Colorado Rockies Top 10 Prospects Chat With Tracy Ringolsby

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.

Moderator: Tracy Ringolsby will answer questions about the Rockies system beginning at 3 p.m. ET.

    JAYPERS (IL): About how far down your top 30 list did Tim Wheeler fall this year, and could we get your evaluation of his disappointing year in the CAL? What does he need to work on? Are you still a believer in his tools?

Tracy Ringolsby: Wheeler slipped to No. 21 this year. He was given a challenge, jumping to Hi-A Moidesto. The power and run production is still there. He did begin driving the ball the other way during the season and that will help him. He is still in the future plans.

    Ben (Leland Grove): I understand Parker recently suffered a rib injury while playing football. Serious?

Tracy Ringolsby: He suffered broken ribs. No reason to think that will be serious, although it could slow his spring training a bit.

    JAYPERS (IL): Your thoughts on Albert Campos, and did he sniff the upper teens?

Tracy Ringolsby: Cutting off the top 10 at 10 was difficult, and Campos, along with Charlie Blackmon and Rosell Herrera, both were victims of a talented farm system. Campos came to the mainland for the first time last summer and cdominated with a solid bastball and excellent curveball. His command is what is really impressive. It will be fun to watch his advancement.

    Morrie (Denver): Were you impressed with Corey Dickerson's campaign last season? Where does he begin this year, and is he in your 11-20 range?

Tracy Ringolsby: He had a very good debut at Casper. He profiles as a left fielder. With a good spring he could jump to Modesto, which will provide a better challenge for him.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Is there room at Coors for Charlie Blackmon? What are scouts saying about him and his future? Top 30 guy for you still?

Tracy Ringolsby: Actually have him at No. 11. If he continues to play the way he has the last two years they will find room for him. Good athlete who has quickly adjusted to the outfield after initially pitching in college.

    Josh Slaats (Tri-City): Hey Tracy, how did I do in your eyes last year? Was there room on your 30 for me?

Tracy Ringolsby: You did real well. I have you just outside the top 30. The Rockies have a strong group of right-handed starters, and you are right in there with the Cory Riordan-Bruce Billings group.

    Greg (Denver): Should we expect Kyle Parker to take a little while to adjust to a wood bat?

Tracy Ringolsby: It could happen but I don't think it should take him that long.

    Russ Oates ( Any hints on where Cristhian Adames and Rafael Ortega slot in the Top 30?

Tracy Ringolsby: Both finished outside the top 30.

    Christy (NE): If Gomez stays healthy and gets to Coors sooner than later, what does this mean for Nelson? Utility guy, or trade bait?

Tracy Ringolsby: Christy, it will depend on what Nelson does. He showed some good signs in his limited exposure last year. He will be in battle this spring for the second base job. If he doesn't win it, my opinion, the best thing for him would be to go back to Colorado Springs so he can play second base on a regular basis. There is so much potential offensively with his bat speed. Now that he has had a big-league taste, I would imagine that whets his appetite and I wouldn't overlook Nelson's potential.

    James (Steamboat Springs): Future backup to Wilin Rosario: Chris Iannetta or Jordan Pacheco?

Tracy Ringolsby: First Wilin Rosario has to get here, which means Iannetta has at least another year to claim the No. 1 job himself. Pacheco most likely will be a super utility guy. He has the great bat and versatility. He is still learning to catch.

    Grant (NYC): Chaz Roe - prospect or suspect?

Tracy Ringolsby: He is a prospect in Seattle. Rockies dealt him for Jose Lopez.

    Kevin (Evergreen): Catcher Will Swanner showed a nice power bat in limited time with Casper. Where should we expect him to start 2011?

Tracy Ringolsby: Spring will tell, but with a high school kid it wouldn't be a total surprise for him to go to extended spring and then Tri-City. He could, however, force his way into the plans at Asheville with a solid spring.

