I thought about how I would lead into this, the ranking of teams’ farm systems, but don’t have a good way to do it, other than say it is something that I like to tackle every year. Obviously, in the grand scheme of things my rankings aren’t going to make waves with Keith Law, John Sickels, or the staff at Baseball America. However, these rankings by any outlet are rather arbitrary in nature, and I like any of them, will try to give everybody some reasoning behind them. Scouting and prospects are a big part of the game. We can see that by how teams are clinging onto them in a lot of cases this year, instead of dealing them away for proven players. A lower ranked system doesn’t necessarily correlate to a bad team, and a highly ranked system doesn’t mean it’s a good major league team. It just gives us all a look at organizations who might get healthy in a few years, and which ones are going to have to find other means.
Anyway, this is supposed to be fun, so if you want to discuss, let’s do so….
The Rockies are one of the more interesting teams out there when it comes to scouting and development. Mainly because I just don’t think they get enough credit for it. Guys like Esmil Rogers, Jhoulys Chacin, and Juan Nicasio have all been developed rather nicely. Some guys like Christian Freidrich have seemed to have hit a wall. Still, there is a bunch here to like. Let’s get into some of it.
Top 10 Prospects:
1. Nolan Arenado (3B)- Might be a little aggressive for the youngster, but I like what I see and hear. 20 years old in high A Arenado showed plate discipline, power, ability to hit for average, and should be a good defender as well at 3B. He might be the top 3B prospect in the game. I would have to think on that one.
2. Drew Pomeranz (SP)- It’s not often a potential top of the rotation lefty takes a backseat on prospect lists, but I feel comfortable with doing this. Pomeranz is still working on tightening things up a little bit, like command, and if the change up improves, the sky is the limit.
3. Wilin Rosario (C)- I must admit, I have been a bigger fan of Rosario’s than most. But hey, sometimes you just have a guy. There are holes in his game, like he is too aggressive with the bat in his hand, but Rosario has tremendous power, and could be above average defensively. For a catcher, these are good things.
4. Chad Bettis (SP)- Bettis has been real good since being drafted, and I was a little surprised honestly. I thought he would be a reliever, but his 3 pitch mix has been holding up as a starter. In fact, he has excelled, and now projects as a mid-rotation guy. Throws strikes and strikes people out.
5. Tyler Anderson (SP)- Anderson was Colorado’s 2011 first round pick out of Oregon. He looks like a relatively polished left-handed starter who should work well in the middle of a rotation. Sits in the low 90’s with his fastball, shows command and ability to mix pitches.
6. Josh Rutledge (SS)- I will be honest. Ceiling wise, I have Rutledge too high, but some guys are just baseball players. I think he ends up at 2B, but is a very good offensive player down the road. A potential .300 type hitter who will line the ball all over the field.
7. Tim Wheeler (OF)- Rockies fans will call me crazy for having him this far down the list, but I cannot ignore the swing and miss in his game. Wheeler has fantastic power potential, and is a good athlete as well that could probably steal 10-15 bases in the bigs as well. I see him as more of a LF.
8. Trevor Story (SS)- There is a lot to like about Story. He is a potential 5 tool player, who could eventually unseat Troy Tulowitzki in Colorado given some development time. His first taste of pro ball was very solid, and he could rocket up this list with another strong season.
9. Tyler Matzek (SP)- There is no doubt that 2011 was disappointing for Matzek, considering that he had to go back to his old high school to learn how to throw the ball over the plate. He still isn’t where the Rockies would like, but he was pretty good at the end of the season. As evidenced by his K rate though, he still has very good stuff and has time to make things work.
10. Rosell Herrera (SS)- The Rockies have themselves some guys that can play the SS position. Herrera might not have the overall offensive package of Story, or the defensive package of Christian Adames, but he has a good combination of both. He is a good size kid, so he could be a 3B some day.
Sleepers: Albert Campos and Joe Gardner. Campos is a big righty with a good arm, command, and ground ball rate. Gardner was the “throw-in” in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, but has some good stuff of his own.
Rebound Candidate: Honestly, the Rockies have several but the guy with the highest ceiling of all of them is probably Tyler Matzek.
Verdict: The Rockies are loaded with guys in their system that can drive the ball over the fence. Parker, Wheeler, Matthes, Rosario, Sam Mende and Corey Dickerson can drive a baseball. Whether they can hit a breaking ball will remain to be seen at this point. There is also some quality arms as well, and the Rockies are known for developing guys from their Dominican Summer League team. Some guys from that league you may here from soon include, Jayson Aquino, Angel Lezama, and Helmis Rodriguez.
That back third of their top 10 is pretty interchangeable with the next 4 or 5 guys on that list, so there is some talent in the Rockies 10-20 as well. Good, solid system.