Colorado Rockies Prospects: B/R's Top 15 Breakdown, Final 2013 Update

David A. Cucchiara@@cucch22Correspondent IOctober 11, 2013

Colorado Rockies Prospects: B/R's Top 15 Breakdown, Final 2013 Update

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    Jonthan Gray is the future of this Rockies pitching rotation.
    Jonthan Gray is the future of this Rockies pitching rotation.Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Another season of Rockies baseball is in the books, and it’s time again to breakdown Colorado’s top prospects heading into next year.

    With a farm system that traditionally ranks around the bottom third in baseball, this offseason should focus on fixing the perpetual prospect problem by stocking the system.

    The front office, which is expected to sign a new television deal this offseason, will be graced with an influx of revenue. The money should take some of the pressure off high profile prospects and allow GM Dan O’Dowd to go out and spend this offseason.

    The virtually inevitable deals on the horizon could have some fashionable prospects on the move by December.

    While the current system doesn’t fit in the upper echelon of MLB, there remain some very interesting names floating around the minors.

No. 15 Prospect: Edwar Cabrera, P

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    Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

    2013 Stats


    Major League ETA: 2014

    Left-hander Edwar Cabrera spent the entire 2013 MiLB season nursing a left shoulder impingement but should be fully healthy by Opening Day.

    Cabrera, who started two major league games in 2012, is a likely candidate to make the Rockies roster in 2014. Last year the 25-year-old racked up 121 strikeouts in 129.2 innings, posting a 3.05 ERA in his stints with Tulsa and Colorado Springs.

    The shoulder injury make teams hesitant to including him in any offseason deals and the Rockies, who are hurting for left-handed pitching, should be reluctant to keep him.

    His ceiling is high and the talent is there, the only question is how he will bounce back from injury.

No. 14 Prospect: Ryan McMahon, 3B

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    2013 Stats

    .321/.402/.583, 11 HR, 52 RBI, 42 R

    Major League ETA: 2018

    Third baseman Ryan McMahon has exceeded initial expectations and raised his stock in his first full MiLB season.

    McMahon was the No. 42 overall pick in his year’s draft and remained relatively consistent throughout the year. Granted, he spent all of 2013 in Grand Junction (Pioneer League), but his ceiling is high and future bright.

    At just 18 years old, he’s still at least another four to five years away from seeing a major league diamond. 

    With Nolan Arenado finally solving the Rockies perennial hole at third base, McMahon could undergo a position change in 2014.

No. 13 Prospect: Jayson Aquino, P

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    2013 Stats

    14 GS, 0-10, 87 IP, 4.34 ERA, 73 K, 26 BB

    Major League ETA: 2017

    Left-hander Jason Aquino sharply regressed in his fourth MiLB season in 2013.

    The Rockies had high hopes for the 20-year-old after he posted a sub-2.00 ERA in 42 starts over his first three minor league seasons.

    With significantly poorer strikeouts to walk ratio than previous years, he’ll need to improve his command if he wants to see a major league diamond any time soon.

    Look for Aquino to be used as a possible trade chip this offseason.

No. 12 Prospect: Will Swanner, C

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    2013 Stats

    .239/.324/.425, 13 HR, 51 RBI, 52 R

    Major League ETA: 2015

    The Rockies farm system is one of the weaker in baseball in terms of catching prospects. Will Swanner features an impressive combination of power and defense.

    Swanner struggled offensively for most of the 2013 season, but was able to finish strong, batting .389 in his last five games.

    Behind the plate, Swanner showed vast improvement, throwing out 28 percent of base runners.

    Offensively, his numbers took a nose dive compared to his 2012 campaign, where he batted .302 with 16 homers and 61 RBI.

    With the Rockies currently stable at catcher with Wilin Rosario, the 22-year-old Swanner is one of the more likely candidates to be worked into a package this offseason.

No. 11 Prospect: Tim Wheeler, of

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    2013 Stats

    .262/.330/.355, 5 HR, 42 RBI, 59 R

    Major League ETA: 2014

    For the last five years, Tim Wheeler has been a staple and one of the premier names of the Rockies’ farm system.

