New Britain Rock Cats logo [Image via Twitter/@Rockies]The New Britain Rock Cats — the Colorado Rockies’ new AA affiliate in the Eastern League — begin to take on the second half of their minor league schedule.
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The Hartford Yard Goats made an appearance on the scene this week, but the New Britain Rock Cats aren’t dead yet — they’ll exist for, well, a few more months before giving way to Hartford beginning in 2016. As the Colorado Rockies’ new AA affiliate, New Britain was a weird choice moving from Tulsa after 2014, but the team has done fairly well in southern Connecticut, and there are quite a few prospects on the club to watch for over the next few years.
To their week:
The last week (1-6): They had a bad week, ok? One win in seven chances, the offense was held in check all week by Eastern League pitching, scoring just 15 runs total in their seven games (and seven of those runs came in one game). The road was unkind to the Rock Cats with trips to New Hampshire and Binghamton, but beginning Friday night, the Cats are back at home with a series against New Hampshire (also the Cats… the Fisher Cats…) followed by the Eastern’s League’s abbreviated (two-day) All-Star break.
Trending up (Noel Cuevas): The Colorado Rockies acquired Cuevas from the Los Angeles Dodgers over the winter in return for Juan Nicasio, and the speedy center fielder has had a nice season in New Britain. The 23-year-old is hitting .275/.312/.356 on the season, and in the last ten days has gone 15-for-39 (.385) with four stolen bases (he’s swiped 17 bags total on the year).
Cuevas is an interesting piece to get in return for Nicasio — consider that a trade return blueprint for guys like Kyle Kendrick or Drew Stubbs if the Rockies were to make a move with either one this month at the big league level — but at 23 and succeeding in AA, there’s no reason to think that he won’t have an impact on some level in the big leagues next year or beyond. He’s swiped 111 career minor league bases since being drafted in 2010, so his speed could pair well as a utility option in the future against power options in the Rockies’ outfield like Corey Dickerson and prospects coming like David Dahl.
Trending down (Jeremy Barfield): The son of former big leaguer Josh Barfield, Jeremy has had a tough go of it this year after the Rockies acquired him, having previously been in the Oakland A’s organization. The outfielder-turned-pitcher-turned-outfielder has gone 4-for-31 with nine strikeouts in his last ten games, and has hit just .203/.286/.324 this year in New Britain.
He’s also played this season in Quintana Roo (Mexican League), Camden (Atlantic League), and Sugar Land (Atlantic League), trying his hand at the plate and on the mound. Judging by his current use in New Britain and the results he had on the mound in 2014 and 2015, he may be back to the outfield for good.
One to watch (David Dahl): The prospect is not with the Rock Cats now, but after rupturing his spleen — and then having it removed — he was supposed to miss the rest of the season. He’s now on a rehab assignment with the Boise Hawks, so… so much for that. Bad. Ass.