’ No. 8 prospect per MLB Pipeline, finally feels locked in.

Thompson, 21, a first-rounder and the 31st overall pick in last year’s MLB Draft out of the University of Florida, entered Sunday batting .460 with three home runs, eight doubles and 18 RBIs through 17 games. But it wasn’t until he went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer, a two-run double and four RBIs against Everett on Thursday that Thompson felt he turned in the performance he desires.

“My home run was dead-center,” the left-handed-hitting Thompson said. “My double was down the left-field line, and my single was pull-side. When I’m spraying across the whole field, I feel like I'm really just hitting the pitch that the pitcher gives me versus pulling. Everything was clicking.”

Thompson was born in Longmont, Colo., and became enamored with the Rockies and former shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, but his family moved to Florida when he was barely in school. Thompson is off to a good start on what he hopes is a path to his birth home.

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Thompson played multiple positions for the Gators in college. Although the Rockies play him at third in Spokane, he does extra work at second base and left field just in case. That gives plenty of options to take advantage of Thompson’s offense.

After last year’s Draft, Thompson batted .273 with a home run across 15 games in the Arizona Complex League. While the numbers were respectable, he noted that he had 16 strikeouts to two walks in his 61 plate appearances.

“One thing I worked on coming into the season is my strikeout-to-walk ratio -- that could be interesting based off this year so far,” said Thompson, who entered Sunday with more walks (seven) than strikeouts (six).

“They’re changing the way they are pitching him, because he’s done extremely well,” Rockies player development director Chris Forbes said. “He’s got a lot of conviction in his approach. You see a lot of hitters [get] strike one, and the plan is changed. He’s staying with what he wants to do.”

More first-round fire
Spokane center fielder and Rockies No. 5 prospect , a first-round pick in 2021, had a 13-game hit streak end Saturday. But no one can call that a bad night, since he drew three walks.

Montgomery searched for rhythm early in the season, as Spokane dealt with multiple rainouts.

“He’s starting to get into a rhythm,” Forbes said. “He’s not at the place he was last year -- which was fun to watch, because he did something every game. Right now, he’s adjusting just fine to how he’s being pitched -- staying in the middle of the field, not trying to do too much.”

First-round baby steps
Outfielder , MLB Pipeline’s No. 24 overall prospect and the Rockies’ No. 2 prospect, entered Sunday batting .160 in a disjointed season at Double-A Hartford. He’s played in just 13 games after taking time off for family reasons.

While the numbers are not what’s desired, Forbes noted that Veen is trending in a good direction. Veen was extremely aggressive during Spring Training and has 13 strikeouts at Hartford, but he also has eight walks.

“He’s barreling some balls,” said Forbes. “I like how he’s moving at the plate and trying to get into a good place where he’s not looking up at the scoreboard. He’s going to be fine like he always is.”

Switch-hitting catcher Drew Romo, No. 76 in the Top 100 and Colorado's No. 4 prospect, entered Sunday batting .228 overall, but he has hit .308 over his past seven games. Forbes said the defensive package is beginning to show.

“He calls a really, really good game for us,” Forbes said. “He’s good at recognizing what guys are doing at the plate, staying with our pitchers’ strengths. He’s throwing the ball well and starting to get his knocks.”

Veen and Romo were the ninth and 35th overall picks in the 2020 Draft.

Answering questions
Single-A Fresno shortstop earned a collegiate Gold Glove Award at Kentucky last year before the Rockies took him in the fourth round. Scouting reports questioned his bat, but last Monday Ritter was named California League Offensive Player of the Week after going 8-for-20 (.400) with three home runs. His teammate, right-hander Blake Adams, earned the league’s Pitcher of the Week honor.

Ritter, who battled a hip/groin injury last year, is hitting .246 with a .940 OPS, five home runs, four doubles and 12 RBIs over 18 games this season.

“He’s a strong, athletic kid,” Forbes said. “He might have put some pressure on himself to get that club going offensively, but he’s settled and had strong weeks last week and this week."