Top 20 Colorado Rockies Top 20 for 2010
All grades are EXTREMELY PRELIMINARY and subject to change. Don't get too worried about exact rankings at this point, especially once you get beyond the Top 10. Grade C+/C guys are pretty interchangeable depending on what you want to emphasize. Complete reports on these and over 1,000 other players will be in the 2010 Baseball Prospect Book, now available for pre-order, shipping on February 2nd!
1) Christian Friedrich, LHP, Grade B+: He was handled conservatively, and I think that's great. Only worry I have is the elbow soreness, though it's not supposed to be a big deal that keeps him from an A-. Both stats and scouting reports are very sharp.
2) Tyler Matzek, LHP, Grade B+: I want to see some innings before bumping him ahead of Friedrich. Got the same grade as Jacob Turner, for the same reasons.
3) Jhouhyls Chacin, RHP, Grade B+: Projects as a very good ground ball-getting inning-eater. Those are valuable commodities.
4) Rex Brothers, LHP, Grade B-: Borderline B. I like him. I like strikeouts. I like movement and velocity. But for some unknown reason I just couldn't quite pull the trigger on the straight-B.
5) Esmil Rogers, RHP, Grade B-: I don't think the Rockies get enough attention for their Latin American program. Here's another live arm they found, though behind Chacin on the development track.
6) Juan Nicasio, RHP, Grade B-: You will be hearing a lot more about this guy next year. Another live arm, dominated the Sally League though a bit old for the level.
7) Wilin Rosario, C, Grade B-: Great throwing arm, and young at age 21. However I have enough concerns about the bat to prevent a higher grade.
8) Eric Young, JR, Grade B-: Terrific speed and very fun to watch. I also think his defense is underrated, but that's just me.
9) Mike McKenry, C, Grade C+: Like Young, I think McKenry is underrated. Great approach at the plate, has some power, does a lot of things right on defense.
10) Sam Deduno, RHP, Grade C+: He's an older guy due to Tommy John delay, but he's got excellent stuff. Even a mild improvement in his command would make him a big surprise in '10.
11) Nolan Arenado, 3B, Grade C+: Very promising young hitter, but I want to see how his power and defense develop before going higher.
12) Tim Wheeler, OF, Grade C+: Didn't dominate the Northwest League. On tools, would rank ahead of older prospects McKenry and Deduno, so you can move him up if you prefer that and trust that his performance will come around.
13) Hector Gomez, SS, Grade C+: Toolsy young shortstop with weak strike zone judgment, not my favorite kind of player. Could improve dramatically given his age, but most guys like this don't actually improve much.
14) Charles Blackmon, OF, Grade C+: Excellent tools, hit well in Cal League but still raw for a college guy. Terrific glove in center.
15) Chris Balcom-Miller, RHP, Grade C+: Live arm, very successful in Pioneer League.
16) Parker Frazier, RHP, Grade C: Projectable young arm, continues to show signs of gradual improvement.
17) Delta Cleary, OF, Grade C: Pitching version of Frazier: he's very projectable, will flash some skills sometime, young.
18) Chaz Roe, RHP, Grade C: Good arm, remains frustratingly erratic, but still young.
19) Cory Riordan, RHP, Grade C: Hittable in the Cal League, but pitched brilliantly in his last 10 starts. Keep an eye on him in Double-A.
20) Kiel Roling, 1B, Grade C: Monster numbers in the Sally League, and I think the power will carry forward. Don't know where he fits with the glove.
OTHERS (Grade C): Al Albuquerque, RHP; Bruce Billings, RHP; Jared Clark, 1B; Edgmer Escalona, RHP; Cole Garner, OF; Darin Holcomb, 3B; Dan Houston, RHP; Shane Lindsay, RHP; Kent Matthes, OF; Dan Mayora, INF; Wes Musick, LHP; Chris Nelson, SS; Jordan Pacheco, C; Ben Paulsen, 1B; Charlie Ruiz, RHP; Casey Weathers, RHP; Mike Zuanich, 1B-OF.
Most of the Grade Cs could fit in the 16-20 range, particularly Albuquerque, Escalona, and Lindsay who could all provide major league bullpen reinforcement in 2010.
This is a system that needs more attention than it gets. With Friedrich and Matzek, the Rockies have two of the premier left-handed starting prospects in the game. Brothers is a fireballing bullpen complement, and they have a bunch of live arms from the right side as well. The ranking of Nicasio is aggressive but he looks like a real sleeper to me and I wanted to highlight him. Also watch out for Deduno, who has first-class stuff and showed signs of harnessing it last year.
The hitting is weaker. Rosario could turn into a very good catcher but is a long way away. Young and McKenry will be ready much sooner. I like both of them a lot and I think both are underrated generally. God knows if any of the tools infielders will pan out. Arenado and Wheeler from the '09 draft are promising, but I want some higher level data from both of them.