    Shawn Nelson (Chippewa Falls,Wi.): What does Charlie Blackmon have to do to get respect? He hits for average,hits home runs and steals bases! He's also a plus defender! What gives?

Tracy Ringolsby: Did not know he was lacking in respect.

    Kade Nelson (Chippewa Falls,Wi.): Has Friedrich been injury prone or have they mostly been fluke injuries? Thanks

Tracy Ringolsby: The shoulder has been a problem, although the word is it is not serious.

    Jesse (Fort Collins): Will George see Parker Frazier pitch in a Rockies uniform in the next several years?

Tracy Ringolsby: I suspect Parker could be in the big leagues by the middle of 2012 if not the end of 2011. He's healthy, throwing hard and has great strikezone command.

    Al (Arvada): Since the Rockies added Cole Garner to their 40-man roster in November, do you think he'll see the majors this season?

Tracy Ringolsby: If the Rockies were to keep a fifth outfielder (instead of Jason Giambi), I would expect Garner to be in that battle this spring. Regardless, if a need arises during the season he is at the top of the list of players in line to get a big-league opportunity.

    Kyle (South Park): Bruce Billing's conversion to a relief role looks like a good move given his pitches. Is he a possible 2011 call-up?

Tracy Ringolsby: Definitely. He was discussed as a possiblity last year, late in the season.

    Mike (Bailey): If Nolan Arenado is the future at 1st, where does that leave Ben Paulsen?

Tracy Ringolsby: That will be determined by how Paulsen plays. He could be the first baseman. Arenado could wind up at third. Right now it's more a guessing game than anything written in stone.

    Warren (New London): Hi, I'm wondering about Rafael Ortega. I thought he should have been much higher on the Pioneer League top 20, and I like him better than almost everybody on this list too.

Tracy Ringolsby: Ortega made a good impression at Casper. He just doesn't profile from rookie ball to the big leagues like others. He, however, has more to say about that than either you or I do.

    Grayson (Denver): Erik Stavert's writeup in the Northwest League Top 20 sounded exciting: 91-94 mph fastball with hard sink, a plus changeup and a solid slider. How close did he come to making the Top 10?

Tracy Ringolsby: He finished just outside the top 30, along with Slaats and Billings.

    Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Last years #18th best Colorado prospect, Jordan Pacheco, kept on smacking the ball in 2010. So much so, that I thought he would make the top 10. Did he come close? How is he doing developing defensively as a catcher?

Tracy Ringolsby: As a converted second baseman he has moved in catching very well, but there is still a lot of defensive work to be done for him to be considered a potential No. 1 catcher in the big leagues. His bat, coupled with the fact he can play the infield, catch and most likely play at least left field has him on a definite big-league path. And his versatility could lead to a 120-game seasonal expectation.

    Gary (Commerce City): If we see Charlie Blackmon receive a call-up this season, what does that mean for Seth Smith?

Tracy Ringolsby: It depends on how Seth Smith plays. Seth has the big-league spot right now and he has the offensive potential to keep it for a long time. For some reason after the roster was cleared for him to get regular playing time in the final weeks last year he became passive at the plate. That is something Seth will need to address this year.

    Tara (Miami, FL): How would you rank Matzek against other top minor league lefties Matt Moore and John Lamb?

Tracy Ringolsby: I see Matzek as being equal to any lefty in the minor leagues.

    Nick (Boston): Tracy, where do you see Chad Bettis eventually wind up? If he winds up in the pen, will it be just as a reliever or a closer type?

Tracy Ringolsby: Bettis can relieve and would be a late-inning guy, but his work as a starter last year was impressive and he will continue to get the opportunity to start for now.

    Ken (Lakewood CA): Thanks for the chat Tracey. Nobody knows the Rockies like you do. I was surprised that Charlie Blackmon wasn't in the Top 10. How do you see him as a prospect and what's his future in Denver? It seems with Parker, Foster & Cargo in his way, he won't have the chance to be a starting OF for Colorado?

