The latest on Rockies top prospects

July 2nd, 2022

Welcome to the Rockies prospect update, where you’ll find news, promotions and standout performances, all year long.

Rockies top prospect: Rankings | Stats | Box scores

Veen puts on a clinic at High-A, highlighted by blast (July 1)
Zac Veen
kicked off July with a big-time performance.

MLB Pipeline's No. 27 overall prospect played a big role in High-A Spokane's 9-4 win over Vancouver.

After the pandemic took away Veen's 2020 season after he was selected as the ninth overall Draft pick that year, the young prospect has been soaking in daily playing time after making the jump straight out of high school.

"As the season goes on, there are moments where, honestly, you see a guy go down with COVID, or just unfortunate things happen where you don't really get to play the game, so I've just been grateful to be able to play the game," Veen said about playing with a constant smile on his face. Full story »

Bernabel, Fernandez shine at Single-A Fresno (June 29)
The California League better watch out, because Warming Bernabel is getting hot.

The Rockies' No. 14 prospect continues to mash at Single-A Fresno, producing his second consecutive multi-homer game in the Grizzlies’ 13-6 trouncing of Stockton. Bernabel homered twice in the June 28 series opener at Stockton and twice again in Fresno’s latest win, socking a pair of two-run dingers to center for his second straight five-RBI night. Both scored No. 16 prospect Yanquiel Fernandez, who finished 5-for-6 with four runs scored. Bernabel added a stolen base for good measure, his 20th in 26 tries this season.

All told, it’s been a wildly productive return to Single-A for Bernabel, who is hitting .328 with 10 homers, 20 steals and a .927 OPS in 62 games in his first full season at the level, as a 20-year-old. The 19-year-old Fernandez sports a .801 OPS and eight homers in his first year at the level. -- Joe Trezza

Second-round pick Hill nearing game action (June 27)
Jaden Hill, who was Colorado's second-round pick (No. 44 overall) in the 2021 MLB Draft, is nearing game action as the former LSU star returns from Tommy John surgery during last year's the collegiate season.

Hill, ranked as the Rockies' No. 11 prospect by MLB Pipeline, threw his first live batting practice last week at the Rockies' Salt River Fields at Talking Stick complex.

"He's looking like he's back to the mid to upper 90s with his fastball, and has a really good changeup," Rockies player development director Chris Forbes said. "He's spinning the breaking ball. I think he's spinning it full. He'll have another live BP, then you're hoping to get him into games."

Forbes said that Hill, 22, will begin his pro career in the Arizona Complex League. It's not clear how far he will advance in the Minors this year. Wherever Hill goes, the club will limit his workload.

"He's a hard worker and he's got intent," Forbes said. "He's got the personality to handle this, because it's not a straight line of progress. He knows he's going to have a couple of setbacks along the way." -- Thomas Harding

Olivarez throwing off the slope (June 27)
Much was expected from left-hander Helcris Olivarez, who is ranked as Colorado's No. 17 prospect by MLB Pipeline, before a left lat injury stopped his progress this spring. Colorado has been careful in bringing him back properly, as the Rockies have not allowed him to throw a pitch in game action this season. But his throwing program is progressing.

"He's getting to the point where he's gotten stronger in the throwing program and we've gotten some slope time," Rockies player development director Chris Forbes said. "So we're getting there.

"I don't think there was any thought of surgery with this. You'd like to rehab first. He's young enough [21] that you don't need to go in there and cause other issues -- scar tissue and all that other stuff. But he's on point right now."

Olivarez, who is on the Major League 40-man roster, had a strong performance in instructional ball as the Rockies prescribed adjustments to give his delivery more efficient direction. -- Thomas Harding

Rolison announces he has undergone surgery (June 15)
Lefty Ryan Rolison, the Rockies’ No. 6 prospect per MLB Pipeline and a player who hoped to make his Major League debut this season, underwent a season-ending left shoulder procedure. Rolison announced the operation -- conducted by Dodgers team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache -- on social media.

The Rockies did not make an official announcement. There is also no timetable for his return, although the hope is he will be back in 2023.

Colorado's top pick (22nd overall) in the 2018 MLB Draft out of Ole Miss, Rolison was hoping to rebound from an injury-riddled 2021. He made a quick jump from Double-A Hartford to Triple-A Albuquerque, but he underwent an emergency appendectomy in June, and then sustained a broken bone in his throwing hand when he was hit by a batting-practice liner while working his way back.

