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Possibilities abound for Rockies' McMahon

MLB's No. 2-ranked first-base prospect has bases covered defensively, ready for Majors move
MLB.com

DENVER -- The Rockies' Ryan McMahon admitted enjoying the buzz that comes with being considered a prospect. Fans recognize him by sight and extend their baseballs, cards and anything else for him to sign. But deep down, he enjoys the littlest of fans, those who may not yet be familiar with the top-prospect lists.

"My favorite thing is the kids who kind of want to have their ball or stuff like that signed," McMahon said. "They really don't know who you are. That's more fun for me, because I remember being that kid who was like, 'I don't know who this is, but I just got a baseball player to sign my ball. I'm going to hold on to this forever.'"

DENVER -- The Rockies' Ryan McMahon admitted enjoying the buzz that comes with being considered a prospect. Fans recognize him by sight and extend their baseballs, cards and anything else for him to sign. But deep down, he enjoys the littlest of fans, those who may not yet be familiar with the top-prospect lists.

"My favorite thing is the kids who kind of want to have their ball or stuff like that signed," McMahon said. "They really don't know who you are. That's more fun for me, because I remember being that kid who was like, 'I don't know who this is, but I just got a baseball player to sign my ball. I'm going to hold on to this forever.'"

McMahon ranks second on MLB Pipeline's list of Top 10 first-base prospects, released Friday.

:: Top 10 Prospects by Position ::

The left-handed-hitting McMahon, 23, batted .355 with 20 home runs, 43 other extra-base hits, 88 RBIs, a .403 on-base percentage and .583 slugging percentage between Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque last season. He ranks behind only the Rays' Brendan McKay, who doubles as a pitcher. McMahon also went 3-for-19 over 17 games in the Majors, as the Rockies brought him up to experience their run to the postseason.

The possibilities are wide open for McMahon in 2018.

Drafted out of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif., in the second round in 2013 as a third baseman, McMahon added first base in 2016, and second base last year. With Mark Reynolds exploring free agency, McMahon is preparing at all three positions in the event other moves affect his positioning.

Video: Top Prospecst: Ryan McMahon, 1B, Rockies

First base is part of right-handed-hitting Ian Desmond's profile. So even if the Rockies don't sign Reynolds or another veteran, they can ease McMahon in with matchups in the beginning. They can also build experienced depth and use Spring Training to judge if McMahon is truly ready. And keeping fresh at the other positions could make McMahon a possibility in the case of injury to a pair of All-Stars/Gold Glove Award winners -- third baseman Nolan Arenado and second baseman DJ LeMahieu.

McMahon was one of the youngest players in Double-A in 2016. Not only did he play for a Hartford team that didn't have a home stadium -- meaning every game was a road trip and meals were sporadic -- but he went to instructional ball and the Arizona Fall League. He was skinny by season's end, and now he is a muscular 215 pounds, and believes it's possible he can maintain his size and strength.

"It's just exciting for everything that's going to happen, everything this team is capable of and the personal things that can happen for me," McMahon said. "There's a lot of excitement surrounding this team. I'm just ready for it."

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

 

Colorado Rockies, Ryan McMahon

Jemiola uses AFL to spring back onto radar

MLB.com

DENVER -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Zach Jemiola was slowed by an oblique injury in 2017, but he has found his way back onto the prospect radar that matters.

Jemiola, 23, did enough in spring to be considered a candidate for a Major League promotion. But while at Triple-A Albuquerque in May, he suffered the injury, struggled upon returning and finished the season 6-5 with a 6.48 ERA in 19 games (18 starts).

DENVER -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Zach Jemiola was slowed by an oblique injury in 2017, but he has found his way back onto the prospect radar that matters.

Jemiola, 23, did enough in spring to be considered a candidate for a Major League promotion. But while at Triple-A Albuquerque in May, he suffered the injury, struggled upon returning and finished the season 6-5 with a 6.48 ERA in 19 games (18 starts).

But Jemiola has put himself back on track with a solid Arizona Fall League performance -- 2-1 with a 2.74 ERA, with 19 strikeouts against nine walks in 23 innings for the Salt River Rafters. The Rockies have a solid group of young starters, but Jemiola will be among those competing to be the next wave. He also has possibilities for a bullpen opening should one arise.

"The season I had this year was not ideal -- I knew I had some adjustments to make in the Fall League," Jemiola said. "I made those adjustments. Instead of worrying about everything else, I just came to have fun in the fall, and it worked real well."

The Rockies' organization has 14 pitchers on its top 30 prospects list according to MLBPipeline.com, but not Jemiola. Among starters, Jemiola, righty Yency Almonte (No. 10) and lefty Sam Howard (No. 12) threw at Triple-A this season and are candidates in line for a spot in the rotation should one of the projected starters suffer an injury or struggle once the season begins.

A ninth-round Draft pick in 2012 out of Great Oak High School in Temecula, Calif., Jemiola can manipulate his fastball into a ground-ball pitch or a four-seamer that has reached 95-96 mph, has an above-average changeup and mixes a cutter and a curve.

Jemiola also has bullpen possibilities. The Rockies tested that route during Spring Training, and he posted a 1.00 ERA and two saves in nine innings over five games in relief. Had Jemiola stayed healthy and progressed, the postseason-bound Rockies may have called upon him.