Tracy Ringolsby: Blackmon has the ability to claim an every day spot. The only outfielder I have rated higher than him in the system is Parker, and Blackmon is several years ahead of Parker so he has time to estbalish himself if he continues to play as well as he has.

    Kenn (Lakewood CA): I misspelled my name on purpose here, since I did the same with yours in my last question. Sorry. My question is, do you see Arenado having any chance to stay at 3B. Or is it a foregone conclusion that he moves to 1B and it's just a matter of when? Thanks Tracy.

Tracy Ringolsby: When a young man is coming out of rookie ball there can be no foregone conclusions. Remember, when Ian Stewart was in high school the word was he could never play third base in the big leagues. Well, now he's in the big leagues and his defense is his No. 1 attribute. Whether Arenado stays at third is up to Arenado.

    Mark (Fargo,ND): Outside of Rex Brothers does anyone else in the Rockies top 30 have closer potential?

Tracy Ringolsby: Casey Weathers remains a possiblity. and then it depends on what eventually happens with a pitcher like Chad Bettis or Parker Frazier, both of whom are starters currently.

    Whooper (Minneapolis, MN): Who in the Rockies top 10 has the best chance to be in the top 100?

Tracy Ringolsby: That's not somethign I am involved with, but I'd have to say Mazek, Rosario, Arenado, Friedrich and Tago all will get consideration.

    Phil (Denver Colorado): Give me your take on a sleeper in the Rockies organization from a position player and pitcher standpoint.

Tracy Ringolsby: Stavert is a pitcher to keep and eye on, and outfielder Delta Cleary still intriques me, although he dropped out of the top 30.

    Jon (Peoria): What type of ceiling does Russell Wilson have?

Tracy Ringolsby: The ceiling is high. It's just a matter of Wilson playing on a regular basis, something he was denied at North Carolina State for some reason that remains a mystery.

    Dean (Houston): Your top ten listing has Christian Fredrich followed by Peter Tago, but you list Tago as the 4th starter and Fredrich as the 5th starter in the 2014 projected lineup. What gives?

Tracy Ringolsby: Breaking up the lefthanders.

    steve S (Davis, CA): Tracy, two years ago you predicted a brighter future in the Rockies organization for Tyler Massey than for Carlos Gonzalez. Looking back, what are the key adjustments which Gonzalez has made and Massey has struggled to make such that that projection has now apparently reversed itself?

Tracy Ringolsby: Carlos Gonzalez was never eligible to be rated in the Rockies organization. He was, however, rated No. 1 in Arizona's organization when he was in Arizona and No. 1 in Oakland when he was with the A's. By the time he came to the Rockies he no longer has rookie status. Goznalez didn't make any adjustments. He has merely lived up to expectations.

    Skrip (chicago): Can you tell us more about Wilin Rosario? Where do you rank him among catching prospects in all of baseball? Top 3? Top 5? Where do you see his ceiling? Thank you for taking my question.

Tracy Ringolsby: He is among the elite. He has the ability to be an impact receiver behind the plate and offensively. Unfortunately he suffered a knee injury that required surgery and cost him a year of development.

    Denim Boy (In My Mom's basement): Where do you see Peter Tago fitting into the Rockies Plans? Will he stay a starter and eventually find his way into the rotation?

Tracy Ringolsby: He is listed as the No. 5 prospect, and No. 1 among right-handed starting pitchers, which says it about as well as anything.

    John (Ashburn, VA): Tracy: As you have noted, Kyle Parker has incredible power and the Rockies are ready to fast-track him if he is ready. They have invested $1.4M in him so they definitely know more about scouting and projecting than us nugs. But, Parker seemed to exhibit a few bad habits while playing for Clemson (hole in swing, high number of Ks, not a lot of speed on the basepaths). Is there any concern amongst some Rockie insiders that his other tools may not make up for some of these shortcomings? And, do you think that he may have a rough time on the fast-track if (or when) he gets eaten up by professional pitching trained to attack these shortcomings. Thoughts?

