Billings, Jorgenson off to good starts in AFL

October 19, 2010 | 9:44 am | 8  

One week into the Arizona Fall League and Colorado Rockies pitching prospects are faring better on the mound than their organizational teammates are at the plate:

Bruce Billings, RHP: Made his first appearance for the Scottsdale Scorpions on Monday and struck out two in two shutout innings.

Rex Brothers, LHP: Has allowed three hits in each of his two one-inning appearances. He’s a allowed three runs (13.50 ERA) and struck out three.

Adam Jorgenson, RHP: In three appearances, he was allowed four hits, no runs and struck out two. He also has picked up a save.

Greg Reynolds RHP: Was solid in his only appearance, a start on Oct. 14 in which he allowed four hits, a walk and one earned run in three innings. He struck out one and recorded the rest of his outs on groundballs.

Charlie Blackmon, OF: In three games is 0-for-11 with two walks and a run scored.

Thomas Field, SS: Has appeared in four games, the most of any Rockies prospects. Field is still looking for his first hit and is 0-for-16 with a walk, six strikeouts and a run scored.

Jordan Pacheco, C: In two games is 1-for-6 (.167) with two walks, a run scored and two RBI.


  • Julian | October 19, 2010 | 10:16 am

    It seems to me that we could have a lot of decent relievers starting the year at AAA in 2011. I think Brothers, Deduno, Escalona, Billings, Jorgenson, and Daley could conceivably all start the year at AAA. And if Weathers doesn’t start in AAA in 2011, he hopefully will move there before the year is out.

  • Agbayani | October 21, 2010 | 12:54 am

    Tracy/Jack/Steve (or anyone else with knowledge),

    I had thought Billings was a guy expected to peak at about AAA because he has limited stuff. Am I wrong? He seems to have emerged as a real prospect, and lately the references suggest that he’s throwing harder than I recall. What’s your take on his potential?

    By the way, Deduno simply doesn’t look like a big league pitcher to me. Escalona has the power arm to be a MLB reliever, but he looked like he’s got a ways to go. And why six days between Greg Reynolds appearances?

  • Steve Foster | October 21, 2010 | 10:12 am

    Going to the bullpen gives Billings a shot to go beyond on Triple-A. He has a good fastball but has yet to develop consistently effective second and third pitches. He has an erratic slider, which, if he can harness it and develop it into a major-league pitch, would be enough for him to stick in the majors as a reliever. His third pitch, a changeup, sounds like it’s a bit of a throwaway pitch for him — nothing that’s going to be of much use in the majors, limiting him to a relief role.

    Deduno has fastball with a lot of movement and a good curveball. We didn’t get to see enough of him in September to really know how effective he could be — sort of like Chris Nelson, he’s a guy whose career keeps getting sidetracked by injuries, so while older than a lot of other players he’s actually more raw than most at this stage. Escalona’s size could make him an intimidating reliever, but that single defensive mistake, failing to cover first on a groundball, really didn’t go over well with the Rockies. Both pitchers need some work, but of the two, Deduno is probably closest to the majors.

    On Reynolds, in the AFL there are so many players on the rosters and teams are careful not to put much too much strain on young players after the minor-league season that starters usually pitch short outings on long rest. Because the players are heading into the offseason, the emphasis isn’t on preparing an arm for a long season but rather learning a better approach on the mound.

  • Julian | October 21, 2010 | 10:21 am

    Agbayani, I think that someone on this site has said that Billings has a good fastball, but needs to develop a second pitch, which is why he moved from a starter to a reliever.

    Looking at the box score from last night’s game, it looked like a decent effort from Reynolds, Brothers and Pacheco (Fields, on the other hand, is something like 0 for 18). What are you guys hearing about our guys in the AFL.

    I’m curious about several things about our pitching:

    1. How is Reynolds looking, and might he finally be able to be a major league starter (or at least a long reliever/spot starter?

    2. What are we hearing about the health and recoveries of Cook. Fancis, and Weathers? Where can we project any of them for next year (I know that Francis is a free agent).

    3. Do we control the right to sign Hammel next year, or is he a free agent? If he is a free agent, is it likely that we will sign him?

    4. Do Street’s, Betancourt’s and Corpas’s contracts all run out at the end of next year (2011)? That’s a two edged sword, but it does free up a tremendous amount of money, if we have younger, cheaper arms ready to take their places in 2012. Is Brothers projected to be a closer type reliever?

  • Steve Foster | October 21, 2010 | 10:47 am

    Wouldn’t worry too much about Fields. He sort of landed in the AFL by accident when Hector Gomez was injured. Field might end up with some ugly stats when it’s all said and one, but the experience could be valuable to him as he moves up to Double-A. While there are some other young kids in the AFL, most of the players Field is facing were at Double-A and Triple-A this season. Anyway:

    1) With his finish to the season at Tulsa and solid outings in the AFL, Reynolds is back in the picture. Maybe he doesn’t look like the guy the Rockies wanted him to be when they took him second overall, but he looks like he could have a major-league role. The Rockies could trade him in the offseason, but if they don’t I would expect to see him compete for fifth spot in rotation or long role out of the pen.
    2) Cook: should be fine; he looked good after he came back until the leg injury. Francis: no word; wouldn’t expect Rockies or any other team to give him a long-term deal without seeing him healthy for a full season. Weathers: his recovery from Tommy John has been long; last season was about staying healthy, and he did that. As for next year, Cook is penciled into the Rockies rotation, although there’s still an outside chance he’s traded. If Francis comes back to the Rockies, it would be to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation. Rockies will answer the DLR question first, then address Francis. Weathers will probably start the season at Double-A. If he’s healthy, we could see him in Denver next year.
    3) Hammel has three years of arbitration left (he was a Super Two after last season) so is under the Rockies’ control for the foreseeable future. He’ll get a raise up from $1.9 million. It’s getting about time for him to emerge as a more reliable starter, however, or he could be a non-tender candidate after 2011 or 2012.
    4) Street’s contract runs through 2012 with a player option for 2013. Betancourt’s and Corpas’ are done after 2011 (Corpas has expensive options for 2012 and 2013 that the team will decline.) While I wouldn’t discount the possibility that either player could be back under cheaper contracts in 2012, Rockies will probably be looking to develop a reliable eighth-inning replacement this season, perhaps Belisle, Brothers or Weathers, with an eye at one taking over from Street after 2012 or 2013. Brothers has been compared to Billy Wagner; he’s quite a ways from that level right now, however.

  • Agbayani | October 21, 2010 | 1:16 pm

    Thanks, Steve, for the info on Billings. And please continue the great site. I haven’t put in my 25 buck contribution yet …. Is that still paypal only? I’ve so far avoided opening a paypal acct, and would rather not open one …

  • Steve Foster | October 21, 2010 | 2:05 pm

    Thanks, Agbayani. Still only PayPal, but you should be able to donate without opening an account. When you get to the PayPal page, there’s a link in the lower left corner (small enough that most people don’t see it, which is PayPal’s intention) that asks “Don’t Have a PayPal Account?” You should then be able to complete the transaction without setting up an account.

  • Agbayani | October 21, 2010 | 5:15 pm

    Thanks! I may give that a try …