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Thursday Pebble Report:

Colorado Springs: L 7-1

This part of the Pebble Report has obviously become sort of a de facto Ian Stewart watch, so let me dispense with that right away:

Two hits (the entire team managed just four) including one double, he scored the only run and struck out once. His contact has taken a dip in Sacramento with four K's in eleven AB's thus far.

  • Ian Stewart: .265/.348/.588
  • Brandon Wood .267/.286/.547
  • Andy LaRoche .194/.396/.389 (last season .283/.362/.556)

Those are the 2008 road stats of three touted third basemen (well, Wood will be a third baseman soon) who play in very hitter friendly PCL parks. Stewart and Wood just turned 23, LaRoche turns 25 in September. As you can see, Stew's numbers are right in line with where a top prospect should be and he's showing more power than most of his powerful peers. He's not quite eye popping extraordinary yet, that would be something like Ryan Braun's .357/.413/.696 road line in limited play with Nashville last season, but the numbers he's putting up are showing considerable potential.

Wood's been back and forth between LA of A and SLC this season, and is currently a backup shortstop for the Angels. Fascinating, this doesn't seem to be hurting his development. LaRoche got Wally Pipped in a way by Blake DeWitt's hot bat, and Stewart similarly is trying not to hope for something bad to happen to one of our current corners. Just in case you were wondering, LaRoche ranks as a five star Goldstein prospect (an All-Star third baseman), Wood four (a classic number five hitter.., but not a superstar) and Stewart three (a solid, unspectacular third-baseman).

Tulsa: L 13-9

For all of the scoring, it's kind of a vacant boxscore from the Drillers end. No Tulsa player had more than two hits (Matt Miller and Tony Blanco) and Jeff Dragicevich had the only homerun, which was a solo shot. Something's off here.., eight hits.., five walks.., an HBP and an ROE.., that's fifteen baserunners total, and they scored nine, which means they left only six??!! HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE??!!! Don't the rules say you need to leave at least a dozen guys stranded before you're allowed to start scoring? Yeah, some coaches need to get on this. Plating baserunners just isn't the Rockies Way.

Modesto: W 4-3

Team LOB: 12. That's what I like to see. Sporadic ones across the line score with only the occasional two. None of this three our four run in an inning stuff. That kind of potent scoring breeds complacency. Close games keep you on your toes. At any rate, Victor Ferrante had three hits, including a double and a triple, Jay Cox had a pair of doubles, Jason Van Kooten doubled and singled to lead the Modesto offense yesterday. Pitching, and pitching well, was Esmil Rogers, who went seven innings (plus one batter in the eighth) and gave up two runs (one of which was that one batter in the eighth) and allowed just five hits and a walk with a good GB rate. Alright, here's another thing that Rockies coaches might need to work on. Andrew Johnston still hasn't allowed an earned run coming out of the bullpen, that's nineteen innings now. He struck out the side for his tenth save.

Asheville: W 4-3

On Education Day, Jhoulys Chacin taught a clinic on how to be a star pitching prospect. Chacin went eight innings, allowed just three hits and three walks and struck out ten on his way to his SAL leading seventh victory. 11 out of 14 outs off of contact came via groundout.

One of my favorite stats for minor league pitchers is IP/start. If you have an idea of the organization's pitch limits, it tells you a lot about efficiency and the amount of strikes that are being thrown. Chacin's currently got the third best figure anywhere in the minors of pitchers to make five starts or more. One of the two guys ahead of him in this ranking is a 23 year-old in the Angels system that's bullying the kids in the Low A level; the other is a 27 year-old in Detroit's AAA rotation in Toledo. Chacin's just 20, pitching half his games in one of the most offense friendly stadiums there is, throwing a lot of strikes, and his opponents -try as they might- just can't do anything with them.

Another thing I like to look at is how our best prospects fare against the best of other teams. The Braves' Jason Heyward is considered one of the best hitting prospects in the SAL (ranked #28 on BA's top 100 in all of baseball to start the season) and he struck out twice against Chacin, including getting frozen with two outs in the eighth for Jhoulys' tenth K. Heyward managed just an infield single in four plate appearances. At this point you've got to consider Chacin in that general region among the best of the best. He certainly should be in the top 40 in baseball and one of the Rockies top three with Stewart and Fowler.

But you want to know something really scary? Both these quotes come from Jason McGill's wrap at the Citizen Times:

“(Chacin) wasn’t his best today. He’s pitched better, but we kept competing to the end.” - manager Joe Mikulik

“(Chacin) was inconsistent at times, but he was able to get it done. What makes him so tough to hit is he can locate four pitches” - catcher Brian Aguilar

Yeah, that wasn't even a good game for him.

Asheville came back to win thanks at first to a Jeff Cunningham double/Everth Cabrera pinch run in the seventh, and then a two run Darin Holcomb double in the eighth inning.