Tracy Ringolsby: They were willing to give him $2.2 million but he opted to play one more year of college football so that should give a pretty good explanation of how sold the Rockies are on his ability to make the necessary adjustments. They will fast track him if he is ready, but they won't rush him.

    MJ (Valpo): What makes Charlie Blackmon a utility/4th OF'er-type and not someone who can hold down a starting gig in the bigs? What's he missing in his set of tools? Seems to me he'd be a guy you'd want to give a chance at starting to see what he could do...I mean, power/speed guys are still pretty rare, right?

Tracy Ringolsby: Didn 't know he was a utility/4th outfielder type. Right now he is playing center field and shows every sign of being able to continue to do so.

    Henry Thompson (Sausalito, CA): Hey Tracy, thanks for the chat! According to reports Matzek mostly operated at 88-92 with his fastball last season. In his senior year there were some reports of him dialing it up to 97. Are the rockies concerned that Matzek may never find any of that velocity ever again?

Tracy Ringolsby: He touched 96 last year. There's no concern other than the need for him to be more consistent in the strikezone.

    Henry Thompson (Sausalito, CA): Tracy, how does Wilin Rosario not get get more fanfare? I see a solid defensive catcher, with the ability to put up all star numbers behind the dish? Are scouts outside the organization skeptical of his offensive production? Or it because of his mid-season injury?

Tracy Ringolsby: The injury basically cost him a year. Other than that, the talk about him has been very upbeat.

    James (St. Augustine): With Chris Nelson, Eric Young, Jr., and Hector Gomez all options at 2B now or in the near future, how do you see the position shaking out short-term and long-term?

Tracy Ringolsby: Jose Lopez is likely second baseman this year. As for the other three, the big issue is whether Gomez can ever stay healthy, but I'd say it goes Gomez, Nelson and EY II.

    Danpers (Work): Thank for the chat. If you had to bet, where's your money on Matzek's future? a) Perennial Cy Young contender b) Occasional All-Star c) Solid regular starter d) Something less than C

Tracy Ringolsby: Id' say at least b) Occassional All-Star and quite possbily more.

    Jeff (Denver, CO): How is Casey Weathers come back from Tommy John surgery progressing? Where is he likely to begin the year and is he somewhere in the 11-20 range?

Tracy Ringolsby: It has been extremely slow. He needs to be ready this spring. He is No. 14.

    Henry Thompson (Sausalito, CA): Hey Tracy, big Tago fan coming out of the draft, with that being said were there positive reports coming out of instructs? I just have a feeling he will end up being the steal of the draft.

Tracy Ringolsby: The reports are good enough he was ranked No. 5, top among right-handed starters in the organziation.

    Mark (Concord Ca): How close to the majors is Mike Mckendry?

Tracy Ringolsby: He's at the decision point.

    Robert Goldberg (Secaucus, NJ): Thomas Field had a huge offensive season in Modesto, but is he for real or were his numbers so big because of the Cal League?

Tracy Ringolsby: He is a potential Jamey Carroll type, capable of playing second, third and short. He is the blue-collar, get the job done type who will exceed expectations because he won't limit himself.

    Shane (Denver): Cudos for all your hard work at, really enjoy your coverage. Does Arrenado remind you a little of Jeff Cirillo offensively?

Tracy Ringolsby: I thnk Arenado is a more legitimate power guy.

    JD (AZ): Tracy, wondering if any recent Latin signings are on your radar for possible breakout in the coming season?

Tracy Ringolsby: SS Rossell Herrera is worth watching.

    Spencer (San Diego): In 2010 Jhoulys Chacin really emerged and looks to be a frontline starter. Do you believe that he's going to take the next step like Ubaldo did last year and is there someone in the system you think could have that kind of impact in '11?

Tracy Ringolsby: Chacin will be at the top of the rotation with Jimenez this year. The biggest question is whether there will be an opportunity for any prospects in the rotation this year. The starting five seems set with Paulino and Rogers in the wings if a need arises.