Prospects rolling into the Rockies

Prospects rolling into the Rockies

Before the 2008 season began, MLB.com took an in-depth look at every big-league team's Minor League system. Now it's time to recap and analyze all 30 organizations, from top prospects to the recent Draft class.

While it may have been a disappointing summer for the fans who had counted on their Colorado Rockies to make a run at another World Series appearance, the big picture is anything but bleak.

The big-league team is already well-stocked with a slew of players who came through the farm system but there are also a lot more on the way. However, it may take a little time before it streams back into the Colorado flow since the majority of the top talent finished the year at Double-A Tulsa or below.

That depth is especially noticeable around the infield, where the club may be looking at the pleasant dilemma of where to put some of these players within the next two years.

In 2008, the overall organization record was 386-394, a .495 winning percentage which ranked the club 19th out of 30 teams. But both of the Rockies' full-season Class A teams -- Modesto (70-69) and Asheville (83-56) -- made it to the postseason.

Organizational Players of the Year

MLB.com Preseason Picks

Eric Young Jr., 2B: The speedy scion of the now-retired Colorado Rockies legend of the same name continues to follow in his dad's fast footsteps, but a broken hamate bone sidelined him for a month early in the season and somewhat sidetracked his season. His numbers were still fine, as he swiped 46 bases in 105 games at Double-A Tulsa, hitting .290.
Young cranks a homer

Brandon Hynick, RHP: Coming off of two league Pitcher of the Year awards, earning the honor in the Class A Short-Season Pioneer League in 2006 and the Class A Advanced California League in 2007, it wasn't out of line to look for a possible trifecta. But it didn't happen. Hynick tied for third in the system with 10 wins but his overall numbers were a little more pedestrian, at 10-7 with a 4.44 ERA in 27 starts.
Hynick strikes out his season-high eighth


•  Monday, Oct. 6: Washington Nationals
•  Tuesday, Oct. 7: Seattle Mariners
•  Wednesday, Oct. 8: San Diego Padres
•  Thursday, Oct. 9: Pittsburgh Pirates
•  Friday, Oct. 10: Baltimore Orioles
•  Monday, Oct. 13: Atlanta Braves
•  Tuesday, Oct. 14: San Francisco Giants
•  Wednesday, Oct. 15: Cincinnati Reds
•  Thursday, Oct. 16: Colorado Rockies
•  Friday, Oct. 17: Detroit Tigers
•  Monday, Oct. 20: Kansas City Royals
•  Tuesday, Oct. 21: Oakland Athletics
•  Wednesday, Oct. 22: Texas Rangers
•  Thursday, Oct. 23: Cleveland Indians
•  Friday, Oct. 24: Arizona Diamondbacks
•  Monday, Oct. 27: Florida Marlins
•  Tuesday, Oct. 28: Toronto Blue Jays
•  Wednesday, Oct. 29: St. Louis Cardinals
•  Thursday, Oct. 30: Houston Astros
•  Friday, Oct. 31: Minnesota Twins
•  Monday, Nov. 3: New York Yankees
•  Tuesday, Nov. 4: New York Mets
•  Wednesday, Nov. 5: Los Angeles Angels
•  Thursday, Nov. 6: Chicago White Sox
•  Friday, Nov. 7: Milwaukee Brewers
•  Monday, Nov. 10: Chicago Cubs
•  Tuesday, Nov. 11: Boston Red Sox
•  Wednesday, Nov. 12: LA Dodgers
•  Thursday, Nov. 13: Tampa Bay Rays
•  Friday, Nov. 14: Philadelphia Phillies

MLB.com Postseason Selections

Joe Koshansky, 1B: Koshansky put up possibly his best career numbers yet, and that's saying something for the Virginia product who hit 36 homers at Class A Asheville in 2005 and 31 blasts with 109 RBIs at Double-A Tulsa in 2006. With Triple-A Colorado Springs this season he hit .300 with 31 homers and a Minor League-best 121 RBIs to go with a .600 slugging percentage and two -- count them, two -- games in which he hit for the cycle. A fourth-round pick in 2004, he was a college teammate of Washington's Ryan Zimmerman and Arizona third baseman Mark Reynolds.
Koshansky hits for the cycle
Koshansky hits his first Major League homer

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP: The 20-year-old from Venezuela came seemingly out of nowhere, after a nice but not spectacular stateside debut in which he posted a 3.13 ERA in 16 starts at Class A Short-Season Casper. This summer, in his first full season, Chacin combined between Asheville and Class A Advanced Modesto to lead the Minors in wins, going 18-3 with a 2.03 ERA and 160 strikeouts in 178 innings. He limited opposing hitters to a .221 average.
Chacin notches his ninth strikeout

Climbed the Ladder

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP: After going 10-1 with a 1.86 ERA at Asheville to open the year, Chacin didn't skip a beat upon his promotion to the more-advanced Modesto club, going 8-2 with a 2.31 ERA and keeping the opposition to one run or fewer in nine of his 12 starts. His changeup is his out pitch which he offsets with a low-90s fastball.

