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Thursday Pebble Report: The Extreme Southpaws - Tyler Matzek and Edwar Cabrera

For a prospect to be noteworthy, he usually falls into one of three categories.  There's the niche player, who does one or two things on an elite level with the rest of his game below average or passable, like a Carlos Pena.  There is a the well rounded player, a guy who does nothing spectacularly but almost everything very well, like Charlie Blackmon.  And of course, there are the truly elite guys who do several things on an elite level.

Every once in a while, you will get a legitimate prospect who does several things well on an elite level, but have a glaring horrifying weakness or two in other areas.  It is often difficult to digest what such an extreme prospect might yield, and the Rockies had two fit that description starting on the mound last night.


High-A Modesto W 4-3 (15-18, 5th, 6.0 GB)

Tyler Matzek (2009, 1st round) is quite the tease.  In 2010, he was practically unhittable and racked up the strikeouts.  Unfortunately, he walked as many as he struck out.  In 2011, he's been worse on that front, except he has become more hittable.  Last night was more of the same from Matzek, who allowed just three hits and two runs in 4.2 IP while striking out five.  Impressive.  Yet he also walked seven, including four in a scoreless inning, threw a wild pitch, committed an error and induced just one groundout.  The split between dominance and ineptitude remain maddening, though the glimpses of brilliance are starting to shine through a little bit more often of late.  No doubt many will drop him preciptously in their upcoming PuRPs vote.   He deserves some penalty there, as the bust risk has certainly risen.  But remember that no matter how well-put-together he was on draft day, he was drafted as a prep project and can afford several years to figure it out.  As long as the velocity (he reportedly hit 93mph last night) and strikeouts are there, his ceiling will remain relatively rigid.

Matzek left with two outs in the fifth down 2-0, but had he retired one more batter, he would have gotten his first win of the season.  Mike Zuanich (2008, 28th round) tripled in a run and scored on a 2-RBI double by Angelys Nina (2007, DR) to give Modesto a 3-2 lead.  Zuanich then homered in the seventh to pull a double shy of the cycle and the bullpen held the lead late. 

Low-A Asheville W 10-8 (17-16, 1st)

Edwar Cabrera (2008, DR) is another pitcher with a rather extreme pitching line.  Coming into play yesterday, the lefty had struck out 44 and walked just 2 in 32 innings.  That sort of success has called many, myself included, to call for a midseason promotion for the 23-year-old.  But in those 32 innings, he had also given up 5 HR.  Yesterday was more of the same.  Cabrera struck out 5 of the first 7 batters he faced and totaled nine punchouts for the game.  He actually more than doubled his season total in walks with three, and that old tater demon haunted him again, as Greenville drove two pitches out of the ball park.  The result was six earned runs in six innings, raising Cabrera's ERA to a no-longer-sterling 4.70.  While Asheville gives up plenty of home runs, allowing 7 in 38 IP is way too much for starting pitcher prospect at that level and age.  Keep that in mind when taking his start to 2011 in account for your PuRPs list.

Cabrera wasn't the only one getting strikeouts.  After manager Joe Mikulik was ejected in the third, nine consecutive Tourists struck out, all but two by reliever Scott Swinson.  Russell Wilson (2010, 4th round) broke up the nonsense by getting out on a bunt attempt, but Cristhian Adames (2008, DR FA) just struck out after that anyway. 

Asheville actually got on the board early and often against much ballyhooed Red Sox prospect Anthony Ranaudo.  Ranaudo gave up doubles to Kyle Parker (2010, 1st round), Dustin Garneau (2009, 19th round), Corey Dickerson (2010, 7th round) and Chandler Laurent (2009, 21st round) in addition to a Helder Velazquez (2006, 5th round) home run that gave the Tourists a 5-3 lead before the K parade commenced.  A Wilson single tied the game at 8 in the eighth, and Rafael Ortega (2008, VZ FA) followed with a tie-breaking 3-run home run to keep his torrid may going.


AAA Colorado Springs  Postponed (14-19, 3rd, 6.5 GB)

Surely it must shock you.  The game in Colorado Springs was postponed due to the same weather that has forced a Rockies game today.  Josh Muecke (2010, MiLB FA) gets the start today against the Iowa Cubs.


AA Tulsa   Off Day  (18-12, 1st)

The Drillers open a five game set at 5:00 MDT at the Arkansas Travelers tonight.  Josh Sullivan (2005, 5th round) gets the ball in the opener.