Rockies Prospect Roundup: After Week One the Pitching Looks Good

Eddie Butler pitching in Grand Junction last season - by Charlie Drysdale

First time through the rotation and Rockies pitchers have produced a lot of goose eggs in the minor league system. Ben Alsup, Christian Bergman, Drew Pomeranz and Eddie Butler have all produced a 0.00 ERA.

The return of Jhoulys Chacin, Juan Nicasio, and Jorge De La Rosa to the Rockies rotation has caused a pile up along the I-25 corridor in the Colorado system. The return of the Big Three in the rotation was considered a best case scenario and it showed how desperate the Rockies situation was last year when their top three pitchers went down with injury. With those three back pitching, it leaves last year's rotation guys heading back to the minors.

This year the Colorado Springs rotation is stocked with experienced MLB pitchers like Drew Pomeranz, Christian Friedrich, Tyler Chatwood and recently signed Aaron Cook. The only pink sock in the wash is Nick Schmidt, the PTBNL in the Huston Street trade. It appears Schmidt may be a placeholder for Edwar Cabrera, who is available to come off the 60-day DL on Sunday, although there's been no word from the Rockies if Edwar is healthy enough to return. Plus, that would require a corresponding move on the 40-man roster to make him available.

The Sky Sox have also been impacted by the transition of both Rob Scahill and Josh Outman to the bullpen. Outman has experience in the pen, with 47 minor league appearances. Rob Scahill's move was a little more unexpected, he battled control issues last season, but also had a solid 3.65 FIP for the Sky Sox.

First time through the rotation and Pomeranz has had the best outing so far, throwing a shutout in 5.2 innings of work with eight strikeouts. Aaron Cook had the toughest outing when wind blasts of 55 mph eventually causing the game to be called after five innings. The damage had already been done however and his ERA sits at 20.25 by the time he was pulled in the third inning.

COLORADO SPRINGS TOP PITCHERS:


ERA

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

Drew Pomeranz

0.00

0.882

1.6

12.7

Tyler Chatwood

3.86

2.143

3.9

7.7

Christian Friedrich

4.91

0.818

4.9

12.3

The impact of the Big Three's return for the Rox was felt all the way down in Double-A as both Dan Houston and Joe Gardner were repeating Tulsa for the third time. Gardner and fellow PuRP Parker Frazier will be moved to the pen to make room for the promotions of Tyler Matzek and Christian Bergman as well as the return from injury by Chad Bettis.

Following up on his Cal league Pitcher of the Year season, Christian Bergman had an impressive first start of the year. Christian went six scoreless innings and allowed only one hit and produced six strikeouts. Despite Bergman's performance the Drillers, through Wednesday, ranked last in the Texas League with a 4.53 ERA through Wednesday. Matzek and Bettis have yet to find their footing out of the gate and are trying to gain some traction.

TULSA'S TOP PITCHERS:


ERA

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

Christian Bergman

0.00

0.500

3.0

9.0

Tyler Matzek

4.50

2.000

1.8

7.2

Chad Bettis

7.20

2.000

11.2

11.2


Early in the year Tyler Anderson was trying to make the jump to Tulsa, even working with the Double-A regulars during Spring Training. Ultimately the front office chose to instead place him in Modesto where he has performed well with a 2.19 ERA through two starts. The Nuts rotation has been strong in April and is one of the leaders in the Cal League in ERA. They have four pitchers with an ERA under three through Wednesday, including Anderson, Tyler Gagnon, Daniel Winkler and Ben Alsup. Alsup's start was the best of the group, throwing seven shutout innings and getting nine strikeouts.

MODESTO'S TOP PITCHERS:


ERA

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

Ben Alsup

0.00

0.429

0.0

11.6

Dan Winkler

1.59

0.882

1.6

9.5

Tyler Anderson

2.19

1.054

2.9

7.3

Eddie Butler, the Rockies 2012 sandwich pick, told me last year that he was hoping to play in Modesto this season and so far his performance has matched his desire. Through two starts Eddie has given up only three hits and has yet to allow a run to score. Most impressive has been the rise of his strikeout rate, last season it sat at a pedestrian 7.3 and this year he's at a more dominant 11.1 K/9, although his walk rate has also gone up which is something to keep an eye on.

Asheville's bullpen is something to behold, they're averaging 12.4 K/9 on the season. Leaders in the pen are Raul Fernandez and Jesse Meaux who have each earned a save and carry a K/9 of over 18 with three appearances each.

ASHEVILLE'S TOP PITCHERS:


ERA

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

Eddie Butler

0.00

0.706

4.0

11.1

Ben Hughes

1.29

1.000

1.3

2.6

T.J. Oakes

3.24

2.040

5.4

5.4

Offensively it's hard to overlook Nolan Arenado's .438 batting average or his .938 slugging. That's not his OPS folks, that's his slugging percentage a week into the season. Nolan is motivated to make the Rockies promote him and he has the ability to pick a team up with his hitting in the way Larry Walker used to. Of course it's still early in the season and Jonny Herrera is slugging .714, so let's not get too carried away yet.

Corey Dickerson, Kent Matthes, and Matt Wessinger have all put up solid lines this first week of the year, but Rosell Herrera is back on my radar. After watching him put on a hitting display in Spring Training, it's nice to see him continue his barrage at Low-A Asheville - especially since he struggled so much last year before being demoted to Tri City.

TOP HITTING PuRPS:


AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

Nolan Arenado

.438

.471

.938

1.409


Tom Murphy

.292

.414

.542

.956

Corey Dickerson

.353

.368

.588

.956

Kent Matthes

.308

.308

.615

.923

Rosell Herrera

.267

.353

.500

.853

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