While I had been sick the last few days, I did try to keep up with what was going on, I just hadn't been lucid enough to make observations from the analytical side of my brain more profound than LOSING BAD, ME NOT LIKE LOSING. Meanwhile, the other side of my brain was no help either, insisting on carrying on a conversation with the large talking snail that was crawling up my window pane about how ghastly my choice of curtains was. Now, however, I'll try and catch up with some general notes before going on to yesterday's game action.
In all honesty, the Rockies' system this season has been disappointing. I'm probably going to get some backlash for that, so let me say that I still believe in the talent that we have, but there just haven't been as many break-out performances as I would like to see by this point and those few that have stepped forward have for the most part subsequently stepped back or injured themselves. In some cases, like Franklin Morales or Ubaldo Jimenez, the season struggles are so acute that we have seriously reassess our expectations.
This is probably a large part of the reason why we haven't seen anything in the way of promotions thus far. Casey Weathers' projected July 12 move to Asheville hints that there might finally be a small shuffling of the deck during the MLB All-Star break. The commissioner's office has a soft dictate that clubs try to put off other major news items such as trades and contract extensions until after the mid-Summer classic, but minor league moves typically don't fall into that category. which makes me wonder a little about why the Rockies are delaying. I still don't expect more than a handful of players to move.
I keep minor league players in a mental heirarchy that I should probably make an actual database table for to make my life easier, now that my brain has been scrambled.
Types of prospects:
I - Contender level starting position players, starting pitchers that you'd feel confident with in playoff rotation (ace, #2, a couple of projected #3's sometimes fit, too) elite relievers.
II - Everyday grind players above replacement value including the top bats off the bench, inning eating starters (most #3's and #4's) and all playoff bullpen quality relievers that are not in the elite category.
III - Replacement level bench players, fifth starters and middle relievers.
IV - Quality organizational players that could see limited MLB play down the road.
V - Players still too raw to project. Sometimes I try to guess anyway, particularly when we draft them or early in their rookie league campaigns
And then there are players I consider non-prospects, too, but those can be vital to the health of a system as well. I don't know why I bring this up here, exactly, it probably should have been prefaced with, Note to Self:
Colorado Springs: Ian Stewart is a good example of a category I player, and yesterday he went four for six with a homerun and three RBI. Clint Barmes should still be a category II, he also went four for six, but he hit 2 HR. Joe Koshansky only had one at bat and also hit a homerun. Mentally, I still have him in Category I, but I know and appreciate the arguments for keeping him in Category II. Portland pitching was obviously not putting out the good stuff on a night when the Sky Sox had 21 hits and fifteen runs in all, and the game was played at Colorado Springs.
Jimenez pitched fairly well, generating a 10-1 GB/FB ratio, although his walk and pitch count total over five innings was still too high. In all it was a remarkably similar start to the last time he faced Portland (at Portland) on June 23.
Tulsa: Tulsa didn't play yesterday.
Modesto: Chris Nelson hit two homeruns and Eric Young had five hits and scored five times in another offensive display by the Nuts in Stockton, as Modesto won 16-12. Nelson and Young are two of those players that just haven't been consistently good despite flashes of brilliance this season. Meanwhile, starter Brandon Hynick has been one that started off superbly but who has since cooled off enough to leave some doubt of his readiness for the next level. Yesterday Hynick couldn't make it through the third without giving up five runs on six hits, including two homeruns. I should reiterate that I'm still expectant of high levels of performance from all three of these players, I just can't ignore that the question marks are still there, however. How the answers to those questions evolve as the players develop and continue up the ladder is part of what makes monitoring this interesting to me. I mean, how capable are players of changing categories? Experience shows not all that capable, but it does happen, and those surprises are the most fun.
Asheville: Asheville lost eleven to three. Will Harris pitched the final two innings and in junk-duty to a potent West Virginia team in their hitter friendly park, he gave up two hits and a walk but otherwise struck out six. Nice. Not much else could be referred to that way from this game.
Tri-City: Speaking of not having much good to say, the Dust-Devils lost 7-1, with Bruce Billings and Casey Riordan both having their worst outings of this very short portion of the short season league. Everth Cabrera did walk three more times and Helder Velazquez had a pair of hits.
Casper: Casper lost seven to two, scoring both runs in the first inning on a single and four walks, but again, that was the only happiness from this game. So I will end this here.
BTW: My mind still flutters like a butterfly, and I am seriously disturbed by how difficult it is to concentrate now that my fever has lifted. This had better be a temporary side effect. Maybe it's the meds. I should check into that with my doctor, anyway. I just bring that up because given the process I've had to go through thus far this morning to get to this point, it looks like the timing of my posts might be adversely affected for a little while until it goes away or I figure out how to cope with it, so please bear with me.