Colorado Rockies 2009 Minor League Review
Overall farm ranking via Baseball America (2009)
2009 (20) | 2008 (7) | 2007 (2) | 2006 (11) | 2005 (6) | 2004 (15)
Record of Major and Minor League Teams
MLB: [92 – 72] NL West – third best record in NL
AAA: [73 – 69] Pacific Coast League
AA: [74 – 66] Texas League
A+: [ 75 – 65] California League
A: [68 – 70] South Atlantic League
A(ss): [47 – 29] Northwest League
R: [28 – 46] Pioneer League
The Run Down
The Rockies have done an excellent job of developing and receiving value from their farm system. Their starting roster is littered with internal prospects. From Tulowitzki to Helton to, Grey’s obsession, Ian Stewart to Seth Smith to Dexter Fowler to Franklin Morales and Ubaldo Jimenez. This year was their worst in at least five seasons for prospects. However, they still maximized value once again. Dexter Fowler and Seth Smith proved that they deserved to be in the Big Show. 2010 has some potential to produce a few highlights. Look for Eric Young Jr., Jhoulys Chacin and possibly Esmil Rogers to assist the Rockies in their chase for another playoff push.
Players of Interest
#18 – Eric Young Jr.| 2B | AAA | 24 | .299/.387/.430 | 472 AB | 21 2B | 10 3B | 7 HR | .131 ISO | 58/14 SB/CS | 79:56 K:BB | .347 BABIP | 60.9 GB% | 15.2 LD% | 22.9 FB%
The son of former major leaguer, Eric Young; and Junior can flat out run. He has stolen 303 bases in 393 attempts (568 career games), albeit, that means he has been thrown out nearly 23% of the time. He runs like a gazelle, but fields like Dan Uggla. The Rockies have tried him out in center field (only played 11 games there this year), but he’ll probably stay at second. His ground-ball rate (60.9%) this year isn’t far off from his career average (57%), thus, his BABIP is going to be naturally higher. Plus, it allows him to utilize that blazing speed. Additionally, Young may push Clint Barmes for the starting second basemen in 2010. If he doesn’t win the job out of spring training, look for a June 1st call-up. Especially if you want some cheap steals (praise SAGNOF call-ups).
#9 – Michael McKenry | C | AA | 24 | .279/.376/.455 | 358 AB | 25 2B | 12 HR | .176 ISO | 69:54 K:BB | .318 BABIP | 38.4 GB% | 22.3 LD% | 39 FB%
The Rockies second rated catcher in 2009, probably moved ahead of Wilin Rosario for ’10. With a strong arm and quick release, McKenry plays solid defense and calls a good game. His offense just started to come around in 2008 and this year he proved it wasn’t a fluke, hitting outside the friendly confines of the California League bandboxes. His line drive rate (22.3) was impressive, showing that he was hitting the ball hard, and often. He projects as a back up, but may deserve regular time if he continues to hit at Triple-A in 2010.
#2 – Jhoulys Chacin | RHP | AA/AAA | 21 | 7.4 K/9 | 3.7 BB/9 | 117 2/3 IP | 3.21 ERA | @AA 4.01 FIP; @AAA 6.20 FIP | 1.24 WHIP | .267 BABIP | 54.6 GB% | 15.1 LD% | 25.2 FB% | .9 HR/9 | [career rates:59.2 GB% | 13.6 LD% | 23.5 FB% in 404 2/3 IP]
Chacin induces ground balls at mind boggling rates. His career ground ball rate (59.2) are similar to Tim Hudson (58.6%), teammate Aaron Cook (57.5%) and Chien-Ming Wang (60.1%). Even if he lost 5 to 7% of that rate in the majors, he would have similar rates as Greg Maddux (51.5%), Chris Carpenter (52.8%), and Mariano Rivera (54.2%). He did receive a call-up in September, but didn’t fare extraordinarily well. He possesses a mid-90’s fastball with tons of heavy sinking action, a stellar change-up and a so-so curve. Considered to be a middle of the rotation starter, Chacin looks eerily similar to Aaron Cook, but with a few more strikeouts. However boring in fantasy terms, the ground balls should favor him at Coors.
