2011 Draft Review: a pair of solid rotation prospects and a hot hitting middle infielder highlight the 2011 draft

Christian Petersen

In our ongoing review of recent Rockies drafts, we arrive at 2011. The main story is Story; Trevor that is. The supplemental round pick is lighting up the Cal League. Meanwhile, Tyler Anderson and Daniel Winkler have turned into interesting prospects.

Round 1, 20th overall: Tyler Anderson, LHP

Colorado selected lefty Tyler Anderson out of the University of Oregon in the latter part of the first round with the hopes that he would be a quick riser through the system. Instead he has been handled very carefully during his tour through the minors, as he has been slowed somewhat by injuries. Anderson has always put up respectable ERAs and does an excellent job limiting walks. He doesn't strike too many batters out; his strength is in keeping hitters off balance and letting them get themselves out.

Here's John Sickels's take on Anderson, heading into 2014:

13) Tyler Anderson, LHP, Grade C+: University of Oregon lefty looks past ’13 arm troubles, throws strikes, classic college-trained southpaw with decent stuff who relies on command. You can make a case to rank him as high as 10th depending on taste, lacks upside of Matzek but a much higher floor.

It's hard to see Anderson being anything more than a number four or five starter, but his early work in Double-A this year has been more than solid. He might see some time in the Majors this year if there are any further injuries.

Round 1, 45th Overall (Compensation pick): Trevor Story, SS

The Rockies received this sandwich pick between the first and second rounds due to the Free Agent departure of Octavio Dotel, of all people. So far it feels like a steal. Story has had two and a half very strong years as a youngster in the minors, and one terrible year. Said tough year was his 2013 in the California League, when he OPS'ed .700 with 183 strikeouts.

So how has Story responded to a disappointing year? By absolutely crushing the Cal League in his second tour of duty. The short stop's .331/.431/.554 slash line adds up tot .985 OPS, fourth highest in the league (and he's the youngest player in the top ten). The strikeouts are still a bit concerning (44 in 35 games), but after falling off a lot of prospect radars, this strong start is excellent to see. Sickels's take:

9) Trevor Story, SS, Grade B-: Borderline C+: I have been a Story advocate so his struggles in the Cal League were disappointing. He still has intriguing power/speed potential and I still like his defensive tools, but his strikeout issues are alarming, even with his fast start in the Cal League this year it is still worrisome. This would be the equivalent of his junior year in college. How would he be viewed if he were heading into the ’13 draft?

Round 2, 77th Overall: Carl Thomore, RF

It's been a rough go for Thomore in his three professional seasons, as his .604 career OPS can attest. The 21 year old better start hitting soon or the outfielder might get the bust label.

Other Notables

Round 5: Taylor Featherston, SS

Featherston has always been a touch old to get any love from prospect watchers, but he's a short stop who has never failed to hit, and that makes him interesting. The 24 year old has a career .818 OPS in the minors, and currently has a .377 OBP in Double-A. He might not get a chance in the Rockies organization (I hear they have a pretty decent short stop already), but he might be useful in a trade package.

Round 7: Harold Riggins, 1B

You don't see many first base prospects unless they hit the absolute snot out of the ball. Riggins has a respectable .876 career OPS and has 52 dingers in 299 career games, but neither of those numbers have turned too many heads so far.

Round 20, 618 Overall: Daniel Winkler, RHP

The Rockies picked 19 players before Winkler, and the rest of baseball picked 617 before him, but he's primed to make an impact on the Big Leagues. Winkler may be next in line on Colorado's starting pitcher depth chart as he continues to mow down minor leaguers. Winkler's 175 strikeouts led the minors last year, and he has picked up right where he left off in Tulsa this year. His 1.07 ERA outshines fellow rotation-mates and prospect studs Eddie Butler, Jon Gray, and Anderson. He's striking out nearly 10 per nine innings. As a right handed pitcher without a fastball that lights up the radar gun, he never got a lot of press, but he seems destined be the first 2011 draftee to see big league time for the Rockies.

Sickels:

14) Dan Winkler, RHP, Grade C+: Does not impress radar guns, all he does is get people out, changes speeds, crosses right-handed hitters up with low three-quarters delivery. Durable, efficient, fourth/fifth starter material in a neutral environment but fly ball tendency could be problematic here. Great value as a 2011 20th round pick from University of Central Florida.

It's obviously too early to judge the Rockies' 2011 draft, since no one has cracked the Major Leagues yet. The success of the draft will likely hinge on the shoulders of Winkler, Anderson, and Story. Trevor Story is the only guy with All-Star upside, but he's still two years away, and the contact issues are a red flag. If Winkler and/or Anderson become reliable rotation pieces, it will be a solid return.

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