    At age 25, the 2009 first round draft pick is also one of the oldest high profile prospects in the system, meaning he’ll undoubtedly be given a shot in 2014.

    After a ridiculous 33 home run, 86 RBI stint in 2011, a right hand injury in 2012 zapped all the power out of Wheeler’s bat. The result is a drop in value as a prospect.

    This season Wheeler recorded the lowest on-base percentage and slugging percentage of his minor league career—a troubling statistic.

    Expect Wheeler to begin the season on the Rockies active roster, barring an injury-free spring training.

No. 10 Prospect: Tyler Matzek, P

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    2013 Stats

    26 GS, 8-9, 142.1 IP, 3.79 ERA, 95 K, 76 BB

    Major League ETA: 2016

    Three years of minor league struggles has finally led to what appears to be success for left-hander Tyler Matzek.

    Matzek, who was initially the Rockies top pitching prospect in 2010 and 2011, was finally able to post numbers close to meeting the expectations of the franchise.

    However, the elephant in the room is his strikeout to walk ratio. In the same amount of innings as his 2012 season, Matzek recording 58 less strikeouts in 2013. While his walk totals are down, 76 walks is still unacceptable.

    Matzek has the stuff to be a dominant pitcher in the major leagues, if he can salvage his command.

No. 9 Prospect: Trevor Story, SS

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    2013 Stats

    .233/.305/.394, 12 HR, 65 RBI, 71 R

    Major League ETA: 2016

    Similar to Matzek, the bar was set high for Trevor Story.

    A first round selection in 2011, Story’s successful Pioneer League campaign that season gave the Rockies high hopes for his future.

    However, his elevation to Single-A and eventually high Single-A this year has resulted in an increase in the number of strikeouts. For Modesto, he recorded 183 Ks and just 45 walks in 554 at-bats.

    At just 20 years old, Story has room to grow.

    Bleacher Report’s Mike Rosenbaum considered Story one of the more underrated prospects in all of baseball in 2012.

    Expect a strong comeback and a promotion to Tulsa in 2014.

No. 8 Prospect: Chad Bettis, P

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    Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    2013 Stats (MLB)

    8 GS, 1-3, 44.2 IP, 5.64 ERA, 30 K, 20 BB

    Major League ETA: 2013

    Chad Bettis finally got a chance to showcase his stuff this season.

    While having his innings limited, Bettis’ stuff looked sharp and his ability to mix pitches is a good sign.

    For Double-A Tulsa, Bettis fanned 68 hitters in just 63 innings, averaging just under 10 strikeouts per nine innings. Those numbers didn’t exactly translate to the big leagues, but this is Coors Field we’re talking about.

    The 24-year-old prospect went from Tulsa straight to Coors, without any experience pitching in the high altitude at Colorado Springs.

    Expect Bettis to not only begin the season on the active roster, but earn the fifth slot in the rotation come spring training.

No. 7 Prospect: Kyle Parker, OF

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    Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

    2013 Stats

    .288/.345/.492, 23 HR, 74 RBI, 70 R

    Major League ETA: 2014

    Kyle Parker is proving to be the most durable, consistent and productive prospects in the Rockies system.

    In each of his three minor league seasons, Parker has posted 20-plus home runs, 70-plus RBI and at least a .285 average. The numbers are impressive to say the least.

    In a year where the Rockies are finally expected to spend during the offseason, Parker could be a significant piece in a deal to acquire a big name ace.

    With Corey Dickerson, Charlie Blackmon, Charlie Culberson and Dexter Fowler competing for two outfield positions, there’s no room for the major league ready Parker.

    Parker will get the call towards the second half of the season, but will likely not be in Rockies pinstripes.

No. 6 Prospect: Tyler Anderson, P

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    2013 Stats

    16 GS, 4-3, 89.2 IP, 2.81 ERA, 76 K, 27 BB

    Major League ETA: 2015

    Tyler Anderson has the frame, the stuff and the poise to be a successful middle-of-the-rotation major league pitcher.

