Colorado Rockies 2013 Top 15 Prospects
The rest of Bullpen Banter’s 2013 Top 15 Prospects can be found on the 2013 Team Prospect Lists Bar on the right side of your screen. Thanks for reading! -BB
Bullpen Banter Colorado Rockies 2013 Top 15 Prospects
Al Skorupa: There is still a solid amount of young talent in this system and a couple fairly strong drafts have helped. Yet, it seemed that not much panned out for all the talented players in the last group of Rockies prospects. Wilin Rosario hit well in his debut but his defense has regressed. Many of the exciting young arms of the last few years had chances to be front of the rotation pitchers … now they pretty much all look like 3 starters or mid to back. I’m a little worried that this current crop of Colorado prospects might also slightly dissapoint beyond the top three guys, to be honest. There is definitely the potential for this system to again produce a couple average or above average players and no legitimate stars – especially on the pitching side.
The top three prospects in this system are all stand out talents, though. I thought David Dahl was an excellent pick last June. He’s still a relatively raw high school outfielder, though. We need to see where the body and tools are in a couple years before we know exactly what we’re looking at. Trevor Story is a very good baseball player who can swing the bat and play up the middle but his approach at the plate still needs a good amount of work. Story doesn’t have premiere level tools and I’m a little skeptical about how much his tools will even play unless he makes big adjustments at the plate. Story is likely heading to the California League this year and that probably isn’t an ideal environment for the adjustments I’d like to see. I was the low guy on Nolan Arenado among our writers the last couple years and took some grief for it. I do still believe he will be a good major league player but I don’t see much in the way of impact abilities here. While I am fond of all three prospects, there’s a decent chance none of the three becomes a star level player and I don’t think that should surprise people. As for the other positional prospects, I worry how much Kyle Parker will hit against advanced pitching and outside of the Cal. Sources I talked to don’t think Will Swanner can catch in the big leagues and his bat probably doesn’t profile as a starter anyway. I much prefer 2012 draft pick Tom Murphy. Scouts I talked to loved Murphy and he’s still refining his game. Don’t be surprised if he ends up a better player than expected.
The arms in this system have some nice potential but ultimately I see most of them ending up in the bullpen in non crucial roles. Tyler Matzek teases with flashes of great stuff from a southpaw but his command, control and secondary pitches are nowhere near consistent enough. I still like Chad Bettis, but there was a strong chance he fit better in the pen before he missed 2012. The lost development time really hurts and now shoulder issues make the bullpen an even easier organizational choice. I never really bought into Tyler Anderson as more than a back end arm but he’s a nice piece to have on your farm. Peter Tago was a personal favorite of ours at draft time but he’s still just a live arm and I’m not confident he’ll progress enough to start in the bigs. Edwar Cabrera, Jayson Aquino both have less than dominant stuff but will be effective major league arms at the back of a rotation or in the middle innings. Eddie Butler is another live arm who likely fits best out of the bullpen.
This system is not barren by any means… but all the same I’m slightly underwhelmed by a lot of these guys. The Rockies have accumulated a lot of players I didn’t think would reach their ceilings – but they should still come out of this with a few solid big leaguers and that means they’re ahead of the game. If David Dahl develops as expected over the next couple years then any discussion of the rest of the system may be just an afterthought.
Jeff Reese: Colorado’s system saw some big developmental successes in 2012, but it also came with inevitable steps in the opposite direction for others. First the positives: Wilin Rosario graduated and took advantage of the playing time that he received; while the art of catching remains a work in progress, the bat does enough to make up for his deficiencies. He should be the starter in Colorado for the foreseeable future. Josh Rutledge also graduated and carved out a role at short stop while Tulo was on the shelf. Trevor Story made a loud full season debut in the SAL, showcasing advanced skills at the plate and solid tools. He’s pushed as a short stop however and probably fits best at third base. David Dahl had a similar emergence after the Rockies made him the 10th overall selection. Dahl was seen as someone just outside of the elite octet at the top but made a pro debut that only Addison Russell could rival. He showcased five potentially above-average tools along with a good approach at the plate in the Pioneer League. He should stick in center field and prove to be quite the asset. Will Swanner’s bat stayed potent when exposed to the rigors of a full season assignment; he will need to continue to mash as his skills as a catcher are wanting. Jayson Aquino had a fine stateside debut as well and has some of the best upside of the pitchers on this list as a loose lefty with a quality fastball/changeup and some room for growth.
But not everything can go well. Nolan Arenado had an up and down season in the Texas League with his own GM questioning his maturity level in June. I still believe he’s going to hit enough to be an above-average regular at third base, but he certainly will be returning to Tulsa with something to prove. Chad Bettis was one of the revelations from last year, but he spent the entire 2012 season sidelined with shoulder issues. When healthy, Bettis has the best stuff in the system, but shoulder injuries are troubling and it may mean that his future as a starter is in jeopardy. Tim Wheeler followed up his break out 2011 season with a return to mediocrity in the PCL. He profiles as more of a 4th outfield type than a legitimate starter. And then there’s Tyler Matzek who continues to be one of the most enigmatic prospects in baseball, showing flashes of the pitcher that was so well regarded out of high school. He did perform better in his second try at the California League, but he’s still more of a lottery ticket at this point. Tyler Anderson and Edwar Cabrera both look to be solid back of the rotation lefties.
It’s not a bad system overall, but it does lack something in the way of elite upside.
OF David Dahl (Steve Fiorindo)
3B Nolen Arenado (Steve Fiorindo)
RHP Chad Bettis (Steve Fiorindo)
OF Kyle Parker (Steve Fiorindo)
LHP Edwar Cabrera (Michael Schwartze)
LHP Tyler Matzek (Steve Fiorindo)
C Tom Murphy (Michael Schwartze)
SS Rosell Herrera (Michael Schwartze)