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, 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 AverageIan Stewart
Best Power HitterJoe Koshansky
Best Strike-Zone DisciplineChris Iannetta
Fastest BaserunnerCory Wimberly
Best AthleteDexter Fowler
Best FastballJuan Morillo
Best CurveballFrankin Morales
Best SliderDarren Clarke
Best ChangeupUbaldo Jimenez
Best ControlBrandon Hynick
Best Defensive CatcherChris Iannetta
Best Defensive InfielderJonathan Herrera
Best Infield ArmTroy Tulowitzki
Best Defensive OutfielderSean Barker
Best Outfield ArmSean Barker
CatcherChris Iannetta
First BaseTodd Helton
Second BaseJonathan Herrera
Third BaseGarrett Atkins
ShortstopTroy Tulowtizki
Left FieldMatt Holliday
Center FieldDexter Fowler
Right FieldIan Stewart
No. 1 StarterFranklin Morales
No. 2 StarterJeff Francis
No. 3 StarterJason Hirsh
No. 4 StarterGreg Reynolds
No. 5 StarterAaron Cook
CloserUbaldo Jimenez
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997Todd Helton, 1bRockies
1998Todd Helton, 1bRockies
1999Choo Freeman, ofRockies
2000Choo Freeman, ofRockies
2001Chin-Hui Tsao, rhpRockies
2002Chin-Hui Tsao, rhpRockies
2003Aaron Cook, rhpRockies
2004Chin-Hui Tsao, rhpRockies
2005Ian Stewart, 3bRockies
2006Ian Stewart, 3bRockies
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997Mark Mangun, rhpOut of baseball
1998Choo Freeman, ofRockies
1999Jason Jennings, rhpRockies
2000*Matt Harrington, rhpFort Worth (Amer. Assoc.)
2001Jayson Nix, ssRockies
2002Jeff Francis, lhpRockies
2003Ian Stewart, 3bRockies
2004Chris Nelson, 3bRockies
2005Troy TulowitzkiRockies
2006Greg Reynolds, rhpRockies
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' Team Page
Rockies Top 10 Scouting Reports Premium
Last Year's Rockies Top 10 Prospects
2006 Draft: Rockies (Basic Database)
2006 Draft: Rockies Premium (Advanced Database)
2006 Draft Report Cards: NL West Premium
Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects
Pre-Order the 2007 Prospect Handbook

Colorado Rockies

Few 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.