When it comes to prospects and draft picks, I’ve never been one to put a lot of thought into them. The journey from draft pick to major league debut is an unpredictable road where you may never know exactly what you’re getting from the start. However, in the last couple of years, I’ve started following one prospect in particular who I think may have a bright future in Colorado, and that player, of course, is Zac Veen.
Drafted ninth overall in 2020 out of high school, Veen finished his second professional baseball season in 2022 and is currently participating in the Arizona Fall League with the Salt River Rafters. Veen finished the minor league season with Double-A Hartford, and at this rate, we may see him patrolling Coors Field sometime in 2023. What is Veen doing that makes it so exciting?
Speed is something that is declining in the MLB. Gone are the days of 60 stolen base seasons, but with new rule changes in 2023 and bigger bases, there may be some remedy to that situation. Veen has shown incredible ability to steal bases at lower levels. In 2021 with the Fresno Grizzlies, he stole 36 bags, which is no small feat, but in 2022 he went one step further with the Spokane Indians. In 92 games at High-A, Veen stole a staggering 50 bags and added five more during his 34 games at Double-A Hartford.
Stolen bases aren’t something the Rockies use much. The roster hasn’t had much speed in recent years aside from one or two players, and it was an obvious stat in 2022 when the team had 45 stolen bases as a group. It’s a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but the fact that Veen has the ability to steal bases and generate RBI opportunities for the team is a valuable trait I can’t wait to witness at the major league level.
Obviously, as a position player, Veen’s ability to hit and get on base is at the forefront of all analysis. The aforementioned speed is only possible because he has shown a promising approach at the plate that is well balanced.
In 2021, Veen hit .301/.399/.501 and squashed 46 extra-base hits, including 15 home runs, while also driving in 75 RBIs. That season he also had 26.3 K% vs. 13.4 BB% and a wRC+ of 135 in 106 matches. Not to mention that he did all of that at the age of 19. Fast forward to 2022 and over the course of two levels of minor league baseball, he produced fairly similar stats where he had 38 extra-base hits, 12 home runs, 67 RBI, 26.2 K%, and 11.2 BB%.
His cut line dipped a bit to .245/.340/.384, but those numbers were skewed because he fell out after the transition to Double-A. In Spokane, he had a .269 average and an .806 OPS with the vast majority of his production at High-A. I’ll give Veen the benefit of the doubt because Hartford is a tough place to hit, even more so late in the season when the competition is at its best and Veen is still younger than a lot of the other players he has. versus.
His problems at Double-A were based on the fact that he wasn’t hitting the ball in the air. His ground ball rate skyrocketed from 45.7% at High-A to 56.1% at Double-A. His lane boosts also sank to 15%, down from 23% in High-A. While he still needs to elevate his ground balls and continue to reduce his strikeout numbers, he has continued to show a focus at the plate beyond his years that is complete and consistent. Something the Rockies desperately need.
a bright future
Trailing in the AFL entering Saturday, Veen continues to shine with a .500/.588/.833 slash line and at small sample size he has four walks for just one strikeout. The hype is real around the 24th-ranked prospect in the MLB, and Rockies fans might end up seeing him sooner than expected.
Unless Veen has an absolutely unrealistic spring training audition and the Rockies make some outfield starts, I’m hoping he starts the 2023 season at Double-A to try to get some consistency there before moving to Triple-A Albuquerque to early in the season. . If all goes well there (barring catastrophic injuries and major league roster changes), Veen could find himself dressed in purple next summer, probably in August or September.
I haven’t been this excited about a Rockies prospect since Nolan Arenado in 2013. His skill set, his defensive capabilities and the general accolades he’s received from scouts and MLB Pipeline show me he can be a star with the Rockies. Only time will tell how he continues to develop, but the Rockies have a precious gem in their system and will need to do whatever it takes for him to hit the ground running and find success in the big leagues.
Until he arrives in Colorado, hair down and mustache growing, I will continue to watch his growth with sweet anticipation and excitement.
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95-year-old Rockies employee announces another season | 9Noticias.com
9News features a small spotlight on Colorado Rockies usher Pete Sabell, who has been working for the team since 2002. He says he wants to work until he is 101 to break a record as one of the oldest employees to work for an MLB team.
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Arizona Fall League
Surprise Saguaros 6, Beams of the Salt River 3
The Salt River Rafters struggled once again as they closed out the first week of the AFL with an 0-6 record. Grant Lavigne was the only Rockies prospect in the lineup to start at first base. He went 1-for-4 with a strikeout, a couple of ground balls and a single, which took his batting average to a whopping .462 in the first week. They will have a day off tomorrow and will be back in action on Monday.
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