Colorado Rockies: Top 10 Prospects Chat With Tracy Ringolsby

Colorado Rockies




Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2007.

 Q: Eric from Elk Grove asks:
Thanks for the chat. Colorado has good talent right now, but how the heck can Chris Iannetta be only 8th on their list? I've seen him ranked in the top 50 among all prospects and he's ready to take over as a good-hitting major league catcher. And yet he's ranked behind the latest inevitably disappointing Stanford pitcher, among others. Am I missing something here?
 A: 

Moderator: The rankings are based on long-term impact and I don't see being No. 8 on the list as a slap in the face to anyone. If you are talking about prospects for this year, he assuredly would be in that top 50 and he'd be one of the top two or three with the Rockies. As for "the latest inevitably disappointing Stanford pitcher,'' I can only assume you aren't a big Mark Marquess fan. Why don't we wait and see how Reynolds turns out? He is a young man who got better as his college season went on last year, which is a bit different than the norm.

 Q: Paul from Williamstown, MA asks:
Was Reynolds selected #2 last year over Lincecum and Miller a signability issue, or did people truly see him with a higher ceiling than those two?
 A: 

Moderator: Lincecum had his believers, but there were more than a couple of scouts who worried about size and mechanics. Miller was considered right in line, maybe a tab above, the rest of the top pitchers in the draft, but not enough ahead for most teams to get involved with (1) a lengthy negotiation and (2) a four-year big-league contract. Personally, I think players who get big league contracts only hurt themselves, as well as the organization, because they put a tight timetable in place that can't be altered. Ask Todd Van Poppel, who was the victim of injuries and running out of options. The investment in top picks nowadays dictates that if anything, the concern should be an organization running a young player, not holding him back. And a big league contract forces a player to be placed on the fast track.

 Q: Dean from Madison asks:
Great work as always. Can you tell me more about Matt Macri? What is his futureWhat are his chances of making the majors? How the Rockies consider him in their plans?
 A: 

Moderator: Marcri is in a year where he needs to step forward this season and force his way into the plans. The Rockies like his versatility and his athleticism. He could play anywhere in the infield. The next step is up to him.

 Q: Borat from Chicago, IL asks:
Thanks for taking our questions today Tracy. As a fantasy player, please tell me why I should ever pay attention to Rockies pitching prospects no matter how highly they're touted. They can never seem rack up enough strikeouts and allow too many hits to be top of the line fantasy pitchers. I'm looking at Francis, Tsao, Cook, etc.
 A: 

Moderator: If that's what you are looking for then you probably shouldn't pay attention to Rockies pitching prospects. Tsao, by the way, was signed by the Dodgers.

 Q: Mike Marinaro from Tampa, FL asks:
How much better of a hitter is Longoria than Tulo?
 A: 

Moderator: Time will tell. Tulowitzki is going to be a quality hitter. Longoria, however, certainly broke in with a flurry last year. I wouldn't say it should be an overwhelming surprise if either of them hits well and becomes productive. Right now I wouldn't say either one is better than the other. They are both top line offensive players.

 Q: Brandon from Greeley asks:
Re D. Fowler: Why introduce a player to switch hitting so late in (baseball) life? Did Dexter struggle with RHP breaking balls? Seems like a huge challenge for someone swinging a wood bat for the 1st time.
 A: 

Moderator: I don't know that you would say his first year in pro ball is that late in his baseball life. It really is not unusual at all to take quality athletes with aptitude and speed and make the move to switch-hitting at the age of 18, in their first year of pro ball.

 Q: andy from new jersey asks:
what do you predict of troy tulowitski this year?? rookie of the year??? a future all star???
 A: 

Moderator: My prediction would only go so far as to say he'll be an above-average shortstop this year. He certainly has the potential to be an eventual shortstop, giving the offensive potential he has to go with a defensive position.

 Q: james from raleigh asks:
what does joe gaetti have to do to get some respect? does he get traded or will he get a chance in denver?
 A: 

Moderator: Joe is one of those guys who grinds it out, gets the job done and keeps proving at each level that he can play. The respect comes in the form of being moved up each year and being allowed to prove each year that he can handle the level of player. He's not unlike his father in that regard. Given his attitude, I fully expect him to force the Rockies to eventually give him a chance in the big leagues. He doesn't give up on himself and won't let others give up on him, either.

