Colorado Rockies' Prospects Report Pitcher-of-the-Year
(RHP) Chad Bettis, High-A Modesto
Other finalists - Juan Nicasio, Tulsa; Edwar Cabrera, Asheville/Modesto
Cabrera finishes second to Bettis with no one else doing quite enough to merit third place.
Colorado Rockies' Prospects Report Hitter-of-the-Year
(3B) Nolan Arenado, High-A Modesto
Other finalists -Tim Wheeler, Tulsa; Kent Matthes, Modesto: Josh Rutledge, Modesto
NOTE: Wheeler accomplished his big season at Double-A Tulsa at age 23 while Matthes' year in the hitter-friendly High-A California League was at age 24.
Matthes' batting average, doubles and RBI all exceeded Wheeler's output, and in 43 less games.
Age is a characteristic that is important in evaluating prospects but it's not always the end-all unless a player is significantly older than another and other variables clearly line up for the younger player. The level players competed is also important but not always the determining factor either.
Matthes, despite Wheeler hitting 33 HRs, stealing 21 bases at a higher level and having a noteworthy season, finished second, with Wheeler third and Rutledge fourth.
Arenado wins for hitting nearly .300, showing doubles power, improving HR total, consistency, high RBI output, elite plate defense and doing it all at age 20. If Matthes was two or three years younger and would not have been injured (no fault of his own), he may have won the award.
He is still, in the eyes of the Colorado Rockies' Prospects Report, a plus-prospect in the organization as the the final hitter rankings (coming soon) will show.
Colorado Rockies' Prospects Report Comeback Player-of-the-Year
(LHP) Tyler Matzek, High-A Modesto/Low-A Asheville
NOTE: Difficult to believe a player who began the season so highly regarded would be named for this award but Matzek overcame much turmoil, doubt and criticism to finish the season looking like a star prospect again.
He rode the rollercoaster in 2011 and went from looking lost, in over his head and unlikely to rebound due to critical, yes critical mechanical flaws, to ace-type quality over his final six starts, in which he posted a 2.25 ERA, greatly minimizing walks and striking out big numbers at times.
It was a remarkable turnaround worthy of recognition.