Story's about the Nuts:
Released: INF Hector Gomez
Scouting report on Albert Campos' here.
Signed: OF Orlando Sandoval.
Even more scouting on Nolan Arenado here.
More on Nolan Arenado's amazing AFL campaign here.
Josh Rutledge: The 2010 third-round Draft pick hit .348 to lead all players in the Rockies system and also placed first among shortstops with 91 runs, 71 RBIs, 238 total bases and a .931 OPS. He showed a good blend of power and speed, tallying nine homers, nine triples, 33 doubles and 16 stolen bases in 19 attempts. The most amazing thing about Rutledge's year is that almost all of his success came in the second half. After batting .262 and failing to go deep once before the All-Star break, he hit. 411 with 42 extra-base hits, 53 RBIs and a 1.125 OPS in the season's final three months.
"He's got a compact swing," said 2011 Modesto manager Jerry Weinstein, who is now the Rockies' catching coach. "A swing arc that's in the plane of the pitch for a long time. ... He's got surprising power at times, but that's not his game. He uses the whole field and hits the ball back to the middle. When he got pitches, he didn't miss them, especially in the esecond half." minorleaguebaseball.com
Weak arm, inability to field to right would likely push him to 2B, Tulo or no. May get time there in AA in 2012. Solid, simple swing, good hand/eye coordination. BA.com
Nolan Arenado: Arenado was an RBI machine for the Nuts, knocking in 122 runs to lead the Minor Leagues. His 252 total bases were second overall in the organization, while his .298 batting average checked in at seventh. Overall, he tallied 55 extra base hits -- 20 homers, 32 doubles and three triples -- en route to an .836 OPS. Perhaps even more impressive, however, was Arenado's eye at the plate: He struck out just 53 times on the year while racking up 47 walks.
"I knew it was going to be a long season, and I was ready for it and I was excited," Arenado said. "God blessed me a lot, and it all worked out. I worked hard to do what I do. There's still a lot to be done, but it was very exciting. I'm glad the Rockies are happy with it."
"He had a tremendous routine for himself every day, not only to improve but to get ready for games both offensively and defensively," Weinstein added. "He's probably the best young defender I've ever seen. He'd make a SportsCenter play every night. It was incredible."
Kent Matthes: The 24-year-old had easily the best year of his career in 2011, ranking among the top Rockies Minor Leaguers in almost every offensive category. He placed first in slugging percentage (.642), second in batting average (.334) and OPS (1.020) and tied for third in homers (23) and RBIs (95). At the end of the year, he was named the California League MVP, even though he was injured for the final weeks of the season.
"He would've had the best stats of any of [the Modesto players], but he got hurt for last five to six weeks," Weinstein said. "He was hit by a pitch and broke a bone in his left hand.
"He gets into the plane of the pitch early, and he also can hit the ball over the ballpark with power. His raw power is tremendous -- well above average. And he's not a big swing-and-miss guy either."
Chad Bettis: Bettis led the Rockies system with 12 wins, putting together a 3.34 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. He also showed the ability to miss bats, striking out 184 batters in 169 2/3 innings (second in the organization). Despite fanning so many, he was still stingy when it came to bases on balls, issuing only 45 walks. He was named the California League Pitcher of the Week three times and earned selections as both a midseason and postseason All-Star.
"When he needs to make a pitch, his velocity may jump 3-4 mph," Weinstein said. "His higher gun readings were late in games when the game was on line. He holds his stuff extremely well. He's got a well above-average fastball -- it probably sits around 95 but tapped 100 this year. Breaking ball, slider. Both of them are power pitches. And he's developing the change-up."
Michael Marbry: The 27-year-old righty only ranked third in the organization with 16 saves, but was the most dominating reliever in the system. He compiled a 2.92 ERA in 64 2/3 innings, striking out 66. He also posted the best opponents' batting average of his career, allowing hits in just under 24 percent of at-bats.
"He didn't close for us the first half of the season, but then Marbry more or less graduated into that role," Weinstein said. "He's got three legitimate swing-and-miss pitches. ... He's just really scratching the surface. I think obviously age becomes a factor, but this was a breakthrough year for him." minorleaguebaseball.com
Report on Edwar Cabrera: He isn't a big guy, standing just 6-0, 160. He generates solid velocity for a lefty in the low-90s, but what makes him special is a nasty changeup, a true swing-and-miss pitch. He's also shown improvement with his breaking ball this year, and the combination of those two offerings plays his fastball up. He throws strikes and has a good feel for his craft. He can lose his location high in the strike zone and give up home runs at times, but the low walk rate usually limits that damage. minorleagueball.com
Edwar Cabrera: The 24-year-old southpaw came out of nowhere to dominate in his first full pro season, leading the Minor Leagues with 217 strikeouts in 167 innings. He went 8-3 on the year, posting a combined 3.34 ERA across Class A and Class A Advanced. Like Bettis, he was able to limit his walks despite his high strikeout rate, allowing just 41 free passes. His 5.29 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranked first among pitchers with at least 16 starts.
