FanPost

Monday Rockpile: Ranking The Rockies Pitching Prospects

Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

Editor's Note: The following post is a part of the 2013 Purple Row Writer Search -- our quest to find some great new contributors to Purple Row.

One of the holes in the Rockies organization is the lack of MLB-ready pitchers. Few guys are knocking on the door and pitching so well the front office has to give them a shot in the rotation. The talent for this crop of pitchers lie mostly in the lower levels of the system, but after the graduation of Christian Friedrich and Drew Pomeranz, only a couple of pitchers are left who are ready to make a jump to the next level.

The bulk of the talent in this system comes from Latin America and the recent 2012 draft. Jayson Aquino is the forerunner in a group of Dominican pitchers preparing to surge through the Rockies farm. For over two years Aquino dominated the Dominican Summer League until the Rockies finally gave him a shot in the states. Last year Aquino had the second best ERA of 1.66 and SIERA of 2.72 in the system (SIERA is a predictor ERA which doesn't penalize groundball pitchers the way FIP does). Aquino's success is attributed to both a high groundball rate and a strikeout rate of 9.14 K/9 which grades as one of the best in the Rockies system. Those numbers are his combined 2012 stats between the pitcher-friendly DSL and hitter-friendly Pioneer League. Other Latin pitchers on the rise include Antonio Senzatela, a 17 year old who lead the DSL with a 0.72 ERA with a heavy fastball and didn't allow a home run the entire year. Angel Lezama is another starter to watch, he lead the Rockies system in two categories, the lowest FIP with 2.15 FIP and the highest strikeout rate at 10.18 K/9. Lezama coupled his strikeout prowess with a control that ranked second lowest in the system.

Supplemental first rounder, Eddie Butler headlined the 2012 Rockies draft which also included a surprise from the later rounds. Slightly old for the Pioneer league, Butler showed dominance with a 2.13 ERA. He attacks the strike zone early with a heavy fastball contributing to a 54% groundball rate, he also allowed only a single home run all year in altitude parks and still maintained a decent strikeout rate. Ryan Arrowood was a pleasant surprise out of the 28th round in the draft. He ambushed the pitcher-friendly Northwest league finishing second in the Rockies system in FIP at 2.21 and second in strikeouts with a 10.03 K/9.

Pitchers closest to the majors include Rob Scahill, Edwar Cabrera and perhaps Chad Bettis. All three have a high strikeout ability, but carry some kind of warts. Scahill showed a better SIERA (3.84) than his actual ERA of 5.76 which could be a better predictor of his true outcome. The other reason Scahill may become a solid starter is from a high strikeout rate of 9.36 K/9, but he also allows a walk rate of 4.44 BB/9 indicating he allows too much traffic. Edwar Cabrera typically doesn't walk a lot of batters and has maintained one of the best strikeout rates in the system. His low rate in Tulsa aside (7.53), Cabrera has an exceedingly high ability to strike-out batters with a 11.08 K/9 in Triple-A after a 11.69 in combined stops in Modesto and Asheville the prior year. Edwar's Achilles heel is his penchant for allowing home runs, he tends to tire later in games and elevates his pitches allowing 1.60 HR/9, one of the worst in the system. After pitching nearly 170 innings in 2011, Chad Bettis was shutdown last season with elbow problems. If healthy, he maintains one of the most dominant arms in the system and was recognized by Baseball America with a ranking of 86th in their Top 100 before last year.

Infographic

Rankingslidersp_zpse604eebe_medium

Top 10 Breakdown

1. Edwar Cabrera LHP (FA,DSL Debut at 20 yrs old)

In 2011, lead the minor leagues in strikeouts with 217, will need to improve his curveball to get a shot in the Rockies rotation. Video of Edwar

2. Eddie Butler RHP (2012, Supplemental 1st Rd)
Consistently paints the strike zone with a heavy 97 mph fastball. Needs to improve his secondary pitches to increase his strikeout rate. Video of Butler

3. Chad Bettis RHP (2010, 2nd Rd)
2011 CAL league pitcher of the year. Jaw dropping 100 mph fastball with a 88-91 wipeout slider. A healthy arm in 2013 moves Bettis to #1 on this list and perhaps into the Rockies rotation. Video of Bettis

4. Jayson Aquino LHP (FA, DSL Debut at 17 yrs old)
Average fastball around 90-92 velocity, complemented by an excellent changeup. Video of Aquino

5. Tyler Anderson LHP (2011, 1st Rd)
Paints the corners with average fastball velocity and pinpoint control. Was solid in his first year in the minors with a 2.47 ERA with a red flag SIERA of 3.95. His strikeout rate of 6.06 K/9 was much lower than expected, surprising because he profiled as a better strikeout pitcher in college. Video of Anderson

6. Antonio Senzatela RHP (FA, DSL Debut at 17 yrs old)
Signed as a 16 year old free agent out of Venezuela, was initially enticed by an offer from Detroit for $800,000 that was later withdrawn and ultimately signed with Colorado for $250,000. Reports have him hitting 95 on the fastball, with a 1-7 curve that can be thrown in any count and an improving changeup.

