Rockies Final Report





Best Player: High Class A Modesto third baseman Nolan Arenado led the minors with 122 RBIs while hitting .298/.348/.489 with 20 homers. He has an advanced two-strike approach and the ability to put his bat on the ball, as evidenced by nearly as many walks (46) as strikeouts (52).

A second-round pick in 2009, Arenado, 20, had a good inside-out swing at the outset of his career but has gotten much better at turning on pitches. His range and quickness, suspect a year ago, have greatly improved, and he has become a good defensive player.

Best Pitcher: Modesto righthander Chad Bettis held his velocity all season, sitting around 95 mph and reaching 98. He finished the regular season 12-5, 3.39 with 45 walks and 184 strikeouts in 170 innings, and he went 8-1, 2.51 in the second half while yielding 6.1 hits per nine innings, down from 9.1 in the first half.
More low strikes with his fastball resulted from staying back better and then driving in his delivery, and Bettis also made strides with his changeup. He won't pitch in the Arizona Fall League because of sizable jump from the 67 innings he threw last year after being drafted in the second round.

Keep An Eye On: Modesto reliever Mike Marbry, 27, began his career as an undrafted shortstop in the Braves organization and was released after playing briefly in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. The Rockies signed him in August 2007 and converted him to pitching, which he never did at UNC Wilmington. He missed the final two months of last season at Modesto but returned this season and went 5-3. 2.97 with 15 saves, 20 walks and 66 strikeouts in 64 innings. Marbry this season developed a split-fingered pitch, which gives him a weapon against lefthanded hitters and complements a 93-94 mph fastball that touches 95.

ROCKY ROADS

• Short-season Tri-City righthanders Tyler Gagnon (4-3, 2.57) and Christian Bergman (7-5, 2.59) ranked second and third in ERA in the Northwest League. The pair helped the Dust Devils led the league by far with a 3.03 ERA and tie the league record with 10 shutouts. Bergman threw two of the three complete games in the league, both shutouts.

• Lefthander Edwar Cabrera made 13 starts for both low Class A Asheville and Modesto and wound up leading the minor leagues with 217 strikeouts in 167 innings. He went a combined 8-3, 3.34.