We’re more than a third of the way through the season and the Rockies are still one of the most inconsistent teams in the league. The potential is there, but Colorado can’t seem to put it all together for an extended period.
Fear not, Rockies fans.
Help is on the way…eventually.
Here’s an updated look at how the Rockies' top prospects look in the minors (including three new additions from the 2010 draft) so far this season:
10. Jordan Pacheco (C)
Pacheco really wasn’t on anyone’s radar entering the 2010 season. However, through early June, he ranks near the top of the Rockies organization in batting average, hits, and on base percentage.
Scouts have begun noticing the 24-year-old catcher and he’s a good bet to move up a level or two before the season is over. He is old for the California League and still needs to prove himself before being looked at as a legitimate prospect. In all likelihood, he will probably never become an everyday major leaguer, but you never know with a player like this.
ETA: late 2011
9. Hector Gomez (SS)
It seems like Gomez has been a prospect for the better part of a decade and he has only seen time in two games this season due to injury.
He’s never been that impressive in the minors. He’s no longer the 18-year-old phenom he once was. Gomez may be in danger of never making it unless he can show a major-league ready bat sometime soon.
ETA: maybe never
8. Peter Tago (RHP)
Though Tago was chosen with the 47th overall selection in the 2010 draft, he was rumored to be going much higher. An 18-year-old right hander out of California, Tago is said to have hit 96 on the gun with his fastball.
He’s tall and lanky who will likely fill out as he gets a little older. As high school pitchers go, he’s no sure thing, but the upside may pay off in the end.
Tago might develop into a reliable starter or bottom out without reaching the majors. It’s far too early to tell where he’ll end up.
7. Rex Brothers (LHP)
A bulky 22-year-old who was chosen in the late first round in last year’s draft, Brothers is on the fast track for the majors. The Rockies never tried him as a starter, instead electing to promote him as a reliever to High-A Modesto just 17 appearances into his pro career.
In 29 innings this season, Brothers is averaging more than a strikeout per inning and recently reeled off eight consecutive innings of shutout ball, allowing two hits and striking out 12. He’ll likely become a major league contributor within the next two seasons.
6. Chad Bettis (RHP)
The Rockies have already signed their second round pick, Bettis, who looks to join the major league bullpen within the next two seasons.
He was Team USA’s closer last season and looks to be far more comfortable in a relief role than as a starter, where he had some control problems.
Bettis already shows a plus-fastball and a quality breaking ball. He could have gone earlier in the draft than the second round when Colorado took him. Baseball America had him ranked ahead of both of Colorado’s first round picks.
It was a nice pick for the Rockies as Bettis has a good chance of contributing on some level as a major leaguer.
5. Tim Wheeler (OF)
Wheeler is a five-tool player but doesn’t do anything extremely well. His on base percentage of .357 is nice to see, as are his 11 stolen bases. However, he doesn’t project to be a huge stolen base threat at the next level, nor is his ability to hit for contact something special.
The key for Wheeler is developing his power stroke. If he can refine his swing and find 18-20 home run power, he will likely be an average or slightly below average major leaguer.
4. Wilin Rosario (C)
Entering 2010, many thought that Rosario was the organization’s third best prospect, slotted right behind Matzek and Friedrich. Playing for Double-A Tulsa, the catcher started slowly but has picked it up in the last 10 games, hitting .350 with four home runs and nine RBI.
He’s raised his season line to .272/.323/.503—not bad for a catcher, but not spectacular either. He projects as a starting catcher in the majors, but he needs to show more patience at the plate if he wants to be something special.
ETA: Late 2011
3. Kyle Parker (QB)
It’s a sad state of affairs when the only thing the media seems to be able to say about Parker is that he’s currently Clemson’s starting quarterback.
In case you hadn’t heard, he’s also a power hitting outfielder who will be one of the Rockies’ top prospects if he chooses to sign with the team this summer. It was a high-risk pick for the team because it’s no guarantee that he’ll walk away from football.
His demands are said to be high. Nevertheless, since the Greg Reynolds pick a couple of years ago, the Rockies seem to have made a commitment to choosing the best player available and they did the same thing here.
Parker’s developing power stroke is a good sign and he could easily blossom into one of the best power-hitting prospects in the minors. For now, he’s still a somewhat unproven kid with an impressive athletic pedigree.
2. Christian Friedrich (LHP)
Easily the Rockies’ most exciting prospect in 2009. However, Friedrich hasn’t been quite as sharp in Double-A Tulsa this season. He’s hit his first rough patch in 41 starts in the minors and it will be interesting to see how he responds.
In eight starts this season for Tulsa, Friedrich has failed to last more than five innings in half of them. Nevertheless, his strikeout-to-walk ratio has remained solid and he’s only had one game that really blew up in his face. Expect a comeback for this young lefty who projects as a top-of-the-rotation starter.
ETA: late 2011
1. Tyler Matzek (LHP)
Still only 19 years old and four starts into his pro baseball career, Matzek has already begun delivering on his immense potential. In a recent mailbag, Baseball America’s Jim Callis said that Matzek ranks above all high school starters in the last two drafts, including 2010 No. 2 overall pick Jameson Taillon.
In 19.2 innings of work this season, Matzek has tallied 25 strikeouts compared with 12 walks, surrendering four total runs. It’s a small sample size, but encouraging nonetheless. He could be an ace in the making.
ETA: early 2013