 Q: Chris from Detroit, MI asks:
Guys who walk a batter every other inning don't have a great track record of success when transitioning to the big leagues, so why are many people confident that Ubaldo Jimenez is ready for a move to the Rockies starting rotation?
 A: 

Moderator: Jimenez has shown the ability to throw strikes and compete. He has typically taken a half season or so to adjust at each level and then he has taken over. He has above average stuff across the board, and in sporadic use last September he responded well.

 Q: mark from louisiana asks:
How is Jeff Baker progressing? do the Rockies like him for next year in the OF? Thanks
 A: 

Moderator: Baker forced his way into legit prospect status by staying healthy last year, producing at Colorado Springs and then having a big-time effort in September. He will get a lot of playing time this season as the swing man at all four corner positions, and if he handles that challenge anywhere close to the way he met last year's challenge he will force himself into an every day role.

 Q: Chris from Detroit, MI asks:
Sean Smith showed some improvements in the second half of 2007 - what are the chances of him seeing some time in the Rockies outfield this year?
 A: 

Moderator: Do you mean Seth Smith? He made a huge step forward with his effort last year, and if he can build off that he will be in the big leagues at some point this year, although how much playing time he will get will depend on injuries at the big league level.

 Q: Gary Lawson from Connersville, Indiana asks:
I purchased the 2007 Baseball America Prospect Handbook and recommend everyone get this book!! My question: Does Colorado trade Todd Helton and if so, who takes over at 1B?? Joe Koshansky or Jeff Baker?? Who is the better choice?? Thanks...
 A: 

Moderator: Helton gave the Rockies a chance to trade him to Boston and it didn't work out. At this point Helton said he just wants to play and doesn't want to get involved in any other trade scenarios. He does have a complete no-trade. Had Helton been dealt, most likely, Garrett Atkins or Brad Hawpe would have gone to first. It's the position both played at the time they were drafted.

 Q: Travis from Austin, TX asks:
What seems to be the problem with Chris Nelson, he doesn't hit much for a guy whose swing was compared to Gary Sheffield's coming out of high school?
 A: 

Moderator: This is a year that Nelson has to break out. He has the athleticism and bat speed to be an impact guy. He has had his struggles so now the Rockies get a chance to see how he responds to adversity. That aspect is probably the most crucial for any big-league player--handling the bad times.

 Q: Dice from Texas asks:
With Tulowitzki at short. Where does Omar Quintanilla go? Also are we ever gonna get to see Jayson Nix?
 A: 

Moderator: Right now Quintanilla is ticketed to play shortstop at Colorado Springs. Most likely, at the big league level, he projects in a utility role. Nix will be the Colorado Springs second baseman this year. He has become a quality defensive second baseman. He just needs to relax offensively and let his natural abilities take over. He is already in spring training this year and he seems much more comfortable with himself, which cold mean a big season is lingering.

 Q: Ben from It's Cold Here! asks:
With Helton staying where he is, what will become of Koshansky, who isn't getting any younger? Trade bait, perhaps?
 A: 

Moderator: For this year Koshansky will go to Colorado Springs. He hasn't played at that level, yet. Then the Rockies can assess what they want to do with him.

 Q: Jaypers from Illinois asks:
What does Nelson need to do this year to prove to Colorado that he's worth the price they drafted him for?
 A: 

Moderator: He needs to go out and excel offensively. With his athleticism and bat speed it is hard to figure out why he has been unable to do that the last two years.

 Q: Jean-Paul from Illinois asks:
With Iannetta ready to be their starting catcher this year, why did he drop from # 6 to # 8 this time around? Seems a bit low for a guy who's major league ready.
 A: 

Moderator: The rankings are based on long-term expectations, not just this year. The Rockies have a deep system. I don't see his ranking as any knock on his ability.

