Results after the fold.15. Rafael Ortega (609 points, 40 ballots) -- Stats -- Spring 2011 Ranking: 12
For a 20 year-old who played very well in CF and led off the whole year in Low A (.294/.335/.438, 43 XBHs, 32 SB), Rafael Ortega really seemed to fly under the radar in 2011. The crazy thing is that of all of Colorado's great outfield prospects, Ortega might have the highest ceiling as an all-around great player -- contributing both at the plate and in the field.
Ortega is a player whose MLB future is quite likely, because even if his power doesn't develop fully, there's always room for a speedy, above average defensive center fielder with good contact ability. And if the power does develop...well, a Carlos Gonzalez type talent isn't completely out of the question with Ortega.
Contract Status: 2008 Amateur Free Agent (VZ), Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining
MLB ETA: 2014
14. Tyler Anderson (692 points, 38 ballots) -- Stats -- Spring 2011 Ranking: NR
Anderson, the 20th pick of the 2011 draft, is a left-handed pitcher out of Oregon. Anderson will be 22 when he begins his career with the organization, probably at Asheville or Modesto. He projects as a mid-rotation starter who has the reputation of a guy who is very polished and will move quickly through the system.
From most accounts, he doesn't have a whole lot of room to grow from what he is now (low 90's fastball, good changeup and a decent slider with good command), but hopefully that will be enough for him to make a quick impact with Colorado. Here's some scouting video if you're curious.
Pitch tools (college)
Contract Status: 2011 1st Round, Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining
MLB ETA: 2014
13. Edwar Cabrera (707 points, 39 ballots) -- Stats -- Spring 2011 Ranking: 21
Besides Chad Bettis and Tyler Matzek, Cabrera intrigues me the most of any of the pitching prospects in the system. All the 23 year-old lefty (incidentally, he turns 24 today -- it's also my dad's birthday) did in Low and High A in 2011 was go 8-3 with a 3.34 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and strike out a minor league leading 217 hitters in 167 IP -- that's a 11.7 K/9 ratio! His K/BB ratio was an excellent 5.29 as well. That makes him my clear choice for Colorado's minor league pitcher of the year.
Yes, he was pretty old for the level he pitched at in 2011, but then again, so was Juan Nicasio in 2010. I can really see Cabrera pulling a Nicasio in 2011 -- dominating in AA and then perhaps moving up to the majors. He doesn't have the power pitching that Nicasio does (and he's only 6', 160), but you don't get a career 12 K/9 ratio by accident. I mean, he was almost as dominant in High A as he was in Low A. Jon Sickels of Minor League Ball shares his scouting report on Cabrera here.
Contract Status: 2008 Amateur Free Agent (DR), Rule 5 Eligible (will be protected on 40 Man Roster)
MLB ETA: 2012/2013
12. Trevor Story (718 points, 40 ballots) -- Stats -- Spring 2011 Ranking: NR
Story, a SS who was Colorado's supplemental 1st round pick in the 2011 draft, was very impressive in his debut in the Pioneer League. So impressive, in fact, that the 18 year-old shortstop (who will turn 19 soon) was named the top prospect of that league by Baseball America, who called him a potential five tool shortstop. And yet...he wasn't even the highest rated shortstop on his team on this list (see the next PuRP).
Story hit .268/.364/.436 with 16 XBHs in 47 games for the Casper Ghosts, but what was most impressive (besides his defense) was his plate approach, as he walked in 12.3% of his PAs. His offensive ceiling is likely more of a 2 hole hitter, providing a solid high average, high OBP line at the MLB level, but if you combine that with above average shortstop defense and 15-20 HR power, that's a potential All-Star...and he's the 12th ranked guy on this list. That's some pretty impressive depth.
Contract Status: 2011 Supplemental 1st Round, Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining
MLB ETA: 2015
11. Rosell Herrera (724 points, 40 ballots) -- Stats -- Spring 2011 Ranking: HM
Herrera might have been only 5th in the Pioneer League according to Baseball America, but he was number one in the hearts of the PuRPs voters (by only 7 points). I would surmise that the reason for this was that Herrera's offensive ceiling is higher than that of Story -- a little less patience at the plate, but a LOT more offensive potential (though his hit tools don't necessarily reflect this) -- a middle of the order switch-hitting bat if the ceiling is reached. In his year 18 season in the Pioneer League, Herrera hit .284/.361/.449 with 24 XBHs in 63 games while alternating at SS with Story.
Proponents of Story would argue that Herrera's larger frame might eventually force him off of shortstop, meaning his defensive utility would be lower. My take is that the better bat outweighs any minor defensive differences at this point. Both are potential All-Star type players, both are athletic shortstops, and both are teenagers, but ultimately they are still both very far away from the Show. It will be a very entertaining journey for both of them.
Contract Status: 2009 Amateur Free Agent (DR), Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining
MLB ETA: 2015
Tomorrow the list enters the top 10, one of whom was my pick for minor league player of the year.