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Colorado Rockies Top 20 2012 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

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June 2, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario (20) hits an RBI double during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field.  The Dodgers won 6-2.  Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
June 2, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario (20) hits an RBI double during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. The Dodgers won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Colorado Rockies Top 20 2012 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

Moving forward with our mid-season reviews of our pre-season Top 20 prospect lists, we switch back to the National League with an examination of the Colorado Rockies. Remember, this is the pre-season list. It is not a new list.

This list was originally published December 30, 2011.

The next four teams on the list for review are the Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, and the Oakland Athletics.

1) Nolan Arenado, 3B, Grade A-: I really liked him pre-season but he hasn't had a great year, hitting .264/.326/.381 with 31 walks, 43 strikeouts in 349 at-bats for Double-A Tulsa, along with vague rumors about needing to "grow up." Too young at age 21 to be truly concerned at this point.

2) Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Grade A-: 2.31 ERA with 50/21 K/BB in 51 innings for Triple-A Colorado Springs, 3.79 ERA with 32/22 K/BB in 40 innings in the majors. Has some command issues but upside is obvious.

3) Chad Bettis, RHP, Grade B: Borderline B+. Out all year with shoulder problems.

4) Trevor Story, SS, Grade B: Streaky but overall a solid debut in Low-A, .262/.357/.492 with 43 walks, 79 strikeouts in 325 at-bats, good defense at shortstop.

5) Tim Wheeler, OF, Grade B: Hitting .296/.364/.381 with 18 walks, 40 strikeouts in 189 at-bats in Triple-A. Just one homer this year after knocking 33 last year in Double-A. Power loss may have something to do with hamate injury that resulted in a late start.

6) Tyler Anderson, LHP, Grade B: Borderline B-. 2.64 ERA with 44/19 K/BB in 78 innings in Low-A, 68 hits, 1.59 GO/AO. Throws strikes and keeps the ball down, but low strikeout rate is a caution flag, and as a college guy he should be expected to do well in the Sally League.

7) Wilin Rosario, C, Grade B-: Hitting .255/.291/.535 with 15 homers, 10 walks, 53 strikeouts in 200 major league at-bats. Miguel Olivo comp remains valid.

8) Kyle Parker, OF, Grade B-: .318/.427/.496 with nine homers, 41 walks, 55 strikeouts in 242 at-bats for High-A Modesto. Fewer strikeouts this year and has doubled his walk rate, transition to Double-A should be highly interesting.

9) Joe Gardner, RHP, Grade B-: 5.00 ERA with 66/32 K/BB in 95 innings for Tulsa, 103 hits, 1.92 GO/AO. I felt he was capable of better.

10) Josh Rutledge, SS, Grade C+: Borderline B-. .306/.338/.508 with 13 homers, 14 steals, 14 walks, 69 strikeouts in 356 at-bats for Tulsa. Love the power/speed combination, we'll have to see if his plate discipline will hold up in the majors. 6-for-20 (.300) with two walks and three strikeouts so far in six major league games.

11) Kent Matthes, OF, Grade C+: Borderline B-: .211/.269/.425 with 15 homers, 20 walks, 73 strikeouts in 308 at-bats for Tulsa. Nice power, but at age 25 he's got to do better than this in Double-A to project well as a major league contributor.

12) Charlie Blackmon, OF, Grade C+: .287/.343/.426 with 11 walks, 22 strikeouts, six steals in 122 at-bats for Colorado Springs. I still see him as a useful fourth outfielder if he can stay healthy.

13) Edwar Cabrera, LHP, Grade C+: 11-4, 3.03 with 111/34 K/BB in 119 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 83 hits allowed. Vulnerable to homers (17 thus far) but he's steadily proving the doubters wrong.

14) Christian Friedrich, LHP, Grade C+: 5.85 ERA with 71/26 K/BB in 75 major league innings, 93 hits, getting a shot in the majors after better conditioning and five strong Triple-A starts turned his career around. Erratic, but he's had some impressive games and has something to build on now.

15) Tyler Matzek, LHP, Grade C+: 4.98 ERA with 107/71 K/BB in 98 innings in High-A, 86 hits. Better than last year, and you have to love the strikeouts, but his control remains a serious hindrance. Still just 21, still has time.

16) D.J. LeMahieu, INF, Grade C+: .314/.368/.396 with 23 walks, 29 strikeouts in 255 at-bats in Triple-A, .205/.262/.231 in 39 major league at-bats. I have little objective evidence for this, but I still like him and I think he will have a surprisingly strong season in 2013 or 2014.

17) Rosell Herrera, SS-3B, Grade C+: Overmatched in Low-A (.202/.271/.272) and sent back to the Northwest League, with adequate but better results (.286/.326/.405). Young at age 19, solid glove.

18) Rafael Ortega, OF, Grade C+: .292/.351/.413 with 29 walks, 55 strikeouts, 21 steals in 34 attempts in High-A. Very impressive glove in center field, still young enough at age 21 to show more with the bat.

19) Rob Scahill, RHP, Grade C+: 5.44 ERA with 105/56 K/BB in 98 innings in Triple-A, 104 hits, 1.78 GO/AO. Easy to overlook due to the ERA and age 25, but he gets strikeouts and grounders, and any improvement in his control could result in a surprise season.

20) Hector Gomez, SS, Grade C: Constantly plagued with injuries. Claimed on waivers by Brewers, hitting .097/.174/.210 in 19 games in High-A.

I was skeptical about Corey Dickerson pre-season due to his extreme home/road split last year in the Sally League, but he's answered a lot of doubts with a .322/.380/.564 campaign in High-A and Double-A, not losing anything at the higher level. I would rank him much higher now. Edwar Cabrera is the pitching version of Dickerson: it has taken scouts a long time to warm up to him, but he just keeps producing.

Will Swanner is another rising-stock guy. He has serious defensive problems behind the plate, but he's cut his strikeout rate and continues producing big numbers with the bat, giving hope that his bat will play at first base if necessary. 2012 draftees David Dahl, Eddie Butler, and Tom Murphy have all looked good in their debuts and should rank highly on the 2013 list.