Fall 2012 PuRPs List: #10-6

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

The penultimate installment of the Fall 2012 PuRPs list, the Purple Row community's list of the top 30 Rockies prospects

This is the fourth installment of the Fall 2012 PuRPs list. As a reminder, 23 ballots were cast in this edition of the PuRPs poll, with 30 points being granted for a first place vote, 29 for second, etc. Until a player was named on 8 ballots, his vote totals were modified on a sliding scale to avoid an individual ballot having too much say over the community forecast -- but none of the above players had that problem, as all 30 players on the PuRPs list were named on at least 8 ballots.

For each player on the PuRPs list, I've included a link to their stats (via Baseball-Reference), their relevant "tool score indicators" compared to their league on a 1-100 scouting scale (which is explained here) per the wonderful Baseball Cube, their contract status (via Rockies Roster), their probable MLB ETA (assuming they do make the Show), and a note on their 2012 season to date. For what it's worth, I'll also include where I put them on my personal ballot.

Remember that neither the tool scores nor the statistics pages are the end-all be-all when evaluating these players. Context is hugely important (such as the player's age relative to the league's average or the league average offensive numbers), as is the fact that injuries to prospects can affect both their tools and their stats.

Here are PuRPs 10-6:

10. Tyler Matzek (454 points, 22 ballots) -- Spring 2012 Ranking: 4 -- High Ballot 4, Mode (most common when placed) Ballot 10

The 22 year-old Matzek (as of today), a lefty starter at High A Modesto, is Colorado's most controversial prospect. He's also might still the player with the highest ceiling in the Rockies' system. His warts have been well publicized at this point -- he has unusual mechanics (he follows the Mike Marshall method) and a different pitching philosophy that emphasizes throwing any pitch in any count. As a result, Matzek's walk rates are astronomically high -- he has a career BB/9 of 6.9 and a WHIP of 1.61.

Then again, Matzek also has a career K/9 rate of 9.6 and H/9 of 7.5, both of which are better than Chad Bettis (who appears later in this article), for instance. This year, Matzek has lowered the BB/9 rate to 6.0, but his H/9 rate was at 8.5, which has had the result of a 4.62 ERA and 1.61 WHIP. Matzek would fit right in with Rockies pitching in 2012, as his average outing was 5 innings during the year.

I still buy in to Matzek's upside (I ranked him 4th on my ballot) -- but whether Matzek is able to make it to the Show (especially as a starter) at this point is very much up in the air. Hopefully next season at Tulsa will bring some clarity to the situation. When it comes to Matzek, expect the unexpected.

Pitch Tools

Control
4
K-Rating
84
Efficiency
26
vsPower
71

Contract Status: 2009 1st Round, Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: Late 2014

9. Rafael Ortega (489 points, 23 ballots) -- Spring 2012 Ranking: 12 -- High Ballot 6, Mode Ballot 7, 8

Ortega -- a 21 year-old lefty outfielder in High A Modesto -- does not present as an impressive offensive profile as other outfielders on this list like Corey Dickerson or Kyle Parker. After all, Ortega is nominally a speedy lead-off prototype hitter, as we witnessed in his cameo with the big club this September.

The big difference between Ortega and Colorado's other outfield prospects is that he can stick in center field at the major league level while providing a decent bat with speed at the top of the order (he led off and hit .283/.344/.410 as one of the youngest players in the California League). There's considerable value in that, which is why I had Ortega 7th on my PuRPs ballot.

Ortega is a player whose MLB future is quite likely despite the fact that (until September) he'd never played above A ball, 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 that's what makes Ortega such an intriguing prospect -- and a potential replacement for Dexter Fowler

Hit Tools

Speed
90
Contact
72
Patience
42
Batting
81
Power
47

Contract Status: 2008 Amateur Free Agent (VE), 40 Man Roster 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: Late 2013 (again)

8. Tyler Anderson (490 points, 23 ballots) -- Spring 2012 Ranking: 7 -- High Ballot 4, Mode Ballot 11

Anderson, a 22 year-old LHP who pitched for Low A Asheville this year, was a first round pick in 2011 who was expected to move quickly through the organization. Sure enough, the results showed up in a big way this year (2.47 ERA, 1.08 WHIP over 120 IP), but that doesn't mean there aren't reasons for pause with Anderson.

A paltry 6.1 K/9 rate as a 1st round pitching prospect who was a little old for the level is a pretty serious red flag, after all. High K rates are much better predictors of MLB success than low BB rates, so that's something to keep an eye on. In any case, Anderson's pedigree and results were enough to place him 11th on my list. Should he continue this success at Modesto next year and/or if he starts striking more guys out, Anderson vaults into my top 5.

Pitch Tools

Control
59
K-Rating
58
Efficiency
73
vsPower
50

Contract Status: 2011 1st Round, Not Rule 5 eligible, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: Late 2014

Note, there was a tie between 6th and 7th on this list -- the tie was broken by Mode Ballot.

7. Corey Dickerson (523 points, 23 ballots) -- Spring 2012 Ranking: 14 -- High Ballot 5, Mode Ballot 9

Dickerson, a 23 year-old lefty outfielder at AA Tulsa, is a player who has really taken every opportunity he's been given and has excelled. The 8th round pick has hit well at every level he's been faced with, including a .338/.396/.583 line with 37 XBHs in 60 games at Modesto that got him a mid-season promotion to Tulsa. Against AA pitching, Dickerson cooled off a little (.274/.322/.504, 32 XBHs in 67 games), but he still had an extremely successful year.

During his minor league career, Dickerson has hit .307/.370/.592, which could signal a pretty significant MLB impact if he can keep it up at higher levels. The knock on Dickerson (beyond his low round pedigree and his small stature) has been that his defense plays only at a corner outfield position, which is why he rated only 10th on my list.

Hit Tools

Speed
71
Contact
57
Patience
50
Batting
77
Power
91

Contract Status: 2010 8th Round, Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: 2014

6. Chad Bettis (523 points, 23 ballots) -- Spring 2012 Ranking: 5 -- High Ballot 5, Mode Ballot 8

Bettis, a 23 year-old RHP who sat out 2012 with a shoulder injury, was a very difficult prospect to place on this list. After all, Bettis had a phenomenal 2011 at Modesto (3.34 ERA, 1.1 WHIP, 9.8 K/9) while displaying a powerful slider and a high 90s fastball, enough to get him up to #86 on Baseball America's Top 100 list. Jon Sickels ranked him 3rd in the Rockies system coming into the year, as did BA.

Then Bettis got hurt and didn't pitch at all in 2012 -- shoulder injuries are mysterious. It's hard to tell if Bettis will ever be the same dominant pitcher again. Our own Matt Muzia interviewed Bettis in depth in the July Farm Report. I ranked Bettis 8th on my ballot because of the injury, but should he regain his form in 2013 he'll be right back in top 100 territory (if not in Colorado's starting rotation).

Pitch Tools

Control
59
K-Rating
54
Efficiency
60
vsPower
57


Contract Status
: 2010 2nd Round, Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: 2014

Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion to the 2012 Fall PuRPs List on Monday!

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