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2003 Wrapups: Colorado Rockies

With the 2003 minor league season coming to a close, we will be providing a brief wrapup of the season for all 30 minor league teams. In each report, we will take a look at how the team's Top 10 Prospects performed, identify some emerging prospects and organizational leaders, and report on the performance of their top draft pick.
Complete index of Team Wrapups               2003 League Wrapups

By Kevin Goldstein
October 1, 2003

Season Results

Level Team League W L PCT
AAA Colorado Springs Pacific Coast 73 70 .510
AA Tulsa Texas 74 64 .536
A+ Visalia California 79 61 .564
A Asheville South Atlantic 74 65 .532
SS Tri-Cities Northwest 33 43 .434
R+ Casper Pioneer 28 48 .368
TOTAL 361 351 ..507


Performance of Top 10 Prospects

Here's how our top 10 prospects entering this season performed in 2003.

1. Aaron Cook, rhp      Age: 24
Started the year in the rotation, and pitched complete-game five-hitter at Coors in his fourth start. Struggled from there on, and a move to the bullpen didn't help. Excellent sinker kept the ball from leaving the park (just eight HR allowed), but more walks than strikeouts and a .317 opponent average led to his demise.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Rockies (MLB) 4-6 0 6.02 43 124.0 160 89 83 57 43
Colorado Springs (Triple-A) 1-1 0 2.25 2 16.0 10 4 4 4 12

2. Chin-Hui Tsao, rhp      Age: 22
Now two years removed from Tommy John surgery, Tsao came into his own this year, leading the Texas League in ERA and going 7-0, 2.21 in his final nine starts for Tulsa before making his major league debut on July 25. Limited the Phillies to just two hits and one run over six innings in his fourth start for the Rockies, but struggled thereafter.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Tulsa (Double-A) 11-4 0 2.46 18 113.1 88 34 31 26 125
Rockies (MLB) 3-3 0 6.02 9 43.1 48 30 29 20 29

3. Rene Reyes, of      Age: 25
Offensive explosion at Colorado Springs was not home field generated, as he hit all six of his home runs on the road to go along with a .335 average. Hit just .238 in September for the Rockies, and as a first-baseman/corner outfielder, is going to need to develop his secondary skills.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Colorado Springs (Triple-A) 98 370 60 127 23 3 6 50 22 56 12 .343 .380 .470
Rockies (MLB) 53 116 13 30 7 1 2 7 5 19 2 .259 .287 .388

4. Jason Young, rhp      Age: 24
Started to find the velocity he showed at Stanford, and while he held his own at Triple-A, he still gave up over a hit per inning and was absolutely hammered coming out of the Rockies bullpen in September.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Colorado Springs (Triple-A) 6-7 0 3.95 23 116.1 128 63 51 37 99
Rockies (MLB) 0-2 0 8.44 8 21.1 34 22 20 9 18

5. Choo Freeman, of      Age: 24
2002's breakout season looks like a fluke now, as Freeman started the year with just six hits in his first 20 games, and regressed to his free-swinging days.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Colorado Springs (Triple-A) 103 327 44 83 9 4 7 36 23 71 2 .254 .315 .370

6. Jayson Nix, 2b      Age: 21
A breakout campaign for Nix, who led the California League in runs scored and hit 15 home runs in the final two months of the season. Still strikes out quite a bit, but projects as on offensive second baseman in the mold of Jeff Kent.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Visalia (High Class A) 137 562 107 158 46 0 21 86 54 131 24 .281 .351 .475

7. Jeff Baker, 3b      Age: 22
Wrist surgery delayed his pro debut until May, and he put together a solid campaign despite dealing with soreness and swelling in the joint all season. Finally shut down in August, and underwent a second wrist surgery to shave down a bone on Sept. 18.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Asheville (Low Class A) 70 263 44 76 17 0 11 44 30 79 4 .289 .377 .479

8. Zach Parker, lhp      Age: 22
Put together a string of solid outings early in the year before beginning to suffer from elbow soreness, which prevented him from going more than five innings in his last four games. Had arthroscopic surgery in July, and is expected to be ready for spring training.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Visalia (High Class A) 5-5 0 3.69 16 90.1 85 38 37 27 52

9. Jeff Francis, lhp      Age: 22
Was 2-7, 6.88 in April/May, but was one of the best pitchers in the minors over the final three months of the season, going 10-2, 1.83 over his final 16 starts while limiting opposing batters to a .184 average.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Visalia (High Class A) 12-9 0 3.47 27 160.2 135 66 62 45 153

10. Brad Hawpe, 1b      Age: 24
Solid but unspectacular season for last year's Carolina League MVP, who saw his walk rate plummet and missed six weeks with a separated shoulder.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Tulsa (Double-A) 93 346 52 96 27 0 17 68 31 84 1 .277 .338 .503


Top Draft Pick:

Ian Stewart, 3b    La Quinta HS, Garden Grove, Calif.   Bonus: $1.95M
10th overall pick had a dazzling pro debut at Casper, drawing comparisons to a young Jim Thome.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Casper (Rookie) 57 224 40 71 14 5 10 43 29 54 4 .317 .401 .558


Emerging Prospects:

Garrett Atkins, 3b: Former UCLA star rebounded from a subpar 2002 year, hitting .319-11-67 at Triple-A Colorado Springs, but over 100 points higher at home (.377) than on the road (.267). Went just 11-for-69 (.159) in his big league debut.
Jeff Salazar, of: Eighth-round pick in 2002 hit just four home runs in his pro debut, but exploded in his full-season debut, falling just short of a 30-30 campaign and leading the organization in home runs and RBIs.


Statistical Leaders

Batting Average Rene Reyes .343
Home Runs Jeff Salazar 29
Runs Batted In Jeff Salazar 98
Stolen Bases K.J. Hendricks 50
Earned Run Average Chin-Hui Tsao 2.46
Wins Justin Hampson 14
Strikeouts Jeff Francis 153
Saves Brad Klontz 30

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