Rockies Midseason Report

Best Player: Outfielder Charlie Blackmon seemed ticketed for a full season at Triple-A, with a September callup his most realistic hope of reaching the Rockies.
Instead, they brought him up June 7 when he was hitting .337/.393/.572 in 243 at-bats with 10 homers at Colorado Springs and put him in the lineup every day in left field. Blackmon, 25, understandably cooled off after a torrid start, when he hit safely in nine of his first 12 games. Blackmon was hitting .250/.273/.292, but he had just eight strikeouts in 96 at-bats, was 5-for-6 in stealing bases and was playing well defensively.

Biggest Leap Forward: Outfielder Tim Wheeler gets high marks for his offensive breakout this season at Double-A Tulsa, but one of his teammates with the Drillers made a bigger leap this season.

Righthander Juan Nicasio, 24, finished last season at high Class A Modesto and had never played above Class A coming into the season. Yet he went from Double-A Tulsa to the Rockies rotation in late May after dominating the Texas League in nine starts. He went 5-1, 2.22 with 10 walks and 63 strikeouts in 57 innings and gave up one unearned run in seven innings while winning his major league debut against the Cardinals. Nicasio had a 4.10 ERA through seven starts. He needs to become less reliant on his fastball and use his changeup and slider more. The latter pitch was a work in progress at Tulsa, but his changeup there was very good.

Biggest Disappointment: The season has been a nightmare for lefthander Tyler Matzek, the 11th overall pick in the 2009 draft. He was demoted to low Class A Asheville after going 0-3, 9.82 in 10 starts at Modesto with 46 walks and 37 strikeouts in 33 innings.

After going 0-2, 14.00 in three starts at Asheville with 15 walks and 14 strikeouts in nine innings, the Rockies removed Matzek, 20, from the rotation and allowed him to return to California to work with the pitching instructor he had as an amateur.


• Lefthander Edwar Cabrera, 23, was promoted to Modesto after going 4-2, 3.14 at Asheville with 18 walks and 110 strikeouts in 86 innings. Righthander Dan Houston and first baseman Mike Zuanich moved up to Tulsa from Modesto, where Houston went 7-1, 2.53 and Zuanich hit .366/.455/.674 with 14 homers in 224 at-bats.

• Righthander Coty Woods was 3-1, 0.77 in 24 games at Modesto with 18 walks and 60 strikeouts in 47 innings and had a scoreless streak of 351⁄3 innings.