Dexter Fowler, OF: We predicted in our preview that Fowler and Reynolds, both of whom missed the second halves of 2007, would be our comeback players of the year and we were 2-for-2. The 14th-round pick from 2004 had flashed his many tools in his first few seasons but had yet to enjoy one uninterrupted by injuries. This year he hit .335 with nine home runs, 64 RBIs and 20 steals in 108 games at Tulsa. The season was, indeed, interrupted, but by his selection to the US Olympic Team. The exciting switch-hitter also made his big league debut, which included a Sept. 10 start in his hometown of Atlanta.
Fowler hits a pair of homers

Greg Reynolds, RHP: This was a tough call, as to whether to put Reynolds in this category or the one below. But having come from a handful of starts at Tulsa in 2007 to making 13 starts for the big league club has to qualify as climbing the ladder, even if his numbers were not as good as he might have liked. He went 2-8 with an 8.13 ERA, allowing 83 hits in 62 innings and walking 26 while striking out 22, allowing a .322 average against. But the Rockies' 2006 No. 1 pick out of Stanford is big and strong and should turn things around as he's only a little more than a year removed from rotator cuff surgery.
Reynolds fans his fifth batter

Ian Stewart, 3B: In our preview, we wrote "Stewart is the club's third baseman of the future but when that future is remains to be seen, as they have a pretty good third baseman right now in Garrett Atkins." Well, Stewart's gain was Atkins' move across the diamond when the invincible veteran first baseman Todd Helton went down with back trouble, and by season's end was the team's new starting third baseman. Though he went back down for a month during a slump, he finished with a .259 average to go with 10 homers and 41 RBIs after hitting .280 with 19 homers and 57 RBIs at Colorado Springs. The first-round pick from 2003 has long been heralded as one of the future cornerstones of the system.
Stewart plates six runs

Corey Wimberly, IF: A broken hamate bone may have hampered Wimberly during much of the season but you wouldn't know it by looking at his numbers -- his 59 steals ranked seventh in the Minors. The switch-hitter, who is listed at what might be a generous 5-foot-8 but makes up for it with his athletic build, saw even playing time at second, shortstop and third base to add even more versatility to his resume. After hitting .407 in the Arizona Fall League in 2007, he kept it going in 2008, batting .291 in 108 games at Tulsa.
Wimberly's 58th steal of the season

Eric Young Jr., 2B: Wimberly's shift to super-utility infielder was prompted in part by Young being installed full-time at second base. The two complement each others' game very well and give any team an injection of major speed atop the lineup. When healthy, Young led the Minors in steals with 87 in 2006 and swiped 73 in 2007. He was a 30th-round pick in 2004 out of high school in New Jersey. Now playing in the Arizona Fall League, Young is working out in center field to further increase his versatility.

Kept Their Footing

Hector Gomez, SS: Gomez played just one game at Modesto this year, so it would be easy to leave him off the list or say he lost his footing, but injuries notwithstanding, the 21-year-old remains their best shortstop prospect. Gomez suffered a stress fracture in his shin on opening night when he fouled a bunt off of his leg, and then was sidelined for the second-half of the season with elbow soreness just as he was finishing up the rehab for his leg. A South Atlantic League All-Star with Asheville in 2007 when he hit .266 with 11 homers, 61 RBIs and 20 steals, he dazzles on defense with one of the best arms in the system when healthy, and the Rockies look forward to his 2009 comeback.

Brandon Hynick, RHP: An eighth-round pick in 2006 out of Birmingham Southern, Hynick has compensated for average "stuff" with pinpoint command and makeup. He throws four pitches, including a fastball around 90, a splitter, a changeup and a curve. The workhorse, who has thrown more than 170 innings in each of his last two seasons, had a fabulous August, posting a 1.56 ERA in his last five starts at Tulsa, so he could be back on the climb in 2009.

Joe Koshansky, 1B: So, you may ask, how does our MLB.com Organizational Hitter of the Year not get listed among those who climbed the ladder? Because despite Koshansky's now-routine Minor League heroics, there doesn't seem to be a spot for him in the big leagues. With Todd Helton on the DL, Koshansky got a brief look at the position, but hit just .211 in 18 games with the Rockies and doesn't appear to be in the picture. With his legitimate power stroke, surely someone must need this 26-year-old's bat.

