Tomorrow marks the start of September, or as baseball fans know it, the start of 40-man rosters. The Colorado Rockies have some intriguing prospects on the cusp of the majors, so the staff here at Rox Pile got together to answer this question:
Which Colorado Rockies prospect are you most excited to see possibly get a shot in September?
As of this moment, Murphy is slugging .669 in Triple-A. That’s incredible production from any position, but from a catcher? That’s virtually unheard of.
Mar 8, 2016; Surprise, AZ, USA; Colorado Rockies catcher Tom Murphy (23) runs to first base after hitting a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the fourth inning at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
I get that leadership and the ability to handle a pitching staff are a big part of catching at the MLB level. But Murphy’s numbers are so impressive, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which he’s not an immediate upgrade offensively.
Nick Hundley and Tony Wolters are not the answer at catcher. I’m not positive that Murphy will be either, but we’ll never know until he actually gets a shot.
Tim Engquist: I agree with you on Tom Murphy being a key guy that will be called up. I do not fully understand how stubborn the Rockies are being by continuing to give Hundley most of the starts behind him. I would really like to see Murphy and Wolters both get a number of starts down the stretch.
Like you said you need to see if either of them can be the catcher of the future and it would be good to have a larger sample size to base decisions off of with both. That being said, catcher is a position I think there is more value to the “intangible” benefits and maybe Hundley provides more of that in terms of leadership and presence. Either way I think it’s time to give the young guys a shot.
My choice for call up I am most excited for is one of the easiest, Raimel Tapia who hasn’t slowed down since his most recent promotion. He is hitting .316 for the Topes and seems ready for another challenge similar to David Dahl earlier in the year.
Obviously we have a pretty crowded outfield but getting him some starts and playing time at the major league level could be great experience and excitement for the fans. I am dying to see his unique two-strike approach more. It would also give us a change to look at Parra or CarGo at 1B if that they are thinking of exploring in the future.
James Keating: In regards to the Murphy situation, there are three issues that are at play here. Firstly and least significantly perhaps is that while Murphy’s numbers are gaudy his OBP is only 28 points higher than his average. Walking only 13 times in 70+ games doesn’t scream plate discipline. Regardless if you’re raking, you’re raking and deserve a shot.
The other two issues I see that are playing a larger role is the fact that the Rockies pitching staff is so young and this is regarded as major growth time for them, hence the importance of an experienced guy like Hundley that can handle an immature staff. Lastly, from a front office stand point, it would stress me out as a general manager seeing $3.1 million dollars ride the bench.
I concur with Tim’s attitude on Tapia, all ‘Mucho Swagger’ has done is hit at every level despite having his unorthodox approach dissected at every turn. It’s time to get him some ABs in Denver, I think he’ll become a fan favorite immediately. Some other guys on the verge of coming are Jordan Patterson, Harrison Musgrave, and Johendi Jiminian.
Jul 10, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; World batter Raimel Tapia hits a two-run double in the 9th inning during the All Star Game futures baseball game at PetCo Park. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The Jordan Patterson situation is intriguing because he is clearly blocked by the immensely talented depth the Rockies system is enjoying in the outfield so it will be interesting to see how the Rockies will handle him. Patterson has an impressive .384 OBP which is simply too high to ignore at this point.
As for Musgrave, he is currently 24-years-old and has logged a 8-6 record with a 4.15 ERA at the extreme hitting environment in Albuquerque. I could easily seeing Musgrave establishing himself as a Chris Rusin or Christian Bergman type. A guy that will eat innings and keep the club in close games a majority of the time but not overwhelm opponents with ‘stuff’.
Johendi Jiminian is interesting as well. Johendi started out as a starter in the system but has now been converted to the bullpen in Double-A all season. Johendi is 23-years-old and has posted an impressive 1.79 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 54.1 innings this season. The way the bullpen has been lately, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him get a shot this season although it might a long shot.
Kevin Henry:We’re all salivating over Tom Murphy and I think he’s the obvious choice here. Nick Hundley has had his moments this season but we all know he isn’t the Rockies future behind the plate. To have a combo backstop of Murphy and Wolters is an exciting thought to me. As the season has gone along, I’ve become more and more convinced that Wolters can be a very very solid catcher with more playing time. Think about the strength that could be had with Wolters playing more as well as Murphy being in the mix.
It’s also important to note that Murphy has a connection with Kyle Freeland, Jeff Hoffman and the other younger Rockies pitchers that are going to be taking over the mound in 2017. Let’s let him build that connection with a Chad Bettis and Jon Gray now and continue it in spring training.
It’s time to free Tom Murphy and make the Rockies stronger at a position where they need to improve.
Trevor Irvine: I agree with the rest of you – it is time for Tom Murphy to be called up tomorrow and given a fair shot to see what he can do at the major league level, both offensively and defensively. It will be important for his development behind the plate to catch the young Rockies starters and the experienced guys like Tyler Chatwood and Jorge De La Rosa (if he remains with the team in 2017).
I have been critical of Hundley saying he has been the team’s most overrated player but since the article he has been much better at the plate (.357, two HRs, seven RBIs) with the bat but his defensive throws are still poor (just look at the Nationals series).
It is good to have the experience he has (it certainly works for Walt Weiss) but you never know what you have got until you try it – with the Rockies on the fringe of the second Wild Card, now is the time to see what Murphy can bring in an important month for the team and to see whether he sinks or swims.
However he does, he will plenty of time over the offseason and spring training to refine his work at the catcher position.
I’m also very excited to see what Tapia brings to the Rockies. He could easily have the same effect as Dahl, which makes the Rockies lineup even better.