The Coors Effect

April 12, 2010 10:54 PM

Minor league week(end) in review

The minors got their season started on Thursday, so we have even less data to work with here.  Hooray for small sample sizes!  We can't make any reliable conclusions just yet, but we can point out some things we're noticing.

Colorado Springs Sky Sox (2-2)

-The Rockies' lack of hitting prospects in the upper levels of the minors is notable here.  Eric Young Jr. is off to a terrible start, as if he just decided to make the Rockies look smart for sending him down to the minors by hitting .063 in the first four games.  Aside from him and Michael McKenry (also off to a slow start), the Sky Sox offense is largely a collection of AAAA types and career minor leaguers.  The good news is that there's an emergency option in Colorado Springs that won't embarrass the team if somebody goes down with an injury: McKenry or Paul Phillips behind the dish, Young in the infield, Matt Miller and, I guess, Jay Payton in the outfield.  Brad Eldred can hit, but is about Giambi level in the field.  On the other hand, there's nobody who makes you say "OMG I WANT THIS GUY IN THE MAJORS RIGHT NOW!"

-The pitching is a different story.  Joe Beimel should join the team this week, while Jhoulys Chacin is obviously good.  Chaz Roe and Samuel Deduno are somewhat interesting pitching prospects, and Esmil Rogers will join the rotation, probably as soon as Beimel gets called up.  Now, if they could just get rid of Tim Redding... Shane Lindsay has an interesting line through the first week: in three innings of work, he has six strikeouts and three walks.  And no hits.  Lindsay can be very unhittable but has zero control.  That's pretty much the book on him.

Tulsa Drillers (1-3)

-There are some interesting hitting prospects here, but most of them need some work.  The Rockies promoted Kiel Roling aggressively; we'll hold off judgment on him.  That was the story on Wilin Rosario last year.  Hector Gomez hasn't played since Friday and I'm not sure why.  At 21, Rosario will probably be one of the youngest players in the Texas League this season, so "holding his own" will serve as a sign that he's a good hitter.

-On the pitching side, there's Christian Friedrich and... I'm at a loss for other guys to watch.  Cory Riordan and Bruce Billings had the statistical chops last year to make themselves worth watching, but scouts aren't sold on Riordan and really aren't sold on Billings.

Modesto Nuts (1-2)

-More interesting prospects here.  Tim Wheeler is off to a hot start (two homers in three games.)  Jordan Pacheco is an interesting prospect at catcher, though he's still a bit old for this league.  Ben Paulsen is a 1B prospect who's in more of the solid overall hitter mold than that of the potential 40-homer guy.  There are guys with a ton of tools, like Scott Robinson and David Christensen.  Part of the reason why there are so few hitting prospects at the higher levels, though, is that some of these guys are going to hit the wall at the lower levels.  We're going to figure out that at least a couple of these guys aren't that good before the year is over.  Brian Rike is back here after OPS'ing .632 last season.  After 2008, some people thought he was a prospect.  Not so much now.

-Juan Nicasio and Rex Brothers are the pitchers to watch here, but Isaiah Froneberger is an undersized lefty who strikes a lot of people out, and he's still just 20.  Watch and see if that trend continues this season.  Again, Froneberger will probably be one of the youngest players in the Cal League.

Asheville Tourists (3-2)

-Exactly how did I go 50 players deep in the Rockies system and miss Eliezer Mesa?  His line at Casper last year was pretty good (.316/.348/.420), and he was only 20, so it's not like he was beating up on younger pitchers.  Now he's making me look like an idiot (.722/.737/1.444).  Clearly, that's not going to keep up, but even his performance last year should have been duly noted.  2B Angelys Nina, also just 21, is off to a hot start as well, with two homers in the first five games.  Mike Zuanich and Jared Clark are mildly intriguing power bats, and there's also OMG TOOLS! guy Tyler Massey.  Helder Velazquez is 21 but seems like he's been around forever.

-The pitching staff is awaiting the arrival of Tyler Matzek to the building.  Okay, there are some other intriguing arms, but Matzek will be the big name here, for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who follows the Rockies.

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