Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Baseball America's Rockies' Prospects list undervalues Rutledge

Here it is - Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects for the Colorado Rockies.

1. Drew Pomeranz, rhp
2. Nolan Arenado, 3b
3. Chad Bettis, rhp
4. Wilin Rosario, c
5. Tim Wheeler, of
6. Trevor Story, ss/3b
7. Tyler Anderson, lhp
8. Kent Matthes, of
9. Kyle Parker, of
10. Josh Rutledge, ss

Comments

Colorado Rockies' Prospects Report also is high on Drew Pomeranz, Nolan Arenado and Chad Bettis but sees more potential in Tim Wheeler than Wilin Rosario and is shocked to see Josh Rutledge ranked so low, below Trevor Story and Tyler Anderson especially.

Wheeler strikes out way too much but he is also a much more well rounded and dangerous hitter than Rosario, who either homers or K's. Wheeler piled up doubles and home runs, hit for a much higher average. He is, as previously written here, a better prospect than the talented and hyped Rosario.

Story is a solid prospect but he just completed rookie ball, with success. He's a fine prospect who must prove he can hit at higher levels. I did rank him no. 1 for his classification. I like him.

Anderson has not thrown a pitch yet for the system, was overvalued in the draft and was picked, negligently or recklessly (you pick), over prep hitter Josh Bell, drafted later by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Anderson should not yet be ranked, with no production in the system or the minors. He's not that kind of overwhelming, low-risk prospect.

Rutledge put up a torrid second half of the season, hitting way over .400 and showed real extra-base power. He looks, at worst, like a solid utility infielder who will have a long career (think Craig Counsell, with power) and could be, at best, a long-term hitting solution at second base, with Troy Tulowitzki owning shortstop for the foreseeable future. Don't sleep on Rutledge.

The Colorado Rockies' Prospects Report loves him.

Kent Matthes and Kyle Parker are also low on this list. I believe, for now, that Matthes' hit tool is legitimate and if healthy again, he will prove it. Parker had a very solid rookie season of above-average power and plus-production, even if in a hitter's park. He needs to defend the strike-zone better but he has big-league ability.

See the hitter and pitcher ranking tab on the top of this page for the CRPR's evaluation of prospects.


Projected 2015 starters

Jack Etkin, writing for Baseball America, lists his 2015 projected starters for the Rockies.

Catcher Wilin Rosario
First Base Kent Matthes
Second Base Trevor Story
Third Base Nolan Arenado
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki
Left Field Tim Wheeler
Center Field Dexter Fowler
Right Field Carlos Gonzalez
No. 1 Starter Drew Pomeranz
No. 2 Starter Jhoulys Chacin
No. 3 Starter Chad Bettis
No. 4 Starter Alex White
No. 5 Starter Tyler Anderson
Closer Rex Brothers


Comments

I personally agree with much on Etkin's list, his assessment from his research and interviews. While I believe Chad Bettis has tremendous upside and could pass Jhoulys Chacin as a pitcher, I'm content with ranking him as a no. 3 starter. Drew Pomeranz has no. 1 starter ability. Will be become that? That, I'm still unsure about. Optimistic but not sold. Alex White as a no. 4 sounds plausible. Don't forget Edwar Cabrera, who will be at Double-A next season as a challenger at the no. 5 spot. He at least has minor league production, Anderson doesn't yet.

Amongst the hitters, I'm not sold yet on Rosario, who's massive power potential is overshadowed in my opinion by his terrible inability to hit for average last year. He was solid if unspectacular in that area in 2010 but I want to see proof he can justify his place in a starting lineup on a daily basis offensively, in the minors, before thinking he's the next Johnny Bench or Mike Piazza (sans Piazza's defense).

Projecting Matthes at first base is creative and smart. He can hit. At least Etkin sees his value as a hitter, which other experts are overlooking.

Give me Josh Rutledge at second base, at least for now, over talented but still very green Trevor Story.

