Leaps for three prospects

April 5, 2009 | 1:44 pm  

Catcher Wilin Rosario and center fielder Charlie Blackmon at high Class A Modesto and third baseman Darin Holcomb at Double-A Tulsa will jump at least one level to begin the season.

Rosario, 20, spent the past two years at Rookie Casper where last season he hit .316 with 12 homers and 49 RBI in 66 games and had a .371 on-base percentage. Rosario as expected will skip short-season Class A Tri-City but will also bypass low Class A Asheville and begin the year at Modesto where he’ll benefit from being with Nuts manager Jerry Weinstein, a former catching coordinator with the Dodgers.

Blackmon, 22, who bats and throws left-handed and was the Rockies second-round draft pick last year, began his professional career at Tri-City where he hit .338 in 68 games with two homers and 33 RBI, 13 stolen bases and had a .390 on-base percentage. A former pitcher, Blackmon moved to the outfield in the summer of 2007 in the Texas Collegiate League.

Holcomb, 23, will skip Modesto and begin the year at Tulsa. He hit .318 last year in 137 games at Asheville with 14 homers, 102 RBI and more walks (65) than strikeouts (60), which helped Holcomb finish with a .400 on-base percentage. Holcomb was a 12th-round pick out of Gonzaga in 2007.

Also, switch-hitting center fielder Delta Cleary is expected to spend a few weeks in extended spring training recovering from a leg injury before reporting to Asheville. The 19-year-old Cleary hit .276 in 27 games at Casper last year with three homers and nine RBI.

Left-hander Christian Friedrich, the Rockies’ first-round pick last year and the 25th player taken overall, will begin the year at Asheville where he made three starts last season after beginning his professional career at Tri-City.

In news from outside the organization, Kip Wells, who began last season with the Rockies, will open this year in the rotation at Triple-A Syracuse, an affiliate of the Nationals.