Colorado Rockies: Top 10 Prospects Chat With Tracy Ringolsby

Colorado Rockies: Chat




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, 2008.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
With Tulowitzki in the way, will the Rockies trade Gomez or Nelson? Will either guy try another position?
 A: 

Moderator: Gomez and Nelson are both considered legitiamte shortstop candidates but with Tuylowitzki that isn't going to happenin Colorado. Both have enough to offer, however, they could move. Second base is an initial option, and with Nelson, given his run production potential, the outfield is another possiblities. Obviously, trades are also options down the line but right now they both have a couple years to refine their skills in the minor leagues before any decision will have to be made.

 Q:  Todd from Wauwatosa asks:
Last year you had Johnathan Herrera as a potential future starting second baseman for the Rockies. What is his current situation?
 A: 

Moderator: He stock fell this year. He did not handle the challenge of Double-A as well as would have been expected. He is still a legitimate prospect but with the middle infield depth in this organization he is going to have to have a strong rebound in 2008 to put himself back on the top of the prospect list.

 Q:  Eric from California asks:
Hi Tracy, Great list! I was wondering if you could speak a little more on Chris Nelson. After the two disappointing seasons is what we saw last year the real Chris Nelson or was last year an aborition and once he reaches the bigs what type of numbers would you expect him to put up?
 A: 

Moderator: Chris Nelson finally started to meet expectations last year. I see that as his breakout second half. It's a positive he can build off. With his bat speed and athletic ability he could make a quick move now that his cofidence should be growing.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
Any chance Chris Iannetta is not the starting catcher in 2011? Could it be Wilin Rosario? If not, is Mike McKenry the soluction?
 A: 

Moderator: There always are chances things won't work out when you are talking four years down the road. McKenry is definitely going to make a push. Chris, however, is a quality received with offensive potential. He just became a victim of circumstances last year and really had a lost season in terms of development. He, however, is tough enough and determined enough I expect him to rebound.

 Q:  Todd from Wauwatosa asks:
With the signing of Yorvit behind the plate for a few more years, does this mean the Rockies don't have the same confidence as they did before in Iannetta? When does he take over the starting spot?
 A: 

Moderator: The confidence is fine with Iannetta. The reason the Rockies were intent on not giving Torrealba more than a two-year guaratnee is their confidence in Iannetta. I would expect Iannetta most likely will open this season at Triple-A, where he can play regularly, get his at-bats and make up for the development time wasted last year. My thought is by mid-season or the start of 2009, at the latest, Iannetta will assume the No. 1 catching chores and Torrealba will become a backup or be traded.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
David Christensen...Prospect or Suspect?
 A: 

Moderator: He is in limbo right now. He remains a skilled athlete with impressive power but he has to make contact and he has to make strides in the organization. Two years at rookie ball should wake him up.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
How close was Helder Velazquez to cracking the Top 10? With his size and skills, will he remain at SS?
 A: 

Moderator: He was a definite top 30 but not really a consideration for the Top 10. His skill set is excellent at shortstop. He, however, is going to have to get stronger and fill out the frame to make an impact in the big leagues.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
Daniel Mayora...Starter, Reserve or Trade Bait?
 A: 

Moderator: Well, he is coming out of Asheville so let's see how he develops. He has a big-league future but we need to see what he does in the next three or four years.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
Will Jayson Nix get his 1st MLB Hit in 2008 with the Rockies? Or do you see him getting it with another team?
 A: 

Moderator: Nix should be the Rockies starting second baseman. If they give him the chance to win the job in the spring, I am confident he will do it. Nix got a big confidence boost with his effort in the World Games. Defensively, he is among the elite in the game.

 Q:  Greg from Connecticut asks:
I took a look at Colorado's best tools list a month ago. Just saw the top 10 and noticed that Cory Riordan was left off of it despite having one of the organizations top fastballs (94mph) behind Weathers. I tracked the kid all summer and it seemed he was dominating short season A ball until his last two starts. Is he off the top 10 list because of a lack of plus secondary pitches (I know he has a slider, curve and change), or due to his tail off at the end of the summer? Also, will Weathers break into the Rockies pen in '08?
 A: 

Moderator: Riordan is someone who was considered for the top 30, but was left off at the end because of the pitching depth and quality arms the Rockies have. He will be watched closely as he moves up to the next level. Weathers ETA is anytime after the All-Star break this year.

