Rockies select top OF prospect Ryan Vilade
Ryan Vilade is making his MLB debut. USA TODAY NETWORK

The Rockies announced that they have selected the contract of outfield prospect Ryan Vilade from Triple-A.  Left-hander Bernardo Flores Jr. was designated for assignment and righty Ryan Feltner was optioned to Triple-A in corresponding moves.

Vilade places fifth on MLB Pipeline’s ranking of the Rockies’ top prospects, and the 2017 second-round pick is now set to make his major league debut.  Vilade has hit .286/.339/.420 with seven homers over 447 plate appearances for Triple-A Albuquerque this year, which marked his first experience at the Triple-A level.

With rather modest power numbers in the hitter-friendly environments of the former Pacific Coast League, Vilade has yet to fully tap into the power potential cited in Pipeline’s scouting report.  With increased strength paired alongside “solid bat-to-ball skills and an advanced approach” at the plate, Vilade could be a candidate to hit 25-30 home runs per year at the big league level.  Playing in Denver’s thin air could very well help unlock that extra pop, and the Rockies figure to give Vilade a good chunk of playing time over the season’s final two weeks.

Vilade is in Colorado’s lineup as the starting left fielder Saturday, and this figures to be his primary position going forward.  He was originally drafted as a shortstop, however, and he has also seen work as a third baseman, first baseman and at the other two outfield positions.  Developing into a multi-position type would only help the 22-year-old Vilade’s future prospects, giving him more chances to stick somewhere in the Rockies’ everyday lineup.

Flores was claimed off waivers from the Cardinals back in June, and he has spent much of his time in the Rockies organization on the Triple-A injured list.  The southpaw’s only MLB game of the 2021 season came on May 5, when he faced three batters without recording an out in a 7-2 Cardinals loss to the Mets.

A seventh-round pick for the White Sox in 2016, Flores made his MLB debut with two innings for Chicago last season.  The grounder specialist has a 3.42 ERA over 473 1/3 career innings in the minors, but with only a 6.68 ERA in 33 2/3 frames at Triple-A.

This article first appeared on MLB Trade Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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