"I always read the publications, and they never mention him," said Mark Wiley, the Rockies' director of pitching operations. "I kind of wonder why they don't. It's not like he's an 88 mph guy that gets people out, pitches really well. He has pitches. He has size. He has durability. He's a very fierce competitor.

"We've always liked him, and his velocity kept going up, with his competitiveness and the adding of his pitches. This guy will be a big league pitcher, sooner or later."

Jemiola also brings the savvy that comes from dealing with difficult times.

The oblique injury occurred in early May and kept him out until mid-July. Jemiola admittedly expected to be in midseason form when he returned, and wasn't patient with himself. The result was a 2-3 record and 7.58 ERA over his final 10 appearances.

Wiley said Jemiola "expects so much out of himself that it's hard to go, 'That wasn't a bad game I pitched.'" So the Rockies sent him to instructionals, and then the Fall League. Jemiola said talks with Doug Chadwick, who works with Rockies Minor Leaguers on mental skills, were productive.

It came together for him during a Nov. 10 game against Mesa. Lacking his changeup and fastball, Jemiola leaned on his cutter and curve until his main pitches reappeared. He worked around four hits and three walks in four innings, but didn't give up a run.

The lesson was that all doesn't have to go right for Jemiola to make things turn out right.

"I admit I lost some confidence throughout the years," he said. "That's the most disappointed I've ever been in myself: losing the confidence and not getting back that approach -- I don't care who the hitter is. I'm not happy that it happened, but I'm glad that it happened."

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

 

Colorado Rockies, Zach Jemiola

Rockies add 4 players to 40-man roster

Daza, Howard, Rabago, Tinoco protected from Rule 5 Draft
MLB.com

The Rockies added four prospects -- outfielder Yonathan Daza, left-hander Sam Howard, catcher Chris Rabago and right-hander Jesus Tinoco -- to their 40-man roster on Monday to protect them from being exposed in next month's Rule 5 Draft.

Clubs had until 6 p.m. MT to protect eligible players.

The Rockies added four prospects -- outfielder Yonathan Daza, left-hander Sam Howard, catcher Chris Rabago and right-hander Jesus Tinoco -- to their 40-man roster on Monday to protect them from being exposed in next month's Rule 5 Draft.

Clubs had until 6 p.m. MT to protect eligible players.

Hot Stove Tracker

The Rockies now have 37 players on their 40-man roster, leaving them flexibility in case they want to select a player in the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place Dec. 14 at the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Howard, who was selected in the third round of the 2014 Draft, was the Rockies' No. 12 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com. The 24-year-old was a combined 5-8 with a 3.32 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) for Triple-A Albuquerque and Double-A Hartford.

Daza, who recently wrapped up an impressive stint in the Arizona Fall League, slashed .341/.376/.466 and stole 31 bases last year for Class A Advanced Lancaster.

Rabago, who was selected in the 13th round of the 2014 Draft out of UC Irvine, threw out 36 percent of attempted stolen bases last season for Lancaster while hitting .272 with a .350 on-base percentage.

Tinoco was acquired by the Rockies from the Blue Jays as part of the Troy Tulowitzki trade. Last season, he was 11-4 with a 4.67 ERA in 24 starts for Lancaster.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

 

Colorado Rockies, Yonathan Daza, Sam Howard, Chris Rabago, Jesus Tinoco

Almonte, Farris chosen for AFL Fall Stars Game

MLB.com

DENVER -- Two Rockies right-handed pitching prospects who could be factors in 2018, No. 10 prospect Yency Almonte and No. 21 prospect James Farris, have been chosen to the East squad for Saturday night's Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (6 p.m. MT, MLB Network).

• AFL Fall Stars Game rosters revealed

DENVER -- Two Rockies right-handed pitching prospects who could be factors in 2018, No. 10 prospect Yency Almonte and No. 21 prospect James Farris, have been chosen to the East squad for Saturday night's Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (6 p.m. MT, MLB Network).

• AFL Fall Stars Game rosters revealed

Both were acquired in trades by the Rockies, whose pitching staff is heavily dependent on players drafted and developed in the organization or acquired before reaching the Major League level.

• Rockies' Top 30 prospects

Almonte, 23, went 5-3 with a 2.00 ERA in 14 starts at Double-A Hartford, and 3-1, 4.89 while starting seven of his eight appearances at Triple-A Albuquerque. Originally a 17th-round Angels' pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, Almonte was traded to the White Sox for infielder Gordon Beckham in 2014, and acquired by the Rockies from the White Sox for right-handed pitcher Tommy Kahnle on Nov. 24, 2015.

With the Arizona Fall League's Salt River Rafters, Almonte, who was placed on the 40-man Major League roster last winter, is being used in relief and has a 7.04 ERA in six appearances in 7 2/3 innings. The Rockies have him there working on control, but are limiting his innings by having him work out of the bullpen.

Farris, 25, posted a 1.45 ERA with nine saves in 17 games at Hartford, and was 1-3 with a 5.62 ERA and two saves in 31 games at Albuquerque. Selected in the ninth round by the Cubs in 2014, Farris was traded to the Rockies for right-handed pitcher Eddie Butler on Feb. 1, and appeared in Rockies Spring Training as a non-roster invitee.