 Q:  Jose from NY asks:
It seems that the rockies have a good young line-up with decent pop. The only thing lacking is dominent starting pitching. With all their success developing the hitters, it leads me to ask; who are the front runners for starters coming up through the minors?
 A: 

Moderator: Well, four of them were in the rotation at the end last year — Aaron Cook, Jeff Francis, Ubaldo Jimenez and Franklin Morales. That's a good group to start with. The next group will include Greg Reynolds and Brandon Hynick.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
Any chance Eric Young, Jr. plays 15 Major League Seasons like his father? What does he need to improve on to reach his full potential?
 A: 

Moderator: He is most likely going to need to move to center field. I wouldn't say the chances are good for any player to get 15 years in the majors. That is an accomplishment that Sr. should be very proud of. Jr. does have great speed and great desire.

 Q:  Travis from TX asks:
Ching-Lung Lo had a terrible year at AA is he still considered a prospect and did he make the top 30?
 A: 

Moderator: He didn't have a good year but I wouldn't call it terrible. There were signs and some solid outings. He is hanging on in the top 30, but not by much.

 Q:  jamie from jonesville, va asks:
Hi Tracy, Is Helder Velazquez anywhere on the radar screen?
 A: 

Moderator: He is a second 10 guy with potential. Good skill set. Good feel for the game. He needs to get stronger.

 Q:  walter from Plano, Texas asks:
Is Chris Nelson really back on track after this season and what would explain his struggles leading into 07 and his turnaround. Finally is 19 hr's his projection or a reflection of Cal League?
 A: 

Moderator: It was a matter of Nelson finally exerting himself. His July was phenomenal and he followed it up with a quality August. He fought himself initially in pro ball, trhying to live up to expectations. It's almost like he finally just decided to have fun playing the game and it worked.

 Q:  Chris Ianetta from California asks:
Why haven't I hit in the big leagues? I raked in the lower levels!
 A: 

Moderator: You haven't had much of a chance. You struggled early last year, lost playing time and then sat on the bench. It's hard to get out of a slump without getting a chance to swing the bat.

 Q:  Bill from Tempe, AZ asks:
Tracy, thanks for the chat. I've heard a lot of good things about Helder Velasquez, but I didn't get to see him play in Instructs due to injury. How close was he to the top ten and what's his upside?
 A: 

Moderator: He has a lot of potential but is still raw and has to fill out. He was not a top 10 consideration but is a top 30.

 Q:  Rod from Chicago asks:
I understand that Corey Wimberly would never be ranked high on a prospect list but I feel that he is going to be a MLB player for many years. If he maxes out maybe he's Chone Figgins or Ryan Freel but he could also be someone like Alfredo Amezaga or Augie Ojeda. Do you see him being a productive MLB player?
 A: 

Moderator: He has the speed and savy. He needs to clean up his game defensively. A key for him has been that he is aware of the type of player he is and doesn't try and overpower the game offensively.

 Q:  Russ from NY asks:
David Christensen spent the last two seasons with Casper, showing a bit more pop in his bat in '07. He also continued to pile up the strikeouts with fewer walks. While it's too early to write him off, it doesn't seem too much of a stretch to say that he'll be in the short-season leagues for a third year, right?
 A: 

Moderator: I'd fully expect him to be at Tri-City. He is one heck of an athlete, but he needs to turn that into baseball skills if he wants to advance.

 Q:  Russ from NY asks:
Has the organization reached out to Kyle Hancock to see if he wants to give pro ball another chance?
 A: 

Moderator: The move is up to him. The organization never shut the door on him, but he has created a very difficult situation for himself.

 Q:  Russ from NY asks:
Bruce Billings had a nice debut for a 30th round pick: can he carry that over to Asheville?
 A: 

Moderator: Obviously, that would be the hope of the organization. He showed the type of stuff that gives reason to believe he can make the move without a problem.

 Q:  Adam from NYC asks:
Can you explain the conflicting reports regarding Ian Stewart moving to 2B? It's clear he is blocked at 3B by Atkins, but the last we heard was that he wasn't taking well to the position due to his agilitysize. Now, you list him as 2B on the 2011 roster, over a clear middle infielder like Chris Nelson. What would ever change in his ability to actually have him stick at 2B? Is it just having the need for his bat in the lineup, over having the best defensive position for his skills?
 A: 

Moderator: I haven't heard conflicting reports on Stewart at second base. The word was he did fine in the Instrcutional League, and will get a look during the spring. He also could get some time at second in Colorado Springs in 2008. He was put at second base because the projected lineups are done without anticipating players being traded or leaving as free agents. My feeling is that Stewart will return to the Springs this year, and will be the starting third baseman for the Rockies in 2009. First, though, he needs to put up the dominate type offensive season he is capable of acocmplishing.

 Q:  Stuart from London UK asks:
Tracy How would you assess the system overall? It seems like the last few drafts are not as deep as the last few. While some strong power relievers such as Harris are evident, it doesnt appear the that their is much depth or ceiling in the starting pitchers at the lower levels. Are these fair assessments?
 A: 

Moderator: I think the Rockies have done so well with the starting pitchers out of the Latin program that they have focused on other areas in the recent drafts. I feel their system is among the deeper in baseball.