I also think Kyle Parker will push for an outfield spot or a trade.


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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011-12 Rockies' Prospects Report relief pitcher rankings

Colorado Rockies' Prospects Report's Top Relief Pitchers

1. Coty Woods (23), RHP - has 2.65 career ERA in organization and 9.9/3.2 K/BB rate. Dominating first half at High-A Modesto, but stumbled to the finish.

2. Joe Gardner (23), RHP - currently a Double-A starter but I see him as a future reliever. In 2011, he walked less than two per nine innings, forced four times the amount of ground balls to fly ball outs and gave up just one home run in his 36 1/3 innings.

3. Kurt Yacko (24), RHP  - has a 3.10 career ERA, with a 10.2/2.2 K/BB rate. His big challenge is missing more bats as he's allowed 229 hits in 232 1/3 career innings. Will likely be at Double-A in 2012.

4. Nelson Gonzalez (21), RHP - 1.71 ERA this year at Tri-City and a 49/10 K/BB rate. Started and relieved with success and didn't allow a home run in his 58 innings.

5. Kenny Roberts (23), LHP  - 1.86 ERA this season at short-season A-Ball with a 9.1/1.6 K/BB rate and 2.70 ground ball outs to fly ball outs. 

6. Christian Friedrich (24), LHP - I think his future aspiration as a starter is over. However, as a reliever, being shortened up, he still might have value if he can stay healthy and come to acceptance that he needs to see himself, make himself a strong bullpen presence.

7. Michael Marbry (27), RHP - 2.92 ERA and 9.2 K/BB in 2011 at High-A Modesto. Has to duplicate success in 2011 to still create curiosity and interest in him in Colorado's or any other franchise's head.

8. Bruce Kern (23), RHP - allowed 79 hits in 74 2/3 innings at Low-A Asheville but had 8.2/2.1 K/BB rate. Has work to do but if he does it well, does it quickly, he could rise in the rankings.
 

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Friday, November 25, 2011

2011-12 Rockies' Prospects Report starting pitching rankings

The Colorado Rockies, always longing for pitching, have quality in their system like never before. The Colorado Rockies' Prospects Report starting pitching rankings are listed below.

Even though Juan Nicasio was hurt early in his rookie season, I believe there is a large-enough sample size to consider him a major league player now (we just don't know how good) instead of a prospect so he will not be named below.

However, with Alex White's abysmal Rockies' performance, he will be considered a prospect.