Farris has a 14.40 ERA in five Arizona Fall League appearances.

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

 

Colorado Rockies, Yency Almonte, James Farris

Rockies' Arizona Fall League overview

Almonte excited to get more work, even out of bullpen
MLB.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Yency Almonte has always been a starter, believes he is a starter and may end up as a starter.

However, the Rockies' No. 10 prospect is working out of the bullpen in the Arizona Fall League.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Yency Almonte has always been a starter, believes he is a starter and may end up as a starter.

However, the Rockies' No. 10 prospect is working out of the bullpen in the Arizona Fall League.

While Almonte has been told that he's going to remain a starter and is just working in relief to limit innings and further develop his stuff, the 23-year old isn't opposed to a future relief role and appears to be excited to add another element to his pitching arsenal.

"I've seen a lot of guys who go up as a reliever, just to get their feet wet," Almonte said. "So I'm pretty pumped about it to be thrown into the action. I'm looking forward to it."

Video: Top Prospects: Yency Almonte, RHP, Rockies

Almonte got his first taste of Double-A late last season, making five starts after he was called up in August 2016. The right-hander started 2017 with Double-A Hartford and after posting a 2.00 ERA through 14 starts, worked his way up to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Almonte finished with a 3-1 record and a 4.89 ERA in eight games (seven starts) at Albuquerque and finished strong as he didn't allow a run in any of his final three appearances (12 innings).

"The experience for me was worthwhile," Almonte said. "To say, 'Wow, I'm throwing to so-and-so, who has been in the show for five, six years, he's dominant.' It just showed me that if I'm playing with those guys and can get those guys out, hopefully I can do that at the big league level."

Rockies hitters in the Fall League:

Brian Mundell, 1B (No. 14)
Dom Nunez, C (No. 15)
Yonathan Daza, OF

Mundell, a seventh-round pick in 2015, burst onto the scene in 2016 as he led the Class A South Atlantic League in a number of offensive categories. Mundell followed that up with another strong season this year, slashing .300/.385/.472 across 119 games. The 23-year-old also fared well against increased competition as he hit .302 in 52 games after he was bumped up to Double-A in June.

Video: Top Prospects: Brian Mundell, 1B, Rockies

Nunez has struggled at the plate over the past few seasons, hitting .202 in 95 games with Double-A Hartford this year, but part of those decreased numbers could be the result of the rigors of learning a new defensive position. The former infielder was switched to catcher prior to the 2014 season and has made significant strides, although admittedly still has plenty to learn behind the plate.

Daza spent the entire season with Class A Advanced Lancaster and did nothing but rake. The 23-year-old hit .341 in 125 games. The California League is a hitter-friendly environment, however, so that likely contributed to Daza's monster season, but he is a career .310 hitter in the Minor Leagues.

Rockies pitchers in the Fall League:

James Farris, RHP (No. 21)
Shane Broyles, RHP
Zach Jemiola, RHP

Farris was a starter in college at the University of Arizona but has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in pro ball. Pitching in shorter stints has helped Farris increase the velocity in his fastball, which sits in the low-to-mid 90s. The 25-year-old, who spent the bulk of the season with Triple-A Albuquerque, has good command and struck out 69 in 48 innings this year.

Broyles, 26, is coming off what may have been his best season since he was drafted in the 14th round of the 2012 Draft. Broyles pitched 54 2/3 innings in 48 appearances and posted a 1.81 ERA. The right-hander was dominant during a midseason stretch during which he made 20 appearances and didn't give up an earned run from June 14 to Aug. 13.

Jemiola reached Triple-A in 2017, but he didn't have the season he wanted as he struggled with an oblique injury. Jemiola, who posted a 6.48 ERA, only pitched 93 innings and will be looking to make up for lost time, as well as get better results, while in the Fall League.

William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

 

Colorado Rockies

Lambert, Hampson end breakout campaign at instructs

Rockies Nos. 5 and 8 prospects thrived with Class A Advanced Lancaster
MLB.com

The Lancaster JetHawks fell short in the California League Finals, but still put together quite a season, finishing 79-61 and capturing the fifth division title in team history.

Not only were the Rockies pleased to see their Class A Advanced affiliate have a strong season, but the organization also got strong performances from a couple of their top prospects -- Peter Lambert and Garrett Hampson, both of whom are participating in instructional league.

The Lancaster JetHawks fell short in the California League Finals, but still put together quite a season, finishing 79-61 and capturing the fifth division title in team history.

Not only were the Rockies pleased to see their Class A Advanced affiliate have a strong season, but the organization also got strong performances from a couple of their top prospects -- Peter Lambert and Garrett Hampson, both of whom are participating in instructional league.

Lambert, the Rockies No. 5 prospect, posted a 4.17 ERA and struck out 131 batters in 142 1/3 innings across 26 starts in the hitter-friendly league.

"I think he had about three bad starts out of 30 and if you take those out of there he would have had a chance to win Cal League Pitcher of the Year," Rockies director of player development Zach Wilson said.

Lambert, 20, was selected in the second round of the 2015 Draft and has shown good command early in his career. With a fastball that sits in the low 90s and a curveball that could become a plus offering, the right-hander has a chance to be a quality starter in the rotation.

