As we all know, Coors Field has a very drastic affect on Rockies players (especially for fantasy purposes). In this post we will focus on some Rockies hitting prospects under the age of 20 that are a bit off the radar but have some exciting tools that give them an opportunity to be impact fantasy contributors (especially with the Crrrrrrs Boost).
The son of former #1 overall pick, Phil Nevin (208 career MLB taters and a career 814 OPS), is a very young at 19 years old, but shows an exciting hit tool with solid power potential. Tyler had a very impressive debut at Rookie League Grand Junction in 2015 after being drafted 38th overall and signing for $2 million. However, the momentum he gained in 2015 lost steam when he blew out his hamstring and missed almost the entire 2016 season (he was 1-1 with a double).
For 2017, the expectation is that the 6’4″ 200 pound Nevin will begin the year at 3B for the Low A – Asheville Tourists. Sitting at 2,000 ft, the McCormick Field serves as an excellent breeding ground for showing a glimpse of what a prospect could achieve at Coors field. If he doesn’t win the job at Asheville, Nevin will start at extending spring training and move on to Short Season A in Boise.
Seeing this very nicely edited video of Nevin from December of 2015 got me very excited and motivated to do some research on this young man. The two baseball prospect industry behemoths, Baseball HQ and Baseball America have some drastically different opinions of Tyler Nevin. Baseball America is quite lukewarm on Nevin and say there a chance he becomes major league average but the risk is extreme. On the other hand, Baseball HQ, is quite excited about him. It is important to keep in the mind that Baseball HQ is the publication that focuses on fantasy baseball (which is why I love their Minor League Baseball Analyst). HQ rates Nevin a 9D (which means they give him a 30% chance of becoming an elite player). They cite Nevin’s above average bat speed, power potential, and plate discipline as the keys to their evaluation.
Nevin has a lot of development ahead of him and he must stay healthy in 2017 to show what he can really do on the ball field. However, his tools, upbringing, and his major league body give him an excellent chance to develop into an above average regular that becomes quite fantasy relevant at Coors Field. ETA: 2020, Comp: DJ LeMahieu.
Montano was signed for $2 million by the Rockies as part of their $5 million J2 class in 2015. He has drawn comparisons to Carlos Gonzalez because of his hit tool. When Cargo was signed, he was mostly just a hit tool kid. The Rockies are hoping the power and speed can develop for Montano as he develops (just like it did for Cargo). Montano had a very solid showing in the Dominican Summer League as a 17 year old in 2016. He clubbed 9 home runs, stole 8 bases, posted a 0.79 GO/AO ratio and compiled a 752 OPS in 241 at-bats.
Montano should spend his 18 year old season at Rookie League Grand Junction with the potential for a breakout performance fueled by his elite ability to make contact. If the power and speed continue to develop, Danny Boy has the chance to put himself on the mainstream prospect map.
Here is a decent video of Montano taking some hacks about 2 years ago. ETA: 2021, Comp: Carlos Gonzalez.
Welker is the man that will be competing with Tyler Nevin for the 2017 3B job at Low A – Asheville. He was drafted in the 4th round in 2016 out of Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida. Welker had a wonderful year in 2016 at Rookie League Grand Junction. He batted 329 with 5 home runs and only 28 strikeouts in 210 at-bats. Welker makes consistent hard contact despite his slightly unorthodox swing and has the potential to continue to add power.
Colton also plays above average defense at 3B. This gives him a better chance to make it to The Show and become fantasy relevant for us. ETA: 2021, Comp: Chase Headley.
Like Montano, Navarro is another member of the Rockies 2015 J2 class that signed for $450k. He is still physically underdeveloped and will begin his career with the DSL Rockies in 2017. He is quite off the radar and doesn’t even have a profile on MILB.com. However, he is 6’1″ 155 lb and scouts think he will be able to stay at shortstop even after his body fills out. Navarro makes contact consistently and also shows signs of having great baseball instincts on the diamond.
Additionally, his swing is described as handsy with excellent bat control and hand eye coordination (which is absolutely glorious to hear). Christopher is a very exciting under-the-radar prospect that will take significant time to develop. Keep an eye out for this young man over the next few years. For now he is all projection but here is a look at him taking batting practice about 1.5 years ago. ETA: 2023, Comp: Toosoon.com