Top Rockies Prospects: Strong On Hitting, Light On Pitching?
Baseball America ranked the top ten prospects in the Colorado Rockies system today (follow this link). Not surprsingly, third baseman Nolan Arenado heads the list. Newly drafted outfield David Dahl is second, followed by shortstop Trevor Story, outfielder Kyle Parker, and RHP Chad Bettis.
It is a bit disconcerting that Bettis is the only pitcher in the top 5. When the Rockies traded Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians that move was widely acknowledged as a concession that the pitching depth in the team’s farm system was thin. This might be another reflection of that fact.
Arenado remains the top guy in the Rockies system. Image: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Arenado’s top ranking is a good reminder that the dude is still a prospect. I think the high hopes held by many of us that he would crack the Major League club in Spring Training last year leaked over into a notion that his 2012 season was a disappointment. Let’s remember that if he had made the team it would have been well ahead of schedule. The fact that he did not make the team should not detract from his status as the team’s best prospect. Further, BA lists Arenado as having the following “best tools” of the bunch: best hitter for average, best defensive infielder, and best infield arm. He remains, without question, the top prize in the Rockies system.
It is extraordinary that Dahl has already ascended to the #2 slot on this list. While the sample size is admittedly small, his MVP showing in the Pioneer League places him on the short list of guys for whom Rockies fans will buzz when they make their debuts in coming years.
Rounding out the 6-10 spots on BA’s list are the following players: RHP Eddie Butler, LHP Tyler Anderson, LHP Tyler Matzek, LHP Jayson Aquino, and recently acquired infielder/outfielder Ryan Wheeler. On first glance, I sure find that run of LHP’s appealing.
I am hoping that Matzek can accomplish a ramped-up version of what Christian Friedrich did this past season. That is, have a bounce-back year and reclaim his luster as a big time, first round talent. Matzek topped Baseball America’s list for the Rockies in 2010 and 2011. While his fall to 7th is discouraging, he is only one strong season away from regaining some traction on his way to success on the big league level.
The highlight of this breakdown in this quote from the author, Jack Etkin: “Four of the Rockies’ six U.S.-based affiliates made the playoffs in 2012 as the organization puts three highly unproductive drafts from 2006-08 further in its rear-view mirror.” He then notes the significant number of quality players drafted in the years since.
While this list is heavy on hitters, the implication that the Rockies are drafting well is unequivocally encouraging. Depth is depth, whether with position players or pitchers. With time, hopefully these positive developments and successful drafts of recent years lead to a stronger pool of pitchers.
Have you noticed how many Rockies prospects have cool names? Matzek, Chad Bettis, Trevor Story…Kyle Parker has a certain super hero ring to it…Wheeler is a great athlete name…David Dahl…seriously, some great baseball names.
One last note: check out the projected 2016 lineup: Arenado at first base, Troy Tulowitzki at 3rd base, Dexter Fowler in left field…holy position changes!