    The 23-year-old Oregon grad has been lighting up the farm system since he was taken with the No. 20 overall pick in the 2011 draft.

    Anderson’s success lies in his command. He’s walking under three batters a game and his tight slider is buckling knees.

    If Bettis struggles in the back end of the rotation, there’s a chance Anderson could get the call in 2014. Due to only playing in Modesto last season, he likely won’t toe a major league rubber until at least 2015.

No. 5 Prospect: Tom Murphy, C

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    2013 Stats

    .289/.376/.571, 22 HR, 83 RBI, 64 R

    Major League ETA: 2015

    If Yorvit Torrealba doesn’t return to the Rockies in 2014, there’s a good chance the Rockies will look to Tom Murphy to fill the roster spot.

    Murphy’s physicality and durability is what impresses the coaching staff in Asheville.

    When Murphy was promoted to Tulsa towards the end of the season, he actually hit better, batting .290 with three homers and nine RBI.

    Behind the plate, Murphy threw out 30 percent of runners during his stint in Asheville.

    The Rockies know they have the complete package with Murphy. By the end of the 2014 season, he should find his way to Colorado Springs.

No. 4 Prospect: Eddie Butler, P

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    Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    2013 Stats

    28 GS, 9-5, 149.2 IP, 1.80 ERA, 143 K, 52 BB

    Major League ETA: 2014

    There is no one on this list more primed for the majors in the Rockies system than pitching phenom Eddie Butler.

    The No. 46 overall pick in last year’s draft, Butler has exceeded all mortal expectations and is working his way up the system at record pace.

    Butler spent 2013 hopping from Asheville to Modesto and eventually to Tulsa, dominating at every level. In six starts for Tulsa, he allowed just two runs in 27.1 innings for a microscopic ERA of 0.65 with a .687 WHIP.

    The Rockies will likely keep Butler in Colorado Springs to start the season, regardless of his spring training performance. Pitching for the Sky Sox will allow him time to adjust to pitching in the second highest ballpark in North America.

    If he mirrors his 2013 campaign next season, he’ll unquestionably get the call.

    Fans should be excited for the skillset Butler can bring to this Rockies rotation.

No. 3 Prospect: Rosell Herrera, SS

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    2013 Stats

    .343/.419/.515, 16 HR, 76 RBI, 83 R

    Major League ETA: 2017

    Bulter put up astronomical numbers on the mound. Rosell Herrera is doing it with the bat.

    The shortstop from Santo Domingo lit up South Atlantic League pitching, remaining consistent throughout the season. Slumps were virtually nonexistent.

    How did he compare to the rest of the league?

    Herrera was second in average, sixth in RBI, fourth in runs and first in hits. Unfortunately, his bat seems to compensate for his horrendous glove.

    Herrera followed his 28-error 2012 campaign with—you guessed it—another 28 errors this season.

    At 20 years old, Herrera has time to develop and work his way through the system.

No. 2 Prospect: David Dahl, OF

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    2013 Stats

    .275/.310/.425, 0 HR, 7 RBI, 9 R

    Major League ETA: 2018

    Last year’s No. 10 overall pick David Dahl had a stellar 2012 campaign in the Pioneer League, batting a robust .379 with nine homers and 57 RBI.

    After just 10 games in 2013, he tore his hamstring, thus ending his season.

    The 19-year-old Dahl has a lot to prove in 2014, bouncing back from injury and performing at a high level top that list.

No. 1 Prospect: Jonathan Gray, P

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    Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

    2013 Stats

    9 GS, 4-0, 37.1 IP, 1.93 ERA, 51 K, 8 BB

    Major League ETA: 2016

    Jonathan Gray is the class of the 2013, according to Jim Callis of To Rockies fans, landing Gray with the third overall pick inhibited a breath of fresh air followed shortly by a sigh of relief.

    Gray is the future of the Rockies rotation. He’s ace material.

    After being virtually unhittable at Oklahoma, Gray continues to be dominant in the minors. He earned a quick promotion from the Rookie League to Modesto after just four starts.

    Gray will spend the next few years in the system, crafting his breaking ball and taking a few MPHs off his fastball.

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