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.
|1.||Troy Tulowitski, ss|
|2.||Franklin Morales, lhp|
|3.||Jason Hirsh, rhp|
|4.||Dexter Fowler, of|
|5.||Ian Stewart, 3b|
|6.||Ubaldo Jimenez, rhp|
|7.||Greg Reynolds, rhp|
|8.||Chris Iannetta, c|
|9.||Jeff Baker, of|
|10.||Chaz Roe, rhp|
|Best Hitter for Average||Ian Stewart|
|Best Power Hitter||Joe Koshansky|
|Best Strike-Zone Discipline||Chris Iannetta|
|Fastest Baserunner||Cory Wimberly|
|Best Athlete||Dexter Fowler|
|Best Fastball||Juan Morillo|
|Best Curveball||Frankin Morales|
|Best Slider||Darren Clarke|
|Best Changeup||Ubaldo Jimenez|
|Best Control||Brandon Hynick|
|Best Defensive Catcher||Chris Iannetta|
|Best Defensive Infielder||Jonathan Herrera|
|Best Infield Arm||Troy Tulowitzki|
|Best Defensive Outfielder||Sean Barker|
|Best Outfield Arm||Sean Barker|
|First Base||Todd Helton|
|Second Base||Jonathan Herrera|
|Third Base||Garrett Atkins|
|Left Field||Matt Holliday|
|Center Field||Dexter Fowler|
|Right Field||Ian Stewart|
|No. 1 Starter||Franklin Morales|
|No. 2 Starter||Jeff Francis|
|No. 3 Starter||Jason Hirsh|
|No. 4 Starter||Greg Reynolds|
|No. 5 Starter||Aaron Cook|
OF THE DECADE
|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|
|2006||Ian Stewart, 3b||Rockies|
|TOP DRAFT PICKS|
OF THE DECADE
|1997||Mark Mangun, rhp||Out of baseball|
|1998||Choo Freeman, of||Rockies|
|1999||Jason Jennings, rhp||Rockies|
|2000||*Matt Harrington, rhp||Fort Worth (Amer. Assoc.)|
|2001||Jayson Nix, ss||Rockies|
|2002||Jeff Francis, lhp||Rockies|
|2003||Ian Stewart, 3b||Rockies|
|2004||Chris Nelson, 3b||Rockies|
|2006||Greg Reynolds, rhp||Rockies|
IN CLUB HISTORY
|Greg Reynolds, 2006||$3,250,000|
|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|
ew teams have broken as many quality young players into the big leagues the last two years as the Rockies have. Garrett Atkins, Clint Barmes, Brad Hawpe and Cory Sullivan all have become regulars in a predominantly homegrown lineup, while Jeff Francis has become the leader of the rotation.
Even with all that talent flowing to Colorado, the farm system remains one of the deepest in baseball. By the end of last season, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (the organization's No. 1 prospect), catcher Chris Iannetta and outfielder Jeff Baker also were playing regularly. Hard-throwing Manny Corpas was serving in middle relief, while 22-year-olds Ubaldo Jimenez and Juan Morillo made pitching cameos.
Many members of that second group will graduate to full-time status in the majors in 2007, as will offseason trade acquisition Jason Hirsh. There's another wave coming behind them—led by lefthander Franklin Morales, outfielder Dexter Fowler, third baseman Ian Stewart and righty Greg Reynolds—and then even more depth in the lower levels of the system.
The Rockies haven't placed higher than fourth in the National League West since 1997, finishing above .500 just once in that span. Years of losing have rewarded them with high first-round picks, and scouting director Bill Schmidt, who started running the team's drafts in 2000, has cashed them in for the likes of Francis (2002), Stewart (2003) and Tulowitzki (2005).
Colorado's scouts also have done fine work in later rounds, nabbing Fowler (14th), Iannetta (fourth), Baker (fourth) and slugging first baseman Joe Koshansky (sixth). Fowler and Baker were tough signs with whom the Rockies figured out a way to get a deal done, while Iannetta and Koshansky have proven better than the consensus thought they were.
The Rockies have made tremendous strides in the foreign market. The franchise's original general manager, Bob Gebhard, wasn't comfortable making a strong move into Latin American and wouldn't make the financial commitment to be a major player in Asia. But in 1999, Gebhard's final year as GM, ownership hired respected scout Gary Hughes. Not only did Hughes impress upon ownership the importance of the Latin market, but he also moved Rolando Fernandez into the club's Latin operations department.
With guidance from scouting director Bill Schmidt and vice president of baseball operations Bill Geivett, Fernandez has turned the Rockies into a legitimate Latin presence. They don’t shell out the signing bonuses of the big-market teams, but they have done an impressive job of finding arms, highlighted by Morales, Jimenez, Morrillo, Corpas and Samuel Dedeno. They're also starting to develop middle infielders, most notably Jonathan Herrera and Hector Gomez.
"What our guys have done is find good bodies, live arms, good projections,’’ GM Dan O’Dowd says. “The heart and soul of this has been the work of Rolando and the guys he has brought in to work with him, like Felix Feliz (in the Dominican) and Francisco Cartaya (Venezuela)."
Their efforts will be crucial, as the Rockies' division rivals include the Diamondbacks and Dodgers, who also are loaded with young talent. But with the system continuing to deliver quality players to the majors, Colorado should be able to return to contention in the near future.