RoxPile Farm Report (4/6 — 4/12)


From now until the season ends, Rox Pile will be running a weekly Farm Report.  I’d like for this to be posted every Wednesday afternoon, but I’m not making any promises.

Last week, the affiliates went 12-12 combined.  While wins probably aren’t the most important thing in the minors, the last thing the Rockies want is a group of players that are used to losing.  Plus, a farm system full of good players should naturally produce wins.  This year, it appears that several teams have a decent chance of making the playoffs.   Asheville and Tulsa are both very talented teams and Modesto has three of the organization’s top ten prospects — Tyler Matzek, Nolan Arenado, and Chad Bettis.  If you’ll notice, I didn’t say much about Colorado Springs.

2011 Record: 3-3

Record Last Week (4/6 – 4/12): 3-3

Players of the Week:

Bryce Massanari – C

While at the University of Georgia, Massanari was one of the better catchers in the SEC.  When the Rockies selected him in the 30th round of the 2009 draft, some said he was a steal.  Though Massanari’s sample size has been small — 66 total minor league games — he hasn’t lived up to that billing.  He spent all of last year with Tri-City, hitting a measly .242 in 227 at-bats.  However, he’s off to a much better start in 2011.  In nineteen at-bats he has nine hits, including three doubles.  Perhaps he will turn out to be a steal after all.

Helder Velazquez – SS

Velazquez was a 5th round pick in the 2006 Draft.  This year is his third season with the Tourists.  His time with the Rockies has been defined by light hitting — a career .352 slugging percentage — and injuries.  He missed 2009 all together.

Obviously, not receiving a promotion for four years has lit a fire under Velazquez.  He’s off to a torrid start.  In five games, he is hitting .444/.500/.778 with a home run, three doubles, and five RBIs.  It will be interesting to see how long Helder can maintain his early success.

Top Prospects:

Kyle Parker (OF) — .357/.474/.500, 2 2B, 3 BB.

Corey Dickerson (OF) — .293/.454/.353, 1 2B, 2 BB.

Russell Wilson (2B) — .158/.158/.211, 1 2B, 2 SB.

Rafael Ortega (OF) — .182/.217/.227, 1 2B, 4 SB.

Albert Campos (RHP) — 0-1, 6.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 1 HR, 0 BB, 4 Ks.

2011 Record: 4-2

Record Last Week (4/6 – 4/12): 4-2

Players of the Week:

Mike Zuanich — 1B

Zuanich is a big prospect that can swing the bat, but has had trouble staying healthy and consistent.  He was the Rockies’ 28th round pick in 2008.  Upon signing, he was sent to Casper where he hit .185 and fell off the radar of many within the organization.  Since that season, he has raised his career average to .326, but he hasn’t hit for much power — only a .472 slugging percentage in 2010.

This year, Zuanich has returned to Modesto.  He’s a bit old for A ball — turns 25 in July — but if he can maintain his terrific start he won’t be there long.  In the first week of the season, Mike was the hottest hitter in the Rockies’ system.  In twenty-one at-bats he is hitting .524/.560/1.095 with three doubles and three dingers.  Obviously, Zuanich won’t maintain softball numbers all season, but he’s doing exactly what you would expect of an older player in the California League.

Chad Bettis — RHP

Tyler Matzek received all the money and hype, but Bettis might be the better pitching prospect.  In two starts this year, Chad has one bad inning.  He gave up three runs in the second inning of last night’s game against Bakersville.  Other than that, he’s been dominant.

Last week, he threw 10.2 innings and struck out 12 hitters.  By all accounts, his fastball has been overwhelming.  He has a 1.03 WHIP despite walking four hitters.

Bettis is a seasoned pitcher, having played three seasons at Texas Tech.  His age makes him a candidate for a quick rise through the minors.  If he continues to progress at his current rate, a mid-season promotion to Tulsa is a possibility.

Top Prospects:

Nolan Arenado (3B) — .318/.318/.409, 2 2B, 1 SB.

Tyler Matzek (LHP) — 0-1, 3 IP, 6 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 4 Ks, 3 WPs.

Chad Bettis (RHP) — 1-0, 10.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 4 BB, 12 Ks.

Delta Cleary (OF) — .176/.364/.176. 5 BB, 1 SB.

2011 Record: 3-3

Record Last Week (4/6 – 4/12): 3-3

Players of the Week:

Tim Wheeler — OF

In two minor league seasons, Wheeler has hit under .200 against lefties and barely .250 overall.  This year, something is different.  In fact, Wheeler’s first week in the Texas League couldn’t have gone better.  In six games, he is hitting .364/.481/.864 with three home runs, two doubles, four walks, and two stolen bases.

Wheeler, a 2009 first-round pick, spent the off-season working out with Tulo in California.  His experience with the superstar shortstop appears to have paid off.  He had a very solid spring with the big club and is off to one hell of a start in 2011.

Juan Nicasio — RHP

Nicasio generated some buzz this off-season by reportedly hitting 98 MPH on radar guns in winter ball.  After his first two starts with the Drillers, he appears to be on the verge becoming a highly ranked prospect.

Last week, Juan went 1-1 in two starts.  He struck out thirteen in ten innings and his WHIP was a notable 0.90.  What’s more, he has yet to walk a batter.

Christian Friedrich also pitched well last week.  Check out his stats below.

Top Prospects:

Wilin Rosario (C) — .231/.333/.538, 2B, HR, 2 BB.

Tim Wheeler (OF) — .364/.481/.864, 3 HR, 2 2B, 9 RBI, 4 BB, 2 SB.

Ben Paulsen (1B) — .286/.423/.476, 2B, HR, 5 BB.

Hector Gomez (INF) — .190/.227/.476, 2B, 3B, HR, 7 RBI.

Thomas Field (SS) — .059/.158/.235, HR.

Juan Nicasio (RHP) — 1-1, 1.80 ERA, 10 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 13 Ks, 0.90 WHIP.

Christian Friedrich (LHP) — 1-0, 1.80 ERA, 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 1.00 WHIP.

2011 Record: 2-4

Record Last Week (4/6 – 4/12): 2-4

Player of the Week:

Cole Garner — OF

I’m only awarding one Sky Sox player with Player of the Week honors.  I feel like that is all they deserve.  The AAA affiliate was not very impressive last week, failing to remain in competitive in several games.  It’s a team full of a few prospects and a bunch of clingers, e.g., Wily Taveras and Mike Jacobs.

Cole Garner had a good spring and is talented enough to make a lot of MLB rosters as a fourth outfielder.  I’m rooting for him.  He’s been in the system a long time and has put in his dues.  If not with the Rockies, it would be really nice to see Garner get his chance somewhere soon.

So far in 2011, Garner has been rock solid, hitting .455/.400/.636.  His batting average is higher than his OBP because he already has four sacrifices.  Garner’s problem is that if the Rockies need to call up another outfielder, it’s probably going to be Charlie Blackmon or Wily Taveras.  Of course, if Wily ever gets called up, my head will explode.

Reliever Rex Brothers had a solid week, but I didn’t select him because I hold him to a higher standard.  For me, Brothers is like a son that I expect too much from.  Needless to say, I think he’s going to be very good.

Top Prospects:

Jordan Pacheco (C) — .250/.318/.400, HR, 2 SB.

Charlie Blackmon (OF) — .211/.400/.526, 2 HR, 5 BB.

Cole Garner (OF) — .455/.400/.636, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 SF.

Bruce Billings (RHP) — 1-1, 5.06 ERA, 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, BB, 4 Ks, 1.13 WHIP.

Rex Brothers (LHP) — 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 3.1 IP, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 1.20 WHIP.

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