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Top 10 Prospects- The Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies2010 MLB Record: 83-79 (third place, NL West)Minor League Power Ranking: 14th (out of 30)Click for: Last Years Top 10 Prospect List
The Prospects
1. Tyler Matzek, LHPAcquired: 2009 1st round (California HS)Pro Experience: 1 season2010 MiLB Level: A-ballOpening Day Age: 20Estimated Peak WAR: 5.5
Notes: Matzek had a respectable debut this year at low-A ball. The previous No. 1 draft pick posted a 4.32 FIP in 89.1 innings. His strikeout rate sat at 8.87 K/9 but he struggled together with his control (6.25 BB/9). Matzek also needs to find a way to keep the ball on the floor on the more consistent basis (39% ground-ball rate), especially if hes likely to succeed with approximately half his starts in Colorado. He's a good repertoire, including an 88-92 mph fastball that touches the mid-90s, a curveball, slider, and changeup. Matzek includes a three-quarter arm slot having a follow through that doesnt leave him inside a great fielding position. There's some deception in his delivery. If he can smooth out his throwing motion, Matzeks control could improve.
2. Nolan Arenado, 3BAcquired: 2009 2nd round (California HS)Pro Experience: 2 seasons2010 MiLB Level: A-ballOpening Day Age: 19Estimated Peak WAR: 5.0
Notes: Arenado had a great first full season in pro ball. The teenager showed excellent power potential by having an ISO rate of .212 in 92 low-A games. Also, he showed the opportunity to hit for any solid average without the aid of a bloated BABIP. When there is one thing he must focus on as he rises the ladder its his patience at the plate. Because he has good barrel awarene s, Arenado does not walk a great deal (4.8 BB%) but he also doesnt strike out much (13.9 K%). Hopefully, he can continue to hit for power while making above-average contact. Arenado includes a nice, quiet stance at the plate but he is doing escape on his front foot against off-speed pitches. There is some upper cut to his swing. Defensively, he doesnt have great range or good foot work, but he does have a very strong arm.
3. Wilin Rosario, CAcquired: 2006 non-drafted free agent (Dominican Republic)Pro Experience: 5 seasons2010 MiLB Level: AAOpening Day Age: 22Estimated Peak WAR: 4.5
Notes: Like Arenado, Rosario is an intriguing power-hitting prospect. Rosario, though, is a lot nearer to Benjamin Watson Jersey being MLB ready. The young catcher saw hit ISO rate jump from .138 in 09 to .267 in 10 (after also flashing good play 08). Impre sively, Rosario also showed a more discerning eye while at bat with an rise in walk rate from 4.5 to 7.1 Alex Lewis Jersey BB%. He still strikes out too much (21.1 K%) but the power output makes the trade-off worthwhile. At the plate, he takes a little stride and doesnt transfer his weight overly well, and he generates power with quick hips. Rosario blew out his ACL in August but its not expected to po se s a long-term impact on his potential. Defensively, hell certainly be in a position to stick behind the dish with a strong arm and good receiving skills. When there is a knock on his defensive work, its his game-calling skill but that should improve with time. Hes obtaining a little thick within the lower half, so Rosario will have to look at his conditioning as he ages.
4. Christian Friedrich, LHPAcquired: 2008 1st round (Eastern Kentucky U)Pro Experience: 3 seasons2010 MiLB Level: AAOpening Day Age: 23Estimated Peak WAR: 4.0
Notes: Arguably the clubs best pitching prospect entering the 2010 season, Friedrichs development was hampered by injuries and inconsistencies. From the injuries suffered this year, the elbow inflammation is the most worrisome, but hes likely to be at full strength in spring training and could open the year in triple-A with a strong exhibition showing. When he was on the mound this year, Friedrich posted a 4.21 FIP in 87.1 innings. He displayed OK control but saw his strikeout rate dip significantly from his career mark of more than 11.00 to 8.04 K/9. The southpaw gave up a lot of hits, but he was hindered with a .342 BABIP. When hes at full strength, Friedrich shows a low-90s fastball that may touch 95 mph, as well as a good curveball and changeup. He's a compact delivery and a high-three-quarter delivery.
5. Peter Tago, RHPAcquired: 2010 1st round (California HS)Pro Experience: None2010 MiLB Level: NoneOpening Day Age: 18Estimated Peak WAR: 4.0
Notes: An additional first round choose of California, Tago was one of my personal favorite prep arms obtainable in the draft. He's a low-90s fastball and flashes a promising curveball. His changeup remains a work-in-progre s. He throws having a low-three-quarter arm slot. There is a little effort in his throwing motion and he could stand to use his legs more. Tago will likely move slowly with the system and really should open 2011 in extended spring training. I wouldnt be surprised to determine him in low-A ball prior to the year has gone out, though.
