2012 Colorado Rockies Top 10 Prospects Chat With Jack Etkin





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, 2011.

Jack Etkin: Time to talk about the Rockies' prospects. Thanks for all the questions and let's get going.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Thanks for the chat, Jack. How far off the top 10 was Edwar Cabrera, and do you see him as someone who is not considered to be as good as his numbers indicated this year?

Jack Etkin: Cabrera ended up at No. 17. His numbers this year were remarkable at the high and low Class A level. But he has one plus pitch, his changeup, and projects to be a back-of-the-rotation type.

    Jake (Chicago): Did Rex Brothers get top 10 consideration this year?

Jack Etkin: Brothers wasn't considered, Jake, simply because he no longer has rookie status and, hence, isn't eligible for the prospects list.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Who is the real Tyler Matzek, in your opinion - the one the Rockies drafted, or the one we saw for the majority of the season? Is he still in your top 20?

Jack Etkin: Good question and one which the Rockies wish they could answer. Based on his two professional seasons, you'd have to say the real Matzek is more like what he has shown as a pro. That said, he was better after his trip back to California last summer and is only 21. It will be a slow process with Matzek, who does have value but just how much is to be determined. He ended up at No. 12.

    Kyle (St Louis MO): Between Cristhian Adames and Rosell Herrera, who came closer to making your top 10?

Jack Etkin: Herrera was a little closer, although both ended up in the 15-20 area.

    Laura (Denver, CO): Do you still consider Charlie Blackmon to have 5-tool potential? How close did he come to the top 10?

Jack Etkin: Blackmon ended up at No. 11, Laura. It's really too bad he broke his foot in early July, because he was doing nicely in the big leagues and would have played a lot, given how the Rockies were playing. Because of his power, it's probably a stretch to put that five-tool label on him.

    Grant (NYC): How many of the top 10 do you consider worthy of making BA's top 100 overall prospects list next year?

Jack Etkin: Grant, That listing is made by folks at BA, who unlike me know a lot about a lot of organizations. But I would think Pomeranz and Arenado would be in the Top 100 and very possibly Bettis and Rosario and perhaps Wheeler.

    Paul (Denver): In your scouting report, you say Wheeler would be best suited for RF, yet you have him in left on the lineup card. Which is more likely?

Jack Etkin: He's better suited to LF but can certainly play RF and not be a liability.

    Grant (NYC): How concerned are the Rockies about Pomeranz's makeup?

Jack Etkin: I don't think it's a major concern, at least not yet.

    Jose (Colorado): Yes or No, is Nolan Arenado a future superstar?

Jack Etkin: It's certainly a possibility at this point, based on what he has done in three pro seasons and in the AFL this year. But since he has yet to take a swing at the Double-A level, I think we should hold off on the anointing process at this point.

    Ben (Leland Grove): With Ty Wigginton parting ways with the Rockies, are they considering bringing up Arenado any sooner than was originally expected?

Jack Etkin: Wigginton's departure clears a spot for Pacheco to play several positions. Regardless of Wigginton leaving, Arenado has put himself on a faster track to the big leagues.

    Charles (Atlanta, GA): Is Hector Gomez still on the top 30? Thoughts on his year?

Jack Etkin: Hector is No. 18. There's still a lot to like with Hector, but he had back problems at Tulsa (where nonetheless his 425 at-bats were more than any season except 2007 when he had 534 at Asheville before he started getting hurt). A lot of the September time that went to Tommy Field would have gone to Gomez had his back not started bothering him again soon after the Rockies recalled him in Sept. Hector will be 24 in March and should begin 2012 at Triple-A. He needs to stay healthy.

    Paul (Colorado Springs, CO): About where did Corey Dickerson place on your overall list? Is he the modern-day version of Joe Koshansky to you?

Jack Etkin: He didn't make the list. I wouldn't compare him to Koshansky, who had much better power and was decent at 1B.

    Joseph (Miami, FL): Impressions of Albert Campos?

Jack Etkin: He needs to stay healthy and grow up. Tools-wise between his size and his stuff, there's plenty to like.

    Wendy (Los Angeles): While I realize you don't have a hand in creating BA's top 100 prospects list each year, how many of the top 10 would you recommend be included on it this time?

Jack Etkin: Wendy, I already took a shot at answering your question.

    Raoul (Tucson, Az.): I watched Rosell Herrera a couple of times when the Rocks were still training in Tucson, and he looked like a solid young player, kind of a Hector Gomez without the injuries. How close did he come to making your top ten and how do you compare him to Storey?

Jack Etkin: Herrera landed at 15. Story is the better prospect at this point. He showed a real presence for an 18-year-old last summer and a knack for making key plays at big times during a game. Herrera's throwing motion needs to get ironed out. He's likely to outgrow SS and end up at 3B or even 1B or in the OF.

    Kelly (St. Cloud, MN): How much did Friedrich regress in your eyes this year? Still a SP to you, or is he likely to be a RP in the future?

