Organizational Rankings: Future Talent – Colorado

The Colorado Rockies club is one of the most self-sufficient organizations in baseball. With the exception of Carlos Gonzalez in left field, the club projects to feature a starting lineup of players that were all originally signed by the organization. There is also a lot of young talent to be found, including Troy Tulowitzki (25) at shortstop, Ian Stewart (24) at third, Chris Iannetta (26) behind the dish, Dexter Fowler in center field (24) and the aforementioned Gonzalez (24). On the pitching staff, the club boasts the likes of Ubaldo Jimenez (26), Franklin Morales (24), and Manny Corpas (27). All three pitchers are members of the Rockies’ international scouting efforts.

That is an impressive collection of talent… but wait – there’s more to come. Pitchers Christian Friedrich, Jhoulys Chacin, Esmil Rogers, Casey Weathers, and Sam Deduno are not far away from helping the big league club. If you like offense, Eric Young Jr., Hector Gomez, and Mike McKenry could all be in the Majors within the next year or two.

The club also had an outstanding ’09 amateur draft, which netted No. 1 pick Tyler Matzek (arguably the best prep arm), college pitcher Rex Brothers, outfielder Tim Wheeler, and third baseman Nolan Arenado. The only negative to the organization’s collection of talent is that it lacks a true can’t-miss, impact bat. The club’s drafting efforts have improved with each of the past three drafts. As mentioned, the club has also had a lot of success with mining the international market despite not shelling out for the perceived top talent.

The organization obviously believes in stability amongst it’s front office. General manager Dan O’Dowd has held his position since late 1999 and the club’s scouting efforts have been overseen by Bill Schmidt since 2000. Marc Gustafson continues to direct the club’s minor league system as senior director of player development. He’s been overseeing the Rockies’ prospects since 2001.

After almost a decade, the organization is still having a lot of success with developing its own talent and there is no reason to expect anything to change in the near future.




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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


3 Responses to “Organizational Rankings: Future Talent – Colorado”

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  1. Tom Wilson says:

    I cannot believe they not only have not traded Hawpe, or Atkins when they had value but have continued to add guys like Podsednik and Mora to block development of players like EY2 and Fowler. This system is pretty good but could easily have a few more A or B prospects if the Rockies would stop focusing on selling low (See Atkins, Sullivan, Freeman, and Baker)

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  2. Andy says:

    Podsednik didn’t block anyone and Mora isn’t really blocking the development of EY2. EY2 is getting regular PAs in AAA, which will probably help his development (on a much cheaper dime for the team) significantly more than a pinch-hitting opportunity here and there.

    It seems to be the organization’s MO to not rush players (the notable exceptions probably being Fowler and Morales). It doesn’t make sense to start a player’s arb clock before he’s ready to truly help the team play at a highly-competitive level, especially when it appears that a bulk of these players will hit arbitration around the same time. Basically, the opposite of what Arizona does.

    As for trading Hawpe, that certainly seems like it would have been a good idea this offseason, but I’m not certain there was an awful huge market during the offseason for a player like Hawpe. Good, if not great, hitters and a horrible defensive players don’t usually garner a huge booty when there’s still free agents to sign. Beyond that, Fowler has had a few injuries in his career and it’s still entirely possible that CarGo struggles a bit. Trading Hawpe for a few lesser prospects doesn’t help a team that has serious title aspirations as much as the benefit of depth. If Fowler and CarGo turn out to be the cat’s meow this season and Smith continues to play at the level he did last season, then it might be time to evaluate a trade of Hawpe (especially given the certainty of injuries and needs developing elsewhere in the league).

    Essentially, trading Hawpe this offseason would have been the precise thing you were complaining about (selling low).

    I’m not sure how much better this system could be (short of having the benefit of redrafting). The team doesn’t have a ton of positional talent at the top of the minors leagues, but they don’t really need it; without doing a ton of research, I think the team has position players locked up through at least 2012 (and beyond at several of those positions). Obviously those players can’t count as ‘prospects’ per se, but they should be factored in when critiquing the system in general. Pitching-wise, aside from Texas and Tampa Bay, most teams would gladly trade ML pitching staffs with the Rockies.

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    • Tom Wilson says:

      You make a good point about trading for tradings sake, Hawpe would have value in the role that Giambi has currently. Seth Smith is a year younger than Carl Crawford and an amazing hitter deserving of real playing time. The outfield 80-90% of the time should be RF-Cargo CF-Fowler LF-SSmith but I don’t think they are going to sit Hawpe unless he makes them.

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