Pitcher Jonathan Gray was lights out this season.
While the Colorado Rockies are currently bringing up the rear in the NL West standings, there are a slew of prospects in their system exceeding expectations.
The Modesto Nuts served as the only team in the system to make the Minor League postseason, but there are still prospects scattered around the organization producing.
The Rockies have the talent on offense to compete at a high level. It’s just a matter of taking the farm talent and filling in the cracks for 2014.
Here is the revised list of Rockies prospects following the 2013 minor league season.
All minor league statistics provided by BaseballReference.com.
Rockies farmhand Tyler Matzek followed his dreary 2012 campaign with a solid run in 2013.
Matzek, the No. 11 pick in the 2009 MLB draft, had one of the higher ceilings for Rockies pitchers in 2010. Out of the gate, Baseball America ranked the crafty left-hander No. 23 in baseball after the 2009 season.
Matzek has come down to earth over the last few years but had his most productive season yet in 2013. For Double-A Tulsa, he posted an ERA of 3.79 with 95 strikeouts and a 1.56 WHIP.
While his strikeouts are significantly lower than last season, his command has improved, walking 19 fewer batters.
Matzek still needs another couple years to grow and, if his numbers continue to improve, he should be primed for the majors by 2015.
Few expectations were higher than that of Trevor Story’s to begin the season.
Story entered the season ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Rockies organization after hitting 18 homers with 63 RBI in 2012.
This season, his numbers as a whole have sharply declined. Story batted a disappointing .233 with 12 homers and 65 RBI for Single-A Modesto. His OBP ended at .305, significantly lower than last season, and he struck out a whopping 183 times in 554 at-bats.
Story also struggled at shortstop, committing 23 errors. At just 20 years old, the 2011 first-round pick has room and years to grow.
Story is at least three years away from seeing an MLB diamond.
Some late-season roster moves allowed pitching prospect Chad Bettis to get the call last month.
Before his promotion, Bettis had a 3.71 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 12 starts for Double-A Tulsa. He averaged about 10 strikeouts per nine innings.
For the Rockies, Bettis had a few rough outings, including his first start against the Braves. Numbers aside, his slider and curve have vastly improved. He’s not afraid to throw either pitch in any count.
The Rockies, who are monitoring his pitch count, are aware they have a future No. 3 or No. 4 slot starter on their hands.
On the season, he’s posted a 1-3 record with a 4.87 ERA and 26 strikeouts thus far.
Outfield prospect and 2010 No. 26 overall pick Kyle Parker enjoyed another highly productive season.
After hitting .308 with 23 homers and 73 RBI for Modesto in 2012, he hit .288 with 23 homers and 74 RBI for Tulsa this season.
At 23 years old, Parker possesses all of the tools to be a high-end outfielder at the major league level.
Parker finished in the top 20 in the Texas League in average, home runs and RBI.
In an organization that has traditionally struggled to build quality starting pitching, 2011 first-round draft pick Tyler Anderson has remained consistent.
After a stellar 2012 campaign for Single-A Asheville last season, he’s pitched well again in 2013.
Anderson earned a quick call-up after posting a microscopic 0.60 ERA in 15 innings for Single-A Tri-City. In Modesto, he managed to fan 63 batters in 74.1 innings, posting a 3.25 ERA.
The 6'4" lefty carries an impressive low- to mid-90s two-seam fastball, as well as a sweeping slider, both of which he can locate.
The 23-year-old Anderson is likely another two years from the bigs. However, if he shines in Tulsa or Triple-A Colorado Springs next season, Rockies fans could see a late season call-up.
Catching prospect Tom Murphy is one of the most coveted trade chips the Rockies could use this offseason.
Murphy worked his way up the prospect rankings this season with a stellar performance for Asheville and Tulsa. He hit .288 with 19 homers and 74 RBI for Asheville, then finished the season in Tulsa where he hit .290 in 74 at-bats.
Behind the dish, Murphy continues to be the Rockies most solid defensive catcher, throwing out about 30 percent of runners.
Murphy is about as complete an offensive and defensive catching prospect in baseball. With stability already behind the plate for the Rockies, he could be moved sometime this offseason.
All eyes were on Jonathan Gray in this year’s draft. However, Rockies fans should not overlook the arm of last year’s first-round draft pick, Eddie Butler.
We’re talking about league-leading, knee-buckling stuff here. In two minor league seasons, Butler has a combined 16-6 record with a 1.90 ERA and 198 strikeouts. He’s fanning over eight hitters every nine innings.
His 6'2" build and mid-90s fastball is the perfect framework to grow a high-end starter, something the Rockies could use at the moment.
Playing for Asheville, Modesto and Tulsa this season, Butler virtually improved upon every call-up, posting a combined 1.80 ERA for the season.
Butler is still another two years away from the majors, but, with continued success, should find his way into the rotation in 2015.
Rockies fans have the face of the franchise in Troy Tulowitzki. However, Rosell Herrera is a name fans should get to know.
Sooner or later the 20-year-old shortstop will find his way into the Rockies lineup.
Herrera tore up the South Atlantic League. He batted .343 with 16 homers, 76 RBI and 21 stolen bases. However, he’s anything but a five-tool prospect.
Herrera committed 28 errors at short this season for a fielding percentage of .930. Since entering the system in 2010, he’s committed a grand total of 98 errors.
If there’s anything holding him back, it’s his glove.
With no immediate need for a shortstop, Herrera is likely to spend the next four seasons in the minors.
Outfielder David Dahl is the most prized offensive prospect in the Rockies’ minor league system.
Dahl, a 2012 first-round draft pick out of high school, is the No. 53 ranked prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America.
He spent most of the 2013 minor league season rehabbing a torn hamstring but is primed for a comeback in 2014.
In his first season for Grand Junction, Dahl shined, hitting .379 with nine homers, 57 RBI and 12 stolen bases.
At just 19 years old, he won’t be seeing the limelight of Coors Field anytime soon. Expect a successful comeback next season.
An abysmal 2012 season for the Rockies allowed them to land the third overall pick in this year’s draft.
With it, they took Oklahoma ace Jonathan Gray, an excellent and somewhat lucky move for a team that needs pitching.
In nine starts in the minors this season, Gray has been masterful, posting a 1.93 ERA with 36 strikeouts. So far, he’s lived up to the hype.
With an upper-90s fastball, a solid frame and a slider that makes hitters flinch, Gray is undoubtedly the Rockies most esteemed prospect moving forward.
With a likely promotion to Tulsa next season, Gray could be in the Rockies rotation as soon as 2015.
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