Colorado Rockies PRE-SEASON Top 20 Prospects in Review
1) Ian Stewart, 3B
Hit .274/.353/.497 with 17 homers in 112 games for Modesto in the California League. Got off to a slow start, but eventually adjusted to Cal League competition, and is still only 20 years old. His stock may drop a hair but I'm not really worried about him.
2) Jeff Francis, LHP
14-12, 5.68 in 33 starts for the Rockies, 128/70 K/BB in 184 innings. Allowed 228 hits. Did about as well as can be expected given the environment.
3) Chris Nelson, SS
Hit .241/.304/.330 in just 79 games for Class A Asheville in the Sally League. A disappointing, injury-plagued campaign, marred by poor plate discipline. I think I overrated him entering the season, but I didn't expect him to play this badly.
4) Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP
Combined to go 7-8, 4.66 in 25 starts combined between Modesto and Double-A Tulsa, 131/71 K/BB in 135 innings. Very good stuff, still working on his command. Like all Rockies prospects, I can't say I'm really thrilled about his chances, even though he is a good prospect on his own terms.
5) Jeff Baker, 3B
As usual, hit well but limited by injury. Hit .303/.348/.513 with 10 homers in 61 games for Triple-A Colorado Springs.
6) Ryan Shealy, 1B
A legit hitter, hit .330/.413/.473 for Colorado in 36 games. Hard to see how he fits on the roster though.
7) Seth Smith, OF
Toolsy outfielder hit .300/.353/.458 for Modesto. 45 doubles are a possible sign of more power to come. Double-A next year will tell us a lot.
8) Chris Narveson, LHP
Went 4-5, 4.77 in 20 starts for Triple-A Pawtucket in Red Sox system. 66/46 K/BB in 111 innings is unattractive, and his status as a prospect has slipped.
9) Clint Barmes, SS
Hit .289/.330/.434 with 10 homers in 81 games for the Rockies, exactly in line with what his minor league numbers indicated. At age 26 his development time is limited, but he's useful.
10) J.D. Closser, C
Hit just .219/.314/.376 in 92 games for the Rockies. I thought he would do better than that. His true level is probably halfway between his '04 and '05 performance.
11) Marcos Carvajal, RHP
Rule 5 guy, posted 5.09 ERA in 39 games for the Rockies, 47/21 K/BB in 53 innings. Good arm, still learning how to pitch.
12) Sam Deduno, RHP
5.62 ERA in 20 starts for Asheville, 110/65 K/BB in 90 innings. Strong K/IP ratio is a good sign, but he needs better control.
13) Ryan Speier, RHP
Slow start in Triple-A, but ended up posting a 3.65 ERA in 22 games out of the Rockies bullpen. His K/IP collapsed in the majors, but he keeps the ball down and it didn't hurt him much. Possibilities as a middle reliever seem reasonable.
15) Juan Morillo, RHP
Combined for 27 starts between Asheville and Modesto, 4.44 ERA 144/78 K/BB in 146 innings. Good K/IP marks but needs to improve his control. At least a year away from being able to help, probably two.
16) Brad Hawpe, OF
Hit .262/.350/.403 for the Rockies. I think he is capable of better, but at age 26 his window of opportunity will close quickly if he doesn't step forward in '06.
17) Garrett Atkins, 3B
Hit .287/.347/.426 in 138 games for the Rockies. If he stays in Colorado, he'll hit .330 one of these days.
18) Steven Register, RHP
Disappointing at Modesto, going 9-11, 4.44 in 27 starts, with 108/35 K/BB in 156 innings, 184 hits allowed. He was a reliever at Auburn and I think converting him back to the bullpen would help.
19) Matt Merricks, LHP
Returned to Dodgers under Rule 5. 4.88 ERA in 28 innings for Vero Beach, 27/10 K/BB in 28 innings. Track record is quite erratic, but as a lefty with a pulse he will get more chances.
20) Jim Miller, RHP
Posted 3.78 ERA and 25 saves for Modesto, 68/17 K/BB in 48 innings. Promoted to Double-A, allowed only one earned run in 15 innings for Tulsa, posting nine saves. A relief sleeper to watch.
There is some raw material here, but I'm not happy with the way that Chris Nelson played in particular. I still think Stewart will be a stud. Note that even the best Rockies pitching prospect must be discounted when assessing investment fantasy value.