"The maturity, pitchability, the advanced nature of what he's able to do every day on a baseball diamond -- both on the mound and off as a teammate -- was expected and he even excelled in a lot of those areas," Wilson said. "I look for Peter to continue down this path and all in all it was another tremendous year, a big step forward for him."

While Lambert impressed with his arm, Hampson, the Rockies No. 8 prospect, had a big season with the bat.

Hampson, a third-round pick from the 2016 Draft, hit .326/.387/.462 in 127 games in his first full season.

"We skipped him over [Class A] Asheville, and we knew that wasn't going to be an issue for him and I think he proved accordingly," Wilson said.

Hampson doesn't have a ton of power, but he has worked on hitting the ball on the ground and utilizing his 60-grade speed to reach base. Hampson showcased that speed as he stole 51 bases this season.

"He's a tremendous athlete who has great instincts for the game and is a baseball rat and plays as hard as anybody," Wilson said of Hampson. "There was no doubt in my mind he was going to find success skipping over a level and he was able to prove us all correct."

William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

 

Colorado Rockies

McMahon, Lambert named Rockies Prospects of the Year

MLB.com

DENVER -- Infielder Ryan McMahon, who finished the season in the Majors, and Class A Advanced right-handed pitcher Peter Lambert have been named the Rockies' Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year, respectively, by MLBPipeline.com.

McMahon, currently ranked the No. 3 prospect in the system, and Lambert, No. 5, were second-round picks out of California high schools -- McMahon in 2013 out of Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, Lambert from San Dimas High. They earned the honor not only through stellar statistical seasons, but also through off-the-field intangibles that should serve them well on the climb.

DENVER -- Infielder Ryan McMahon, who finished the season in the Majors, and Class A Advanced right-handed pitcher Peter Lambert have been named the Rockies' Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year, respectively, by MLBPipeline.com.

McMahon, currently ranked the No. 3 prospect in the system, and Lambert, No. 5, were second-round picks out of California high schools -- McMahon in 2013 out of Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, Lambert from San Dimas High. They earned the honor not only through stellar statistical seasons, but also through off-the-field intangibles that should serve them well on the climb.

Rockies' Prospects of the Year

Each team's Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year were chosen by the MLBPipeline.com staff. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors, appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list and played the entire year in the organization.

The Rockies purposely put McMahon, 22, through the grinder in 2016. He played 133 games for a Double-A Hartford club and batted .242 with a .325 on-base percentage and .399 slugging percentage for a club that didn't have a home field, then played 21 Arizona Fall League games (.247/.348/.338). The experience showed him that he needed to hone his hitting approach and become more physical.

This year, he responded with an eye-popping Minor League year. In a combined 119 games at Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque, he slashed .355/.403/.583 with 20 home runs, 39 doubles and 20 triples. The year included a .374 mark at Albuquerque, with 23 doubles, two triples, 14 home runs and 56 RBIs.

Beyond McMahon's bat speed -- his signature trait -- Albuquerque manager Glenallen Hill saw him stay with his preparation. For example, after McMahon joined the big club, he received just 24 regular-season plate appearances in 17 games. Yet he has been demanding of himself in hitting sessions and is studying the more-experienced players.

"This year he was very consistent in his preparation, controlling the things that he can control in terms of what makes him good," Hill said. "It's tough. Not a lot of kids can do it. What helps is we talk about confidence all the time. Players have to feel confident, but at the same time, they have to be able to deal with being good self-evaluators in terms of addressing the things that are going to lend to them being successful at a higher level. They have to stay with the process."

A third baseman out of high school, McMahon has become a multi-position player -- 56 starts at first base, 35 at second and 25 at third this year -- so he can be an option wherever needed.

Lambert, 20, pitched at Lancaster in the California League -- a hitter-oriented circuit -- and finished 9-8 with a 4.17 ERA, which was good for third in the league. His 131 strikeouts ranked fifth, his 142 1/3 innings were fourt, and his 1.24 walks and hits per innings pitched (WHIP) were third.

Video: Top Prospects: Peter Lambert, RHP, Rockies

Committed to UCLA before being drafted and signed, Lambert displays a solid fastball (91-93 mph, with an occasional 96) and changeup -- pitches he had entering pro ball -- and he is making fast progress with a curveball out of his high three-quarter arm motion.

Mark Wiley, the Rockies' director of pitching operations, said Lambert's studious nature is quickening his progress.

"He has a lot of attributes that we really like with a young guy already," Wiley said. "He's got a good head. He sees things other people don't see. He's a sponge. He listens when you're talking to other people so he can hear it. We like Peter a lot."

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

 

Colorado Rockies

Numbers lie when it comes to Pint's progress

Rockies happy with way No. 2 prospect faced adversity for first time
MLB.com

Statistically, Riley Pint's season left a lot to be desired. However, numbers rarely tell the whole story, and the struggles Pint endured can ultimately be a learning experience and source of growth for the young right-hander.

"Riley made significant progress in a lot of different areas and one of those areas is he faced a lot of adversity for the first time in his career," said Zach Wilson, the Rockies' director of player development. "That is one of the best development tools that we have at our disposal -- adversity and challenges -- and he faced them this year."

