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Baseball Prospectus Releases List of Top Rockies Prospects

If you like prospects, this is your week.  Baseball America will release their annual prospect ranking for the Rockies tomorrow, and Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus released his prospect list early this morning.  The article is for subscribers, but the top 20 list is visible without a subscription.

Goldstein's overview was certainly glowing of the system, which is buoyed by the #1 ranked draft in 2009 and #4 ranked draft in 2010 (as ranked by Baseball America) in addition to the ever strong Latin pipeline.

It's a well-rounded, solid system. The only two weaknesses are a lack of up-the-middle talent and health issues... In the always competitive National League West, the Rockies have the best combination of prospects and young talent to ensure they'll consistently be toward the top of the standings. This is an impressive collection.

Obviously, those are words Rockies fans would like to hear.  Below is Goldstein's top 20 list as compared to the most recent rankings by the Purple Row community in September.

Baseball Prospectus

Purple Row

1. Tyler Matzek, LHP ☆☆☆☆☆ 1. Tyler Matzek, LHP
2. Wilin Rosario, C  ☆☆☆☆☆ 2. Wilin Rosario, C
3. Nolan Arenado, 3B  ☆☆☆ 3. Christian Friedrich, LHP
4. Christian Friedrich, LHP ☆☆☆ 4. Nolan Arenado, 3B
5. Kyle Parker, OF  ☆☆☆ 5. Chris Nelson, SS/2B
6. Peter Tago, RHP  ☆☆☆ 6. Peter Tago, RHP
7. Charles Blackmon, OF  ☆☆☆ 7. Charlie Blackmon, OF
8. Rex Brothers, LHP  ☆☆☆ 8. Chad Bettis, RHP
9. Chad Bettis, RHP☆☆☆ 9. Kyle Parker, OF
10. Christhian Adames, SS  ☆☆ 10. Rafael Ortega, OF
11. Rafael Ortega, OF  ☆☆ 11. Hector Gomez, SS
12. Will Swanner, C  12. Rex Brothers, LHP
13. Juan Nicasio, RHP 13. Juan Nicasio, RHP
14. Jordan Pacheco, C  14. Jordan Pacheco, C
15. Albert Campos, RHP  15. Corey Dickerson, OF
16. Casey Weathers, RHP 16. Tim Wheeler, OF
17. Russell Wilson, 2B 17. Will Swanner, C
18. Hector Gomez, SS 18. Casey Weathers, RHP
19. Mike McKenry, C 19. Mike McKenry, C
20. Chris Nelson, IF 20. Albert Campos, RHP

The lists are actually remarkably similar, as 18 names appear on both lists.  The four players not agreed upon were Casper SS Christian Adames and Tri-City 2B Russell Wilson on the BP list, and Casper OF Corey Dickerson and Modesto OF Tim Wheeler from the PuRPs list.

The most obvious trend is that BP values potential much more than Purple Row.  That is not surprising, as most our voters tend to value names they are more familiar with and/or are closer to the big leagues.  This is particularly evident in the level of disagreement on Chris Nelson's ranking.  I'll divulge a sampling of Goldstein's specific insider info after the jump.

The following content is taken from the subscriber only section of the piece.  I am only sharing a small amount.

Wilin Rosario

"He could be an All-Star catcher with above-average offense and defense...the rare catcher you actually want in your lineup...showcases plus power without sacrificing too much in terms of contact..Defensively, he's a gem."  Goldstein praises almost every area of Rosario's game, and his biggest weaknesses (difficulty with breaking pitches and footspeed) could either develop (he's still just 21) or is virtually immaterial for a catcher.  We have been operating under a Miguel Olivo comp, but Goldstein and his scouts clearly see a brighter future than that.


Nolan Arenado

"Arenado is the best pure hitter in the system, with plenty of bat speed and outstanding impatient hitter whose tremendous plate coverage works against him at times."  Goldstein also concludes that Arenado could be an every day MLB third baseman with passable defense.


Christian Friedrich

"He could be an above-average big-league starter, but that's hardly a lock. Relief work is a real possibility...Health will be more important than numbers for Friedrich in 2011." While his velocity fell in 2010, Goldstein attributes that to injury and notes his stuff remains very good for a lefty.


Kyle Parker

"He could be an everyday corner to plus-plus raw power to all fields...solid hitting skills with a very good approach at the plate."  There isn't much to Parker's scouting report we don't already know, as he hasn't added to his baseball resume since coming to the Rockies.


His scouting report liked Charles Blackmon as a potential .270-.290 hitter with 20 steals and average power.   He implied projections for Rex Brothers as a closer were too optimistic given his control issues but that he remains a strong back end reliever.  Rafael Ortega projects into double digit home runs and at least twenty steals.


The last one I wanted to touch on was Christian Adames, whom Purple Row completely ignored.  He got a lot of love on Goldstein's list and is sure to get the same from Baseball America and other scouting resources.  Adames is a switch hitting shortstop with no power and very little currently in the form of projectible offense.  Goldstein even claims "he'll need to develop some strength to prevent pitchers from simply knocking the bat of his hands."  But he already has very special skills defensively and could be a real asset at shortstop, so any progression at all with the bat could make him a valuable big leaguer.