This Rockies catching prospect is on the rise

June 2nd, 2023

This story was excerpted from Thomas Harding’s Rockies Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

KANSAS CITY --  -- the Rockies' No. 30 prospect per MLB Pipeline -- has received an enhanced opportunity to move up the organization’s catching depth chart.

After batting .307 with six home runs and compiling a .909 OPS in 37 games with High-A Spokane, Fulford, 24, was promoted to Double-A Hartford this week. There, Fulford will join No. 3 prospect , 21. 

Fulford, a sixth-round pick out of Texas Tech in 2021, received high marks for leading Spokane's young starting pitching staff that includes Rockies top prospects Gabriel Hughes (No. 5), Jaden Hill (No. 8), Carson Palmquist (No. 20) and Angel Chivilli (No. 28). With Hartford, Fulford will catch pitchers in his age group and have a chance at advancement.

“I’ve seen a kid playing with a bunch of confidence,” said Rockies field coordinator Mark Strittmatter. “He handles a pitching staff really well, No. 1, because he’s a really smart kid and he can read hitters. No. 2, his work ethic is unbelievable and the pitchers respect what he does every day.”

The switch-hitting Romo, who is on the young side for Double-A and batting .211 with three home runs and 15 RBIs, and Fulford, who is finding good results after shortening his swing, will divide playing time.

“I know a lot of people are going to be thinking, ‘Both of them are going to Double-A … Romo is there,’” Strittmatter said. “Romo is doing fine. He’s in a good spot. This has nothing to do with Drew Romo. This is all about Braxton Fulford. They both will play. Both will catch about three days a week and get at-bats at DH when they’re not catching.”

The other catcher at Hartford is moving around the diamond. Hunter Goodman, who has 16 home runs and a .946 OPS, is playing first base and the outfield to open advancement possibilities.

Ronaiker Palma, 23, who spent time in Major League camp, has been moved from Hartford to Spokane. Palma hit .263 in 39 at-bats over 11 Double-A games. He’ll play more regularly in Spokane.