Here's a Thought: Recapping Minor League Free Agent Losses--Colorado Rockies

Nathaniel StoltzSenior Analyst IDecember 24, 2009

PHOENIX - APRIL 06:  Relief pitcher Ryan Speier #37 of the Colorado Rockies pitches agianst the Arizona Diamondbacks during the MLB openning day game at Chase Field on April 6, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Rockies 9-8.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In the offseason, much is made of the comings and goings of established major league players in free agency.

But many often overlook the same thing happening in the minor leagues.

In the "Recapping Minor League Free Agent Losses" series, I'll be looking at what, if anything, each team is losing at the minor league levels.

I'm not going to bother covering every player, because not all of them are very important and I have little to say about many of them. I'll just be touching on those who I think could be of value to another team in free agency.

Anyway, let's have a look at the Rockies!

The Rockies have a modest crop of 15 minor league free agents that vary widely in quality. Only six are pitchers.

Australian lefty Adam Bright did a nice job against lefties in Double-A (.156 BAA), but was downright horrific against righties (.329 BAA, 16/17 K/BB ratio). At age 25, that's not going to get it done.

Former Braves hurler Damian Moss (yes, that Damian Moss) had a nice ERA (3.30) as a Triple-A swingman, but it covered up a poor K/BB ratio (58/47). He may get another minor league gig in 2010, but I wouldn't expect a return to the majors.

Scott Munter, a former Giants righty, gets a ton of grounders, but an utter lack of strikeout ability means he's not of much use outside of minor league depth.

Ryan Speier is a deceptive pitcher who has spent a lot of time with the Rockies over the past few years. Using a variety of arm angles, he's able to be a competent-ish pitcher in the majors, but he certainly should be kept away from high-leverage situations.

Matt Wilhite is a sidearming righty with an excellent pickoff move and solid control, but he doesn't have much in the way of stuff, and his groundball ability is significantly lower than that of most pitchers with low arm angles. He's a useful Triple-A guy, but probably little more.

Want a 38-year-old catcher who struggles both defensively and offensively? Sign Sal Fasano!

Who knew Mark Bellhorn could still hit? He turned in a .270/.371/.510 year in Triple-A, and with his defensive versatility and switch-hitting, he could still be a valuable utility player and pinch hitter in the NL.

Christian Colonel is a veteran third baseman who hits like a shortstop. With his lower power output in hitter's paradise Colorado Springs, it's difficult to project much more of a career for him, although at least he had a .348 OBP.

Former Giants first baseman/left fielder Dan Ortmeier had a .373 Triple-A OBP, but had a meager .111 ISO, far below par for a player on the left end of the defensive spectrum. 

Kenny Perez is Ortmeier without 20 points of OBP and the ability to occasionally cameo at second, third, and short. He has slightly more MLB potential, but that's not saying much.

Former International League batting champ Danny Sandoval has been reduced to an average Double-A hitter, and despite solid defense at short, his career may be over at 31.

Former Cubs first-rounder and top prospect Ryan Harvey showed some signs of life in Double-A for the first time in years, bashing 23 homers, but a .309 OBP shows he still has work to do. He's worth a flier and a Triple-A look at age 25; if he could ever control the strike zone, he has 35-HR potential.

Squat four-corners player Paul McAnulty, a former San Diego Padre, was once a worthwhile hitter who had some bad luck being stuck being Adrian Gonzalez. He slumped badly in 2009 (.226/.319/.394), so his lack of MLB exposure has now gone from bad luck to his own fault, in my opinion at least. Still, he's only one year removed from hitting .343/.440/.646 in Triple-A, and certainly should be picked up by someone in 2010.

That's all for this edition of the minor league free agents losses recaps! Next up is the Marlins; it'll take me awhile to sort through their loooooong list of 32 players.


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