Statistically, Riley Pint's season left a lot to be desired. However, numbers rarely tell the whole story, and the struggles Pint endured can ultimately be a learning experience and source of growth for the young right-hander.

"Riley made significant progress in a lot of different areas and one of those areas is he faced a lot of adversity for the first time in his career," said Zach Wilson, the Rockies' director of player development. "That is one of the best development tools that we have at our disposal -- adversity and challenges -- and he faced them this year."

Pint, the Rockies' No. 2 prospect (No. 54 overall), is currently continuing that development in Colorado's instructional league in Arizona, though he isn't throwing in games.

The Rockies' 2016 first-round Draft pick (fourth overall) got off to a strong start this season, posting a 3.07 ERA in April and holding opponents without an earned run in four of his first six starts. However, he gave up 10 earned runs over his next two starts and finished the 2017 season with a 5.42 ERA and a 2-11 record in 22 starts.

"I don't even pay attention to numbers," Wilson said. "It's the last thing I care about... Just because of where he was drafted, or this aura that surrounds him, it doesn't mean that these things don't take time. He's still 19 years old."

Pint's youth is certainly noteworthy when considering his 2017 season. Pint struggles with control at times, he walked 59 in 93 innings this season, but possesses the stuff to become a staple in the Rockies' rotation for years to come.

Pint's fastball, which grades as a 75 on the 20-80 scouting scale, sits in the mid-90s and can hit the triple digits. He also posseses a plus curveball and a quality changeup. The numbers may not have been there is 2017, but Pint is still very high on a lot of scouting reports.

"He's had tremendous bouts of success and also found some challenges," Wilson said. "That is a very good balance for any young player to have. In my opinion, he grew substantially through it and he's only going to continue to grow as he continues to pitch."

William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

 

Colorado Rockies

How they were built: Rockies

Homegrown pitchers join hitting core to send Colorado back to postseason
MLB.com

MLBPipeline.com is breaking down how each of the postseason teams was built, looking at the composition of their projected Division Series rosters.

Entering 2017, the Rockies hadn't had a winning season in seven years or made the postseason in eight. Yet they still had cause for optimism.

MLBPipeline.com is breaking down how each of the postseason teams was built, looking at the composition of their projected Division Series rosters.

Entering 2017, the Rockies hadn't had a winning season in seven years or made the postseason in eight. Yet they still had cause for optimism.

Their 75 victories a year ago were the most since 2010, fueled by the most productive rookie class in franchise history. The system was ready to contribute again with more members of the best crop of young pitching prospects that Colorado ever has had. Add in the dynamic veteran duo of Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon, and the Rockies believed they could compete.

:: How each postseason team was built ::

"We talked about it in the winter time and Spring Training as a group," GM Jeff Bridich said. "We knew there were reasons why Mark Reynolds wanted to come back here as a free agent, why Greg Holland had interest. We took a look at the talent and definitely saw the ingredients to be a postseason team."

That's exactly what the Rockies have become. They raced to a 47-26 start and finished with 87 wins, their third-most ever, to secure their fourth postseason berth in 25 seasons.

HOMEGROWN

Player, how acquired, year, Baseball-Reference WAR (25.6):

Charlie Blackmon, Draft, 2008 (2nd round), 6
Nolan Arenado, Draft, 2009 (2nd), 7.2
Raimel Tapia, Int'l sign, 2010, -0.7
Tyler Anderson, Draft, 2011 (1st), 1.3
Trevor Story, Draft, 2011 (supplemental 1st), 2.6
Antonio Senzatela, Int'l sign, 2011, 2.1
Scott Oberg, Draft, 2012 (15th), 0.2
Jon Gray, Draft, 2013 (1st), 3.2
Pat Valaika, Draft, 2013 (9th), 0.4
Kyle Freeland, Draft, 2014 (1st), 3.3

Colorado's two best players are second-round picks from last decade. In the four full seasons that National League MVP candidates Blackmon (2008) and Arenado (2009) have teamed up in the lineup, the Rockies have improved their win total each year.

In 2016, they introduced a dynamic group of rookies that included four more early-round choices. Gray (No. 3 overall, 2013) already looks like he'll become the best pitcher ever signed and developed by Colorado. Story (supplemental first round, 2011) has more homers than any shortstop in baseball over the past two years.

David Dahl (No. 10 overall, 2012) tied a big league record by hitting safely in his first 17 games and has 20-20 potential -- though he has missed all of this year with rib and back ailments. Anderson (No. 20 overall, 2011) shook off a history of injuries and posted the second-best ERA (3.54) ever by a Rockies rookie.

It's no coincidence that Colorado's three best teams ever (2007, 2009, 2017) are its only three that finished in the top eight in the National League in runs allowed. Scoring runs at Coors Field never has been a problem, but preventing them has. Inserting Gray and Anderson into the rotation was a positive step, and the Rockies took another one in 2017 by adding more homegrown arms in Freeland (No. 8 overall in 2015) and Senzatela (signed for $250,000 out of Venezuela in 2011).

Bridich said the Rockies wanted to flood the big leagues with quality young arms. They've never had this much mound depth, and the plan is working out as hoped so far.

"We wanted to create as deep of a young starting pitching group as we could," said Bridich, who joined the franchise in 2004 and became GM a decade later. "We let them challenge each other, develop together at the Double-A, Triple-A and Major League levels. Let them grow with each other, push each other. That was definitely our hope two, three years ago."

