Rockies Analyst Prospects Mailbag

What's wrong with Nolan Arenado? I thought he would be playing much better after all the hype and would be close to being ready. You hardly ever hear about him anymore. Another Rockies' bust of a prospect?

Arenado is having his toughest pro challenge. Double-A Tulsa is not the California League, where hitters often reign supreme. Josh Rutledge is with the Rockies now but even his numbers were not the same at Tulsa and Kent Matthes, due to recovering from injury and moving from High-A to Double-A, has seen his numbers look nothing like 2011. He's a skeleton of who he was last season. It's a big step up in pitching. 

Arenado's plate defense isn't bad and he is hitting a fair share of doubles but his homers are way down and he just isn't making the necessary adjustments to square up the ball well enough to make quality contact, thus he's hitting the ball at people and not getting hits.

His prospect status, to me, is down, but I do expect him to produce at a higher level next season, whether that is again at Double-A or at Triple-A, which I can see the Rockies doing, promoting Arenado, not on merit but on potential.

By the end of next season I think we will know if Arenado still is a high-quality prospect or if he is somewhat less than such.

So, for now, the call is for a little more patience. 

I don't get you. You slammed the Rockies for drafting (David) Dahl and now you write about him every day. Too funny!

True, I would have chosen either California prep pitcher Lucas Gioloto (if I felt comfortable with his injury recovery) over Dahl or Clemson bat Richie Shafer or maybe even Texas A & M pitcher Michael Wacha but Dahl has been spectacular as a hitter at rookie-league-level Grand Junction. The sample size there is small but his hit tool looks top shelf. To not write about him near daily would be do a disservice to people who want to know what Rockies' prospects are developing well or excelling. Dahl has a long ways to go to get to Cooperstown or even into the Rockies' dugout so the book on him or Gioloto, Shafer or Wacha has yet to be written. For now, his play has been premium quality.

The thinking on Gioloto was he had the big body, power stuff and could develop into that workhorse the Rockies have always needed. Shafer could play third or first one day and possibly hit 20+ homers. Wacha profiled, to me, as back end of the bullpen with a strong fastball/changeup mix or if he created a third usable pitch, he could be a no. 4 starter.

Hard to argue with the Rockies' scouting department or front office at this moment for having a conviction on Dahl (or even Eddie Butler for that matter). 

Why are you so down on Tyler Matzek? He's young. You seem to have some sort of personal issue with him, always so critical.

Actually, I see Matzek's great talent. His strikeouts per inning pitched shows quality stuff. His hits per inning pitched, same thing. He can look outstanding some starts.

His problem is he still, three years after being drafted, walks batters excessively at times, looks far from a former first-round pick and far from capable of handling higher levels of competition.

2012 has been a disappointment and I can't see Matzek succeeding as a starter at Double-A in 2013 based on his body of work this season. Unless he does a big about-face, he looks like he might have to be converted into a reliever. But even there, he can't walk batters like he does now.

To me, either his mechanics are not repeatable or his makeup isn't strong enough.

Who's a stronger prospect, Edwar Cabrera or Tyler Anderson?

That's a great question. Cabrera has hit the majors this year, got sent down to Triple-A and is now again with the Rockies. Until Colorado Springs, Cabrera had advanced strongly through the minors, exhibiting impeccable control, the ability to get punch outs and this season, and has become much more difficult to hit, showing improved "stuff."

Anderson is only a year out of college. He has pitched very well. His stuff is not that of a no. 1 or 2 starter and maybe not even that of a no. 3, although it could be, but he is definitely in play as potential rotation piece. His control is plus, he is not prone to grooving pitches that end up over the wall and he controls run scoring well.

The concern I have now, more than his weakness for not getting enough outs on his own, is he's getting hit more than you would like for a first-rounder. He's escaping now but what about when he hits the higher levels of the minors and especially Coors? Will it play then? Not likely.

As of today, I like Cabrera more for his ability to miss more bats, get strikeouts and manage games. If he can find a way to cut down on tee shots over the wall, he could be really good, as in a no. 3 starter (as a ceiling).

Anderson is a prospect I like but he's still in the early stages of climbing the rungs of the minors and I'd like to see a sample of his work at higher levels.

Are you really that dense? You write that Cory Dickerson is better than Nolan Arenado? Based on what? Arenado is younger and the future third baseman. Who is Dickerson?

Nah, I wouldn't say I'm dense at all nor have I given up on Arenado having the ceiling of a quality major-league hitter. He's slumping now and for the expectations that media and fans had for him entering 2012 (he should start the season in Colorado!) he's not played up to that level.

The electricity in his bat has been on low most of the season and he's striking out more. Of course, the California League, we are learning, greatly exaggerates a prospects' offensive potential.

Dickerson's resume is highly impressive and the improvement he showed in plate defense and ability to hit for average at High-A was astounding. He started poorly at Double-A when promoted this summer but hitters' hit everywhere and Dickerson is a hitter and his average has been slowly climbing and is now above that of Arenado's. The power is down this year but I think that will return, to what extent I don't know.

So bottom line, I do value Arenado's future but right now, as of this moment, Dickerson is better. Call me dense. 

You have so much information. How many of these players have you actually had an opportunity to see play on a regular basis?

I'm  happy to answer your question or any questions from anyone when they are focused on the Rockies, their prospects and not me. It strongly seems like you have taken issue with a review or comment on a particular player or players. Argue for that player or players and I'm very willing to engage you in conversation and maybe even healthy debate.

I don't believe most people watch the President of the United States at work daily but many of us judge his work.

I believe most sports fans enjoy discussions, even alternative viewpoints. 


Anonymous said...

Who do you think is the future at first base? Arenado if Tulo moves to 3rd in a few years seems to be about the only option in the minors right now.

Rockies' Analyst Magazine said...

Good question.

I think Tulo sticks at shortstop for many years. I see Arenado staying at third base or becoming the first baseman.

If he stays at third, the eventual regular at first could be a future draftee, free agent or converted positional players (prospects) Kyle Parker or Will Swanner, although both would have considerable defensive work to do to man the position.

Rockies' Analyst Magazine