Colorado Rockies 2011 Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

Colorado Rockies 2011 Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

I am reviewing my PRE-SEASON list of Top 20 prospects for 2011 for each organization, continuing today with the Colorado Rockies. This list was originally published December 17, 2010. We will look the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday, the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday, the Seattle Mariners on Friday, the Florida Marlins on Saturday, the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday, and the New York Mets on Monday.

This is a review of the 2011 Pre-Season Top 20 list. IT IS NOT A NEW LIST.

The 2012 list and new grades won't be ready until the season is over and I start writing the book.

1) Nolan Arenado, 3B, Grade B+: Hitting .298/.346/.479 with 14 homers, 36 walks, 45 strikeouts in 413 at-bats for High-A Modesto. Defense at third base is steadily improving. I think a major breakout is possible next year.

2) Tyler Matzek, LHP, Grade B+: 9.82 ERA with 37/46 K/BB in 33 innings for Modesto, 6.60 ERA with 39/32 K/BB in 30 innings since demotion to Low-A Asheville. Completely fell apart. Trying to rebuild mechanics. He's only 20 but there are few positives here.

3) Chad Bettis, RHP, Grade B:  3.62 ERA with 149/39 K/BB in 142 innings for Modesto, 126 hits. Very impressive, scouting reports are quite positive. Certainly ready for Double-A.

4) Kyle Parker, OF, Grade B: Hitting .284/.362/.492 with 19 homers, 35 walks, 106 strikeouts in 366 at-bats for Asheville. Mixed results. He has strike zone/contact issues, and very sharp home/road splits: .595 SLG at home, but just .387 on the road.

5) Wilin Rosario, C, Grade B: Hitting .246/.283/.438 with 16 homers, 16 walks, 70 strikeouts in 329 at-bats for Double-A Tulsa. Has thrown out 36% of runners. Defense and power remain strengths, but has lost ground in OBP department despite repeating league.

6) Juan Nicasio, RHP, Grade B:  2.22 ERA with 63/10 K/BB in 57 innings for Tulsa, then 4-4, 4.14 in 13 major league starts, 58/18 K/BB in 72 innings, 73 hits. Quite successful rookie campaign, until he was hit by a line drive and broke his neck. Expected to recover but rehab may take some time. He's lucky to be alive, let alone not paralyzed.

7) Peter Tago, RHP, Grade B:  5.50 ERA with 46/47 K/BB in 69 innings for Asheville, 59 hits. Grade was based on gaudy scouting reports from high school, but his command has been weak so far.

8) Rex Brothers, LHP, Grade B:  2.89 ERA with 45/15 K/BB in 28 innings for Triple-A Colorado Springs, 4.18 ERA with 35/13 K/BB in 24 innings for the Rockies, 23 hits. Loads of strikeouts.

9) Albert Campos, RHP, Grade B-:   5.19 ERA with 64/19 K/BB in 87 innings for Asheville, 111 hits. I was optimistic he could break through, but it hasn't happened. Still just 20, and he does throw strikes.

10) Christian Friedrich, LHP, Grade B-:  4.37 ERA with 81/29 K/BB in 111 innings for Tulsa, 128 hits. Better than last year at the same level, but still not the pitcher everyone expected him to be.

11) Charlie Blackmon, OF, Grade C+: .337/.393/.572 with 10 homers, 19 walks, 34 strikeouts, 12 steals in 243 at-bats for Colorado Springs.   .255/.277/.296 with three walks, eight strikeouts in 98 major league at-bats. He'll hit better than that eventually.

12) Chris Nelson, 2B, Grade C+: .341/.382/.557 with 17 walks, 42 strikeouts in 255 at-bats for Colorado Springs. In the majors, .248/.272/.385 with four walks, 20 strikeouts in 109 at-bats for the Rockies. Age 25. Capable of better if he can get the strike zone under better control.

13) Sam Deduno, RHP, Grade C+: Claimed on waivers by Padres.  3.68 ERA with 62/39 K/BB, 1.48 GO/AO, in 73 innings for Triple-A Tucson, 64 hits. Has always had good stuff, held back by command and injury issues. Could surprise in 2012.

14) Casey Weathers, RHP, Grade C+: 5.15 ERA, 40/37 K/BB in 37 innings for Tulsa, 29 hits. Command hasn't come around post-Tommy John.

15) Tim Wheeler, OF, Grade C+:  .294/.376/.567 with 29 homers, 49 walks, 117 strikeouts, 17 steals in 446 at-bats for Tulsa. Huge power outburst. Strikeout rate is somewhat worrisome but boost in production is good to see.

16) Jordan Pacheco, C, Grade C+:   Hitting .273/.335/.388 with 21 walks, 37 strikeouts in 278 at-bats for Colorado Springs. Has thrown out just 19% of runners this year. Age 25. I was optimistic about him pre-season so this is a disappointing campaign.

17) Rafael Ortega, OF, Grade C+:  .304/.336/.467 with 20 walks, 73 strikeouts, 24 steals in 398 at-bats for Asheville. Just 20 years old. Huge home/road split, .932 OPS at homes, just .655 on the road.

18) Rob Scahill, RHP, Grade C+:  4.29 ERA with 79/50 K/BB in 122 innings for Tulsa, 130 hits, 1.28 GO/AO. Ratios have taken a step backward compared to A-ball.

19) Eric Stavert, RHP, Grade C+: 7.32 ERA with 51/21 K/BB in 63 innings for Asheville, 84 hits. Now at Tri-City in Northwest League on rehab assignment. He'll be 24 next year so he needs to figure this out to stay on radar.

20) Josh Slaats, RHP, Grade C+:  4.17 ERA with 71/38 K/BB in 86 innings for Asheville, 96 hits. However, he has been much better lately. In his last eight starts, he is 6-0, 1.64 with a 50/19 K/BB in 49 innings, 40 hits.

21) Cristhian Adames, SS, Grade C+: Hitting .261/.327/.373 with 25 walks, 60 strikeouts in 303 at-bats for Ashville. Just turned 20. Good defensive reviews, young enough for bat to improve.

Typical mixture of good and bad results. Wheeler's power breakthrough pushes his stock up, and Bettis needs a lot more attention than he's received nationally. I can't offer a lot of optimism about Matzek at this point. Nicasio is a very lucky young man.

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