TRADES/WAIVERS

Player, year, acquired from, bWAR (12.9):

Carlos Gonzalez, 2008, Athletics, -0.2
Tyler Chatwood, 2011, Angels, 2.2
D.J. LeMahieu, 2011, Cubs, 2.9
*Chris Rusin, 2014, Cubs, 2.3
German Marquez, 2016, Rays, 3.1
Jake McGee, 2016, Rays, 1.4
*Tony Wolters, 2016, Indians, -0.4
Pat Neshek, 2017, Phillies, 0.7
Jonathan Lucroy, 2017, Rangers, 0.9
*Acquired via waivers.

The Rockies also found more promising rotation fodder via the trade route. They sent Corey Dickerson and prospect Kevin Padlo to the Rays in January 2016 for McGee and Marquez, a relative unknown coming off a strong season in high Class A. Marquez has progressed rapidly, leading all rookies with 14 quality starts and giving Colorado a trio of rookies with double-digit victories.

"You have to take some risks," Bridich said. "Trading Corey Dickerson, an up-and-coming offensive player, was going to be a risk. We felt at the time Corey was going to be a better fit in the American League and we knew Tampa had good pitching prospects, like they usually do. [Professional scout] Jack Gillis pounded his fist about Marquez. He really believed in the kid."

Video: Chatwood, Lemahieu part of Rockies' past trades

Though the Twins are the only postseason club with less production from players acquired via trades and waivers, the Rockies have pulled off some valuable deals beyond the McGee/Marquez move. Former GM Dan O'Dowd dispatched a pair of first-round picks going nowhere (Ian Stewart, Casey Weathers) to the Cubs in December 2011 for Lemahieu, who has sandwiched a pair of All-Star selections around a batting title in the past three seasons.

Bridich upgraded Colorado's catching and bullpen without giving up any of his prime prospects in the final week of July. He added All-Star reliever Neshek from the Phillies for three Minor Leaguers, then Lucroy from the Rangers for Rookie ball outfielder Pedro Gonzalez.

FREE AGENTS

Player, year, bWAR (1.5):

Gerardo Parra, 2016, 0.9
Ian Desmond, 2016, -1.1
Mike Dunn, 2016, 0.7
Alexi Amarista, 2017, -1.4
Greg Holland, 2017, 1.5
Mark Reynolds, 2017, 0.9

Last December, Desmond received the second-largest free-agent deal in Rockies history and the most ever for a hitter at $70 million over five years. The two-time All-Star hasn't worked out as hoped, enduring injuries and the worst season of his career.

A couple of much smaller forays into the free-agent market have paid off, however. Holland was one of the game's top closers before blowing out his elbow and missing the entire 2016 season following Tommy John surgery. He returned this season to tie the franchise record with 41 saves.

Video: Desmond, Holland contribute to Rockies in 2017

"I felt like we knew the guy and had a handle on his personality and competitiveness without having lived with him yet," Bridich said. "We put trust in the person and in his rehab from successful surgery that was 18 months ago rather than 12. The way it has worked out is exactly how everyone involved hoped it would work out."

After delivering 14 homers on a one-year, $2.6 million contract in 2016, Reynolds returned to Colorado on a Minor League contract that guaranteed him $1.5 million if he made the big league roster. He not only did that but more than doubled his power output with 30 homers.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

 

Colorado Rockies

McMahon gleaning wisdom from Rox vets

MLB.com

DENVER -- Rockies No. 3 prospect Ryan McMahon, not playing much in the club's push for the postseason, felt that his thought process in the batter's box seems similar to that of catcher Jonathan Lucroy, even though McMahon hits left and Lucroy hits right.

A simple meal turned into class.

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DENVER -- Rockies No. 3 prospect Ryan McMahon, not playing much in the club's push for the postseason, felt that his thought process in the batter's box seems similar to that of catcher Jonathan Lucroy, even though McMahon hits left and Lucroy hits right.

A simple meal turned into class.

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"We sat down in the food room for, like, 45 minutes," McMahon said. "To be honest, he hit me with a whole lot of stuff about all these hitters. I was like, 'You really think of all that stuff?' I was amazed."

McMahon, a third baseman and first baseman, plus outfielders Raimel Tapia and Mike Tauchman and catcher Tom Murphy, have had a combined total of 35 at-bats since the roster expanded on Sept. 1. Realistically, unless injuries occur, Tapia and Tauchman are the only ones with a shot at a postseason roster because of their speed on the bases. But it's not as if they're wasting their time.

McMahon, for example, said he has been tailing Pat Valaika, the team's top pinch-hitter, taking pregame swings alongside him. With 35 players in the clubhouse, those not expected to play regularly sometimes have to yield practice time to regulars. But it doesn't stop them from watching and taking notes.

"It's extremely valuable for my future to watch guys like Charlie Blackmon prepare every day, seeing Ian Desmond and guys like that," said McMahon, who is 2-for-14 with a double in 15 at-bats over 14 games, after hitting .355 with 20 home runs, 88 RBIs, 39 doubles and four triples combined at Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque. "I'm seeing what guys do, paying attention to each pitch, each game."

