Before the season started the top two prospects in the Rockies organization were almost a consensus with Tyler Matzek #1 and Wilin Rosario #2.
Matzek had some delivery issues (and corrections) early this year and one or the other led to an insane number of walks and a demotion to Low-A ball. Matzek recently left the Rockies organization on an approved two week “vacation” to work with his pitching instructor he used while in High School in California. It is almost unheard of for an organization to let a prospect do this and it really shows how bad of a place Matzek is in right now.
Matzek has 61 walks in 42 innings so far in 2011.
Rosario wowed scouts in the Futures Game in 2010 with his glove and arm. Add in an OPS of .894 in AA in 2010 and Rosario was looking like a possible 25-man roster player in 2011. Rosario had knee surgery in August of 2010 was supposed to return fully healthy, and while he has played in 65 games in AA again this year his OBP is down to .285 and his OPS has also plummeted to .725.
How quickly things can change for prospects.
Keith Law of ESPN.com released a refreshed Top 50 Prospects rankings today (Insider required) and only one Colorado Rockies farmhand made the list: Nolan Arenado.
Arenado is a third baseman currently playing for the Modesto Nuts, the High-A affiliate for the Rockies.
A farm system that was seemingly very deep before the year started now feels empty.
The sad part is that it doesn’t sound like Law is too keen on Arenado despite the lofty ranking (42nd in all of baseball):
Arenado is a heavy-footed third baseman with great instincts and a great swing that should produce power. One red flag: He’s doing most of his damage off left-handers, hitting .286/.332/.427 against right-handed pitchers and .377/.418/689 against lefties. Those numbers are in the hitter-friendly Cal League, so take them with a grain of salt.
To translate: Arenado is slow and probably lacks range at third base and in reading into this brief review he might be better suited at first base. As a right hand hitter that isn’t hitting right hand pitchers, well, that is a bad combination and won’t suit him well for a platoon scenario in the big leagues as most of big league pitching is right handed. To me it sounds like Law was reluctant to put Arenado that high…
It has been a rough year for the Rockies farm system.