7. Tyler Matzek LHP (2009, 1st Rd)
Former phenom has returned to earth since being drafted. Maintains one of the best strikeout rates of 9.67 K/9 in the system, but also the highest walk rate of 6.01 BB/9 as well. Video of Matzek

8. Ryan Arrowood RHP (2012, 28th Rd)
Average fastball command with a solid changeup and curve. At 6'3" has good size makeup and in his first year in the minors posted a better strikeout rate than Tyler Matzek. Video of Arrowood

9. Rob Scahill RHP (2009, 8th Rd)
Plus velocity with a 96 mph fastball, but lacks control on his secondary pitches. Could profile as a strong reliever.Video of Scahill

10. Angel Lezama RHP (FA, DSL debut at 17 yrs old)
Exhibits high strikeout ability doubled with a control that walks very few batters. May be in line for a stateside promotion after two strong seasons in the DSL.

Honorable Mention: Joe Gardner, Dan Houston, Tyler Gagnon, Alex Gillingham, Christian Bergman, Shane Broyles

Top Pitching Prospects Table

Name

Age

Tm

G

IP

ERA

FIP

SIERA

GB%

BABIP

HR/9

BB/9

K/9

Tyler Anderson

23

ASH

20

120.3

2.47

3.17

3.95

50%

0.272

0.37

2.09

6.06

Jayson Aquino

20

2 Tms

16

108.3

1.66

2.22

2.72

53%

0.261

0.25

1.66

9.14

Ryan Arrowood

22

TC

19

46.7

2.12

2.21

2.84

41%

0.278

0.19

2.51

10.03

Christian Bergman

24

MOD

27

162.7

3.65

3.73

3.97

39%

0.298

0.89

2.05

6.69

Chad Bettis*

23

MOD

27

169.7

3.34

2.73

2.91

42%

0.300

0.53

2.39

9.76

Shane Broyles

21

TC

13

68.3

3.69

2.86

3.31

43%

0.296

0.53

1.45

7.90

Eddie Butler

21

GJ

13

67.7

2.13

2.34

3.24

54%

0.287

0.13

1.73

7.32

Edwar Cabrera

25

2 Tms

23

135.3

3.39

4.64

3.49

44%

0.221

1.60

2.79

8.38

Parker Frazier

24

TUL

27

167

3.83

4.39

4.38

50%

0.302

1.02

2.16

5.01

Tyler Gagnon

23

2 Tms

13

42.3

2.98

3.29

4.30

41%

0.309

0.43

2.34

6.17

Joe Gardner

24

TUL

28

138.3

3.97

4.03

3.88

55%

0.276

0.85

2.54

6.44

Alex Gillingham

23

ASH

19

123

3.66

3.43

3.61

61%

0.305

0.37

2.05

6.07

Johendi Jiminian

20

GJ

13

44.7

7.05

5.17

5.57

42%

0.335

0.81

5.64

5.44

Angel Lezama

18

DSL

12

61

2.51

2.15

2.61

45%

0.327

0.30

1.33

10.18

Tyler Matzek

22

MOD

28

142.3

4.55

3.80

4.24

40%

0.329

0.44

6.01

9.67

Vianney Mayo

22

ASH

19

96

4.78

4.22

4.48

36%

0.307

0.94

3.38

6.84

T.J. Oakes

22

TC

11

49

4.41

3.26

3.18

58%

0.373

0.73

1.29

6.98

Helmis Rodriguez

18

DSL

12

74

1.82

2.94

3.64

50%

0.261

0.36

1.46

6.45

Rob Scahill

25

COL

28

150

5.76

3.69

3.84

48%

0.366

0.66

4.44

9.36

Antonio Senzatela

17

DSL

13

62.7

0.72

2.80

4.23

51%

0.212

0.00

2.01

5.03

Peter Tago

20

TC

14

72.3

5.47

4.93

5.17

54%

0.271

0.50

4.85

4.60

Ryan Warner

18

GJ

14

45

7.00

5.27

4.20

34%

0.367

1.80

2.60

7.20

Daniel Winkler

22

ASH

25

145.3

4.52

4.18

3.73

41%

0.325

0.99

2.91

8.42

*2011 stats

**Top 3 bolded

Rockies Links

Josh Rutledge ready to challenge for a starting spot.

Carl Pavano suffered a ruptured spleen, bad news for Rockies fans hoping to sign the pitcher. The injury occurred after he fell in Brian Griese's the driveway while shoveling snow.

Nolan Arenado was named the fourth best third base prospect in baseball.

Will Swanner was named the tenth best catching prospect in baseball. A distinction that Wilin Rosario had previously filled for two years.

Video interview of Rockies outfield prospect Corey Dickerson.

Carson Cistulli provides nerd stats for the Venezuelan WBC team where Carlos Gonzalez is the second highest ranked player by WAR and wRC+.

Off Topic

Eat. Drink. Be Merry. But the above FanPost does not necessarily reflect the attitudes, opinions, or views of Purple Row's staff (unless, of course, it's written by the staff [and even then, it still might not]).

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