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Monday Pebble Report: Christian Friedrich Bombed Again, Trevor Story Quietly Hitting Well

Eye On:  Trevor Story, SS/3B - Rookie

With the compensation draft pick the Rockies received for losing Octavio Dotel to free agency last season, the Rockies selected Trevor Story, a high school shortstop with the 45th pick.  Draft day scouting reports suggested his glove at short would carry him to the majors, though his bat remained suspect.  Last night, Story brought his batting average up to .316 with his third consecutive two-hit performance.  For a guy whose bat was his weakness, he has put up some pretty strong numbers to start his pro career.

Casper Ghosts (Rookie) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB%
2011 - Trevor Story 21 76 15 24 3 0 2 9 14.6% 14.6% .118 .383 .316 .416 .434

Many organizations, like the Dodgers, use their Pioneer League to stash college players and experienced Latin arms.  When the Rockies send a high school pick to Casper, expectations should be held pretty low (unless it's a top 10-type pick), as the 18/19-year-old will find himself facing men 2-3 years older.  This has happened before, and recently.*

Casper Ghosts (Rookie) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB%
2009 - Nolan Arenado 54 203 28 61 15 0 2 22 7.1% 8.0% .104 .334 .300 .351 .404

Arenado, the Rockies' 2nd round pick in 2009, was also supposedly a flawed hitter.  After a strong season in Casper and steps forward the last two seasons, Arenado is universally tabbed as the Rockies' best bat on the farm, and a top 50 overall prospect in the league.  And Story's first season (so far in a small sample) in Casper has actually been better than Arenado's.  It certainly does not mean Story will be the Rockies' system's best bat in 2013, but we should definitely take note of his success thus far.  Along with Tyler Anderson (if he signs), Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Rosell Herrera and Story, the Rockies should have five new faces debuting on the PuRPs list for the first time, in the top fifteen.


AAA Colorado Springs -  L 3-10 (53-63, t-3rd, 13.5 GB)

Billy Buckner (2011, MiLB FA) was eaten alive by Security Service Field.  Despite strong K/BB and GO/AO ratios (7/2 and 7/1), the right-hander was hit around for eight runs in six innings on ten hits.  Only three of those runs were earned, as a fielding error by Jordan Pacheco in the fourth inning opened the door for five unearned runs to score with two outs.  Radames Nazario (2005, 22nd round) and Jorge Cantu (2011, MiLB FA) each doubled home a run, and Scott Beerer (2003, 2nd round) had his second two-hit game since his AAA promotion July 24.


AA Tulsa - L 3-9, W 4-1 (20-23, 3rd, 3.0 GB)

Game 1:  Those clamoring for #9 PuRP Christian Friedrich (2007, 1st round) to replace Juan Nicasio in the big league rotation should probably subdue their enthusiasm for now.  In game one of a double-header, the lefty got really hit around, allowing eight runs on seven hits, four walks, and four strikeouts in just 3.0 IP.  It would be fine if that were an outlier, but it was better than his last start, one in which he allowed 9 ER on 8 hits, 3 walks and 2 HR while striking out no one and retiring just seven men.  In a similar vein, #10 PuRP Tim Wheeler (2009, 1st round) is 6-for-his-last-42 with 11 K's, 5 BB's and zero XBH since July 28.  #1 PuRP Wilin Rosario (2006, DR), Bronson Sardinha (2010, MiLB FA) and #27 PuRP Thomas Field (2008, 24th round) had two hits in game one, with one of Field's knocks going over the outfield wall.

Game 2:  Rob Scahill (2009, 8th round) continued a subtle strong push by tossing a rare zero strikeout complete game.  He scattered eight hits and allowed one solo home run, but the true testament to his success was a 14/1 groundout/air out ratio.  I tabbed Scahill as a sleeper in April, and he should be starting to join the conversation as back end rotational depth or as a bullpen piece.  Thomas Field (2008, 24th round) homered again in Game 2, while Michael Mitchell (2007, 25th round) joined him with a 2-run dinger.  Brian Rike (2006, 3rd round) collected three singles.


* h/t to CSTSports on the Arenado/Story comp

High-A Modesto -  W 6-3 (25-18, 2nd, 1.0 GB)

The first five Nuts batters reached base in the first inning, as Modesto jumped out to a 3-0 lead.  #24 PuRP Josh Rutledge (2010, 3rd round) doubled home a run and scored on a #5 PuRP Nolan Arenado (2009, 2nd round) single.  That duo continues to be a dangerous punch at the plate, as Rutledge added a double and single later in the game, and Arenado added a single.  Arenado has a .421 wOBA in August, following a .347 July, .396 June, .353 May and .276 April.  Rutledge is at .486 this month after a .518 July.  Angelys Nina (2007, DR) had two doubles and a single to continue his own little hot streak, and Alan DeRatt (2008, 17th round) pitched six strong innings for the victory.


Low-A Asheville - L 6-16 (24-19, 3rd, 4.0 GB)

After winning five straight and outscoring Hickory 8-1 in the series' first two games, the Tourists were ambushed by the Crawdads on Sunday.  #6 PuRP Peter Tago (2010, sandwich pick) continued a trend of starting strong and fading, as he left in the fifth inning after starting the night with four shutout frames.  At the end of the night, Tago was charged with six runs on seven hits, three walks and a hit batter.  Juan Gonzalez (2007, VZ) continued his troubling repeat season in Asheville by allowing five more runs in addition to the inherited run he allowed in the fifth, while only getting five outs. 

Joey Wong (2009, 24th round) doubled home three and singled, #15 PuRP Corey Dickerson (2010, 8th round) tripled and walked, while #3 PuRP Kyle Parker (2010, 1st round) and Brett Tanos (2010, 10th round) eached doubled.


Short Season-A Tri-City - W 2-0 (8-4, 1st)

For the fourth time in five games, the Dust Devils were involved in a shutout, the the third ending in a 2-0 score.  Ben Alsup (2011, 18th round) scattered six baserunners in tossing six shutout innings for the win, while Craig Bennigson (2008, 9th round) and Rafael Suarez (2006, VZ) retired 9 of the 10 batters they faced to bring home the shutout.  Both Dust Devils runs came in the 7th inning, when Taylor Featherston (2011, 5th round) tripled home Ryan Casteel (2010, 17th round), who had reached on an error.  Featherston then scored on a double from David Hernandez (2009, undrafted).


Rookie Casper -  W 8-2 (7-1, 1st)

Every Ghosts hitter in the line-up got a hit, except Carl Thomore (2011, 2nd round), whose 0-for-4, 2 K night dropped his season batting average to .176.  Sam Mende (2011, 31st round) doubled and singled, while Francisco Sosa (2008, DR), Trevor Story (2011, sandwich pick)  and David Kandilas (2009, Australia) had two hit nights.  Alex Gillingham (2011, 11th round) tossed six two-hit shutout innings for the win, as Casper's starting pitching continue's to dominate the Pioneer League in the season's second half.


DSL Rockies - Off Day  (33-23, t-2nd, 4.5 GB)

Between yesterday's scheduled off day and three rain-outs, the Rockies have played just one game since last Tuesday.  The are scheduled to play at the Diamondbacks this morning.