Mike McKenry, C: Rockies farm director Marc Gustafson joked before the season that so many scouts were taking notice of this power-hitting catcher from Middle Tennessee State that he might have to take him off his sleeper list. Consider that a done deal now as McKenry continued to hit for power in his move up to Modesto, where he batted .258 with 18 homers and 75 RBIs after hitting .287 with 22 home runs and 90 RBIs at Asheville in 2007. The 2006 seventh-rounder's mechanics continue to improve behind the plate as well.
McKenry hits a three-run blast

Chris Nelson, SS: On the bubble for the "slipped a rung" list, Nelson's tools and makeup will keep him on our list here for now, as his forgettable 2008 campaign --.237 with 42 RBIs in 73 games at Tulsa -- was sidetracked by injuries. The first-round pick from 2004 will look to rebound in 2009 with numbers more indicative of his talent, such as his 2007 season at Modesto when he hit .289 with 19 home runs, 99 RBIs and 27 steals. With Hector Gomez having lost a season and expected to return to Modesto in '09, Nelson should have another full season to show what he can do at Tulsa.
Nelson cranks a homer

Casey Weathers, RHP: Though his 2008 season was largely a successful one, the 2007 first-rounder's future is on hold for the time being, as an elbow injury suffered this week in the Arizona Fall League will necessitate Tommy John surgery and cause him to miss the entire 2009 season. A true closer, Weathers didn't pitch in that role at Tulsa this year. He was actually the Drillers' set-up man extraordinaire, posting a 3.05 ERA in 44 games, but rarely went more than the requisite one inning, striking out 54 in 44 1/3 innings. He spent most of the last month with Team USA at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Before his injury he had a mid-90s fastball and a power slider.
Weathers notches his third strikeout

Slipped a Rung

Juan Morillo, RHP: The kid with the 100-MPH fastball still can't seem to harness the command and consistency he will need to be a legitimate big leaguer, and pitched just one inning in the Majors this year while posting a 5.28 ERA in 52 games in relief at Colorado Springs. His 56 walks to 55 strikeouts in 59 2/3 innings was not a good sign in his last option year.

On the Radar

Everth Cabrera, 2B/SS: The switch-hitting middle infielder, who saw 84 games at second and 34 at shortstop at Asheville, led the Minors with 73 steals, the second time in three years a Tourists player has achieved that feat (Eric Young Jr. did it in 2006). He batted .284 in that span.
Cabrera flashes some power with a roundtripper

Darin Holcomb, 3B: Holcomb, a 12th-round pick in 2007, had a fantastic first full season as he earned South Atlantic League MVP honors at Asheville, hitting .318 with 14 homers, 102 RBIs and 46 doubles, which was second in the Minors by one two-bagger. His .400 on-base average was second in the league.
Holcomb rips a three-run homer

Matt Miller, OF: At 26, he may be running out of time to put himself into the upper echelon of Rockies prospects but if his 2008 season wasn't enough to do that, maybe nothing will. Miller, who spent most of his time at Tulsa, led the organization in batting with a .341 average and he added 10 homers and 107 RBIs.
Miller ties up a game with a blast

Wilin Rosario, C: The 19-year-old with good power and a live bat hit .316 with 12 homers and 49 RBIs at Casper. He has an excellent arm and threw out 46 percent of opposing runners.
Rosario cranks a homer

Draft Recap

1. Christian Friedrich, LHP: The only member of the Colorado Draft class to make it to a full-season team, Friedrich posted a 3.25 ERA in eight starts at Class A Short-Season Tri-City, striking out 50 in 36 innings, before moving up to Asheville where he had a 7.50 ERA in three starts over a span of 12 innings. He was the 25th pick overall out of Eastern Kentucky and throws a 12-6 curveball, good slider and a fastball around 90.
Friedrich notches his fifth strikeout

2. Charles Blackmon, OF: The converted pitcher out of college in Georgia finished second in the Northwest League in batting, hitting .338 with two homers and 33 RBIs in 68 games, to go with 13 steals. He has plus speed and good power potential for a nice tools package.
Blackmon cranks a homer

3. Aaron Weatherford, RHP: Weatherford's 0.85 ERA and seven saves for Mississippi State as a junior led the club as he fanned 62 in 31 2/3 innings but the campaign was shortened by an injury which kept him from playing for the Rockies after he signed this summer.

Others of Note: C Kiel Roling (sixth round) out of Arizona State hit .344 with four homers and 17 RBIs at Casper. ... RHP Dan Houston (seventh round) from Boston College finished ninth in the Pioneer League's ERA race with a 4.17 and 68 strikeouts in 69 innings. ... RHP Kurt Yacko (eighth round) from Chapman College led the Pioneer League with 11 saves for Casper. ... RHP Adam Jorgenson (26th round) out of Cal State Fullerton had a 1.24 ERA in 23 games in relief at Casper, striking out 43 while walking four in 29 innings. ... Oral Roberts' RHP Carlos Luna (30th round) posted a 1.98 ERA in 36 1/3 innings at Tri City. ... Keep an eye on OF Delta Cleary (37th round) out of Louisiana State-Eunice, who hit .276 with three homers, nine RBIs and four steals at Casper. A cousin of the NBA's Shawn Marion, he is a high-ceiling tools prospect with plus power.

Lisa Winston is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.