A Minor Review of 2008: The Rockies

The Graduate: Ian Stewart | Born: April 1985 | Infielder

Only 23, Ian Stewart has been on the prospect radar since being selected 10th overall in 2003 out of a California high school. His ceiling is not as high as it used to be, but Stewart still has a lot of promise and should have a full-time gig in Colorado in 2009 at either second base, third base… or maybe even first base… depending on how the off-season plays out. In 2008 at the MLB level, Stewart hit .259/.349/.455 with an ISO of .195 in 266 at-bats. To have long-term success, he needs to produce better rates than those he accumulated in 2008: 10.1 BB% and 35.3 K%.

The Riser: Jhoulys Chacin | Born: January 1988 | Right-Handed Pitcher

In just his first full season in North America, the Venezuela native absolutely exploded and spent the second half of the season in High-A. Jhoulys Chacin will likely open 2009 in Double-A at the age of 21. This past season, he allowed just 82 hits in 111.1 innings with rates of 2.43 BB/9 and 7.92 K/9 at A-ball. Upon a promotion to High-A, Chacin allowed 61 hits and rates of 1.63 BB/9 and 8.41 K/9 in 66.2 innings. Although he was a little more hittable against better competition, his BABIP increased from .268 to .317 and his K/BB ratio was an eye-popping 5.17. With improving command, a low-90s fastball and developing secondary stuff, he has the potential to be a dominating Major League starter.

The Tumbler: Chaz Roe | Born: October 1986 | Right-Handed Pitcher

A supplemental first round selection from the 2005 draft, Chaz Roe has recently been passed by a number of pitching prospects in the system. He struggled through some injuries in 2008, a year after pitching a career-high 170 innings. Roe spent the majority of the season in Double-A, where he allowed 98 hits in 105.1 innings with rates of 2.91 BB/9 and 5.98 K/9. His walk rates have improved each of the last three seasons, but his strikeouts rates have dropped over that same period. Roe may be suited to the bullpen with a low-90s fastball and plus curveball. His change-up is lacking.

The ’08 Draft Pick: Delta Cleary | Born: August 1989 | Outfielder

Delta Cleary is your basic high-risk, high-reward player. He went undrafted until the 37th round of the 2008 draft out of junior college and the Rockies organization got him under contract thanks to a $250,000 investment. In his debut in Rookie Ball, Cleary hit .276/.315/.400 with an ISO of .124 in 105 at-bats. He posted rates of 5.4 BB% and 18.1 K%. He has a lot of work to do, but Cleary has 30-30 potential.

The ’09 Sleeper: Eric Young Jr. | Born: May 1985 | Second Baseman

Eric Young Sr. patrolled second base for the Rockies for parts of five seasons beginning in 1993 and son Eric Young Jr. could be next in line for the second base job in Colorado. The younger Young missed some time with injuries in 2008 but still managed to hit .290/.384/.392 with 46 stolen bases in 403 at-bats. He has hit more than .290 in each of the past three seasons and stolen 87 bases in 2006 and 73 bases in 2007. Young embraces the small-ball game, gets on base and is a smart base runner. After the 2008 season, he headed to the Arizona Fall League where he hit .430/.504/.640 with another 20 stolen bases in 31 games.

Up Next: The Arizona Diamondbacks

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects, depth charts and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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