Rolison gained some traction while pitching for Licey in the Dominican Winter League, but shoulder issues struck early in Spring Training. The Rockies hoped he could return after rest and strengthening, but within the last couple weeks surgery emerged as the best option. -- Thomas Harding

Veen snaps slump with two-homer game for Spokane (June 14)
Zac Veen
's recent struggles can most likely be attributed to the ups and downs of a lengthy baseball season but before his June could officially swoon, he did something about it.

Baseball's No. 29 overall prospect homered twice and drove in a season-high four runs to power High-A Spokane past visiting Hillsboro, 9-2. Veen's second-inning tater was his first in 44 at-bats dating back to May 29.

The 20-year-old's three-run homer capped a four-run frame and sent Spokane on its way. He cleared the fences again in the fifth, hammering a 2-0 pitch over the left-field fence for his seventh of the season. It was Veen's second multihomer game of his career and first since last July 15 with Single-A Fresno. Full story »

Tovar homers to begin new hit streak (June 3)
Ezequiel Tovar is raking. 

Colorado's No. 6 prospect has been on a tear from the beginning of the season, and he continued his stellar performance in Double-A Hartford's 9-4 win over Reading. 

The 20-year-old was 2-for-4 in the victory, starting his night with a solo shot to left-center field in the fourth inning. He followed his 11th homer of 2022 with a single in the eighth. The shortstop has had a multihit performance in 46% (21-of-46) of his games this season.

The blast also began a new hit streak for Tovar after his 13-game streak was broken in the second game of the doubleheader against the Fightin Phils on June 2. 

After a 1-for-4 performance on Opening Day on April 8, the Venezuela native has had just one game where his average sat below .260 and 34 games above .300. -- Ethan Sands

Romo homers, doubles in 3-RBI day (June 1)
Drew Romo was everywhere in High-A Spokane’s 6-5 win over Vancouver. The No. 2 prospect (MLB No. 95) homered, doubled, stole a base and scored three times in a three-RBI day.

The 20-year-old got things started quickly with his 10th double of the year in the top of the first to plate the first run of the game. He scored on a groundout before demolishing the first pitch he saw in the fourth for a two-run homer, his fourth of the year. He was plunked in the seventh and promptly swiped his sixth bag of the season, scoring on a single one batter later.

The 35th overall pick of the 2020 Draft, Romo has five multihit games in his past 10 contests, giving him a .310 average with an .821 OPS, 17 extra-base hits and 32 RBIs through 41 games in his sophomore season.
-- Stephanie Sheehan

Guerrero makes sensational play for Grizzlies (May 25)
Outfielder Juan Guerrero covered a lot of ground and then went tumbling over the wall in right to take a home run away from A's No. 5 prospect Max Muncy to help Single-A Fresno secure a 4-2 victory over Stockton at Chukchansi Park.

Hanging onto a two-run lead in the ninth, the Grizzlies recorded the first out of the frame before Muncy put a charge into a 2-2 offering and sent it to the short porch in right. The ball appeared headed to leave the park and cut Fresno's lead to a single run, however, Guerrero had other ideas. The 24th-ranked Rockies prospect flashed a tick above his 50-grade speed and charged toward the 335 marker just inside the foul pole. Without breaking stride, the 20-year-old stuck his glove over the short wall and made the catch before tumbling over it. He held on for the second out of the inning. Full story »

Romo tallies career-high five RBIs (May 25)
Perhaps sliding into the updated Top 100 Prospects list spurred Drew Romo.

Baseball's No. 95 overall prospect homered and tripled en route to a career-high five RBIs to power High-A Spokane past Everett, 9-3, at Avista Stadium. Romo added a walk, scored twice and reached safely in three of his four plate appearances, improving his OPS to .855.

After scorching through April with a .342/.384/.500 slash line, the 20-year-old had leveled off this month, carrying a .264 average and a .681 OPS into the contest. Homerless in his previous 18 games dating back to April 26, Romo put a charge into a 1-1 offering in the third inning that carried over the right-field fence for a three-run jack.

It was the switch-hitting backstop's third long ball of the season and first in 70 at-bats. Full story »