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What top Rockies prospects must do to take final leap to Coors Field


A look at nine top Rockies prospects heading into spring training, and their estimated time of arrival to Coors Field. How quickly they get there depends on their progressions in 2024, as well as how aggressive the Rockies want to be with starting their major-league clocks.

OF Zac Veen

Zac Veen (9) of the National League hits a base hit in the third inning during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Dodger Stadium on July 16, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Zac Veen (9) of the National League hits a base hit in the third inning during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Dodger Stadium on July 16, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Age: 22

Draft: First Round (No. 9, 2020)

ETA: 2025

Left to prove: After his 2023 season was shortened by wrist surgery, Veen must stay healthy in order to take a big leap forward at the higher minor-league levels. He struggled in his 46 games in Double-A last year, hitting just .209 with two homers, but part of that was him battling his wrist injury. Veen’s strikeout rate (25.3%) needs to come down, and he must re-prove he can hit for average and that his power drop-off last year was just a fluke. If he does all that, the speedy outfielder should be at Coors Field sometime next season.


LF Jordan Beck

Hartford Yard Goats left fielder Jordan Beck at the plate against the Reading Fightin Phils at Dunkin' Park in Hartford August 03, 2023. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)
Hartford Yard Goats left fielder Jordan Beck at the plate against the Reading Fightin Phils at Dunkin’ Park in Hartford August 03, 2023. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

Age: 22

Draft: CB-A Round (No. 38, 2022)

ETA: Late 2024/2025

Left to prove: Beck turned in a strong 2023 season that culminated with being named the Northwoods League MVP after hitting .292 with 20 homers in 76 games for High-A Spokane. After getting promoted to Double-A, he struck out 71 times in 50 games with Hartford, so he needs to put the ball in play more. He clearly has raw power, and that’s been mostly as advertised over two minor-league seasons, but he’ll have to conquer Triple-A pitching this summer and prove that his range in left field is consistent enough to patrol Coors Field.


C Drew Romo

Hartford Yard Goats catcher Drew Romo (7) walking back to the plate after a mound visit during the game against the Reading Fightin Phils at Dunkin' Park in Hartford August 02, 2023. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)
Hartford Yard Goats catcher Drew Romo (7) walking back to the plate after a mound visit during the game against the Reading Fightin Phils at Dunkin’ Park in Hartford August 02, 2023. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

Age: 22

Draft: CB-A Round (No. 35, 2020)

ETA: Late 2024

Left to prove: Last season, the switch-hitter earned a late-season call-up to Triple-A Albuquerque after demonstrating decent offensive consistency in Double-A, where he slashed .254/.313/.440 with 13 homers in 91 games. But he still has a ways to go as a right-handed hitter — he batted just .162 with one homer from that side in 2023 — and in the clutch overall after hitting .202 with runners in scoring position. Defensively, he’s almost there, and another summer with the Isotopes should help get his glove big-league-ready.


SS/2B Adael Amador

Age: 20

Draft: International signee, 2019

ETA: Late 2025/2026

Left to prove: Amador rocketed to the top of MLB Pipeline’s rankings for the Rockies last year after tearing up the Arizona Complex League and then carrying that momentum into High-A Spokane. But his .143 average in 10 games in Double-A indicates he still needs to mature offensively. Not surprising given he was almost four years younger than the average guy at that level. There are questions about his power from both sides of the plate and where exactly he fits in defensively in the MLB, and he also needs to get bigger and stronger.


RF Yanquiel Fernandez

Rockies outfield prospect Yanquiel Fernandez competes for the Spokane Indians during the 2023 season. (Courtesy of Colorado Rockies)
Rockies outfield prospect Yanquiel Fernandez competes for the Spokane Indians during the 2023 season. (Courtesy of Colorado Rockies)

Age: 21

Draft: International signee, 2019

ETA: 2025

Left to prove: After signing out of Cuba for just $295,000, Fernandez is already on track to surpass his potential as a young international prospect. The left-handed hitter dominated High-A Spokane in 2023 (.319, 17 homers), but his promotion to Hartford showed there’s room for improvement in the box given his 33.5 strikeout percentage with the Yard Goats. He’ll have to cut down on the K’s in the upper minors this year, and with a plus arm, he will fit into the corner outfield if his range and reads continue to improve.


