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Tuesday Rockpile: Rockies Call on Prospects to Help in Spoiler Role Down the Stretch

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With yesterday's loss to Arizona, the Rockies' ninth in ten tries against the red-hot division leaders, Colorado fell to nine games below .500 - a place they've seen all too many times so far in 2011. However, despite the tumultuous stretch of baseball, today brings a boatload of excitement to baseball fans all over the Rocky Mountain region, as several players have been picked from their minor league teams to assist the big club in finishing out the season in one piece...

Playing out the string, Rockies focus on roster expansion, evaluation - The Denver Post
With September call-ups in full force, the Rockies will see three players make their major league debuts, while several others will get another chance to contribute at the big league level. Let's break them all down (in order of excitement, of course):

  • Drew Pomeranz, LHP. In 20 minor league starts this season, the fifth overall selection in the 2010 draft has a record of 4-3 with a 1.78 ERA, while striking out 119 batters in 101 innings. Since being promoted to AA (which includes his time in the Indians' organization), his groundball rates have been a little bit of a concern, but the AA sample size is just too small to get excited (or down) about. Pomeranz won't likely start until later in the month (if he does at all), so he won't be technically activated until then. However, he'll spend his time working with Bob Apodaca (which is a good thing, right?) and bonding with his new teammates until he gets the nod from Jim Tracy. He's on his way to Denver as we speak.
  • Wilin Rosario, C. If not for a serious knee injury suffered last summer, Rosario possibly would have already been with the big club, thus sparing us the agony of watching Jose Morales and Eliezer Alfonzo. Wilin is an interesting case; reports about his catching are mixed since the injury, and he has struggled mightily to get on base this season, sporting just a .284 OBP. However, he has an unbelievable amount of power (21 homers this season and 40 across 675 at-bats during the past two campaigns) and has shown the ability to get on base at an acceptable clip, at least, in the past (.371 OBP in 2008, .342 OBP last year). Check out this piece by Muzia, which might help explain some of the issues that Rosario is having in 2011. Let's hope that, if nothing else, Rosario sees more playing time than Alfonzo down the stretch.
  • Jordan Pacheco, C/IF. After an impressive spring training in which he vaulted himself into a darkhorse candidate for a job with the big league club to begin the season, Pacheco has had a miserable season, especially considering the fact that he played the entire year in ridiculous hitting environments against weak pitching. Jordan posted a .278/.343/.377 line in Colorado Springs with just three home runs. There are positives about his game; it seems we know what we have in him in terms of contact ability, as he continued a four-year string of striking out at a very low rate (just 48 times this year after only 42 last season). That alone makes him an intriguing player at the big league level, especially playing for this team. In addition, getting him out from behind the plate may help him to not wear down, which can only give him a boost in terms of his performance at the plate. The Rockies plan to not use Pacheco behind the dish this month. Instead, they'll give him some looks at second base and third base.
  • Chris Nelson, IF. Nelson posted a .329/.366/.547 line at Colorado Springs this season, but was only a shadow of his minor league self with the Rockies. In 163 MLB plate appearances, Nelson hit just .231/.258/.340. The Rockies' 2004 first-rounder provides a good glove and is versatile, but he has really struggled to find his niche in the big leagues, thus his time with this organization may be running out.
  • Jim Miller, RHP. Believe it or not, the lone AAA All-Star representative for the Sky Sox presents a pretty intriguing option for the Rockies' bullpen. The 29-year-old reliever's numbers don't look too great on the surface - 5.25 ERA, 93 hits allowed in 72 innings. However, everybody gives up a ton of hits in the PCL, and Miller's peripherals - 73 strikeouts and just 21 walks in those 72 innings, plus a GO/AO ratio of 1.08 - look pretty good. The Rockies have trotted out some pretty unimpressive pitchers out of the 'pen this season, so Miller may get a pretty long look by the Rockies' coaching staff and front office this month.
  • Greg Reynolds and J.C. Romero have already been up for a couple of days, and they don't excite me whatsoever. Sorry.

More links after the jump...

Broken index finger finishes Herrera's season early - The Denver Post
Jonathan Herrera is "out for the season" after breaking his right index finger playing while playing with his kids. Of course, by "out for the season," I mean "going to start and hit second today."