6. Rex Brothers, LHPAcquired: 2009 supplemental 1st round (Lipscomb University)Pro Chris Canty Jersey Experience: 2 seasons2010 MiLB Level: A+/AAOpening Day Age: 23Estimated Peak WAR: 1.5
Notes: Brothers was a fast-moving relief prospect this year. The southpaw took part in high-A, double-A and the Arizona Fall League, making 66 appearances overall. The workload is a bit worrisome, and thus is his control. Brothers posted a walk rate of four.26 BB/9 in high-A and that jumped to 7.04 BB/9 in double-A. He clearly has try to do before he reaches The Show, despite a strong nine-game AFL performance. When hes on, Brothers receives a large amount of strikeouts (10.57 K/9 in AA) along with a significant number of ground balls (51%). His repertoire includes a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a wipe-out slider. Another pitch (changeup or splitter) could help him against tough right-handed MLB hitters. Brothers has a three-quarter arm slot, an extended stride and a quick arm thats relatively smooth.
7. Juan Nicasio, RHPAcquired: 2006 non-drafted free agent (Venezuela)Pro Experience: 5 seasons2010 MiLB Level: A+Opening Day Age: 24Estimated Peak WAR: 3.5
Notes: A big, strong pitcher, Nicasio pitched 177.1 innings in high-A ball in 2010 a 65 innings increase from 09. The right-hander struck out 171 batters (8.68 K/9) while flashing a solid FIP of two.89. Nicasio has excellent control (1.57 BB/9) but he nibbles an exce sive amount of sometimes and winds up serving up fat pitches in hitters counts, which resulted in lots of hits allowed (9.44 H/9). His repertoire includes a low-to-mid-90s fastball, a good changeup and 2 more pitches which are in development: a slider and a changeup. Despite his good control, Nicasio doesnt have great balance during his delivery. He throws having a three-quarter arm slot. If he is able to develop yet another (or both) of these pitches, Nicasio could develop into a No. 2 or 3 pitcher.
8. Charles Blackmon, OFAcquired: 2008 2nd round (Georgia Tech)Pro Experience: 3 seasons2010 MiLB Level: AAOpening Day Age: 24Estimated Peak WAR: 3.0
Notes: Blackmon flashes numerous intriguing tools but it remains to be seen if he is able to handle an everyday gig within the Majors or maybe hes better suited to a bench role. He appeared in only 87 double-A games this year but hit .297/.360/.484. He also appeared in 20 Arizona Fall League games coupled with a good showing. The outfielder flashes gap power (.187 ISO), has some speed (49 steals in the past two seasons although he gets thrown out a great deal) and doesnt strike out much (12.8 K% in 10). Blackmon has also done a better job of getting on base via the walk together with his rates increasing in the last three seasons from 5.0 to six.3 to eight.4 BB%. He has a basic stance while at bat and transfers his weight effectively, despite the fact that he adopts a modest stride. Defensively, he has the ability to play all three spots within the outfield and really should become a solid but unspectacular fielder.
9. Kyle Parker, OFAcquired: 2010 1st round (Clemson University)Pro Experience: None2010 MiLB Level: NoneOpening Day Age: 21Estimated Peak WAR: 3.5
Notes: Parker, 21, was the starting quarterback at Clemson and had the option to pursue a pro football career. A $1.4 million contract swayed him to pro ball when he projects to have plus power, which comes mostly from a quickly bat and quick hips. Parker signed in the deadline and did not appear in the standard minor league season. Despite that fact, he should open 2011 in low-A ball. There is some question about how exactly well hell hit for average; his overall ceiling is within question as hes much more of a hard-working grinder than a natural athlete on the baseball diamond. There's also some questions about his plate discipline but his bat speed Konrad Reuland Jersey is impre sive. Defensively, he projects to become a typical to slightly-above average defender.
10. Chad Bettis, RHPAcquired: 2010 2nd round (Texas Tech University)Pro Experience: 1 season2010 MiLB Level: SS/AOpening Day Age: 21Estimated Peak WAR: 3.0
Notes: Bettis had an excellent pro debut after signing. In short-season ball, the right-hander posted a 2.21 FIP in 48.1 innings. Also, he showed above-average control with a walk rate of just one.86 BB/9. Bettis also showed an inclination for inducing ground-ball outs, and didnt allow a home run until he moved up to low-A, all the while posting modest strikeout numbers (7.26 K/9). At Texas Tech, Bettis pitched like a starter and reliever but he appears well-suited for a starting role in pro ball. His repertoire includes a low-to-mid-90s fastball, good slider and changeup. Bettis throws having a low-three-quarter arm slot and has an extremely easy delivery. He takes one step toward third base in the delivery, which causes him to throw acro s his body and puts just a little stre s on his shoulder. He should open 2011 in high-A ball.

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