Since I'm going to be doing a bit more with the prospect rolls this morning, you can find recaps for all of last night's games here:
Modesto (the Nuts didn't play, the link is to notes previewing upcoming series)
I'll update this article with some more specific stuff on certain prospects throughout the day. By the way, John Sickels' minorleagueball site will be doing another mock draft this year on Sunday, June 4. Last year our Rockies representation was missing apparently, so if anybody wants to participate this year make sure you let him know in the thread to come later today.
Whither goest Ryan Shealy?
There are teams looking for first basemen right now who should be interested: the Cubs, the Dodgers, the Angels, to name three. Other available and relatively affordable talent at the position includes Pittsburgh's Craig Wilson.
Now, as far as Shealy is concerned, the silence from the rumor mill on this matter (according to Sky Sox braodcasters today there are scouts looking at Ryan) tells me a few things. First, the Rockies aren't actively shopping Shealy, probably due to Todd Helton's intestinal troubles. Second, there haven't been any serious offers initiated by other teams (such offers even if they're rebuffed usually wind up getting leaked eventually to the press) and my only guess as to why is probably because teams wanted to see how Shealy comes back from his shoulder injury because we all know he can hit. The rumor market around the Rox in general is much quieter than is typical at this time of year, which indicates to me that the market doesn't know what to make of the team -whether we're buyers, sellers, or a little of both- and our own management isn't actively working the phones looking to plug any leaks.
All of this has ramifications for our catching quandary, as it means that O'Dowd and Hurdle really must believe that Ardoin and Ojeda will carry the Rox through until Yorvit Torrealba returns and that they are pleased with JD Closser's turnaround.
-Closest to the majors- Bat:
Iannetta beats out most of the rest of the Drillers because he combines a relatively high contact rate, a very disciplined approach at the plate and enough power in his swing to be acceptable on offense at a defensive position. Though I feel he will best be served by a more delayed approach, Iannetta's skills at the plate right now trump those of his teammates, most of whom are striking out at ratios of 1/5 AB or higher.
Because more advanced pitchers have more elusive pitch repertoires, contact becomes very important at this level as a sign of readiness, so Ian Stewart's twenty-one extra base hits, and Troy Tulowtzki's average plus power are mitigated by their lower contact rates and their major league equivalent averages would be at best in the low .200's. That said, I would like to point out a couple of player stat pages to compare Tulo's progress to some of his shortstopping peers:
Troy Tulowitzki (this year)
When doing these comparisons it's important to align the ages and levels so they are more or less in sync with each other. One of the first things I notice is how favorably Tulo compares with Crosby, hitting better at AA a year before Bobby even got there. That said, comparisons to some of the MLB's most elite shortstops might be premature. Derek Jeter was hitting well at AAA at this point in his career. Note how Jeter's K rates jumped when he hit the MLB level. Derek had a better minor contact rate, so if he had trouble making the jump, you'll know Tulo's success will be even more in doubt at this point. The good news is that contact is to some degree a learnable skill, and Tulowitzki's performance at it has been been at least keeping pace with the rest of his development while he's been in the minors.
Closest to the majors: Arms:
I think you have to look at two players here as "closest to the majors" in terms of where they are at with the stuff they have been given. One is Enmanuel Ulloa, who -as his quality start this past weekend for the Sky Sox showed- is at least ready for AAA. Second, I would have to say Josh Newman. Now that's not to say that these two's talents are the best on the team, I just think they've harnessed what they have the best at this point to merit consideration for the call-ups.
When it comes to contact rates, there are few prospects in the Rockies system who hit the ball solidly with more consistency than Matt Miller. Miller's .882 rate last season shows that this year's .908 rate isn't a fluke, either. Miller should be one of the first of this summer's call-ups, there isn't much more he can learn with the Nuts. Finding a place for him further up the ladder is a little more tricky. As the primary corner outfielders, Tulsa has Seth Smith, Joe Gaetti and Jud Thigpen, Colorado Springs has Ryan Spillborghs and Jeff Baker, not a lot of space available up the ladder.