Colorado Rockies' Prospects Report's Top Starting Pitchers

1. Drew Pomeranz (22), LHP  - pitched minimally in the Rockies' system, at Double-A Tulsa before being called up to the Rockies, where he won two of three starts, reportedly not at full strength. Big, expected to be durable, with a plus-fastball and plus-curve as his calling cards. Working on an average-to-better third pitch. Thought by scouts to have no. 1 or 2 starter possibilities.
2. Chad Bettis (22), RHP - outstanding second half of season at High-A Modesto. I'm higher on him than most, seeing him having a ceiling as a no. 2 starter and no worse than a no. 4. Split the difference if you wish and see him as a no. 3. Strike thrower, limits walks. Possesses plus-fastball. Excelled in system since signed so he has take-notice consistency. Would easily rank no.1 in most other years. The Rockies are just fortunate to have Pomeranz and Bettis in their organization at the same time and on the way up to help the big league club. Bettis' ETA could be as soon as some point in 2012. If not then, the expectation will be 2013.
3. Alex White (23), RHP - won at the major league level with Cleveland, was successful at Tulsa and then embarrassingly bad with the Rockies with an 8.42 ERA, .324 batting average against and 12 homers allowed in 36 1/3 innings. White proved himself at higher levels than Bettis has yet to reach but his stock takes a hit due to the inability to compete with big league hitters. Word is he may have been hurt and maybe he was as not one of his seven starts could be described as quality. Yet, he still made two impressive rookie starts with Cleveland, against Detroit and the Angels. The Rockies still view him as a starter for now and scouts project him as high as a no. 3 and no lower than a no. 4. Lincoln Hamilton of Project Prospect recently told Colorado Rockies' Prospects Report that while White could start his eventual landing spot could be the back of the bullpen.
4. Edwar Cabrera (23), LHP - Cabrera might throw too many strikes. He must find better placement within the strike zone and find a way to miss a few more bats. He also has to learn to make batters chase balls out of the zone. That might be difficult to communicate to Cabrera, who has a 5/1 K/BB rate and loves to throw strikes. He's too hittable, lacks the plus velocity to rank higher but he is a solid-to-serious prospect that I believe can still lock down a spot in a starting rotation because his flaws seem correctable while some prospects' "issues" aren't such.
5. Dan Houston (24), RHP - excelled at High-A Modesto and then competed but slipped at Double-A, becoming significantly more hittable and striking out fewer hitters. Will have to find a way to miss more bats in hopes of reaching the majors and finding a spot at the back end of a rotation. Might have a relief role in his future.
6. Josh Slaats (22), RHP - finished strong at Low-A Asheville, showing the ability to make adjustments and find consistency. Not currently a high-level prospect but should compete for the major leagues. Will he maintain his momentum in 2012 or level off? That's the question. For now he ranks ahead of the next prospect due to his better consistency.
7. Tyler Matzek (20), LHP - talent wise, he's on par with Pomeranz and Bettis but despite that fact, despite his draft position and the hype, he's not ranked much higher than this because of his awful control for most of 2011. His final six starts at Low-A Asheville (he was demoted from High-A Modesto) were outstanding and he looked like an elite talent again. If he can build on those performances he could very well be in Double-A by the end of 2012 and competing for a major league job in 2013/2014, surpassing many of the pitchers in these rankings. Being very cautious with him after failing Modesto in 2011, a level he will have to master next season, and recording 96 walks in 97 innings. Other prospect publications will have him ranked much higher. This is a good position for him for now - under the radar a little bit after being too highly ranked by others since he was drafted.
8. Chris Jensen (21), RHP - his debut season at Tri-City, after being selected in the sixth round of the 2011 draft, was noteworthy and impressive. He signed quickly, got to work and was effective.
9. Christian Bergman (23), RHP - will have to show he's up for success at Low-A Asheville to keep this ranking. He and Tri-City teammate Tyler Gagnon produced in 2011, both having stretches of dominance but they are older for that league. Bergman has quality control. His stuff is not top shelf but he proved he knows how to pitch.
10. Tyler Gagnon (22), RHP - he struggled in his first two seasons in the organization but was stellar in 2011. He was hard on both right-handers (.190 average against) and left-handers (.226), only allowed two home runs all season and now deserves prospect recognition.



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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Top prospect Arenado wins MVP

The Rockies hope Nolan Arenado is their future answer at third base and Arenado keeps doing things on the field to make the front office excited.

Arenado keeps driving hard for Coors, after being named the Arizona Fall Leauge Most Valuable Player, on the heels of 122-RBI season at High-A Modesto.

The 2009 second-round draft pick hit .388 with 6 HRs and 33 RBI in 29 AFL games.

He finished the 2011 season with a .298 average with 32 doubles, 20 HRs, the 122 RBI and now has 330 hits in 280 career minor league games.

He is the Colorado Rockies' Prospects Report's top hitter in the organization and was the 2011 CRPR's Hitter of the Year. It's quite possible he ends up in Denver sometime in 2012 after the All Star break. It's also not inconceivably, although maybe unlikely that he reaches the big league club before the All Star game.

One publication, Project Prospect, believes Arenado is now an elite-level prospect

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Rockies protect Cabrera, still believe in Friedrich

The Colorado Rockies have added left-handed pitching prospects Edwar Cabrera (Single-A Modesto) and Christian Friedrich (Double-A Tulsa) to their 40-man roster, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post.

