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, 2009.

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1. Dexter Fowler, of
2. Jhoulys Chacin, rhp
3. Christian Friedrich, lhp
4. Wilin Rosario, c
5. Hector Gomez, ss
6. Casey Weathers, rhp
7. Esmil Rogers, rhp
8. Seth Smith, of
9. Michael McKenry, c
10. Charlie Blackmon, of
Best Hitter for Average Seth Smith
Best Power Hitter Joe Koshansky
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Matt Miller
Fastest Baserunner Corey Wimberly
Best Athlete Dexter Fowler
Best Fastball Juan Morillo
Best Curveball Christian Friederich
Best Slider Parker Frazier
Best Changeup Jhoulys Chacin
Best Control Parker Frazier
Best Defensive Catcher Michael McKenry
Best Defensive Infielder Heider Velasquez
Best Infield Arm Heider Velasquez
Best Defensive Outfielder Dexter Fowler
Best Outfield Arm Brian Rike
Catcher Chris Iannetta
First Base Brad Hawpe
Second Base Hector Gomez
Third Base Ian Stewart
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki
Left Field Seth Smith
Center Field Dexter Fowler
Right Field Tyler Massey
No. 1 Starter Ubaldo Jimenez
No. 2 Starter Aaron Cook
No. 3 Starter Jhoulys Chacin
No. 4 Starter Jeff Francis
No. 5 Starter Christian Friedrich
Closer Manny Corpas
Year Player, Position 2008
1999 Choo Freeman, of Dodgers
2000 Choo Freeman, of Dodgers
2001 Chin-Hui Tsao, rhp Royals
2002 Chin-Hui Tsao, rhp Royals
2003 Aaron Cook, rhp Rockies
2004 Chin-Hui Tsao, rhp Royals
2005 Ian Stewart, 3b Rockies
2006 Ian Stewart, 3b Rockies
2007 Troy Tulowitzki, ss Rockies
2008 Franklin Morales, lhp Rockies
Year Player, Position 2008
1999 Jason Jennings, rhp Rangers
2000 *Matt Harrington, rhp Out of baseball
2001 Jayson Nix, 2b White Sox
2002 Jeff Francis, rhp 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
2008 Christian Friedrich, lhp Rockies
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
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Colorado Rockies

After a dream season the year before, 2008 was a bit of a nightmare for the Rockies.

Colorado was Baseball America's Organization of the Year in 2007, winning a franchise-record 90 games with a largely homegrown team that blazed into the postseason with wins in 14 of its final 15 games. The Rockies then blew through the playoffs and reached the World Series for the first time ever before getting swept by the Red Sox.

With a young core of players who all seemed to still be on the way up, along with a farm system that BA rated as the game's seventh-best entering the year, Colorado had high expectations heading into the season. The front office made few moves and was willing to rely on its farm system to fill any holes that appeared.

The major league team never got it together, however, limping along on the fringes of contention all season in the mediocre National League West. The Rockies finally fell out of the running in September and finished 74-88, a decline of 16 wins from 2007.

Troy Tulowitzki, depended on as a franchise cornerstone, was hurt much of the year and batted a lackluster .263/.332/.401 when he did play. Several other young players took steps back as the offense scored 113 fewer runs than it had the year before. On the pitching front, Jeff Francis saw his ERA balloon to 5.01. Former No. 1 prospect Franklin Morales, who looked like a future ace at the end of 2007, went 1-2, 6.39 in five starts and found himself back in Triple-A.

Reflecting the disappointment of the season, the front office made wholesale changes to the big league staff after the season, keeping manager Clint Hurdle but getting rid of just about everyone else. The Rockies also traded their best player, Matt Holliday, to the Athletics ahead of his impending free agency.

The news wasn't any better on the farm, where Morales' performance was reflective of a system where most of the top prospects regressed. Ian Stewart and Greg Reynolds did graduate to the big leagues, though neither marked himself as a surefire regular going forward. Shortstop Hector Gomez and righthander Casey Weathers both had Tommy John surgery.

One bright spot for the organization was the continued development of outfielder Dexter Fowler, who becomes the Rockies' top prospect after playing for Team USA in the Olympics. He'll be expected to step in at center field after the Rockies cleared the way by nontendering Willy Taveras after last season.

Fowler is a great example of Colorado's aggressive nature in recent drafts. In August 2004, the Rockies saved $2 million when they traded Larry Walker to the Cardinals. They used a chunk of that money to sign Fowler, days before he planned to enroll at Miami.

The Rockies' increased presence in Latin America continues to pay dividends. Venezuelan righthander Jhoulys Chacin and Dominican catcher Wilin Rosario were two of their few prospects who significantly boosted their stock in 2008. Chacin led all minor leaguers with 18 wins, while Rosario ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Rookie-level Pioneer League.

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