From the Minor League Ball mailbag:
“I know it is tough to like a Rockies pitcher but what do you think of Peter Lambert? It looks like he is adapting well to AA.”—-Darrell from Dallas
Well, Darrell, in my view there’s a lot to like about Peter Lambert. He has pedigree: second round pick from high school in San Dimas, California in 2015; renowned in high school for his polish; a coveted UCLA recruit but the Rockies were able to sign him.
He’s lived up to their hopes so far as a pro: 3.93 ERA with a 108/33 K/BB in 126 innings in Low-A in 2016, then a 4.17 ERA in 142 innings and a 131/30 K/BB in High-A in 2017, a very credible performance for a 20-year-old in the California League and his home park of Lancaster.
Lambert ranked third on the pre-season Colorado Rockies Top 20 Prospects for 2018 list with this comment:
3) Peter Lambert, RHP, Grade B: Age 20, second round pick in 2015 from high school in California, posted 4.17 ERA with 131/30 K/BB in 142 innings, 147 hits in High-A; we need to discount what most hitters do at Lancaster but conversely if a pitcher performs well in that environment he deserves some extra credit; fastball 90-95 but not afraid to be aggressive with it, locates well, plays up due to contrast with above-average curveball, change-up; plus makeup and quite young; ETA 2020.
Moved up to Double-A for 2018, Lambert has been excellent thus far for the Hartford Yard Goats of the Eastern League. Through five starts he has a 2.22 ERA in 28.1 innings with a sharp 25/5 K/BB and 27 hits allowed. Small sample of course but a fast start is nicer than a slow one, and the fact that it is coming during his Double-A transition is certainly a positive marker.
The basic scouting report hasn’t changed much: 90-95 fastball that’s located very well, mixed with a plus curveball and a plus change-up. He’s always thrown strikes and has demonstrated pitching feel beyond his years for, well, years.
He’s also proven to be quite durable so far, testimony to his consistency, athleticism, and efficiency. He survived the Lancaster experience with his confidence intact, which not every talented young pitcher has been able to do. That’s good training especially considering what’s ahead of him in Colorado.
As noted above, I had Lambert at a Grade B pre-season and he came in at 118th on the Top 175 prospects list. That feels too low now. My thinking was that I wanted to see how his strikeout rate and general ratios held up in Double-A but everything has held up just fine.
He’s a Grade B+ for me at this stage, certainly in the Top 100 with a shot at the Top 50 depending on how things go the rest of the year.
Baseball Census video from last fall: