Amador emerges as Rockies' top prospect

August 11th, 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.

Injuries and operations have upended the Rockies’ Top 30 prospect list, but not even surgery on the hamate bone in his right hand in early July could keep shortstop Adael Amador out of the top spot in the MLB Pipeline Rockies midseason re-ranking.

Yes, the year has been rough for Rockies’ highly ranked prospects. Outfielder Zac Veen, who topped the Rockies list earlier this season, is out for the year after undergoing surgery on a tendon in his left wrist in June. In a triple lightning strike of bad fortune just after the All-Star break, pitchers Gabriel Hughes, Jordy Vargas and Jackson Cox -- at the time three of the team’s top four pitching prospects and all in the top 12 on the team’s list -- underwent Tommy John surgery.

To complete the pain report, pitcher Jaden Hill, the only one among the top four pitchers at the time not having elbow surgery, is hoping an examination on his right shoulder yields good news.

But Amador, a switch-hitter who has made strides in his approach and has gained strength, is getting better and should be back for the season’s final month. Even with the injury, he climbed to No. 21 in the Top 100. In fact, the Rockies have five Top 100 players, with outfielders Yanquiel Fernandez and Jordan Beck earning their spots based on powerful performances this season.

Just missing out on the top five was third baseman Sterlin Thompson, whose strong first half earned him promotion from High-A Spokane to Double-A Hartford.

Here’s a look at the Rockies’ top prospects:

1. Adael Amador, SS (21 in MLB Pipeline Top 100)
2. Yanquiel Fernandez, OF (54)
3. Chase Dollander, RHP (64)
4. Jordan Beck, OF (89)
5. Zac Veen, OF (100)


Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the preseason list:

Jump: Dyan Jorge, SS (Preseason: 20 | Midseason: 7) -- Jorge defected from Cuba in 2019 and signed a Rockies-record $2.8 million bonus in 2022. This year, his first in the U.S., Jorge dominated the Arizona Complex League (.370, 3 HR, 18 RBIs), and 27 games into his term at Single-A Fresno, he is batting .297 with six stolen bases in eight attempts.

Fall: Jaden Hill, RHP (Preseason: 9 | Midseason: 29) -- Hill, who was recovering from Tommy John surgery when drafted out of LSU in the second round in 2021, can’t gain traction. Now health again is an issue. He had a brief bout with lower back soreness but now he is on the Spokane injured list and underwent an MRI on Thursday because of right shoulder tightness. The Rockies are cautiously optimistic.


Here are the players added to the Top 30 from outside the organization:

3. Chase Dollander, RHP (First round, ninth overall, Tennessee)
11. Cole Carrigg, C (Competitive Balance Round B, 65th overall, San Diego State)
13. Sean Sullivan, LHP (Second round, 65th overall, Wake Forest)
14. Jack Mahoney, RHP (Third round, 77th overall, South Carolina)
15. Robert Calaz, OF (2023 International Signing Period)
22. Mason Albright, LHP (trade with Angels)
23. Jake Madden, RHP (trade with Angels)
24. Victor Vodnik, RHP (trade with Braves)
25. Isaiah Coupet, LHP (fourth round, 109th overall, Ohio State)
26. Kyle Karros, 3B (fifth round, 145th overall, UCLA)
28. Cade Denton, RHP (sixth round, 172nd overall, Oral Roberts)


Aaron Schunk, 3B/2B (No. 27)

Schunk nearly played himself off the Rockies’ Top 30 with a rough first full season in 2021 and a so-so one in 2022, both marred by poor approaches at the plate. He’s now 26, and he’s earned a chance to show what he can do after posting a .301/.355/.505 line in Triple-A this year and showing the ability to play both third and second base. (For the MLB Pipeline list of potential impact callups, click here.)


Players are graded on a traditional 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 -- Adael Amador
Power: 60 -- Hunter Goodman
Run: 70 -- Benny Montgomery
Arm: 70 -- Cole Carrigg
Defense: 60 -- Drew Romo (Benny Montgomery, Ryan Ritter)
Fastball: 70 -- Chase Dollander
Curveball: 60 -- Isaiah Coupet (Jackson Cox)
Slider: 60 -- Chase Dollander (Isaiah Coupet)
Changeup: 60 -- Victor Vodnik (Jaden Hill)
Control: 55 -- Cade Denton (Chase Dollander, Sean Sullivan)


The switch-hitting Amador, 20, added five pounds, up to 200, but that’s not the only reason he has produced -- and the Rockies expect him to continue doing so, once healthy. 

“He has been very consistent at the plate,” Rockies player development director Chris Forbes said. “He has a solid approach and plan. He’s staying in the gaps from both sides. He also has improved defensively.”

The Rockies will have Amador playing shortstop and second base. Those positions in the Majors are manned by 2022 Gold Glove winner Brendan Rodgers and 2023 impressive rookie Ezequiel Tovar, but Amador, nonetheless, will push for his opportunities.

Amador will likely play in the Dominican Winter League for Toros del Este to make up for experience missed because of the injury.