 Q: Ben from Springfield asks:
If Stewart moves to an OF corner, when's the earliest he could see the Show? I see you have him still at 3B on your depth chart, but at RF on your 2010 lineup.
 A: 

Moderator: Right now he is a third baseman, and he most likely will play third base at Colorado Springs this summer. This spring, though, he will see some outfield work. The more versatile he becomes the most options the Rockies have for getting him to the big leagues. He could be up as soon as this season. That depends on how he rebounds from last year.

 Q: Ben from Tuloville asks:
I remember reading your article some time ago, in which you compared Fowler to Maybin. Who would you term a better overall athlete at present, and who will see the Majors first?
 A: 

Moderator: Fowler is as good an athlete as there is in the game right now, and I fully expect to see him in the big leagues within two years. Comparing the two of them is a challenge. I mean, some people like ice cream and some people prefer the cake. There's no complaint about either.

 Q: Jaypers from Illinois asks:
How fast (not literally) do you see a speedster like Wimberly ascending the ladder?
 A: 

Moderator: Wimberly already moved a level ahead of the rest of his class, playing at Modesto last year while the others were at Asheville. He could be up sometime next year.

 Q: Dante Bichette from The Rockies Past asks:
Have we yet to see the real Tulowitzki? Is he a potential 20-20 man? 30-30, perhaps?
 A: 

Moderator: I don't see him as that type of a basestealer.

 Q: Erik from Wisconsin asks:
What about Samuel Deduno? How close was he to making the Rockies top 10? Sure, the guy had a high ERA in the CAL this past year, but he allowed only 3 HR's in 146.1 IP! He holds almost a 3:1 GBFB rate, while having big time ability to K batters. Sure, he's got control issues, but so did Franklin Morales this year. I am not saying they're on the same level, but I am just curious on what are the thoughts and feelings on Deduno throughout the Rockies organization. Thanks!
 A: 

Moderator: Deduno was a difficult one to leave out. Deduno has the ability to be up there with the other Latin pitchers the Rockies have signed in recent years. They all have strong arms, and show an ability to throw a quality breaking pitch.

 Q: Joe from Colorado asks:
I was wondering why Ianetta is rated so low...I've read in places where he's the #1 or #2 catching prospect in baseball...are the top 7 guys in the system that good, or is Ianetta over-rated by most of the scouting public? What kind of hitter do you think he projects into at the mlb level in his prime?
 A: 

Moderator: I don't think he is rated that low. I think as far as catching prospects for this year he's probably at the top of the list but the rankings are based on long-term impact and the Rockies do have a very impressive system.

 Q: Jeremy Sharp from Anna, TX asks:
How far past your top 10 has Chris Nelson fell? Everyone raves on his tools but his production hasn't come anywhere near expectations. I have seen reports on injuries slowing him down, is he entering the '07 season 100%?
 A: 

Moderator: He is on the cusp. The potential is there but it is time for him to turn the potential into results. Health shouldn't be an issue.

 Q: Luke from Denver asks:
What happened to Shane Lindsey? I know he had an injury, but is he still a legit prospect?
 A: 

Moderator: Lindsey has surgery in the off-seaso for a labrum tear. He should be ready to throw off a mound in a month and most likely will be activated the need of May. If he can stay health he will return to legit prospect status, but this is two years in a row he has been slowed by the labrum issue.

 Q: Dan Williams from Sutton, MA asks:
Do you think Jeff Baker could turn in to a similar slugger as Matt Holliday if given the opportunity to play over the next year or two?
 A: 

Moderator: Baker has shown the potential be a big-time run producer. The only knock on him prior to last year was his inability to stay in the lineup. He played last year and he produced. He has a chance to be an elite hitter, not just a slugger.

 Q: Dan Williams from Sutton, MA asks:
If the Rockies had completed the Helton to Boston deal and subsequently dealt Lowell to a contender; what would have been their positional alignment? Atkins at 3B, Hawpe at 1B and Baker in RF? Or was Koshansky going to get the call to play 1B? Was their anyway the Rockies would have kept Lowell in his walk year?
 A: 

Moderator: The Rockies most likely would have kept Lowell and moved Atkins to first.