The  24-year old Cabrera was old for Low-and-High-A ball but had an outstanding season, going 8-3 with a 3.34 ERA, a minor-league best 217 strikeouts and a 5.3/1 K/BB rate. He'll have to show effectiveness at Double-A Tulsa next season due to his age to still be considered a quality prospect but he looks promising at this point with his ability to get outs on his own through punchouts, his ability to throw strikes and not help opposing offenses by offering free passes. He is prone to giving up home runs (18), so he will have to improve his command.

The Colorado Rockies' Prospects Report, the parent site of this publication, likes Cabrera to the extent it sees him as a future major league player, likely as a back-end starter, at least initially, and if that doesn't work, then surely a quality reliever.

Friedrich, also 24, was a first-round pick in the 2008 draft and looked like a future rotation lock during his first two seasons in the organization but he's leveled off the last two years, due to injury and ineffectiveness both, posting ERA's of 5.05 and 5.00. He has also given up 256 hits in 220 and a 1/3 innings, proving too easy to hit. His strikeout rate is way down since moving up the ladder. He looks overwhelmed by the competition in too many starts.

The Colorado Rockies' Prospects Report does not see Friedrich as a major league starter. His struggles over two years at Double-A have led to that decision. If Friedrich is going to make it, it will have to be by limiting his exposure to risk, meaning converting him to a reliever. That's still no guarantee he will succeed with the Rockies but it greatly increases his chances. Expect that move by the organization in the next year.


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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Beerer gets fresh start with Orioles

Scott Beerer's attempt to reach the major leagues with the Rockies came to an end today but his goal is still alive - it's just now with the Baltimore Orioles' organization.

The Orioles signed Beerer to a minor-league deal. The former pitcher from Texas A & M, a second-round choice in the 2003 draft, converted to the outfield and showed power, slowly climbing the ladder in the Colorado chain, reaching Triple-A Colorado Springs.

He hit 16 homers between Double-A Tulsa and the Sky Sox in 2011.

He had a 4.79 ERA as a pitcher but has been a .309 hitter. His problems lie in his age (29) and poor strike-zone defense (62 walks/159 strikeouts).

Beerer was drafted right after Ian Stewart by the Rockies in 2003. Also taken in that class were Eric Young Jr., Jesse Litsch and Ryan Mattheus, the latter two who reached the majors with other organizations.

With the hitters the Rockies have in the farm system, losing Beerer is not really a concern. For the Orioles, he represents a low-risk flyer, someone who could reach the majors as a pinch hitter with pop if he can learn to reduce strikeouts and start strong in 2012.

He's a long shot to reach the majors, although it's more likely with his new organization and he is seen as a fringe MLB player at this point by the Colorado Rockies' Prospects Report. Beerer, however, is an interesting story with his position change, time away from baseball and average and power he's shown since becoming a hitter in the minors.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Five Rockies' prospects amongst rising stars

Five Rockies' prospects are listed by Baseball America as rising stars in the Arizona Fall League.

In reality, only two of those players are legitimate MLB prospects - third baseman Nolan Arenado and outfielder Tim Wheeler, both coming off stupendous 2011 campaigns. Arenado is the Colorado Rockies' Prospects Report top hitter in the organization and Wheeler is no. 4 in the rankings.

Baseball America also mentioned Double-A first baseman Ben Paulsen, a too-light hitting low-level prospect CRPR says and Double-A spitchers Rob Scahill and Casey Weathers. Scahill has a plus fastball but doesn't show the results to merit blue or red-chip status and Weathers control is so awful that he can't be seriously considered to even be called up for a cup of coffee in the majors unless it's solely to justify his draft selection (former no. 1 pick).

Arenado and Wheeler, however, should reach the majors with Arenado a likely bet to become a starter and Wheeler having that potential if he can learn to better protect the plate by seriously cutting strikeouts.

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