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Friday Rockpile: Reid Brignac - Versatile Depth and Cautionary Tale

Reid Brignac was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday, filling the role of former top prospect hoping for a late shot at redemption. While he makes one think of Brandon Wood, he also makes me think of Trevor Story.

Reid Brignac had 22 PA in MLB in 2012 and had two hits.  This was one of them.
Reid Brignac had 22 PA in MLB in 2012 and had two hits. This was one of them.
Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Reid Brignac was once one of the top hitting prospects in the game. John Sickels did a retrospective yesterday on Brignac's development, pointing out that at one time, Sickels gave Brignac an A- grade. David Dahl did not reach that level - neither did Nolan Arenado, Kyle Parker or Trevor Story this off-season. DRays Bay called him "once a hallowed name in the Rays farm system along side the likes of Longoria." Baseball America ranked him in the top 100 prospects four times, as high as #17 in 2007, the year they ranked Troy Tulowitzki #15 and Carlos Gonzalez #18.

Brignac was a legitimate prospect with a power bat at shortstop and improving defensive skills.

Now, he's the token low-risk, high-reward spring gamble. He's the Brandon Wood of this season. Designated for assignment on February 5, the Rockies acquired Brignac from the Rays on the 14th, one day before the deadline for a trade. With no leverage, the Rays are unlikely to have received anything of value as the player to be named later or cash.

Where he fits in will be a question. He has more potential offensively and is at least as good defensively as Jonathan Herrera. Assuming Chris Nelson and Jordan Pacheco each make the team, Brignac will be battling Herrera for the utility role. His acquiring price was low, so there are no great stakes here.

While Brignac provides depth and with a glimmer of hope, he's also a cautionary tale of prospects. Rated highly for four consecutive years, he just never put it together, undone by poor plate discipline and an apparent desire to overvalue power in his swing. Sickels' analysis:

"What we have here is a guy who came into pro ball from high school with a "strong bat, doubtful glove" reputation but who is now exactly the opposite...Plate discipline was always his biggest weakness even when he was putting up solid overall numbers, and he just hasn't been able to fix that weakness."

What strikes me about Brignac is a comparison to Trevor Story. Story was drafted out of high school also just outside of the first round, and while the timelines don't work perfectly, Story is also a strong fielder at shortstop with some pop but has periods where he loses the strike zone. Story never ranked nearly as highly as Brignac on prospect lists, and Brignac had a longer track record of minor league success before fizzling at the major league level. There just are no sure things.

Rockies Links

Rockies prospect Nolan Arenado takes BP, talks future | On the Rox — The Denver Post Some BP video and a short Q and A.

After winter study, Wilin Rosario ready to pass test | News - It is no secret that Rosario struggled last year defensively, so he was assigned a winter full of defensive drills in the Dominic Republic. He already feels there is improvement.

"At some point -- if you ask me, I say I don't know -- I changed my stance, to a 75-25 angle. Now [with the tips of my toes at or about even], I can see the ball better, and I feel better." - Wilin Rosario

Colorado Rockies OF Dexter Fowler vows to take it from top, boost offense for 2013 - The Denver Post - Dexter Fowler apparently lost weight last season in the second half after the long grind of the season. Here, he and Walt Weiss vocalize the desire for Fowler to be a leading weapon.

Renck: Walt Weiss sure to put his stamp on Colorado Rockies this year - The Denver Post - The lineup is very much up in the air, but Rosario might hit fifth.

Weiss values versatility in Rox batting order | News - Thomas Harding's write-up of the same interview.

Yorvit Torrealba facing uphill battle to make Colorado Rockies' roster - The Denver Post - Ramon Hernandez had a 112 OPS+ in 2011 and 2010, so there is reason to believe he still provides value after his injury-riddled disappointing 2012. That plus the $3.2mil owed to Hernandez make him the overwhelming favorite for backup catcher.