Colorado Rockies: Top 10 Prospects

Colorado Rockies




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.

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Tracy Ringolsby
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TOP TEN
PROSPECTS
1. Franklin Morales, lhp
2. Ian Stewart, 3b
3. Dexter Fowler, of
4. Hector Gomez, ss
5. Greg Reynolds, rhp
6. Casey Weathers, rhp
7. Chris Nelson, ss
8. Brandon Hynick, rhp
9. Pedro Strop, rhp
10. Chaz Roe, rhp
BEST
TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Ian Stewart
Best Power Hitter Joe Koshansky
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Michael McKenry
Fastest Baserunner Cory Wimberly
Best Athlete Dexter Fowler
Best Fastball Juan Morillo
Best Curveball Samuel Deduno
Best Slider Pedro Strop
Best Changeup Brandon Hynick
Best Control Brandon Hynick
Best Defensive Catcher Mike McKenry
Best Defensive Infielder Hector Gomez
Best Infield Arm Hector Gomez
Best Defensive Outfielder Dexter Fowler
Best Outfield Arm Brian Rike
PROJECTED 2011
LINEUP
Catcher Chris Iannetta
First Base Todd Helton
Second Base Ian Stewart
Third Base Garrett Atkins
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki
Left Field Matt Holliday
Center Field Dexter Fowler
Right Field Brad Hawpe
No. 1 Starter Ubaldo Jimenez
No. 2 Starter Jeff Francis
No. 3 Starter Franklin Morales
No. 4 Starter Aaron Cook
No. 5 Starter Greg Reynolds
Closer Manny Corpas
TOP DRAFT PICKS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 Choo Freeman, of Dodgers
1999 Jason Jennings, rhp Astros
2000 *Matt Harrington, rhp Independent St. Paul
2001 Jayson Nix, 2b Rockies
2002 Jeff Francis, lhp Rockies
2003 Ian Stewart, 3b Rockies
2004 Chris Nelson, ss Rockies
2005 Troy Tulowitzki, ss Rockies
2006 Greg Reynolds, rhp Rockies
2007 Casey Weathers, rhp Rockies
* Did not sign
TOP PROSPECTS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 Todd Helton, 1b Rockies
1999 Choo Freeman, of Dodgers
2000 Choo Freeman, of Dodgers
2001 Chin-Hui Tsao, rhp Dodgers
2002 Chin-Hui Tsao, rhp Dodgers
2003 Aaron Cook, rhp Rockies
2004 Chin-Hui Tsao, rhp Dodgers
2005 Ian Stewart, 3b Rockies
2006 Ian Stewart, 3b Rockies
2007 Troy Tulowitzki, ss Rockies
LARGEST BONUSES
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
ROCKIES
LINKS
Rockies' Team Page
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Last Year's Rockies Top 10 Prospects
2007 Draft: Rockies (Basic Database)
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Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects
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Colorado Rockies

Ten years ago, the Rockies were a non-factor in Latin America. Now they're among the teams getting the most impact talent out of the region.

It's no coincidence that they just won the first National League pennant in franchise history, not to mention had just their second winning season in the last decade.

Manny Corpas, who converted 19 of 20 save opportunities after seizing the closer's role in July, signed out of Panama. Franklin Morales and Ubaldo Jimenez, who stabilized the rotation at midseason, were found in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. Two more Dominicans, shortstop Hector Gomez and righthander Pedro Strop, join No. 1 prospect Morales on this Top 10 list.

Before the recent surge of talent, the only Latin Americans whom Colorado originally signed and brought to the major leagues were Neifi Perez and Juan Uribe. "It takes a long time to build a Latin program, but we now have a solid infrastructure," general manager Dan O'Dowd says.

Getting this to point has been a challenge. Under O'Dowd's predecessor Bob Gebhard, the Rockies budgeted $50,000 for its entire Latin American operation. In the last year alone, they spent $1.9 million on signing bonuses for Latin players.

The change began in 1999, Gebhard's final year as GM, when ownership hired legendary scout Gary Hughes. Colorado moved out of the three-bedroom home it had been using as its Dominican "academy" and shared a top-flight facility with the Diamondbacks that included well-groomed fields, a dormitory for housing, a weight room and a cafeteria. Hughes also moved Rolando Fernandez from a roving coordinator in charge of Latin American instruction to director of Latin operations.

"For us, the Latin program is integrated into the rest of the organization," vice president of baseball operations Bill Geivett says. "We treat it just like we treat any of our minor league teams. We send all our roving instructors down there to work with the players, providing consistency in the message we are sending to everyone in our system."

So far, the Latin program's impact has shown up on the big league staff. But with strong arms developing out of Latin America, scouting director Bill Schmidt has been able to target position players with early picks in recent drafts. The Rockies have spent first-rounders on infielders Jayson Nix (2001), Ian Stewart (2003), Chris Nelson (2004) and Troy Tulowitzki (2005). Tulowitzki had a spectacular rookie season in 2007, while Stewart is the system's top position prospect and Nix could take over the second-base job in 2008.

The Rockies originally signed six of the eight regulars in their postseason lineup. The only exceptions were free agents Yorvit Torrealba and Kazuo Matsui, who likely will be replaced by homegrown products Chris Iannetta, Clint Barmes and Nix. Colorado has done a fine job of developing players, as Todd Helton and Tulowitzki were the only regulars who were first-round picks. Matt Holliday batted just .271 with 61 homers in six minor league seasons before blossoming into the NL's reigning batting and RBI champion.

Four of the five pitchers who started postseason games for the Rockies were originally signed by the club, including staff ace Jeff Francis, a first-round pick in 2002. All told, 16 of the 25 players on the World Series roster were homegrown.

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