RHP Chase Dollander

Tennessee pitcher Chase Dollander celebrates as he strikes out a Southern Mississippi player during an NCAA college baseball tournament super regional game, Sunday, June 11, 2023, in Hattiesburg, Miss. (Hannah Ruhoff/The Sun Herald via AP)
Tennessee pitcher Chase Dollander celebrates as he strikes out a Southern Mississippi player during an NCAA college baseball tournament super regional game, Sunday, June 11, 2023, in Hattiesburg, Miss. (Hannah Ruhoff/The Sun Herald via AP)

Age: 22

Draft: First Round (No. 9, 2023)

ETA: 2026

Left to prove: Everything. The former Tennessee ace has yet to make his minor-league debut after not pitching in a game last summer, due to the length and rigor of the Volunteers’ college season. (He did not have Tommy John surgery, contrary to some reports.) When he debuts, he must show that he’s more of the guy who went 10-0 with a 2.39 ERA as a sophomore with the Vols, instead of the pitcher who struggled in some outings as a junior, with his ERA almost doubling to 4.75. He’s got to prove himself at the lower levels this summer.


3B/2B Aaron Schunk

Georgia's Aaron Schunk (22) throws the ball to second base during an NCAA college baseball game between Georgia and Clemson, in Athens, Ga., Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Georgia won 3-2. (Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP)

(Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP)

Georgia’s Aaron Schunk (22) throws the ball to second base during an NCAA college baseball game between Georgia and Clemson, in Athens, Ga., Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Georgia won 3-2. (Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP)

Age: 26

Draft: Second Round (No. 62, 2019)

ETA: 2024

Left to prove: Schunk had his best offensive season last year in Triple-A, batting a career-high .290 with 14 homers and 24 doubles. Like many other top prospects, the strikeout rate remains a concern (24.3%), so he needs to put the ball in play more this summer. He’s made slight tweaks to his set-up in the box to help propel his bat, while also demonstrating proficiency at second base (his natural position is third) throughout his pro career. If he takes another overall step forward with his bat, a call-up is in the cards.


OF Benny Montgomery

Rockies prospect Benny Montgomery homers during a Fresno Grizzlies game in 2022 in Fresno, Calif. (Courtesy of Aaron Provencio, Fresno Grizzlies)
Rockies prospect Benny Montgomery homers during a Fresno Grizzlies game in 2022 in Fresno, Calif. (Courtesy of Aaron Provencio, Fresno Grizzlies)

Age: 21

Draft: First Round (No. 8, 2021)

ETA: Late 2025/2026

Left to prove: Again, the K rate’s a concern for another top prospect, as Montgomery struck out at a 27.6% clip last year in High-A Spokane. The speedy center fielder has all the tools to roam Coors Field, he just needs to keep polishing his approach, especially his contact rate. Like many top picks straight out of high school, the pro learning curve was steeper for Montgomery. He lowered his chase rate by more than 18% last year, and he’ll need to demonstrate continued improved discipline and better swing mechanics this year.


RHP Gabriel Hughes

Gonzaga right-hander Gabriel Hughes delivers a pitch during a 2022 game in Spokane, Washington. The Rockies drafted Hughes No. 10 overall on Sunday, July 17, 2022, in the MLB draft. (Courtesy of Gonzaga Athletics)

(Courtesy of Gonzaga Athletics)

Gonzaga right-hander Gabriel Hughes delivers a pitch during a 2022 game in Spokane, Washington. The Rockies drafted Hughes No. 10 overall on Sunday, July 17, 2022, in the MLB draft. (Courtesy of Gonzaga Athletics)


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