Rockies manager Bud Black said the right approach to being with the club could make a huge difference to some of the players trying to break into the Majors.

Video: COL@MIA: McMahon makes a nice diving play at first

"You hear me talk about experience is the best teacher, and them being here is a great opportunity to watch this," Black said. "Even though they're not playing a lot, they're experiencing the feel in the dugout. They're experiencing the feel in the clubhouse.

"They're experiencing the conversations, so this will not be foreign to them when this happens again. They'll be in a better position to handle what goes along with September baseball. We've given them a little bit -- not a lot, obviously -- but the time they've been here has been invaluable from a confidence standpoint."

And McMahon knows to be ready. In 2007, outfielder Seth Smith appeared in seven games, yet he became a pinch-hit star on the team's march to the World Series.

"I have heard about that," McMahon said, smiling.

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

 

Colorado Rockies, Ryan McMahon

Hoffman among 6 callups for Rockies

3 pitchers, 3 position players recalled as rosters expand
MLB.com

DENVER -- The Rockies recalled six players from Triple-A Albuquerque in their first round of September promotions.

Pitchers Jeff Hoffman, Carlos Estevez and Zac Rosscup, catcher Tom Murphy, infielder Ryan McMahon and outfielder Mike Tauchman received callups as rosters expanded Friday. The Rockies now possess a 16-man pitching staff and 15 position players.

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DENVER -- The Rockies recalled six players from Triple-A Albuquerque in their first round of September promotions.

Pitchers Jeff Hoffman, Carlos Estevez and Zac Rosscup, catcher Tom Murphy, infielder Ryan McMahon and outfielder Mike Tauchman received callups as rosters expanded Friday. The Rockies now possess a 16-man pitching staff and 15 position players.

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"It depends on the game, how each of these guys will be used," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "But they're here to help us win a game. Each and every night there might be an opportunity for one of these six guys to help contribute to a Rockies win."

The Rockies' Major League roster sits at 31 players, while the 40-man roster is full.

Rockies' top 30 prospects

Hoffman has spent the most time with the Rockies among the callups, logging 91 2/3 innings in 16 starts and one relief appearance. He made two starts in Albuquerque, including Wednesday when he went five innings and gave up two runs.

The rookie said it felt good to get a physical and mental breather.

"I felt like myself down there," Hoffman said. "I went down there and just kind of relaxed for a little bit, had a week where I didn't do much and then went and made my start a few days ago."

The demotion of Hoffman was similar to what the Rockies have done with their other young starters. Antonio Senzatela, Kyle Freeland and German Marquez all moved to the bullpen or were sent down at various points this season.

Now that Hoffman is back, Black said the Rockies probably won't manage their rookies in the same fashion as the season concludes.

"We feel pretty good about them, the four guys in the rotation -- Bettis, Gray, Freeland and Marquez -- with how they're throwing and their stamina," Black said. "I don't think that there will be any maneuvering with long-term focus in mind like there was in April or May."

Worth noting
• Marquez will start the Sunday finale against the D-backs, Black said, replacing Senzatela. Senzatela had been penciled in a few days ago, but the Rockies decided to change course.

Marquez has thrown 131 1/3 innings in the Majors this year, going 10-5 with a 4.18 ERA. Senzatela tossed 125 innings and is 10-5 with a 4.68 ERA.

Tyler Anderson is still on a rehab assignment but was with the club at Coors Field on Friday. Black said the Rockies haven't made a decision on when to activate him from the 60-day DL, and to not "be surprised if he goes back at it again in Albuquerque."

Anderson pitched three innings in relief Thursday, giving up just one hit and striking out four.

• The Rockies are still "talking about" calling up Ryan Howard later this month, Black said. Howard, the 2006 National League MVP, signed with the Rockies on a Minor League deal Aug. 12 and has hit .231/.200/.564 with three home runs and four doubles in 41 plate appearances.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.

 

Colorado Rockies, Carlos Estevez, Jeff Hoffman, Ryan McMahon, Tom Murphy, Zac Rosscup, Mike Tauchman

Almonte highlights Rockies' Fall League cast

MLB.com

DENVER -- Right-hander Yency Almonte headlines a group of seven Rockies prospects who will participate in the Arizona Fall League this offseason.

Almonte, the Rockies' No. 10 overall prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, has split time between Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque this year. He excelled with Hartford, pitching to a 2.00 ERA in 14 starts, but has struggled since making the jump to Albuquerque on July 25. In six starts for the Isotopes, Almonte has given up 19 earned runs in 29 innings (5.90 ERA).

DENVER -- Right-hander Yency Almonte headlines a group of seven Rockies prospects who will participate in the Arizona Fall League this offseason.

Almonte, the Rockies' No. 10 overall prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, has split time between Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque this year. He excelled with Hartford, pitching to a 2.00 ERA in 14 starts, but has struggled since making the jump to Albuquerque on July 25. In six starts for the Isotopes, Almonte has given up 19 earned runs in 29 innings (5.90 ERA).

Joining Almonte will be catcher Dom Nunez (No. 15 prospect), right-handers James Farris (No. 21), Zach Jemiola and Shane Broyles, and outfielder Yonathan Daza. A seventh infielder slot labeled "TBA" is reserved for the Rockies on the Salt River Rafters' roster.