 Q: Julian de Lavalle from Washington, DC asks:
Do you see Morrillo moving to the bullpen?
 A: 

Moderator: He will most likely work out of the pen this spring, which will be the first step in him becoming a reliever.

 Q: Dan Williams from Sutton, MA asks:
Does Manny Corpas settle in to a reliable set up role in the majors this year? How high is his future closer value?
 A: 

Moderator: He will most likely fill the seventh inning role this year, and could move later into the game, depending on how he responds and the needs that open on the team.

 Q: Paul from Houston, Texas asks:
I remember that the Rockies drafted Kyle Hancock back in the 3rd round of '05 but I haven't heard of him since. What happened to him? Was it an injury or did he not sign?
 A: 

Moderator: Hancock signed, reported to Casper and a couple days later, after joining the team on the road and never getting to Casper, he quit and returned home. He petitioned the NCAA to get eligibility to play at the University of Arkansas, but it was denied because he had an agent.

 Q: Michael Stern from Rochester NY asks:
Do you see Cory Wimberly with any chance to be the second baseman of the future? Do the Rockies consider him in their plans? His speed and hitting can reak havoc at the top of that line-up. From what I've heard he's a very good defensive player and his offense his 2 seasons with the organization has been phenomenal. In 2 years - 154 games - which equals a full season - he's hit .350 with 218 hits and 86 SB. What's not to like?
 A: 

Moderator: Wimberly obviously has a chance considering what he bring sot the game with his speed.

 Q: Michael Stern from Rochester NY asks:
Very surprised to see no Koshansky in the top 10. Is he the heir to Helton? If Helton goes in a deal how soon will Koshansky get a shot - if at all?
 A: 

Moderator: If Helton had been dealt this off-season, Atkins or Hawpe could have moved back to first, their original positions. Right now, though, Helton does not appear to be going anywhere. Koshansky has led the organization in home runs each of the last two years, and now he is going to move to Triple-A. It will be another challenge for him in his development.

 Q: Michael Stern from Rochester NY asks:
How close was Herrera to the top 10? He looks to be a future player - and you even have him listed as the second baseman of the future. Can you see any scenario where he takes short away from Tulo with Wimberly playing second down the road?
 A: 

Moderator: Herrera has the defensive skills to be a way above average defensive second baseman and a plus offensive player. I don't, however, see him taking shortstop away from Tulowitzki.

 Q: Josh from St. Louis asks:
How high are the Rockies on the potential of young SS Hector Gomez? He looks to have all 5 tools, and his performance thus far in the pros has been outstanding.
 A: 

Moderator: Gomez is a definite prospect, and just adds to the depth the Rockies have in the middle infield.

 Q: Al from Port Chester, NY asks:
There seems to be conflicting reports regarding just how much home run power Dexter Fowler will eventually have as a major leaguer. I've read that some scouts doubt if he'll ever be a consistent HR threat, even in Coors. And then I've read other reports comparing him to guys like Andre Dawson or Darryl Strawberry, two very good HR hitters back in their day. I realize Fowler's young and he's 6'5" so the chances are that he will develop more HR power than the 8 he hit last year in A ball. My question to you is just how much more HR power do you think he will develop? Does his swing have enough loft to be a 30-40 HR guy in the bigs....or will he be another big strong kid who's raw power never fully develops into true HR power?
 A: 

Moderator: Fowler's swing will continue to develop. He is learning to switch-hit. He should be strong enough and is a good enough athlete that he will have legit power, but to say anyone is going to be a 30-40 home run guy puts him in a very limited category. I wouldn't put that type of expectation on him, but that doesn't mean he couldn't evolve into that type of a threat eventually. He, however, can be an impact big league center fielder without having to hit that many home runs.

 Q: Jay from DC asks:
Is this the year that Seth Smith finally turns those 2Bs into homers? What does his future hold?
 A: 

Moderator: Smith made a huge move forward in asserting himself last year. He could force his way into the big league picture before season's end.

 Q: Bertram from Taiwan asks:
We always here the TuloCrosby comparasions. How worried should Colorado fans be about this comparasion?
 A: 

Moderator: Worried about what?