 Q:  Louis from Tennessee asks:
I saw McKenry play in college, was he anywhere near the top ten?
 A: 

Moderator: He was in the middle of the second 10. He has definite potential, and he added to his believers with the way he played in Hawaii. This will be a good year for him in his move up the charts.

 Q:  Tim from Proctorville, Ohio asks:
Is there a better Latin American talent scout than the Rockies Rolando Fernandez?
 A: 

Moderator: Rolando is certainly among the best. What he has done so well is work with the others in the organization to get a good feel for what the Rockies want in a young pitcher. He is now starting to have some middle infielders come along, too, but his mark has been made in pitching.

 Q:  Steve from Hinsdale asks:
How worried are scouts about Reynolds' health as he moves forward? Is this a problem that could rear its ugly head every now and then or is it over and done with?
 A: 

Moderator: There does not seem to be any concern about his health problems. But with any pitcher there is always caution.

 Q:  Jeff from Colorado asks:
Is Corey Wimberly drawing any consideration for the second base job?
 A: 

Moderator: Not this year. Corey has a lot of work to do on his defense.

 Q:  Skelly from Madison, WI asks:
Given that the whole PCL, but Colorado Springs in particular is very-hitter friendly, and that Ian Stewart performed drastically better at home than on the road: Who is the real Ian Stewart? The one that hit a paltry .251.323.377 on the road or the one who hit a robust .357.427.580 at home?
 A: 

Moderator: The real Ian Stewart is a young player with the ability to become an impact bat at the big league level. He should hit for average and power.

 Q:  derrick from broken arrow, OK asks:
Ive seen Jon Asahina pitch at Tulsa and each time he has gone deep into games keeping his team in the game. Does he figure into the Rockies plans or just another org. guy?
 A: 

Moderator: He is a young arm the Rockies are watching. He can pitch his way into their plans by staying consistent. Each step up is another challenge for him.

 Q:  ScottAZ from Phx, AZ asks:
Thoughts on the Isiah Fronenberg kid? Can he stick as a starter or is he more of a Ray King type?
 A: 

Moderator: He is considered to have potential out of the bullpen.

 Q:  Clooch from Tempe asks:
Last year's organizational rankings has Morales at #2 and Jimenez at #6. This year Morales is at #1 and Jimenez has graduated to the majors. Your projected lineup for 2011 has Jimenez as the #1 starter and Morales as the #3. I understand that the 2011 lineup is mostly just fun, but has Jimenez jumped ahead of Morales in your eyes or is this just a quirk of the system?
 A: 

Moderator: Right now, Jimenez is ahead of Morales. Morales has a chance to make a move, but Jimenez spent the last 10 weeks of the season showing a consistency and aptitude for the big leagues that belied his age and expeirence. That said, that's no knock on Morales. They are both special arms.

 Q:  Barney from Ventura asks:
Shocked at how low you ranked Brandon Hynick. With his plus control and plus splitter, not quite sure why you're so down on him, particularly compared to a guy like Chris Nelson who hasn't done much outside of great hitters' parks or Greg Reynolds who is injured, doesn't have plus stuff, and doesn't have as good control. Why am I wrong?
 A: 

Moderator: Well, being ranked No. 9 is not very low. Not really sure what you point is.

 Q:  Mike from Ixonia, WI asks:
Your projected Starting 5 pitchers in 2011 say a lot about how you think they will progress. Do you really think Ubaldo Jimenez will be that much better than Greg Reynolds?
 A: 

Moderator: Well, both of them are in the starting five so I don't know how much of a separation you think that creates between the two. I do, however, feel Jimenez is going to be be dominate with plus-plus stuff that will put him among the game's elite.

 Q:  Joe from Easton, MD asks:
I find Hector Gomez to be the most intriguing player on this list, however given that he is unquestionably blocked at SS and may be blocked if Stewart works at 2B, could he possibly be a player the Rockies will deal in the next 1-2 years? Has his name perhaps already come up at all? And would a Hanley Ramirez comp. at the same age be a reasonable? Thank you.
 A: 

Moderator: I don't see Stewart as a second baseman so that could open for Gomez. Then again, if he continues to develop as expected, it's not out of the question that Tulowitzki could even wind up moving to antoehr postiion. Gomez has a few years to develop so I really don't think there is reason to wonder much about what position he might play or if there will be room for him. Ramirez would be a nice comp, but that does not mean I am saying Gomez will be able to match Ramirez at the big league level. I have a very high opinion of Ramirez.

 Q:  John J. from Fargo, ND asks:
Eruc Young Jr. didn't make the top 10. Where does he fit in after that? He has never been very highly rated, but he is amazingly fast and seemed to have demonstrated that he can hit with at least a littel authority. Is he a prospect?
 A: 

Moderator: Young is going to have to find a position. He has a good chance of winding up in the outfield. He does have a major asset with his speed and he knows how to use it.

