The Coors Effect

May 12, 2010 2:35 AM

Prospect Progress Report: May edition

With a little more than a month gone in the season, it's time to review the Rockies' top prospects from the beginning of the season.  This isn't a new list; I'm just going through the preseason list and taking a look at how everyone is doing.

1.  Christian Friedrich: Currently injured.  16/4 K/BB in 16 innings at Tulsa, 2.81 ERA, 41.3% groundballs.  Injuries are about the only thing that's holding him back at this point.

2.  Jhoulys Chacin: 3-0, 1.69 ERA, 21/11 K/BB in 21 innings at Colorado Springs; 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 16/5 K/BB in 15.1 innings in the majors.  Has actually improved his performance since getting called to the bigs, and should remain in the Rockies rotation for the rest of the year.

3.  Tyler Matzek: Still hasn't pitched.  The Rockies are holding him back in extended spring training, presumably to limit his workload.  Expect him to debut at Asheville any day now.

4.  Rex Brothers: 3.07 ERA, 12/6 K/BB in 14.2 innings at Modesto.  Opponents are hitting just .204 off him.  Not a great performance, but this is a small sample size.  I still like him going forward.

5.  Hector Gomez: Has played in two games due to injuries.

6.  Wilin Rosario: .253/.311/.482, 4 homers in 83 AB at Tulsa.  The good news is that he's hitting for power (10 of his 21 hits have been for extra bases.)  The bad news is that his plate discipline is not progressing: he's walking and striking out at basically the same rates as last season, and in his case that's not a good thing.  Now, he's still just 21, but it bears watching to see if he makes any progress in that department.  If not, he's a Miguel Olivo type (backup catcher who can hit for power, but poor OBP limits him to a backup role.)

7.  Tim Wheeler: .238/.360/.333, 2 homers in 105 AB at Modesto.  On the surface, he's doing poorly, but an anemic line drive rate (8.2%) may be to blame here.  He's striking out quite a bit (30 times), but he's drawing walks, too, so it doesn't appear to be a major problem.  And keep in mind that he skipped a level.

8.  Michael McKenry: .282/.370/.408 in 71 AB at Colorado Springs.  The Springs is a very good hitting environment, so this isn't as impressive a line as it looks, and seems to reinforce my thought that McKenry is probably backup catcher material.

9.  Eric Young Jr.: .228/.302/.298 in 57 AB at Colorado Springs, .276/.382/.379 in 29 AB in the majors.  Got off to a slow start in AAA, but has since turned things around.  I'm not quite sure why Clint Barmes is still starting ahead of him, but that's a different subject entirely.

10.  Esmil Rogers: 0.90 ERA, 7/1 K/BB in 10 innings at Colorado Springs; 6.39 ERA, 12/8 K/BB in 12.2 innings in the majors.  Was pushed to the majors ahead of schedule due to injuries, and has been solid when pitching out of the bullpen, but not so much as a starter.  The 'pen may be his ultimate destination anyway, so no worries.

11.  Nolan Arenado: Has not played.  I haven't read anything about an injury, so I'm not sure what's going on here.

12.  Juan Nicasio: 5.01 ERA, 32/3 K/BB in 32.1 innings at Modesto.  He's building on last season, and the peripherals are more indicative of how well he's pitching than the ugly ERA.  Nicasio is cementing himself as one of the Rockies' top pitching prospects outside the Big Three, though at 23 he's not young for the Cal League.

13.  Charles Blackmon: Injured, has not played in 2010.

14.  Samuel Deduno: 18/13 K/BB, 3.66 ERA in 19.2 innings at Colorado Springs.  The good news is that he's striking people out and getting grounders (51.2% of the time.)  The bad, of course, is the command, or lack thereof.  Unfortunately this isn't a new issue with Samuel, and it's the reason why he's not in the majors.

