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Rockies Prospects: Midseason evaluations of Colorado's most exciting and disappointing prospects

With the Rockies approaching the All-Star break, it's a good time to evaluate their most exciting and disappointing prospects.

Corey Dickerson
Corey Dickerson
Patrick McDermott

Colorado Rockies (MLB) 44-49, 3rd place

Exciting Prospect - It's tough to top what Nolan Arenado has done since being called up to the big leagues. The third baseman has been a highlight reel with the glove; his defensive bWAR of 1.7 ranks fifth in all of baseball. However, although he wasn't technically a prospect entering the season, Tyler Chatwood's rise to a top-of-the-rotation starter could be considered a miracle by many who were growing impatient with the inconsistent pitcher. It's easy to forget how young Tyler is; even with two years of major league experience, he was Tulsa's youngest pitcher last season. After beginning the season at Triple-A Colorado Springs, Tyler is producing a 2.74 ERA and a K/9 of 6.0 for the Rockies in 2013.

Disappointing Prospect - Outfielders Charlie Blackmon, Tyler Colvin and Corey Dickerson have combined to hit .188 in the big leagues. All three produced strong first halves for the Sky Sox but have failed to take the next step in a Rockies uniform.

Colorado Springs Sky Sox (AAA) 50-43 3rd place

Exciting Prospect - Outfielder Corey Dickerson was recently reassigned to the Sky Sox, his first step back in a progression that has seen him skyrocket through the organization. Corey started last season in High-A Modesto, earning a midseason promotion to Tulsa and then leading the PCL in extra base hits until his callup this season. Corey has produced a wRC+ of 177 with a .386 average and 41 extra base hits for the Sky Sox.

Disappointing Prospect - Two years after hitting 33 home runs in Tulsa and a year after recovering from a hamate injury, it appeared Tim Wheeler was ready to demolish the PCL. However, a 78 wRC+ and a .251 average has derailed Tim's prospect status. His two home runs this year makes it seem like the outfielder may never recover from his injury.

Tulsa Drillers (AA) 41-47, 3rd place

Exciting Prospect - Just returning to the mound is enough to rank Chad Bettis in this category, but he's pitched very well in his return. The Texan has recreated the performance that made him the California League Pitcher of the Year in 2011. Even though his triple-digit velocity hasn't quite returned, he's managed to strikeout batters at a similar rate, while lowering his walks. Chad has a 3.52 ERA for Tulsa with a 9.4 K/9.

Disappointing Prospect - It's hard to believe Rafael Ortega was roaming major league outfields at the end of last year. This season, Rafael has spent most of his time on the disabled list, while struggling to make contact while healthy. Ortega is perhaps the best defensive outfielder in the Rockies system, but offensively he's only produced a 78 wRC+ while batting .228 for the Drillers.

Modesto Nuts (A+) 45-47, 4th place

Exciting Prospect - Ryan Casteel and Dan Winkler both would qualify for this category, Ryan's 147 wRC+ shows he's having a breakout season and Dan's 126 strikeouts puts him in line to become the third consecutive Rockies prospect to win the California League Pitcher of the Year award.

Eddie Butler's season merits this placement, as the Virginia native has become a very special pitcher in the Rockies organization. The front office has recognized how good Butler is by limiting his starts to just five innings. Perhaps it's to save his arm -- or, perhaps it's to keep him strong for a September call up. Each promotion has seen Butler's K/9 increase, which is usually the opposite of what happens as pitchers face better hitters. Butler has posted a 2.36 ERA with a 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings between Modesto and Asheville this season.

Disappointing Prospect - Trevor Story has struggled to adapt to the pitching in High-A and has been inconsistent in making contact. This season the young shortstop has already exceeded his total strikeouts from a full season in Asheville in 2012. Trevor has produced a 70 wRC+ with a .212 average for the Nuts in 2013.

Asheville Tourists (A-) 47-40, 3rd place

Exciting Prospect - Tom Murphy has demonstrated incredible power this season and is one of the leading home run hitters in the organization. Rosell Herrera deserves this spot though, as the young shortstop has made an incredible return to the South Atlantic League. This time last year, Rosell was being demoted after batting a mere .202 in Low-A Asheville. This season, he's rebounded with a 178 wRC+ and a .356 average. While he's shown a penchant for making errors in the field, Herrera has shined offensively, slugging 14 home runs and stealing 18 bases for the Tourists.

Disappointing Prospect - The entire starting rotation probably deserves this status, but 2012 sixth-round pick Matt Carasiti has been the most disappointing of the bunch. The Connecticut native demonstrated a solid fastball and developing slider in Grand Junction last year, but he tools haven't translated into success at the Low-A level, where Matt has a 9.20 ERA with 6.6 K/9 as a Tourist this season.

Tri-City Dust Devils (SS) 11-16, 4th place

Exciting Prospect - Sam Moll is having a solid start to his Rockies career, but it's exciting to see Jayson Aquino continue pitching well and earn a promotion into Low-A Asheville. Aquino's strikeouts were down from what's been expected from the Dominican, but he's limiting baserunners and progressing nicely through the organization at just 20 years old. Jayson has a 3.13 ERA with a 6.30 K/9 for the Dust Devils.

Disappointing Prospect - Wilfredo Rodriguez showed some strong hit tools in Grand Junction last year, but he has struggled to utilize them this season. Is the poor showing from the 19-year-old Puerto Rican the result of weak groundballs or a BABIP of just .185? Probably a combination, but look for a better second half from the young catcher. Wilfredo is batting .169 with a 57 wRC+ for the Dust Devils.

Grand Junction Rockies (Rookie) 12-8, 1st place

Exciting Prospect - There are some really exciting teenagers on this team between Terry McClure, Emerson Jimenez, Ryan McMahon, Zach Jemiola, Joel Payamps and Helmis Rodriguez. McMahon is my choice for the most exciting prospect so far this season. He has demonstrated an Arenado-type of defensive skill set at third base while batting .313 with five doubles.

Disappointing Prospect - Jonathan Gray! Seriously, though, it's only been one game; sooner or later, this kid going to show us the ‘S' on his chest. Actually, it's Peter Tago -- and to pull a quote from the movie What Happens in Vegas with Cameron Diaz, "You know why."

DSL Rockies (DSL) 18-16, 3rd place

Exciting Prospect - Pitcher Antonio Senzatela led the DSL last year with an 0.85 ERA, and his only question mark was his lack of strikeouts. The 18-year-old has answered those questions with 8.53 K/9 this year while maintaining a 1.60 ERA. Senzatela is about to start facing tougher competition, per Ben Badler of Baseball America:

Disappointing Prospect - A hot start saw Denzel Richardson bust out in the Dominican League, but an injury sidelined the speedster until recently. Denzel made his return on July 8 and hit his second home run on Thursday. Richardson has a 175 wRC+ and is hitting .345 for the Rockies. He doesn't deserve to be in this category from a production standpoint, but it's disappointing that he missed a month of the season.

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