Rockies cast off raw power hitter for pitching prospect
The Colorado Rockies are sending left-handed hitter Sam Hilliard to the Atlanta Braves for right-handed pitching prospect Dylan Spain, the National League East club announced.
Hilliard, an outfielder that struggled in the bigs last season and to get consistent playing time, finished the season in Triple-A. The Sunday trade ends the 28-year-old’s time with the Rockies. He had appeared in 70 MLB games last season, hitting .184 with a. 544 OPS, only hitting two home runs. He knocked 29 longballs across 214 games in purple, flashing 14 in one half of a season in 2021.
The hype quickly died for the outfielder and he’s out of options, meaning he would’ve had to pass through waivers next season had the Rockies wanted to send him down. There was a chance he’d even get outrighted this winter just to clear a roster spot.
Spain, 24, hasn’t made it out of the low minors quite yet. The 10th-round pick in 2021 out of the University of Hawaii-Hilo has made 47 career minor league appearances, only seven as starts. His numbers don’t impress initially but he has struck out more batters than he’s pitched innings in pro ball thus far.
The Rockies will need to clear a few more 40-man roster spots ahead of The Rule 5 Draft in order to protect a few players from protection. Here are some names to watch: Riley Pint, the former No. 4 overall pick in the draft came out of retirement and showed some promise. He’s got a plus-fastball and some team could be enamored with it. Shortstop Adael Amador, MLB.com’s No. 61 overall prospect and third baseman Warming Bernabel—the Rockies’ eighth-best prospect should get added. First baseman Grant Lavigne, who is having a nice Arizona Fall League could also get the promotion.