15.  Chris Balcom-Miller: Injured, has not played in 2010.

16.  Delta Cleary: Hasn't played, due to injuries I'm assuming.

17.  Chaz Roe: 22/12 K/BB, 6.37 ERA in 35.1 innings at Colorado Springs, 52.0% groundball rate.  The groundball rate is good, but aside from that Roe is struggling in his first taste of AAA.  His strikeout numbers have never been what you would expect from a pitcher with his stuff, but then he's still just 23.

18.  Jordan Pacheco: .398/.473/.574, 2 homers in 108 AB at Modesto.  Has drawn 14 walks against 7 strikeouts.  These numbers should require no explanation, though they do come with the caveat that he's 24 and in the Cal League.  But his stat line so far makes you wonder just why in the hell he's still in Modesto (defense is probably the reason.)

19.  Kiel Roling: .221/.284/.302, 2 homers in 86 AB at Tulsa.  Really, there's no way to sugarcoat these numbers, though a .266 BABIP is probably unfairly low, particularly when he's hitting line drives 23.9% of the time.  He should start hitting, though it's not quite clear how much.

20.  Cory Riordan: 21/7 K/BB, 5.17 ERA in 31.1 IP at Tulsa.  So far, this looks like a classic example of a pitcher hitting a wall at AA.  Giving up line drives on 25.7% of balls in play is never good, and is a sign that he's getting tattooed.

21.  Parker Frazier: Out with Tommy John surgery.

22.  Darin Holcomb: Yet another injury casualty.

23.  Chris Nelson: Just now returning after missing the first month of the season due to injuries.  I'll hold back judgment.

24.  Casey Weathers: You guessed it... another injury casualty.  Weathers hasn't pitched since 2008.

25.  Al Alburquerque: 6/5 K/BB, 7.36 ERA in 7.1 innings at Tulsa.  Got tagged in the first week of the season, then was out for two weeks and hasn't given up a run since returning.  Not really sure where he fits in the grand scheme of things.

26.  Shane Lindsay: 19/17 K/BB, 6.59 ERA in 13.2 innings at Colorado Springs.  I'm near the point that I think his control will simply never come around.

27.  Edgmer Escalona: 19/11 K/BB, 7.84 ERA in 20.2 innings at Colorado Springs.  Was close to a callup when Morales went on the DL, but the Rockies made the sensible decision to just move Esmil Rogers to the bullpen instead of calling up a guy who's been getting shelled in AAA.

28.  Matt Reynolds: 20/2 K/BB, 0.00 ERA in 17.1 innings at Colorado Springs.  Or, say, calling up this guy.  If another relief pitcher gets hurt and Reynolds doesn't get the call, I'm going to start wondering if Rockies brass is thinking straight.

29.  Daniel Mayora: .236/.329/.375 in 72 AB at Tulsa.  At 24, repeating AA, it's about time to stop referring to him as a prospect.

30.  Cole Garner: .263/.359/.538 in 80 AB at Colorado Springs.  Again, it's a good hitters' environment, but Garner is now drawing walks and hitting for power, and the average is driven down by an unfairly low line drive rate.  Still, it's tough to see where he fits in the Rockies' outfield.  He hits lefties well (.943 OPS last season; .731 this season, but in just 27 AB.)

Players outside the top 30 to take note of:

James Cesario: .384/.425/.634, 3 homers in 112 AB at Modesto.  He's off to a ridiculous start, but considering he's 24 and hit for a .751 OPS at Asheville last season, I wouldn't bank on this keeping up.

Ethan Hollingsworth: 39/4 K/BB, 1.86 ERA in 38.2 innings at Modesto.  This is a strong performance, and not too far out of line with what he did last season.  But I want to see what he can do at AA first.  The Rockies have had too many college-trained pitchers hit a wall there for me not to be a little bit skeptical.

Eliezer Mesa: .347/.374/.517 in 118 AB at Asheville.  He's cooled down a bit since a hot start; he looks like a bit of an outfield 'tweener to me: not good enough defensively to handle CF, not enough power to play the corners.

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