#3 – Christian Friedrich | LHP | A/A+ | 21 | 12 K/9 | 3.2 BB/9 | 119 2/3 IP | 2.41 ERA | @A 1.92 FIP; @A+ 2.55 FIP | 1.15 WHIP | .329 BABIP | 45.1 B% | 13.3 LD% | 35.2 FB%
Possessing a low-90’s fastball, a 12-to-6 curve, a sharp slider, and a change-up in the works, Friedrich (von Lichtenstein) is considered the Rockies top lefty prospect. In his first full year in the minors, he pitched well at both levels of play. Baseball America believes that he could bull-rush through the minors much like Jeff Francis did a few years back. He should start in Double-A and rise to Triple-A by the end of the season. von Lichtenstein isn’t part of his name. Just a fun reference to a movie, can anyone guess which one?
#7 – Esmil Rogers | RHP | AA/AAA | 23 | 7.5 K/9 | 3.1 BB/9 | 155 IP | 4.41 ERA | @AA 2.41 FIP | @AAA 5.49 FIP | 1.41 WHIP | .331 BABIP | 45.2 GB% | 18 LD% | 32.4 FB% | .6 HR/9
A former shortstop, Rogers has developed quite rapidly since his conversion. With a low to mid-90’s fastball, an average curve, and a spotty change-up, he could make the team out of spring training. Chacin and him should be battling for the same starting spot. Other than the ground ball rates and WHIP, Rogers posted better numbers than Chacin did with a higher BABIP – more innings, lower walk rate, higher strikeout rate. If Rogers wins the battle, I’d wait until his first couple of starts to jump on his bandwagon.
#20 – Darin Holcomb | 3B | AA | 23 | .271/.348/.411 | 479 AB | 26 2B | 13 HR | .140 ISO | 50:54 K:BB | .281 BABIP | 45 GB% | 15.9 LD% | 38.2 FB%
Not overly impressive, but serviceable. He has 15 to 20 homer potential in the majors, even with Coors as his home field. One plus is that he possesses great recognition of the strike zone. Another plus, instead of hitting tons of homers, he hits a lot of balls into the gap. Think 2009 David Wright without the speed. He has a career 140:150 K:BB ratio in 1265 AB. With Ian Stewart looking like he could hold done the hot corner, Holcomb’s future may be as a role player.
#10 – Charles Blackman | CF | A+ | 22 | .307/.370/.433 | 550 AB | 34 2B | 7 3B | 7 HR | .126 ISO | 30/13 SB/CS | 83:37 K:BB | .352 BABIP | 50.8 GB% | 18 LD% | 31.1 FB%
He is the prototypical, drool inducing prospect. He has all “five-tools” and he’s playing like he is going to mature into an amazing player. Charles, or Charlie, has a strong arm, plus-plus speed, a “picture perfect” left hand swing with line drive power, according to Baseball America. Well, he will have to produce at Double-A next year before the Rockies need to make a decision about where he is going to play with Seth Smith, Fowler, Spilborghs, Hawpe and Carlos Gonzalez already vying for playing time.
Matt Miller | RF | AAA | 26 | .319/.380/.476 | 528 AB | 39 2B | 8 3B | 9 HR | .157 ISO | 78:51 K:BB | .362 BABIP | 50.8 GB% | 18.6 LD% | 30.6 FB%
There is nothing exciting about Miller. I mention him because in case of mass injuries to the Rockies outfield, Miller may be the first player called up. He has played a year and a half at Triple-A and is quite underwhelming. He hits for decent average, albeit inflated by a high BABIP, has decent plate-discipline and average skills. However, he could play adequately for a short period.
Ramoncito Garcia | RHP | A | 20 | 9.2 K/9 | 1.8 BB/9 | 112 IP | 2.41 ERA | 1.19 WHIP
I couldn’t find him anywhere else besides Baseball-Reference.com, however, as a 20 year old, those are great numbers. He’ll pitch at High-A and, if those numbers continue, plausibly Double-A by midseason. Keep an eye on this youngster.