 Q:  Dan from Denver asks:
With all the buzz about the Rockies trying to sign a free agent 2B or trade for Chris Burke, I am assuming that the Rockies either aren't impressed with Ian Stewart so far at 2B. Is that the case?
 A: 

Moderator: The main issue is that Stewart will most likely go back to Triple-A and get a chance to put togheter a big-time season. I am more curious as to why there isn't more of a commitment to Jayson Nix. That, however, could be the direction the Rockies eventually go.

 Q:  Dave from Parker, Co asks:
I applaud the Rockies efforts in the draft but can they continue to have the same success if they stick to slot money? I am scared that NY, Boston and Det are not going to be the only teams that spend big this year and I don't want the Rockies to be left behind.
 A: 

Moderator: The Rockies have been able to stay on top of the prospect charts with their approach. I don't know that overpaying bonuses to drafted players ensure success.

 Q:  Dan from Denver asks:
Who is the long term answer at 2b for the Rocks (assuming it isn't Ian Stewart)? Wimberley, Young, Chris Nelson?
 A: 

Moderator: Jayson Nix is the short term solution, in my opinion, with Nelson have a lot of promise for the long-term.

 Q:  Dan from Denver asks:
Seems like Seth Smith, Ian Stewart, and Joe Koshansky are ready for a starting shot in the bigs either now or in the very near future. Do they have a future with the Rockies or are they all trade bait? Have you heard any trade rumors regarding them? Thanks
 A: 

Moderator: I don't see any of the three as being ready this season for a starting shot in the bigs. I think all three have areas they can work on. Smith is probably the closest, and could wind up forcing his way onto the roster as a fourth outfielder, particularly with the way he handled the challenge of the bench late last season.

 Q:  Jeff Sullivan from Belchertown MA asks:
How long will it take for Weathers to be in the bigs?
 A: 

Moderator: Could be the second half of the coming season.

 Q:  dennis from asheville asks:
No keith weiser on this list?? he had an incredible year in a tough park to pitch in. what is his ceiling and when could he crack the rotation in denver?
 A: 

Moderator: He is in the top 30. He opened eyes with the success he had this year but he is the type of pitcher who is going to have to take each step and reaffirm what he can do. He is several years away from Coors Field.

 Q:  Wes from ECB asks:
Will Chris Nelson play in Coors Field in 2008?
 A: 

Moderator: No. He is a couple years away.

 Q:  Matt from Ohio asks:
Do you see Franklin Morales earning a spot in the Rockies rotation to start the year?
 A: 

Moderator: He has the opportunity. He also could wind up filling a bullpen need if he doesn't get sent back to Triple-A. A lot will depend on who else the Rockies add between now and spring training.

 Q:  John from Miami, FL asks:
Where does Ian Stewart rank among the other 3B prospects in the minors like LaRoche, Wood, Headley? Also there was talk last year that Stewart's defense at third would force the Rockies to possibly move him to the OF. Are there still concerns about his defensive abilities?
 A: 

Moderator: I rank Stewart at the top of the list. I haven't heard the talk about his defense. In fact I've always heard that he has the ability to be a plus defensive third baseman. He has some focus issues but he has the arm, range and quickness to make sensational plays. The limited playing time he had in the big leagues last September underscored his defensive potential.

 Q:  Alex from Boca Raton, FL asks:
Where is Shane Lindsay these days?
 A: 

Moderator: He is continuing his efforts to comeback from surgery. He had a decent summer at Tri-City but struggle in Hawaii in the fall.

 Q:  Al from Port Chester, NY asks:
What did you think of the Rockies' decision to expose such an inexperienced and unrefined pitcher as Morales to the intensity of the World Series last year? Do you think his poor showing will negatively affect his long term development? And what role do you see him having with the Rockies in 2008?
 A: 

Moderator: I don't see any downside. He had the bad relief appearance in Game 1 of the World Series, but competed prior to that and came back and pitched well in his other World Series opportunity. He can only grow from the challenge. He is in the mix for the 2008 rotaiton.

 Q:  Jon from Peoria asks:
Juan Morillo: Just a guy with a big fastball or someone who could be a contributor at the big league level?
 A: 

Moderator: He definitley has a big fastball. The secondary pitches haven't come, which is why he moved into the bullpen. He could dominate in late innngs.

 Q:  Johnny from Lorman, Miss asks:
How do Corey Wimberly and EY Jr compare? they sound the same, hit for avg, score runs and steal bases like there is no tomarrow.
 A: 

Moderator: Wimberly would have the edge on defense. They are both speed guys and both defensively crude.