Here are some injury updates, courtesy Troy Renck:
Willy Taveras - day to day, likely to miss the Cards series.
Mike DeJean - maybe two weeks to a rehab assignment
Kaz Matsui - working hitting and fielding drills, but not running
LaTroy Hawkins - throws to live batters on Friday
Byung Hyun Kim - decision time comes soon, he pitches again for the Sky Sox tonight. That the Rockies have a need in the rotation and aren't even giving BK lip service is telling.
Alright, I don't mean to be down on the team after the first winning road series of the season, but there are still some big cracks that need filled and this should be the month that the repair work is completed:
- Clint Hurdle's confidence in his players. Having Brad Hawpe sacrifice? Pinch hitting for Chris Iannetta? Hesitating to use Manny Corpas? Honestly all three of these guys in stretches this season haven't played to the level Hurdle or the rest of us would want to see, but then again, neither has Manny Ramirez or a host of other talented big league players. The point is that if they are the most able at their positions in the organization, and they are, then they need to be given the space to show it.
- Back-up infielders and outfielders.
- About four quality pitchers. DeJean and Hawkins might qualify, certainly moreso than Tom Martin at least.
This is my early speculating on the draft, up through the pick that matters:
- David Price
- Rick Porcello or Max Scherzer- I'm leaning to the opinion that the Royals take Scherzer (so long as the D-backs don't sign him) as Moore seems to be trying a rapid rebuild of the pitching staff and will want a polished college pitcher. He pulled the trigger with Hochevar last season, and both these guys plus offensive talent like Gordon and Butler could mean that the Royals are competitive again very fast.
- Cubs - Josh Vitters
- Pirates - Wieters? The player fits in talent and fills an organizational need with the Pirates, but the price tag might not work. Pittsburgh hasn't had much luck picking pitchers, however, so for now I'm sticking with this selection.
- Moskos or Detwiler, I don't see the Orioles going the high school route when talented college arms are available.
- Porcello, Scherzer or Andrew Brackman. Mike Rizzo likes his high ceiling players, and he picked Scherzer once already with Arizona last season. I'm pretty certain he'll take a pitcher from this trio, unless Vitters or Wieters drop to this selection.
- One of the above leftovers, Moustakas or Heyward. This is where it gets tricky. The Brewers are crafty good at the draft, and like the Rockies one selection down, they'll have a good pool of players to pick from, but they get first dibs. Although I doubt the Rockies would go for him because he's a Scott Boras advisee, Moustakas would be a nice selection at eight as well, barring that, I hope nobody gets Mike as he's otherwise committed to play for USC.
- So here's the short list that I think the Rockies will take a player from:
Jason Heyward - A left handed high school power bat that would likely go to the outfield in our organization, his skills at the plate are hard to pass up. Unless there are multiple flubs in the selections above us and Vitters or Wieters drop, I think Heyward would be the best bat available to us.
Andrew Brackman - I'm pretty certain he'll still be available, unless the D-backs sign Scherzer. I think he fits what the Rockies' would be looking for in a pitcher to a T, except for his likely above slot price tag as another Boras client.
Phillipe Aumont - The Rockies have had success with tall Canadian pitchers in the first round, and this one's as talented as Jeff Francis, if not moreso. If he's drafted at #8, I think it's likely that Aumont would sign for slot money.
Madison Bumgarner - A raw, tall and powerful left hander.
Both Bumgarner and Aumont wouldn't fit the mold of our last two top selections, where Bill Schmidt was trying to augment the wave of players already breaking into the majors with near MLB-ready prospects. With the success of last year's draft in producing quality pitching prospects like Reynolds, Hynick and Wieser, however, I think Schmidt might be more willing to take a chance on a raw, high upside guy like these two represent, particularly if Moskos and Detwiler are off the board. If I had to make a guess today, I would lean toward Aumont as the Rockies' selection in this year's draft. Although he's farther away from contributing, he's got all the size and tools of Brackman, but will likely come at a value price, and we know how the organization likes that.
PS. I've been busy at work and preparing for a move of late, so I wasn't able to comment on last week's Julio Borbon thread. I'm not as high on Julio as some here, I really don't know if he'll have any power in the big leagues, and if that's the case, he becomes Juan Pierre redux, weak arm and all. Of course, if I'm wrong and he really does become Johnny Damon redux, that would really, really be bad. I imagine the end result might be somewhere in between, maybe like a Ryan Freel without Farney, but I still like the pitchers in this draft better.