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Summer 2013 Purple Row Prospects List: #10-6

Here are prospects 10-6 on the Summer 2013 Purple Row Prospects list, the Purple Row community's list of the top 30 Rockies prospects.


Today I reveal five more names on the Summer 2013 Purple Row Prospects (PuRPs) list. As a reminder, 21 ballots were cast in this edition of the PuRPs poll, with 30 points being granted for a first place vote, 29 for second, etc. Until a player was named on 7 ballots, his vote totals were modified on a sliding scale to avoid an individual ballot having too much say over the community forecast -- but none of the above players had that problem, as all 30 players on this PuRPs list were named on at least 7 ballots.

For each player on the PuRPs list, I've included a link to their stats (via Baseball-Reference), their contract status (via Rockies Roster), their probable MLB ETA (assuming they do make the Show), and a note on their 2013 season to date. For what it's worth, I'll also include where I put them on my personal ballot.

Remember that the statistics pages are not the end-all be-all when evaluating these players. Context is hugely important (such as the player's age relative to the league's average or the league average offensive numbers), as is the fact that injuries to prospects can affect both their tools and their stats.

Here are PuRPs 10-6:

10. Tyler Anderson (428 points, 21 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: 8 -- High Ballot 2, Mode (most common when ranked) Ballot 9, 11

Anderson, a 23 year-old LHP at High A Modesto, was a first round pick in 2011 who was expected to move quickly through the organization with a mid-rotation ceiling. The results have been there (career 2.82 ERA, 1.10 WHIP over 163 IP), but that doesn't mean there aren't reasons for pause with Anderson.

A paltry 6.1 K/9 rate last year in Low A as a 22 year-old 1st round pitching prospect who was a little old for the level is a pretty serious red flag after all. High K rates are much better predictors of MLB success than low BB rates, so that's something to keep an eye on. With that said, he has improved the K rate in eight starts in Modesto to 8.2/9, though he has been limited by injury to just 42.2 IP this year.

In any case, Anderson's pedigree and results were enough to place him 17th on my list, one of the lower results for Anderson (I was more excited by a number of recent draftees). I'll be more than happy to offer a mea culpa the next time around if he starts looking like a major league pitcher, but for now I'm not seeing enough projection to merit a much higher ranking.

Contract Status: 2011 1st Round, Not Rule 5 eligible, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: 2015

9. Tyler Matzek (446 points, 21 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: 10 -- High Ballot 4, Mode Ballot 8

Matzek, a 22 year-old LHP at AA Tulsa, is Colorado's most controversial prospect. He's also might still have one of the highest ceilings in the Rockies' system. His warts have been well publicized at this point -- he has unusual mechanics (he follows the Mike Marshall method) and a different pitching philosophy that emphasizes throwing any pitch in any count. As a result, Matzek's walk rates are astronomically high -- he has a career BB/9 of 6.6 and a WHIP of 1.60. Matzek would fit right in with the 2012 Rockies rotation, as his career average outing length is a hair under five innings.

Then again, Matzek also has a career K/9 rate of 9.0 and H/9 of 7.8. This year, Matzek has noticeably backed off the gas and pitched more to contact, essentially making him a different pitcher. This has had the result of lowering the BB/9 rate to 5.1, but his H/9 rate was at 8.8 and his K/9 rate dipped to 6.4, resulting in a 3.79 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. The result has been a thoroughly weird but oddly effective season at AA.

I still buy in to Matzek's upside (I ranked him 4th on my ballot) -- but whether Matzek is able to make it to the Show (especially as a starter) at this point is very much up in the air. The age, stuff, and proximity to the majors would suggest yes, but when it comes to Matzek, expect the unexpected.

Contract Status: 2009 1st Round, Rule 5 Eligible After 2013, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: Late 2014

8. Rosell Herrera (465 points, 21 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: 16 -- High Ballot 5, Mode Ballot 8

Herrera, a 20 year-old switch-hitting SS at Low A Asheville, debuted on the PuRPs list back in Fall 2011 just ahead of current top five PuRP and fellow shortstop Trevor Story due to an impressive stateside debut in rookie ball Casper. Of all the great Latin American players that have come through Colorado's system, Herrera received the largest signing bonus ($550,000) as a 16 year-old. Keith Law (ESPN Insider) named the toolsy Herrera as the Rockies' top sleeper prospect going into 2012.

Unfortunately, that hit tool didn't quite manifest itself in Low A last year, as Herrera limped to a .202/.271/.272 line in part time duty in the crowded Asheville infield before being demoted to Tri City and redeeming himself somewhat (.284/.332/.351).

This year has been a complete 180 from 2012 at Asheville for Herrera, who has utterly dominated the league his second time around. Thus far, Herrera has played SS and hit a ridiculous .354/.456/.538 with 13 HRs, 34 XBHs, and 18 SB in 77 games, making him the early front runner for South Atlantic League MVP. This was just the kind of bounce back season Rockies fans had in mind for Herrera. I put Herrera 9th on my ballot, as befits his youth and potential. If the results continue next year at Modesto, he shoots into the top 5 easily.

Contract Status: 2009 FA (DR), Rule 5 Eligible After 2013, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: 2016

7. Corey Dickerson (492 points, 21 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: 7 -- High Ballot 1, Mode Ballot 6

Dickerson, a 24 year-old lefty outfielder currently in his second week with the Rockies, is a player who has really taken every opportunity he's been given and has excelled. The 8th round pick has hit well at every level he's been faced with, including a preposterous .386/.429/.646 line with 42 XBHs (including 13 triples!) in 66 games at Colorado Springs that got him a promotion to the Show.

During his minor league career, Dickerson has hit .322/.381/.603, which could signal a pretty significant MLB impact if he can maintain a similar line against big league pitching. The knock on Dickerson (beyond his low round pedigree) has been that his below average defense plays only at a corner outfield position (somebody tell Walt Weiss), which is why he rated only 7th on my list despite his hitting prowess and the fact that he's already made the majors.

There's a wide range of opinion on Dickerson, who was ranked every spot from 1-12 by voters this time around. Either way, it's quite possible that he renders himself ineligible for PuRPs eligibility next time around due to MLB service time.

Contract Status: 2010 8th Round, 40 Man Roster, 3 options remaining


6. Chad Bettis (524 points, 21 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: 6 -- High Ballot 2, Mode Ballot 7

Bettis, a 24 year-old RHP at AA Tulsa who is currently on the DL with an oblique injury, was again a very difficult prospect to place on this list. After all, Bettis had a phenomenal 2011 at Modesto (3.34 ERA, 1.1 WHIP, 9.8 K/9) while displaying a powerful slider and a high 90s fastball, enough to get him up to #86 on Baseball America's Top 100 list. Jon Sickels ranked him 3rd in the Rockies system coming into 2012, as did BA.

Then Bettis got hurt and didn't pitch at all in 2012 -- shoulder injuries are mysterious. It's hard to tell if Bettis will ever be the same dominant pitcher again, but this year has given me some evidence that the talent is still there. In his abbreviated return this year with Tulsa (seven starts, 36 IP), Bettis showed off the form that got him to this ranking, combining a decent 4.00 ERA and 1.22 WHIP with a great 9.2 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9, well in line with his career numbers.

I ranked Bettis 6th on my ballot because of the injury concerns. Given his age and injury history, he might not ever make top 100 prospect lists - but if he returns successfully from his injury this time around, he might just be in Colorado's starting rotation next year (if not in the bullpen this September).

Contract Status: 2010 2nd Round, Rule 5 Eligible After 2013, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: 2014

Stay tuned for the top five Summer 2013 PuRPs tomorrow!