Story's about the Tourists:
The Asheville Tourists announced today that the South Atlantic League team has agreed to a new four-year Player Development Contract with the Colorado Rockies of the National League. The new working agreement will begin at the start of the 2013 season and will continue through the 2016 campaign. milb.com
Released: OF Chandler Laurent
Among catchers in the Rockies organization who played in as many games as he did, Bryce Massanari placed first in average (.328), on-base percentage (.419) and slugging percentage (.564). In terms of raw offensive totals, he tallied 14 homers, 19 doubles, 43 RBIs and 44 runs. He also controlled the running game behind the plate, catching 47 percent of baserunners who attempted to steal on him. His overall performance earned him a nod as a South Atlantic League All-Star.
An eighth-round Draft pick in 2010, Corey Dickerson launched 32 home runs in his first full professional season, trailing only Wheeler in the organization. Despite taking part in that kind of grind for the first time, the 22-year-old did not fade at the end of the year. In fact, he put together his best stretch in August, when he batted .330 with 11 homers and 28 RBIs in 23 games. minorleaguebaseball.com
BA's Rockies ranked prospects in the Sally:
12. Kyle Parker, of (1st rd 2010)
17. Tyler Matzek, lhp (1st rd 2009)
BA writes: "Asheville's cozy McCormick Field helped Parker's numbers, but he has legitimate plus power thanks to his strength and bat speed."
And about starting pitcher Tyler Matzek, "The Rockies tried to simplify his complicated delivery, and he still had trouble finding the zone after reverting to his high school mechanics."
Article on Tyler Matzek here.
FYI... There is not one Asheville pitcher this year that has allowed less hits than innings pitched. Also, there are no pitchers who have a ERA less than 3.00.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reported Monday that infielder Russell Wilson, a 2010 fourth-round pick by the Colorado Rockies, has left the team's low Class-A affiliate in Asheville and will decide later Monday which college football program to join for his final year of eligibility.
Optioned to Low-A from High-A: LHP Tyler Matzek
---The Rockies demoted lefthander Tyler Matzek from high Class A Modesto to low Class A Asheville. Matzek, 20, has struggled with his control since signing for a club-record $3.9 million as the 11th overall pick two years ago, but his issues throwing strikes have gotten worse this year. Matzek leads the minors with 46 walks in 33 innings, while his 9.82 ERA would also be the worst in the minors if he had enough innings to qualify. BA.com
Voluntarily retired: RHP Ricky Testa
--Family health matters forced reliever Ricky Testa to retire.
2011 Asheville team projections are up.
This team probably won't tear up the Sally as it is lacking in depth at pitching in both the rotation and the pen, and starters at 3B, 1B and catching. That being said, it does have some solid prospects.
The staff is led by Al Campos and Joshua Slaats. Both project to be good pitchers down the road for the system. Peter Tago may also pitch with Asheville in 2011 but we suspect it won't be at the start of the season. The double play combo of Russell Wilson and Joshua Rutledge are nice young players with big potential. And the starting outfield of Rafael Ortega, Leonardo Reyes, and last years number one pick, Kyle Parker is outstanding.
Traded: LHP Wes Musick and RHP Jonnathan Aristil to Houston for RHP Matt Lindstrom.
Traded: LHP Paul Barges to Minnesota for C Jose Morales.
ASHEVILLE- Candler resident Joe Mikulik is headed for home yet again in 2011. For the 12th consecutive season, Mikulik will manage the Asheville Tourists, joining hitting coach Lenn Sakata, pitching coach Joey Eischen and trainer Billy Whitehead. MiLB.com
Two Colorado Rockies prospects from the low Class-A Asheville Tourists are among Baseball America's top 20 for the South Atlantic League:
No. 2 Nolan Arenado, 19, third baseman, 6-foot-2, 210: The Rockies' second-round pick in 2009 started the season in extended spring training, but put together a huge year in his short stay in Asheville, pounding 54 extra base hits (41 doubles, a triple and 12 homeruns) in 373 at-bats. There's little question about Arenado's bat, but he needs work in the field. From BA's scouting report: "He displays solid hand-eye coordination and makes consistent hard contact. He has a well above-average arm at third base, but his speed, range and lateral movement are below average."
No. 3 Tyler Matzek, 19, left-handed pitcher, 6-foot-3, 210: Like Arenado, the Rockies' first-round pick in 2009 started the season in extended spring training and, also like Arenado, put together an impressive season once he joined Asheville. Matzek was 5-1 with a 2.89 ERA in 18 starts. He was at times unhittable, allowing just 62 hits in 89 innings, but he struggled with his command and also walked 62. "Though he has an easy delivery and sat mostly at 88-92 mph in his early SAL starts, Matzek's fastball reached the mid-90s later in the season and jumps on hitters with late life. His curveball, slider and changeup all show promise, but he needs more consistency with all of his pitches."
Traded: RHP Chris Balcom-Miller to Red Sox for RHP Manny Delcarmen
With the additions of Chris Balcolm-Miller and Tyler Matzek and the improved Juan Gonzalez, the rotation has finally gotten better..
The starters are horrible.. No ranked pitchers started the season in the rotation and its showing as the whole group is struggling.
Roster is set.
2010 projected team is up.
This level is always the hardest to project because the team is seeded from two rookie league clubs and numerous left overs players from different spots in the farm system (some being injury rehabs while others are level repeaters). With that in mind, there could be a error rate as much as 50%, however, I'm not usually that wrong.