 Q: Bertram from Taiwan asks:
More upside, Morales or Tulo?
 A: 

Moderator: Call it a push.

 Q: Jeff Sullivan from Belchertown MA asks:
Was Greg Reynolds an over-draft at 2? There were other great pitchers like Lincoln, Lincecum, and Miller still available.
 A: 

Moderator: I don't know that there was a great pitcher in the draft. I think it was a fairly even draft in the upper half of the first round. What Reynolds did was consistently improve as the season went on.

 Q: Mudcatsfan from Cary, NC asks:
Tulo is one of my favorite prospects. What do you see as an upper ceiling for him? 20 HR, 30HR, more? Also, can you clarify whether there's any chance he'd have to move away from SS? Everything i read says he's an avg to plus defender.
 A: 

Moderator: Right now he's a definite shortstop and he will be a legit home run threat. In the not too distant future, 30 home runs would see within his ability.

 Q: Jeremy from Castro Valley asks:
Thanks for the chat. So the rockies as the number 2 organization? I just don't see it. Is this a bad year for the minors or something?
 A: 

Moderator: The ranking isn't based off a year. It's based off the strength top to bottom. Maybe you better take a better look.

 Q: Mudcatsfan from Cary, NC asks:
Will the rocks really use Willy Tavares in CF? Was he that much of an upgrade over Choo Freeman? Did Freeman get a real shot in CF? It seems he made some real growth for a player that started late in baseball.
 A: 

Moderator: Tavares and Sullivan will battle for the job in spring training. Tavares, at 24, has shown he can handle the big league chores. And he does have room to get better. Freeman never showed the consistently the Rockies would have liked to have seen. He did not get an extended opportunity in the big leagues but that was based on the fact others moved ahead of him. I don't know how you can stay he started late in baseball.

 Q: Mudcatsfan from NC asks:
Can Koshansky hit in the bigs? I kept hearing that he was beating up on levels where he was older than the competition, but he's still hitting. Is he for real?
 A: 

Moderator: He gets his next chance to prove critics wrong by moving to Triple-A this year. So far he has shown he can handle the challenge at each level at which he has played.

 Q: Michael from Cleveland,OH asks:
How, if at all, does Jeff Salazar fit into the OF? Should he hope for a trade?
 A: 

Moderator: It's up to Jeff Salazar. He has to show more of his offensive game than he did last year.

 Q: John Paul from Manchester, CT asks:
In two years, where will Tulowitzki rank among current MLB SS'?
 A: 

Moderator: Tulo has the ability to be among the elite big-league shortstops. I'm not saying he is Cal Ripken, but he has a chance to be that type of shortstop--a middle of the lineup guy with quality defense.

 Q: Ryan from Stamford, CT asks:
What has to happen for Ian Stewart to reach Coors Field this season. What position might he be playing? If you tell me they'll trade Helton, move Atkins to first and promote Stewart to 3B I'll be your best friend! Thank you!
 A: 

Moderator: Stewart just needs to get his offensive game in order and he will be in the big leagues. Right now, I'd say he most likely will find himself in the outfield.

 Q: Kevin from Ely, Nevada asks:
How far as Bucholz fallen from when the Phillies traded him to Houston? Has his stuff dropped of much or what?
 A: 

Moderator: Buchholz had labrum surgery, which set him back, but he is fully recovered now.

 Q: mike from NJ asks:
What are your thoughts on Pedro Strop since he has converted to P?
 A: 

Moderator: He could turn into a dominate late-inning reliever.

 Q: Mike Dean from Long Beach asks:
Why is there still debate on whos going to be the rockies opening day shortstop, tulowitzki should be the starter?
 A: 

Moderator: The debate can be ended if Tulowtizki has the spring training expected. It is his job to lose.

 Q: Don from Rosemont, IL asks:
How would Ian Stewart compare defensively with Garrett Atkins at third base? How do you think Stewart would do in a corner outfield spot?
 A: 

Moderator: With the improvement Atkins had made, I don't think you would be able to say that he has to take a back seat to Stewart at third. Stewart is a good enough athlete I don't see him having any problem with any position the Rockies ask him to play. He's a top quality competitor, and quality young man who just needs to relax and let his ability come out.

