All this week, we'll be discussing how the 2007 season went at the various levels within the system, starting with the short season and Latin development programs. Since most of the picks from June's draft fall into this group, this first discussion will also be an early evaluation of our picks after Casey Weathers. Don't worry if you've got something to get off your chest with him, as he'll get treated tomorrow along with the rest of the Asheville Tourists to note.
Since the site has started, we have picked up followers of most of the affiliates within the system, so the thoughts of those who've watched these seasons unfold first hand are especially welcome, but everybody's welcome to contribute questions or commentary.
Dominican Summer League/Foreign Free Agency: For the first time in several seasons the Rockies were pretty quiet during the heavy foreign signing period, letting the higher profile prospects sign with other teams.
Similarly, the Rox DSL team didn't have many standout performances, statistically speaking, but scouting profiles tend to be more important than the stats in the developmental stages and unfortunately, those are hard to come by. Keep in mind that several of the pitchers were just seventeen years old this season, and what appear to be middling performances at first blush (from Juan Gonzalez, for instance, a tall right hander with a very projectable frame) could actually be impressive in context. That said, one player who did put up good numbers, second baseman Angelys Nina, who will be nineteen for his first stateside season in 2008, seems to be one player to look particularly for next year. Similarly to Daniel Mayora, he combines several decent -but not exceptional- tools into a more impressive complete package.
Casper: Although the season started off slowly, there were some promising developments out of our most junior stateside affiliate. The bad news is that thus far, this group doesn't look like it will provide much front line help to the major league club down the road. Jhoulys Chacin is the one notable exception, his performance was very impressive for Casper at his age, and he seems to have leapfrogged several other pitchers in the system this year in terms of upside ranking. 2006 draftee Zack Murry's first season in the system was also promising, but thus far even he pales in comparison to other shortstops in the system and we need to see more in order to get excited. David Christensen had another season with disturbing high K, low contact numbers, but once again flashed some very promising power. At the other end, Jordan Pacheco showed decent contact abilities and patience, but what power he has seems like it might be a high altitude illusion. High school pitching draft picks Parker Frazier and Isaiah Froneberger had high and low points (lots of low points for Frazier) but don't write them off until after we see how they age.
Tri-City: The Dust Devils seemed to have the bulk of the more promising parts of this year's draft, including a couple of nice surprises who helped lead them to the NWL title series. 2007 draftees Brian Rike and Darin Holcomb were cogs for the offense, showing power, patience and good contact abilities. Everth Cabrera came off a somewhat disappointing season in Casper in 2006 with a nifty showing as well. Bruce Billings led the rotation with a higher K rate than I would have expected, and very few walks. His HR rate is a bit higher than we'd usually like for Tri-City, but it seems to me the stadium in general was allowing more this year, don't quote me on that though, I haven't looked it up yet. He was a senior draft pick, meaning that his age will be held against him until he skips a level, but right now he's got to be considered a sleeper for sure at the very least.
Several other members of the rotation -Cory Riordan, Sheng An Kuo and Robinson Fabian in particular- had up and down seasons, with much to like and dislike, but each of the three have enough tools to at least monitor their progress as they advance. Riquy Pena seems to be another power reliever the Rox are grooming in the tradition of Manny Corpas and Darren Clarke.