First round pick, Tyler Matzek, anchors a decent staff. The outfield also looks strong.
Right-hander Parker Frazier underwent Tommy John surgery Tuesday. The ligament transplant procedure on Frazier's right elbow was performed by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. insidetherockies.com
Tourists go from last place in the 1st half to 1st place in the 2nd half of 2009.
Parker Frazier, who has pitched extremely well recently for low Class A Asheville, pitched three innings Monday and then left after throwing his final pitch at 92 mph and experiencing soreness in his flexor tendon. insidetherockies.com
update: Low Class A Asheville pitching prospect Parker Frazier, who has a tear in the flexor tendon in his right elbow, is in Denver where he will be examined Thursday by Dr. Thomas Noonan, the Rockies medical director. insidetherockies.com
Single-A Asheville manager Joe Mikulik will be inducted into the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame.
Mikulik is the all-time winningest manager in Asheville history, having recently recorded his 700th win with the Tourists. The 2009 season marks his 10th consecutive season managing the Rockies Lo-A affiliate.
Mikulik has managed the SAL All-Star Game on four occasions (2000, 2002, 2007, 2008) and has been named the SAL Manager of the Year three times (2001, 2007, 2008). He began his coaching career as a player/coach at Double-A Canton-Akron in 1995. Before that, Mikulik enjoyed a playing career that spanned 12 seasons, primarily in the Houston Astros organization. Insidetherockies.com
When writing or talking about the minor leagues, one generally waves off the win/loss aspect of the season because the main objective of the farm is about on field development. Yes, wins are nice because you get into the playoffs which is very good experience, but if the team doesn't' make the post season, then it isn't fretted too much by the front office.
Losses are not worried about too much either... however, at some point, if the loss column begins to grow at a alarming rate, then some attention must be given because excess losing is never good to a young professional psychic.
And this is where we are with the Tourists. They are losing way too much. Losing at this pace can not be tolerated.
Asheville manager Joe Mikulik comments about catcher Jordan Pacheco:
"His offensive approach is really sound and he just stays pretty consistent. He stays within himself throughout his at-bats and he's working hard catching. … Offensively, he's got his own style and doesn't pull off the ball too much. He really uses the whole field, which is pretty good at this level." Citizen Times. com
Center fielder Delta Cleary and first baseman Kiel Roling are finally on the team after rehabbing injuries. Look for both of them to zoom up the rankings.
Assigned to Low-A: IF Erik Wetzel
Modesto infielder Matt Repec will be out two to three weeks after dislocating his left shoulder. Infielder Maikol Gonzalez was moved up from Asheville.
Center fielder Delta Cleary (hamstring), first baseman Kiel Roling (quadriceps) are expected to finish their rehabilitation in extended spring training and move up to low Class A Asheville within the week. Infielder Erik Wetzel (lower back) was scheduled to play today and Saturday and travel Sunday to join the Tourists. Inside the Rockies.com
Even though he is hitting a measly .238, catcher Jordan Pacheco already has 9 RBI. Now that's what I mean by making your hits count.
David Christensen continues to struggle as a pro. In 11 at bats this season he has 8 strikeouts and only 1 hit. He has yet to show any sign that he can hit with any kind of consistency since he was drafted in the second round of the 2006 draft.
Dan Houston is slated to make his first start of the season for Asheville. If he throws a perfect game, everyone in attendance will split a $1 million prize, part of the Tourists' Mega Money Monday promotion. Citizen-Times.com
Asheville announces their roster here.
The starting rotation includes lefthander Christian Friedrich and righthanders Robinson Fabian, Parker Frazier, Dan Houston and Ethan Hollingsworth.
Thanks goes out to reader Mike for pointing out that infielder, Zack Murry, has been released.
This was confirmed by both The Chanute Tribune and Baseball America.com.
The Asheville projection is up.
Figuring out the Asheville team is always hard because it draws from the two Rookie level clubs, plus holdovers from the previous year. Players who you may think should be here are instead held back in extended spring training in order to hone their skills with more intense instruction and basic drills. For instance, many think that super prospect, Delta Cleary, will certainly start in the Asheville outfield, but that would be wrong. They'll hold him in Tucson and blast him with baseball think for 3 months before sending him off to Tri-City.
The strangest deal may be the starting firstbaseman. Kiel Roling was drafted just last year as a catcher. We thought it was a bad pick because he is a horrible defensive catcher and would have been a better choice for a AL team. This deficiency, however, actually helped Roling's professional career because the coaching staff found themselves a hidden firstbaseman.
The starting rotation is iffy. I have no idea whether or not its going to look like the one above or not.
I don't think this years team will be nearly as good as last years. The 2008 Asheville playoff team had a lot of college players who were more advanced than this one, however, let's not worry too much as wins and losses come secondary to development at the low A level.
The only player I see who could be a mid season promotion candidate would be RF, Charlie Blackmon.
Team projections due the 2nd half of Jan.
1. Tyler Anderson (4)
2. Alex Gillingham
3. Chris Jensen
4. Daniel Winkler
5. Ben Alsup (31)
6. Vianney Mayo
Jefri Hernandez (29)
Harold Riggins (32)
Tyler Massey (35) DL
Russell Brewer (36)
Roster Size: 25 players, with no more than two players with more than five years of minor-league service time. 35 players on the reserve list.