Mayo: 5-tool phenoms joining AFL rosters

2017 Arizona Fall League rosters

More about these prospects:

Almonte: His walks-per-nine rate has jumped from 3.7 to 5.6 since his promotion to Triple-A. Also, his strikeout rate has fallen from 8.4 to 5.9. Almonte is on the 40-man roster.

Nunez: He is slashing .190/.328/.337 in 90 games for Hartford this season, with 11 home runs and 27 RBIs.

Farris: Similar to Almonte, Farris has struggled after moving from Hartford to Albuquerque. A reliever, Farris had a 1.45 ERA with the Yard Goats but a 4.95 mark with the Isotopes.

Jemiola: He spent most of the year in Albuquerque, minus three rehab starts with Class A Boise. In 14 Triple-A games (13 starts), Jemiola has a 5.83 ERA and 36 strikeouts. Jemiola is on the 40-man roster.

Broyles: He struggled with Hartford last season but has excelled there this year. In 45 appearances (51 2/3 innings) Broyles owns a 1.57 ERA and has struck out 74 batters.

Daza: Splitting time between center and right field with Class A Advanced Lancaster, Daza performed well all season. He is slashing .342/.375/.466 with 33 doubles, 11 triples, 26 stolen bases and 80 RBIs.

The Arizona Fall League is a "finishing school" for prospects who are close the Majors. Generally speaking, if a team sends a player to the Fall League, it's an indication that the club thinks he has the chance to contribute in the big leagues in the near future. In other words, it's generally a short leap from the AFL to MLB.

The league has a total of six teams, with five organizations represented on each. Every MLB team is required to send at least six players from its organization. The Rockies' players will share time with prospects from the Brewers, D-backs, Marlins and Orioles.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.

 

Colorado Rockies, Yency Almonte, James Farris, Zach Jemiola

Rox option Hoffman, McMahon to Triple-A

Righty Oberg, outfielder Tauchman recalled from Minors
MLB.com

DENVER -- Following his start Thursday, Rockies rookie Jeff Hoffman was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque on Friday. But Hoffman won't be pitching in Albuquerque -- or at all -- anytime soon.

The Rockies are giving Hoffman a break, manager Bud Black said, similar to how fellow rookies Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela received rest earlier this season. Hoffman won't pitch for five or six days and then the Rockies will re-evaluate.

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DENVER -- Following his start Thursday, Rockies rookie Jeff Hoffman was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque on Friday. But Hoffman won't be pitching in Albuquerque -- or at all -- anytime soon.

The Rockies are giving Hoffman a break, manager Bud Black said, similar to how fellow rookies Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela received rest earlier this season. Hoffman won't pitch for five or six days and then the Rockies will re-evaluate.

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"None of these guys have pitched a full big league season," pitching coach Steve Foster said. "Chad Bettis is the only one that we've had do that. Jon Gray hasn't pitched start to finish a big league season yet. He was injured. None of the young guys have."

Freeland was moved to the bullpen after his near no-hitter July 9, made one relief appearance and then returned to the rotation July 23. Senzatela has been up and down from the bullpen since June 22, making three starts and seven relief outings.

The Rockies are trying to manage their young pitchers' workloads, as none have exceeded Gray's 168 innings last year in a professional season. Freeland leads the team in innings this year with 127 2/3.

Hoffman had said after Thursday's loss that he felt slightly under the weather but thought he "had enough" to pitch well. He gave up four solo home runs in 4 1/3 innings on just 63 pitches. The Rockies had relievers warming up in the third inning before Hoffman crossed the 40-pitch threshold.

Over his last couple of starts, Hoffman's fastball velocity has dipped. Hoffman's fastball averages 94.4 mph, but Thursday it sat at 92.1 mph and last Saturday it was 93.4 mph.

"That's a sign to us. 'Hey, is your arm fine?'" Foster said. "'Yeah, I feel great. I'm healthy.' OK, well then let's give you a little break.

"It's a learning time. Unlike any other place in the world for baseball, the recovery and the amount of torque, things that your body endures playing here and pitching here, you need a break. … Part of that built-in break is where we're at."

The Rockies recalled reliever Scott Oberg from Albuquerque to take Hoffman's roster spot.

Worth noting

• Rockies No. 3 prospect Ryan McMahon was also optioned Friday after being called up just last week. McMahon went 2-for-9 in four games (two starts) with a double and RBI. Outfielder Mike Tauchman was recalled in place of McMahon.

• The Rockies will host a free, one-day umpire camp in conjunction with MLB on Saturday at Coca-Cola All-Star Park in Lakewood. Running from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. MT, the camp will be staffed by former umpires, current MLB supervisors and observers, and NCAA officials. Registration begins at 8 a.m. MT.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.

 

Colorado Rockies, Jeff Hoffman, Ryan McMahon, Scott Oberg, Mike Tauchman

Prospect McMahon adjusting to bench role

Rockies infielder had five plate appearances over first four games
MLB.com

DENVER -- Rockies infielder Ryan McMahon hasn't seen the field as much since he's been promoted to the big leagues.

McMahon played almost every day in the Minors this season, collecting 429 at-bats between Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque. But since his promotion Aug.11, McMahon has just five plate appearances in four games.

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