Jack Etkin: Friedrich regressed plenty this year, when unlike 2010, health wasn't really an issue. He's still a SP because of his pitch mix and seemed to get a better feel late in the season for the finer points of pitching as opposed to muscling the ball toward the plate.

    Jose (Colorado): What are scouts saying about Tyler Anderson? I've read he commands 5 pitches for strikes. Is that uncommonly good for a young pitcher?

Jack Etkin: Since pelvic soreness limited him to one bullpen session in instructional, scouts haven't seen enough of Anderson to comment. Let's see what he does against professional hitters before sizing up his pitch mix, his command and his overall talent.

    PT (IBC): Was Rosell Herrera considered for the top 10? Will he end up at 3B eventually.

Jack Etkin: Herrera wasn't considered for the top 10. He had a good year but so did others. Good chance he'll get too big for SS and end up at 3B.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Your impressions of Peter Tago's disappointing year? Did he fall off your list of 30?

Jack Etkin: Tago ended up at 14, largely due to his arm action and FB potential. He seems destined to return to Asheville. He seemed overmatched to the point of shell-shocked this year, but adversity can be a wonderful teacher.

    Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Who are some of the pitchers that will be moving from short season Tri-city to Asheville, and which one is your favorite?

Jack Etkin: Vianney Mayo had the best arm of the pitchers at T-C but only made nine starts because he came down with mono. Reliever Nelson Gonzalez, who has a very good curveball, is also interesting.

    Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Where does 1st rounder Tyler Anderson start 2012, and do you expect him to be there all season?

Jack Etkin: I would imagine Asheville and would expect him to be there all season. As the Rockies showed with Parker there this season, they don't quickly move guys just because they're top picks and get on a roll. Anderson needs to get his feet on the ground professionally and log innings and Asheville seems the ideal place to do that.

    Don (Miami): Do you think Edwar Cabrera sees time in Colorado this year? Can you give a brief scouting report on him?

Jack Etkin: I can't see him in Colorado this year. He's got a plus, plus changeup, average FB and a curveball that he's working on. Cabrera has to learn to pitch inside better with his FB to open up the outer part of the plate for his changeup. This will become even more important as he faces better hitters.

    Clay (Chicago): Matzek showed slightly better control in his last few starts of the season. Is there still hope for him?

Jack Etkin: There's absolutely still hope for him.

    Bernie (Warwick, RI): Does Greg Reynolds have any future in Colorado or does he need a change of scenary ?

Jack Etkin: I'd really like to see Reynolds succeed after all he's gone through. His future most likely is as a long reliever and probably better in another organization at this point.

    Brett (San Diego): I know that DSL stats should be taken with a grain of salt, but what are the reports like on Jayson Aquino? Does he come stateside in 2012?

Jack Etkin: Aquino was the only member of the DSL team the Rockies brought to instructional league. He should pitch at Rookie Grand Junction next year. He throws strikes, has an average fastball, shows good spin on a curveball that indicates it'll be a better pitch once he gets a true feel for it and also has a changeup that's progressing.

Jack Etkin: Aquino was the only member of the DSL team the Rockies brought to instructional league. He should pitch at Rookie Grand Junction next year. He throws strikes, has an average fastball, shows good spin on a curveball that indicates it'll be a better pitch once he gets a true feel for it and also has a changeup that's progressing.

    William (Pensacola, FL): Casper provided us a nice trio of SS players in Sam Mende, Trevor Story , and Rosell Herrera. I know all about Mr. Story. Who do you like more between Mende & Herrera ?

Jack Etkin: I'll go with Herrera.

    Bjorn J (St. Louis Park, MN): If Alex White hadn't pitched over 50 innings in the Majors (he pitched 51.1), where would he have ranked on the top 10? Has his prospect status declined after struggling in his limited amount of innings in the bigs?

Jack Etkin: Good question, Bjorn. He likely would have been right around No. 10. He struggled mightily, no question about that. But between trying to impress a new org, still regaining touch on his pitches after a finger injury and, maybe the most important of all, rushing on the mound and not staying back enough _ the Rockies hope 2011 was an aberration and White will be able to bring the ball down better.

    William (Pensacola, FL): Would you consider David Kandilas a sleeper or a product of repeating a league ?

Jack Etkin: Probably the latter.

    Chris (New York): Does Chad Bettis have a chance at making the top 100?

Jack Etkin: That's not my area, but I would think he has a good chance.

    Ken (lakewood CA): Hi Jack. The Rockies don't really seem to have a certain guy to play 2B. Maybe it's free agent time for that position this year. My question is, do you see them rushing Story to play 2B? Sounds like you and the Rockies are pretty high on Story. Third base is another question mark. But I think Arenado is their plan for that position.

Jack Etkin: I'm going to have to make this the last question. I could see Story ending up at 2B. But I also see him staying at SS as he heads into his first full pro season. Right or wrong, the Rockies don't move prospects who are seemingly blocked early in their careers, as we've seen with Hector Gomez and Chris Nelson. Thanks to everyone for all the questions and your interest in the Rockies. I enjoyed answering the questions and apologize for not getting to all of them.