Colorado Rockies: Top 10 Prospects
Top 10 Prospects for the Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies are always in a state of rebuilding; you would think by now they would have more prospects that have made more of a name for themselves in the Majors. There have been a few home grown prospects but not nearly enough; especially for a front office that says that’s the only way the Rockies are going to win. Owner Dick Monfort and General Manager, Don O’Dowd claim that the Rockies are a small market team and cannot compete in free agency. That way of thinking is up for debate, but that’s for another day. If the Rockies are ever going to win with home grown talent, then they must do a better job.
As stated earlier, there have been a few successes with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki heading that list. Tulowitzki has been injury prone at times but he is still considered one of the best players in the game. Some of the others that look promising include: Josh Rutledge, Willin Rosario, Chris Nelson and Jordan Pacheco. All of these players have had some success in the big leagues and will be counted on going forward. Rosario and Rutledge are being counted on as key contributors to the 2013 Rockies. Their success or failure will go a long way in determining the fate of this season’s team.
The Rockies have done decent with the position players but they have failed miserably in drafting and developing pitchers. The odds say that they would find a couple just by sheer luck; they draft enough pitchers that you would think one of them would turn into something. There have been pitchers who have has a good season or two once getting to Coors Field but no one has been able to sustain that success. The Rockies are never going to be able to attract free agent pitchers, so if they do not improve in developing their own then their fans can forget about ever winning in Colorado.
With that as a quick historical backdrop, here’s a look at the top ten prospects for the Colorado Rockies.
10. Eddie Butler
Eddie Butler is the type of pitcher that has a shot to succeed at Coors Field; he throws with a lot of velocity and has great sink on his fast ball. His fast ball tops out at 97 and he is able to overpower most hitters in the minors. If Butler is going to make it with the big club, then he is going to have to develop a secondary pitch. There was some criticism of the Rockies when they made this pick but so far Butler is making them look good.
9. Edwar Cabera
Edwar Cabera relies on his pinpoint control to get hitters out; his only pitch that can be considered above average is his changeup. In fact there are some who believe that Cabera has the best changeup in the minors. He dominated at the double A level before being called up to the Rockies. He struggled a lot in the big leagues but regained his form in Colorado Springs with the Sky Sox. Cabera projects as a middle of the rotation starter or a solid guy at the back of the bullpen.
8. Will Swanner
The Rockies are set at catcher with Willin Rosario and that’s ok because Will Swanner is not a big league receiver, even though that is his natural position. He struggles behind the plate and his ability to throw out runners is not good. Swanner projects as a left-fielder who can hit for both average and power. He hit .300 and had 16 homeruns with Ashville in 2012. If he can improve his pitch recognition and be more disciplined at the plate, then Swanner can be a 20-25 homerun guy in the majors.
7. Chad Bettis
Chad Bettis has starter capabilities but he is probably better suited for the bullpen in the major leagues. That was his role in college and where he is the most comfortable. Whether as a starter or a reliever, Bettis has a fastball that tops out in the upper 90’s and he does not lose velocity in the late innings. Before being slowed by a shoulder injury last season, Bettis was dominating at every level in the minors. His era ranged from 2.10 to 2.70 and struck out and average of nine batters per nine innings. Bettis also has a good slider but must develop a better changeup if he is going to get big league hitters out consistently.
6. Tyler Anderson
Tyler Anderson is the definition of a crafty lefty; he does not overpower anyone but he knows how to get people out. His fastball sits in the upper 80’s but his changeup is his out pitch. Anderson also has a very high leg kick that can be deceptive for hitters and helps his strike out totals. He also has a slow curve that can force batters to get out in front of the pitch which also contributes to his strikeouts. Anderson, if all goes well, projects as a middle of the rotation starter.
5. Tim Wheeler
Tim Wheeler is a power hitter who struggled with an injury in 2012 and finished the season with only two homeruns. He hit 33 homers in 2011 and those numbers should return as he enters 2013 healthy. In addition to his power, Wheeler is also capable of stealing bases. The one area that Wheeler has to improve is his strikeouts; he has a long swing and good pitchers are going to find holes in that swing. He also must improve when facing left handed pitching; if he doesn’t then he may turn into just a spot player in the big leagues. The talent is there but Wheeler must work to refine his natural skills.
4. Trevor Story
The Rockies, assuming Tulowitzki is healthy, are set at shortstop but Trevor Story is a very good shortstop in his own right. His offensive skills are above average and his defense, while not flashy, is very good. The good news for the Rockies is that Story has the ability to play second or third base allowing the team to play him with Tulowitzki. He has to potential to his 15-20 homeruns in the majors and still hit for average. Story needs another year or two to develop in the minors but the Rockies are happy with his progress to this point.
3. Kyle Parker
Kyle Parker, the former Clemson quarterback, has all of the tools to be the perfect player for the friendly confines of Coors Field; the ball explodes off of his bat. He could hit 30+ homeruns on a consistent basis in Colorado. There is some concern that his monster numbers in the minors are inflated by the ballparks he is playing in and the pitchers he is facing, but the numbers are impressive. Parker will likely spend 2013 in double A and the Rockies will get a better idea of what type of player they have. If he continues to hit then he could be an in-season call up for the Rockies.
2. Nolan Arenado
The Rockies have been looking for a third baseman since Vinny Castilla and they are hoping that Nolan Arenado is that guy. Arenado is a two-way player who excels both offensively and defensively. He’s never going to hit a ton of homeruns but he has the hands to lead the league in doubles, especially at Coors Field. His play in 2012 dropped off dramatically from the previous season when he was the MVP of the league he was playing in. However Arenado finished the season as hot as anyone in the minors, and will look to build on that in 2013. The Rockies are concerned about Arenado’s approach to the game. He doesn’t always play with effort and often appears to be coasting. The team is hopeful that he will mature with experience. Arenado has everything you would want in a baseball player but he has to decide how good he wants to be.
1. Chad Bettis
The one player in the minor league system for the Rockies who appears to have no weakness is David Dahl. He hit .379 in the Pioneer League and has a swing that should be taught to every little league baseball player. Dahl also possesses excellent speed and great instincts while running the bases. Despite being one of the youngest players in the minors, Dahl has shown a maturity and respect for the game that cannot be taught. If Dahl continues on the fast track that he is on, then he could find his way to the big leagues very quickly.
The Rockies have a long way to go to be competitive in the National League West, but there is some talent at the top of their minor league system. It’s a wait and see approach, however, because the Rockies’ fans have heard for years that the young talent is coming. There have been some hits but on the whole, the organization has not developed enough of their own talent. If they are ever going to win, that must change.
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