"He's got as good a swing-and-miss change-up as you'll ever see," said 2011 Modesto manager Jerry Weinstein, who is now the Rockies' catching coach. "Forty-six percent of his change-ups were swung at and missed, and he's got enough fastball velocity to get in on you. And he does have a good breaking ball, just with the change-up, he doesn't use it a whole lot. He'll have to use it more for left-handed hitters. He's also a competitive guy, holds runners and is athletic on the mound." minorleaguebaseball.com
BA's Rockies ranked prospects in the Cal League:
6. Nolan Arenado, 3b (2nd rd 2009)
9. Chad Bettis, rhp (2nd rd 2010)
20. Kent Matthes, of (4th rd 2009)
BA writes of Arenado, "He has the makings of a run producer, using a selectively aggressive approach and superb hand-eye coordination to make consistent contact."
Viewers got a chance to see how much he's improved defensively in the AFL.
BA says of Bettis: "His velocity increased as the year went on, and by the end of the season he regularly hit 97 mph and maintained his fastball throughout games…The development of his secondary pitches will dictate if Bettis remains a starter or moves back to the bullpen, his college role."
BA writes in it scouting report: "Matthes has remade his metal-bat swing and now makes consistent contact with enough loft in his swing for his drvies to carry out of the park."
Completed trade: OF Eliezer Mesa (player to be named later) to Oakland for INF Mark Ellis.
FYI -- Look for a pitch count reduction the rest of the season for Chad Bettis since he already has 159 innings pitched.
Released: RHP Ching-Lung Lo
--Ching-Lung Lo's long career in the Rockies organization, spent entirely in the minor leagues, has ended. Lo, a native of Taiwan who turns 26 on Saturday, received a $1.4 million bonus when he signed with the Rockies in October 2001 and began his professional career in 2002 at Rookie Casper as a 16-year-old. insidetherockies.com
Released: 1B Kala Ka'aihue
Optioned to Low-A from High-A: LHP Tyler Matzek
OF Eliezer Mesa is expected to miss at least a month after suffering a relatively severe right hamstring strain April 15. Mesa, 22, will go to the Rockies spring training/rehabilitation facility in Scottsdale, Ariz., but be in a treatment-only mode there initially. InsidetheRockies.com
The 2011 projected roster is up.
The 2011 Nuts team should be one of the better teams in the system. The rotation has 4 legit prospects in Tyler Matzek, Parker Frazier, Chad Bettis and Kenneth Durst. But the rest of the staff is below par with no real promise so far. All starters need innings and must stay healthy.
The next stud in the Rockies system, Nolan Arenado, will be at 3B this season for Modesto. He has all the offensive tools and should hold down the middle of the lineup with Kent Matthis and Jared Clark. Nolan needs to improve defensively.
The depth in middle infielders is impressive which should help provide emergency help up the middle for the entire system. The catching is suspect with no real prospects.
Two Colorado Rockies pitching prospects from the high Class-A Modesto Nuts are among Baseball America's top 20 for the California League:
No. 9 Juan Nicasio, 24, right-handed pitcher, 6-foot-3, 200: The Rockies added Nicasio to their 40-man roster before the 2010 season. He struggled early in the year, but a good June and August helped justify the Rockies' faith and he finished at 12-10 with a 3.91 ERA. He will move to Double-A Tulsa in 2011 and is one of the few starting pitching prospects who could be on the major-league radar next season. From BA's scouting report: "Nicasio projects as a No. 3 starter but could become a frontline guy if he refines his secondary pitches. His changeup generates some swings and misses, but he telegraphs it at times by slowing his arm speed."
No. 12 Rex Brothers, 22, left-handed pitcher, 6-foot-0, 205: The supplemental first-round pick in 2009 didn't spent much time in the California League. After starting the season 0-2 with three saves and a 2.68 ERA in 33 games for Modesto, he was promoted to Double-A Tulsa, where he continued to dominate. From BA's scouting report: "Brothers, who compares to a young Billy Wagner because of his short, quick-arm delivery, works off a mid-90s fastball that tops out at 97 mph. His heater gets on top of hitters quickly and has two-plane sink." insidetherockies.com
Optioned to high Class A: RHP Juan Nicasio
2010 team projection is up.
The farm system is showing some problems at this level as it can't fill the rotation. Obviously, this means that a young pitcher is moved up beyond where he should be or a more developed pitcher has to be held back a level... or management must sign a pitcher off the scrap heap.
That being said, pitcher Juan Nicasio is a serious stud who should continue his growth as a starter for Modesto.
