The Colorado Rockies over the last few seasons have drafted or developed some of the best young baseball players in the National League. Drafting and developing key players such as Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon has helped Colorado to an unexpected 28-24 record. In fact only Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau are the Rockies major everyday starters who were not either drafted or developed by the Rockies. Overall, homegrown talent is the main reason why the Rockies lead the NL in every major hitting statistic.
The same can not be said for the Rockies starting rotation.
Of all the pitchers who have started a game this season for the Rockies only Franklin Morales, Juan Nicasio and Jhoulys Chacin are homegrown players, and only Nicasio has been particularly effective. Couple the disappointing performances of Morales and Chacin along with the injuries to Brett Anderson and Tyler Chatwood (both of whom most likely will not return to the mound till after the All-Star break) and the Rockies will most likely be looking at calling up several minor league pitching prospects.
Jonathan Gray, the Rockies first overall selection in last years draft, is the most talented prospect in the Rockies organization. Commanding a fastball in the upper 90’s and a devastating slider, the former Oklahoma sooner standout has the highest ceiling of any Colorado prospect. Gray has all the building blocks of a future ace with his only major question mark being his maturity. In his first season with the Rockies Gray split time between rookie ball and High Class A ball where he finished with a 4-0 record and an ERA of 0.75. This season Gray has advanced to Double A ball in Tulsa Oklahoma where he currently holds a 5-2 record with a 2.79 ERA. It is likely that Gray will move up to Triple A Colorado Springs sometime during the summer and if he continues his dominance their, Colorado fans could see Gray in the purple and silver by the end of August.
Eddie Butler, the 46th overall pick of the Rockies in 2012, will most likely be called up sometime after the All-Star break. While Butler does not have as high a ceiling as Gray his consistent play in his first two years with the Rockies organization warrants a midsummer call up. Butler began this season where he ended last year in Double A Tulsa. So far this season he has a 4-4 record with an impressive 2.39 ERA. Butler’s fastball does not reach the upper 90’s like Gray’s does, but his slider and change-up are far more effective secondary pitches than Gray’s slider is at this point. Butler has the look of a future number two or three starter in a rotation and his ground-ball style of pitching will fit in nicely at Coors field.
Kyle Parker, the 26th overall pick of the Rockies in 2010, has been one of the most consistent power hitters at the minor league level over the last three seasons. Parker, the former Clemson University starting quarterback, now prowls the outfields of the Rockies Triple A Colorado Springs affiliate where he is currently hitting .283 with 5 HRs and 29 RBIs. While the Rockies outfield is currently stacked, Parker is the Rockies most major league ready prospect who has experience playing on the infield. With the recent injury to Nolan Arendo Parker could see time at the hot corner. Whatever happens expect Parker to be in Denver by midsummer and hopefully showing off his power.