Rockies Midseason Report

Pacheco Catches On Behind The Plate





Best Player: High Class A Modesto's Jordan Pacheco, a converted second baseman in his third year of catching, has been consistent at the plate and has improved behind it this year. He was hitting .329/.415/.451 with three homers and 46 RBIs in 255 at-bats, with more walks (35) than strikeouts (25).

Roving hitting coordinator Jim Johnson said the 24-year-old "stays inside the ball better than most kids, which means he can wait longer, make better decisions. He hits a lot of balls the other way to right field. For a boy at this age, at this level, he's extremely gifted with that."

Pacheco, a 2007 ninth-round pick out of New Mexico, doesn't swing and miss often and hits well with two strikes. He has plenty of arm to catch and good hands, and he continues to work on getting a quicker exchange from his glove to throwing hand.

Biggest Leap Forward: Modesto shortstop Thomas Field has played his way into prospect status, making adjustments at the plate that have helped him hit through, rather than underneath the ball. As a result, the 2008 24th-round pick was batting a .314/.420/.534 with 10 homers and 40 RBI in 236 at-bats. Field, 23,  plays a solid shortstop and is seen as a potential Jamey Carroll or Randy Velarde type.

Biggest Disappointment: Above all else, shortstop Hector Gomez, who has outstanding tools, needed to be on the field at Double-A Tulsa this season. He needed at-bats after playing one game in 2008 at Modesto and 83 there last year.

Gomez, 22, has played in two games. He strained his lower back in Tulsa's second game of the season and overdid it during his rehab and developed a stress fracture in his back. The hope is Gomez will be ready to play toward the end of July and salvage something from this season.

ROCKY ROADS

• Righthander Casey Weathers, the eighth overall pick in the 2007 draft, finally returned from October 2008 Tommy John surgery and began his year at short-season Tri-City with four scoreless one-inning appearances, allowing one hit and one walk with 10 strikeouts.

• After being held back in extended spring training to limit his innings this year, lefthander Tyler Matzek, the 11th overall pick in the 2009 draft, was 1-0, 1.84 in six starts at low Class A Asheville. Opponents were hitting .172 against Matzek who had 32 strikeouts in 29 innings, but 21 walks.