By Scott Barzilla

You might have deciphered a pattern by now, but if you haven’t, we will be looking at the teams in the likely order that they will be drafting in 2013. A quick look at the Rockies this year shows that they have been a huge disappointment. However, they have had some good performances from some good young players. Josh Rutledge was promoted from AA Tulsa when Troy Tulowitzki went down with his injury. Rutledge is carrying a .315 average and six home runs in a little more than 100 at bats.

Drew Pomeranz will not be appearing on this list as the number one pitching prospect because he has logged 60 innings at the big league level. Eventually, he will solidify himself in the rotation. Unfortunately, the positives have been few and far between. You will notice a considerable difference in how the Astros and Rockies have been built. We will look at that in more detail when we finish the prime nine series.

   

Age

Level

How

BP

BA

MLB

Pos

C Will Swanner

20

A+

D

NR

NR

12

NR

1B Kent Matthes

25

AA

D

11

8

17

NR

2B Charlie Culberson

23

AAA

T

11*

NR

14

8

3B Nolan Arenado

21

AA

D

1

2

1

1

SS Trevor Story

19

A

D

8

6

6

NR

OF Kyle Parker

22

A+

D

15

9

9

NR

OF Charlie Blackmon

26

AAA

D

12

NR

11

NR

OF Tim Wheeler

24

AAA

D

5

5

5

NR

P Chad Bettis

23

AA

D

4

3

2

NR

Will Swanner– Catcher

Like most catchers, Swanner is a work in progress. Wilin Rosario is having a strong rookie campaign, so the Rockies are in no hurry to promote him up the system. Swanner’s game is similar to Rosario in that he has a ton of raw power. He has 14 home runs in Asheville this season in only 265 at bats. That’s pretty darn good, but the 82 strikeouts in the same time frame is not so good.

Kent Matthes– First Base

Matthes plays in the outfield, but is blocked and probably will be moved to first base. He has impressive power numbers at Tulsa (17 home runs in 336 AB) but he also has a strikeout problem and his .273 OBP isn’t going to impress anyone. Todd Helton and Jason Giambi are nearing retirement, so somone is going to have to step up and take the spot.

Charlie Culberson– Second Base

Culberson is the lone prospect acquired via trade. He has pop in his bat, but he looks a lot like these other two in terms of his production. It’s still hard to believe that the Giants would surrender a top ten second base prospect for someone that didn’t make them any better in Marco Scutaro. The Rockies are weak at second base, so Culberson will get an opportunity to win the job next season.

Nolan Arenado– Third Base

Jonathan Mayo said before the season that some players get knocked unfairly because of their surroundings. What happens if the knocking was fair after all. Arenado drove in 122 last season between the California League and the Arizona Fall League. He has a .746 OPS and 47 RBI in normal hitting conditions. Which do you think is real?

Trevor Story– Shortstop

What do you know? We have a player with pop that can also draw walks. It’s too bad that Troy Tulowitzki also plays shortstop. Then Josh Rutledge appeared on the scene and appeared to pass up Story. There is a lot of time for him to show his thing and he already has 15 home runs at sea level in Asheville. I’d take my chances on him.

Kyle Parker– Outfield

He has excellent numbers playing in the California League. As we saw with Nolan Arenado, those numbers are often meaningless. We can look at his strikeout to walk ratio (73/53) to get a clue of what his future might be. He appears to have strong on base skills which means he might have a future. The rest of the numbers can be taken with a giant grain of salt.

Tim Wheeler– Outfield

Wheeler is an older prospect at 24. We can’t necessarily compare him to Crash Davis, but he isn’t necessarily a phenom anymore. Colorado Springs is a nice hitting environment and he is throwing up pedestrian numbers. He probably has the makings of a reserve outfielder at the big league level due to the fact that he doesn’t have any elite skills. Scouts believe he will hit for more power than he is showing, but that still doesn’t give us a whole lot.

Charlie Blackmon– Outfield

There’s being beyond the prospect stage and then there is coming up on the AAAA stage. Blackmon is there. He is very similar to Wheeler in that he has some decent skills (better than average speed, plate discipline), but there is nothing there that screams stud. He and Wheeler could battle it out eventually to see who gets to be the reserve outfielder in Denver.

Chad Bettis– Pitcher

Bettis has been hurt for most of the season and has not logged any innings, At 23 he is still young enough to be a factor and he was coming off of a great 2011 campaign in the California League. We yawn when we see hitters produce huge numbers there, but when we see a pitcher go 12-5 with a 3.34 ERA in the California League we stand up and take notice. He should start 2013 in AA, but with the lack of pitching in their system he could wind up in Denver as soon as next season.

 

 

 

Scott Barzilla

Scott Barzilla is the editor in chief at hardballchat.com. He is also the author of four books, including The Hall of Fame Index. The Hall of Fame Index was nominated for the Sporting News Award for statistical innovation in 2011.

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