 Q: thebig747 from Milwaukee, WI asks:
I once had high hopes for Ian Stewart to be the future centerpiece of my fantasy baseball team. I'm really starting to get worried. Is my concern justified, or should I just take a "chill pill" and relax? Thank you.
 A: 

Moderator: Take the chill pill. Stewart is very special.

 Q: Brandi from Vermont asks:
Baseball America doesn't seem to be as excited about the prospects of Eric Young Jr filling his dad's shoes in Coors as the rest of us Rockies fans are. After a season where he made fantastic strides at the plate in Asheville and continued to show poise in Hawaii, do you see him rising on the list next year? How well do you think he'll handle more advanced pitching?
 A: 

Moderator: Are you writing from the Purple Row? Young has showed potential. This will be another big year for him to show he can make the next move up. He well could rise next year, but let's see how he handles the challenge this summer first. As his dad can tell you, where he is ranked coming out of low-A has a lot less to do with whether EY Jr., makes it to the big leagues than EY Jr., himself has to do with it.

 Q: tim from cincinnati asks:
what about keith weiser? does he have a chance at the colorado rotation in 2 yrs?
 A: 

Moderator: I think Weiser can definitely work his way into the Rockies rotation, but two years is a bit of a hurry. The Rockies have the pitching depth that they shouldn't feel the need to rush anyone.

 Q: Troy from Denver asks:
The Rockies have struggled getting guys on base at the top of the order the past few years. Corey Wimberly seems to really excel in that area, but hasn't been moved up the ladder very aggressively for a mature prospect drafted out of college. Why is that, and do the Rockies believe he can someday be a MLB leadoff hitter?
 A: 

Moderator: He was jumped ahead of the rest of his draft class last year. So I'm not sure you can say he hasn't been moved aggressively.

 Q: john delaford from santa clara asks:
after seeing tulowitzki play defense do u think he can ever win a gold glove?
 A: 

Moderator: I don't known that I'd say a Gold Glove but I can see him being a quality defensive shortstop.

 Q: Rob from Boston asks:
Hi Tracy, Greetings from snowy (finally) Beantown. Ian Stewart seemed to be a whisker short of making the Rockies after his monster Spring Training. What happen during the season? Was 2006 just blip on his way to being a quality 3B?
 A: 

Moderator: Just a blip. A good chance for the Rockies to see how he handles adversity, a key in evaluating any young player.

 Q: Troy from Denver asks:
Is there any organizational second-guessing about letting former prospect Tsao go - who recently signed with the Dodgers? That could come back to bite them and didn't seem all that necessary.
 A: 

Moderator: None. Tsao never showed signs of staying healthy enough to develop. A change of scenery may help him. It certainly won't hurt.

 Q: Adrian Harper from Los Angeles asks:
How much more polished defensively is Chris Ianetta than some of the younger catchers from the 2005 draft class (ie Brett Hayes (Marlins), Nick Hundley(Padres), T. Teagarden (Rangers), ect.). Seems like some pretty good young catching prospects coming uo through the ranks, beginning with Mr. Ianetta. Thanks for the great chats.
 A: 

Moderator: Defense is a major asset for Iannetta, although he looked either tired or tight when he got to the big leagues last year. His defense will be a key part of whether he makes the Opening Day roster this year.

 Q: Troy from Denver asks:
The Rockies have gotten a lot of recent credit for minor league improvements, but that also coincides with recent MLB failure and plenty of higher draft picks the past few years of rebuilding. Is that considered in ranking the system, or by ownership rating their overall performance?
 A: 

Moderator: The Rockies began to emphasize player development and scouting when Dan O'Dowd was hired. The system was bare at that time, the previous administration not willing to make the long-term investment in developing players. It has taken time but with a strong effort in the Latin countries and drafts that focused on getting the best available player combined with improved efforts in instruction the Rockies have made dramatic strides in the development aspect.