The Colorado Rockies have not needed much depth, at the shortstop position in recent years, thanks to the production provided by Trevor Story. He has done an admirable job dating back to when Troy Tulowitzki was traded. However, Story may not be in Denver much longer, so it’s necessary to examine who might assume the mantle in the next year or two.
Colorado Rockies Shortstop Depth
Major League Level
Trevor Story is the indeed the story at shortstop for the moment. The 27-year-old has done nothing but excel at the position since debuting in 2016. He finished fourth in National League Rookie of the Year voting with a 122 OPS+ in 415 plate appearances and has barely slowed down since that first year. The first-round choice from 2011 has accumulated over 2,500 plate appearances with the Rockies with a .277/343/535 slash line and 134 home runs. He has been an above-average hitter in every season except his sophomore campaign in 2017. It’s been an outstanding first few seasons for the former Texas high schooler.
AAA & AA
When Story is inevitably traded, look for Alan Trejo to fight for the starting role. The 24-year-old is a former 16th-round draft selection from the 2017 Amateur Draft, but looks like a solid major league option based on his minor league stats. Trejo has collected 504 plate appearances across three levels in the Rockies system, while posting a combined .275/323/434 slash line. Colorado’s minor league affiliates do play in some strong offensive environments, but Trejo’s numbers have still been very productive. It’s worth giving him the lion’s share of starts if he reaches the majors this year or next.
There’s also an outside chance that Eric Stamets sees time in the upcoming campaign. The 29-year-old has extensive experience in the minor leagues, but only 48 plate appearances at the highest level. Those came with the Cleveland Indians in 2019. The only reason Stamets would see time is if Colorado is intent on blocking yet another prospect with upside.
The final player worth mentioning in the high minors is Ryan Vilade. The 22-year-old Vilade is a second-round pick from the 2017 Amateur Draft. He is a solid prospect who has shown some pop in the minor league and solid fielding instincts. Colorado has experimented with him in both corner infield and outfield spots, so the 6’2″ Oklahoman might end up as multi-position option, but he is still technically an SS based on his historical deployment.
High-A and Lower
Several low-minors options could make names for themselves in the coming years. First is Mateo Gil, son of former MLB player Benji Gil, and recent trade acquisition thanks to the Nolan Arenado deal. The younger Gil is a 6’1″, 180-pound shortstop who never really made it above rookie ball in the St. Louis Cardinals’ system. He posted a .257/327/373 slash line with eight home runs. Almost all of that came at St. Louis’s Gulf Coast Complex or Johnson City in the Appalachian League. Gil may not ever dazzle, but every tool is reportedly no worse than average. He just needs serious reps as a 20-year-old.
Similar things can be said about 2020 draftee Jack Blomgren. The University of Michigan product was the team’s fifth-round selection in the 2020 Amateur Draft after a productive college career. He hit .276/399/357 in 575 plate appearances. There isn’t much power in Blomgren’s game, but he has a good glove. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts to professional baseball after missing most of the past year.
Finally, there is the trio of Eddy Diaz, Ezequiel Tovar, and Adael Amador. All three are international signings and clustered together on Colorado’s Top 30. None of the three have advanced past Low-A yet, so it’s unfair to make too many assumptions about their future. The most that should be said is that 2021 is key for their development. It’s good to see some promising young talent come from the organization’s international scouting efforts.
Like most positions in the Rockies’ system, shortstop doesn’t possess much raw star power. There is no Wander Franco or Fernando Tatis Jr. to save the team when Story is traded before this year’s trade deadline. Yet, this is one of the stronger positions in the organization after third base. Trejo looks like a solid option despite a lack of pedigree. Vilade could make noise if he isn’t permanently moved away from shortstop. The lower minors have several players who will be fun to watch when baseball finally returns for farm teams. It all adds up to a position that should produce at least one regular big leaguer in the post-Trevor Story era.
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Players Mentioned: Trevor Story, Troy Tulowitzki, Alan Trejo, Eric Stamets, Ryan Vilade, Mateo Gil, Benji Gil, Nolan Arenado, Jack Blomgren, Eddy Diaz, Ezequiel Tovar, Adael Amador, Wander Franco, Fernando Tatis Jr.