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Top Ten Prospects: Colorado Rockies
Complete Index of Top 10s

By Tracy Ringolsby
December 12, 2005


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, 2006.

Scouting reports for the Top 10 Prospects (Subscribers only) -- Click Here to Subscribe


Chat Wrap -- Tracy Ringolsby
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TOP TEN PROSPECTS
1. Ian Stewart, 3b
2. Troy Tulowitzki, ss
3. Franklin Morales, lhp
4. Chaz Roe, rhp
5. Ubaldo Jimenez, rhp
6. Shane Lindsay, rhp
7. Chris Iannetta, c
8. Juan Morillo, rhp
9. Ryan Shealy, 1b
10. Chris Nelson, ss
BEST TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Ian Stewart
Best Power Hitter Ian Stewart
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Chris Iannetta
Fastest Baserunner Corey Wimberly
Best Athlete Chris Nelson
Best Fastball Juan Morillo
Best Curveball Ubaldo Jimenez
Best Slider Steven Register
Best Changeup Mike Esposito
Best Control Jon Asahina
Best Defensive Catcher Chris Iannetta
Best Defensive Infielder Troy Tulowitzki
Best Infield Arm Troy Tulowitzki
Best Defensive Outfielder Jeff Salazar
Best Outfield Arm Dexter Fowler
TOP PROSPECTS
OF THE DECADE
Team Player, Pos. 2005 Org
1996 Derrick Gibson, of Braves
1997 Todd Helton, 1b Rockies
1998 Todd Helton, 1b Rockies
1999 Choo Freeman, of Rockies
2000 Choo Freeman, of Rockies
2001 Chin-Hui Tsao, rhp Rockies
2002 Chin-Hui Tsao, rhp Rockies
2003 Aaron Cook, rhp Rockies
2004 Chin-Hui Tsao, rhp Rockies
2005 Ian Stewart, 3b Rockies
TOP DRAFT PICKS
OF THE DECADE
Team Player, Pos. 2005 Org
1996 Jake Westbrook, rhp Indians
1997 Mark Mangum, rhp Out of baseball
1998 Choo Freeman, of Rockies
1999 Jason Jennings, rhp Rockies
2000 *Matt Harrington, rhp Fort Worth (Central)
2001 Jayson Nix, ss Rockies
2002 Jeff Francis, lhp Rockies
2003 Ian Stewart, 3b Rockies
2004 Chris Nelson, ss Rockies
2005 Troy Tulowitzki, ss Rockies
Did not sign.
LARGEST BONUSES
IN CLUB HISTORY
Jason Young, 2000 $2,750,000
Troy Tulowitzki, 2005 $2,300,000
Chin-Hui Tsao, 1999 $2,200,000
Chris Nelson, 2004 $2,150,000
Ian Stewart, 2003 $1,950,000

The Rockies’ rebuilding began in earnest in 2005. While enduring their fifth straight losing season and tying the Pirates for the worst record in the National League, they used a franchise-record 19 rookies, including nine from last year’s Top 30 Prospects list. Rookies made more starts (584) and appearances (942) for Colorado than for any other team.

Clint Barmes took over at shortstop and emerged as an early NL rookie-of-the-year favorite before he fell down a flight of stairs and broke his left collarbone. Jeff Francis joined revitalized Aaron Cook and Jason Jennings to give the Rockies three homegrown arms at the front of the rotation. Third baseman Garrett Atkins, right fielder Brad Hawpe and center fielder Cory Sullivan all became regulars, with varying degrees of success, with only catcher J.D. Closser a disappointment. Marcos Carvajal and Scott Dohmann had their moments pitching in relief.

Though the influx of talent in Colorado drained the system of much of its depth at the upper levels, the Rockies do have some more prospects on the verge of contributing. First baseman/outfielder Ryan Shealy, righthander Ryan Speier and outfielder Ryan Spiborghs all could play roles for the Rockies in 2006. So too could infielder Omar Quintanilla, acquired in a midseason trade with the Athletics.

Most of Colorado’s next wave of impact talent spent 2005 at high Class A Modesto, one of the club’s two affiliates to make the postseason. Third baseman Ian Stewart and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki are elite players and the organization’s top two prospects. Other Modesto standouts to watch include righthanders Ubaldo Jimenez and Juan Morillo, catcher Chris Iannetta and shortstop Matt Macri.

Scouting director Bill Schmidt and his staff turned in another promising draft in 2005, starting with Tulowitzki. Expected to go to the Mariners with the No. 3 overall pick before the draft, he fell to the Rockies at No. 7 when Seattle changed directions. Righthander Chaz Roe (supplemental first round) asserted himself as one of the system’s best pitching prospects, and a pair of late-rounders starred in the Rookie-level Pioneer League. Infielder Corey Wimberly (sixth) followed up an NCAA Division I batting title with a pro crown by hitting .381, while righty Andrew Johnston (ninth) used a heavy sinker to tie a league mark with 18 saves.

The Rockies’ Latin American scouting department continues to thrive under the guidance of Rolando Fernandez. Dominicans Franklin Morales, Jimenez, Morillo, Samuel Deduno and Manuel Corpas all have flashed mid- to upper-90s fastballs. Australian righty Shane Lindsay, another hard thrower, ranked as the top prospect in the short-season Northwest League. After failing miserably by trying to import free-agent pitching—the Rockies lavished $172 million in contracts for Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle, who went 40-51 for Colorado—they’re trying to find a different solution.


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