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System high points:

These are the numbers that are exciting me the most at the various levels in the Rockies system thus far.

Colorado Springs: .260

That's Ian Stewart's road ISO. Since the Sky Sox started play as the Rockies affiliate, no hitter Stewart's age or younger has maintained that high of an isolated slugging percentage on the road over the course of a season. Few have passed it when you even include their home stats. Of course, Stew's overall ISO of .319 would be the best for the Sky Sox since Brad Hawpe's .330 mark in 2004. Hawpe at the time was two years older than Stewart is now.

Tulsa: .871

I mentioned this morning that Dexter Fowler now ranks #10 in the Texas League in OPS. I didn't mention how impressive this was. Of the TL's top 20, only three are Fowler's age. Joining him in the just turned 22 year old club is Rangers prospect Chris Davis, and Padres prospect Kyle Blanks turns 22 in September. The latter two are both  plodding and huge first basemen. Fowler, as you might know, is an athletic center-fielder. In fact, just three of the top 20 play up the middle positions and the two second basemen, Brett Dowdy (4 years older than Dex) and Kyle Sutton (almost 3 years older), aren't natural fits and will probably have to be moved to a corner at some point.

Modesto: 5.40, 11.88

It's hard to find something that truly stands out as particularly special with this team. They could well have the best defense in the California League, but it would take somebody with more math skills than I have to figure that out. I'm just going to go with Shane Lindsay's H/9 and K/9, both of which are second among California League starters to Trevor Cahill. In 2007, only one Cal League pitcher (reliever or starter) with over 50 innings had a lower H/9, and no starter had a better K rate than James McDonald's 11.41. In 2006, the starter with the rates closest to that was Jose Arredondo, who the Angels are grooming to be K-Rod's successor. Shane may wind up going that route with the Rockies. The walk rate for Lindsay continues to be problematic, but the stuff seems to have returned with a vengeance. BTW, it's a lot easier to live with his walks if he keeps on going without allowing any HR's.

Asheville: 17

Speaking of allowing HR's, that's how many dingers Asheville pitching has given up thus far this season. It's a pace to allow 63 over the course of the Tourists season. How good is that? Let's go back a few seasons..,

  • 2007: 111
  • 2006:  89
  • 2005:  151
  • 2004: 158

And beyond that I really don't know because they didn't keep track of HR's allowed by pitchers in the minors and I'm not inclined to dig through data to count for myself. Let's just say it's very, very good.

At any rate, the five Asheville starters have thus far allowed nine homeruns in 208 1/3 innings or a rate of 0.39/9IP. It's like these guys are suddenly playing with a deadball. Their home park  had a three year weighted HR factor of 1.22 heading into 2008, meaning that balls fly out of McCormick Field 22% more on average than they do at other SAL parks, and the three teams to allow fewer HR's than Asheville this season all play in stadiums that suppress homers as much as McCormick enhances them. I am really liking the prospects of that rotation, Chacin, Riordan and Graham in particular, and looking forward to how they develop over the next couple of years.