The offense is also lacking some however, Roling and Zuanich are bigtime hitters which provided needed punch in the 2nd half last season for Asheville. They will continue that this year in California.
There is some promise in the outfield with the likes of Cleary, Massey and Robinson.
Christian Friedrich has really slowed down. Here is his last four starts:
Date OPP W L ERA SV IP H ER BB SO
Aug 16 VIS 0 0 9.82 0 3.2 5 4 4 4
Aug 22 @BAK 0 1 2.57 0 7.0 6 2 1 7
Aug 27 BAK 0 1 3.60 0 5.0 5 2 3 7
Sep 02 @LE 0 0 12.00 0 3.0 6 4 2 3
Wilin Rosario suffered a wrist injury on a tag play at the plate on July 28th. An MRI exam detected no structural damage, only inflammation. But Rosario is expected to miss two to four weeks, which could cost him the rest of the season. insidetherockies.com
Christian Friedrich, sidelined since June 10 with left elbow inflammation, has been throwing bullpen sessions and simulated games and is likely to return to Modesto's rotation next week, possibly Tuesday. insidetherockies.com
Option transferred: LHP Christian Friedrich (Low A to High A)
Charlie Blackmon finally smacked his 2nd homer of the season. One of the few criticisms has been his power, or lack of, but I believe that will come with time because of his nice line drive swing from the left side.
He also has 21 RBI which is very good considering he has batted leadoff for the entire year.
Keith Law of ESPN has this to say about RHP Bruce Billings:
"Billings' fastball was 90-93 mph and had just a little bit of sinking life, but San Jose's hitters couldn't square it up, and several of their hitters, including Crawford and Darren Ford, were flat-out late on it. Billings' arm action is not pretty -- it's long and kind of uncoordinated -- and he has no second pitch that would even grade out at 45, but the solid-average fastball and hitters' inability to square it up make him a prospect, at least as a reliever. He doesn't currently throw a changeup, but he gets on top of the ball, and I've seen plenty of pitchers who have their pitching hands up early behind their bodies and couldn't throw breaking balls still throw adequate changeups."
Rockies minor league outfielder Kevin Clark received a 50-game suspension, effective immediately, in a disciplinary action announced today by Major League Baseball. The 23-year-old failed a test for amphetamines, which qualify as a performance-enhancing substance under MLB guidelines.
A lefthanded batter and fourth-year pro, Clark was batting .241/.313/.345 with three doubles in 29 at-bats for high Class A Modesto at the time of the suspension. Colorado selected him in the sixth round of the 2006 draft, out of Manatee (Fla.) CC. BA.com
Shortstop Hector Gomez is about 15 days away from leaving extended spring and going to high Class A Modesto. He began last season there but suffered a stress fracture on opening night when he fouled a ball off his shin and then tore a ligament in his right elbow while coming back and underwent Tommy John surgery in June. Inside the Rockies.com
After the 7 games, pitcher Craig Baker has come up with 4 saves in 4 chances and is sporting a nice 0.30 ERA.
Nuts announced roster here.
Catcher Wilin Rosario and center fielder Charlie Blackmon will jump a level this year and start at high Class A Modesto. Inside the Rockies.com
Released: LHP Craig Rodriguez
Optioned to high Class A: SS Hector Gomez
Since it appears as though Hector Gomez is still on a throwing program, we are going to move him down to Modesto and promote Daniel Mayora up to Tulsa.
It's quite possible that Gomez may have to start the season in extended spring training but as soon as he is healthy enough they will place him with the Nuts. I do not think he'll spend the entire season in Modesto though.
Voluntarily retired: RHP James Burok
Modesto 2009 team projection is up.
The obvious question is where the heck is Everth Cabrera... well, he was lost in a Rule 5 draft. He was a main figure in the Asheville offense last season and will be sorely missed at the top of the order for the Nuts in 2009.
Many think that Shane Lindsay will be in Tulsa rather than here. I believe that is wrong because the Drillers already have 6 starters. Lindsay will be better off starting the season in California for a month or 2... then moving up.
I do not believe this team will be as good as the Asheville one last season even though the players, for the most part, are all moving up together. The higher level of play should start to slow some of these players down and expose weaknesses that weren't so obvious before. However, look for 2 of the starters, Lindsay and Christian Friedrich, to out perform the others and be promoted up to Tulsa by the half season mark..
Team projections due the 1st half of Jan.
1. Tyler Matzek (8)
2. Kennil Gomez
3. Christian Bergman (16)
4. Juan Gonzalez
5. Joshua Mueller
Adam Jorgenson (33)
Bryce Massanari (37)
Kyle Parker (8)
Isaiah Froneberger (34) AFL
Leuris Gomez (37)
Kurt Yacko (32)
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.
Rafael Ortega (16)