BA ranks Rockies’ 2010 draft fourth best in majors

October 22, 2010 | 1:25 pm | 55  

Baseball America has rated the Colorado Rockies’ 2010 draft the fourth best among major-league teams in its annual draft report cards.

The Rockies’ top two picks — Kyle Parker (first round, 26th overall) and Peter Tago (supplemental first round, 47th overall) — signed late and did not play a game in the minors this season. But strong pitching debuts from second-round pick Chad Bettis and fifth-rounder pick Joshua Slaats helped the Rockies’ ranking.

Parker, who is currently the starting quarterback at Clemson, was rated the third best power hitter from the draft.

Corey Dickerson, an eighth-round pick, was rated first in pro debuts among junior college players. Dickerson, who the Rockies took in the 29th round in 2009 but didn’t sign, hit .348 with 13 home runs and 61 RBI at Casper.

Read more here (subscription required).

55 Comments »

  • Cameo | October 22, 2010 | 3:28 pm

    As we all know, drafting well and player development are the most important things for small market teams to succeed. Rox have done very well in these areas. They need to keep it up.

    And the competitive balance in baseball is great! Just look at the Yanks, they have made the playoffs every year except one since ’96. They only have 27 Titles and 39 Pennants. When the Yanks aren’t in the playoffs every year and actually have to build a team instead of buy one, then you can talk to me about parity.

  • ProgMatinee | October 22, 2010 | 3:52 pm

    rockies overall have developed good players, but man its hard to imagine how good we would be if just 1 or 2 of all those wasted 1st rd pitchers since 2000 has actually panned out.

  • ProgMatinee | October 22, 2010 | 3:54 pm

    not including Francis.

  • Cub ex-patriot | October 22, 2010 | 4:23 pm

    Cameo,

    No truer words have been spoken. Bob Costas wrote a great book about 10 years ago (“Fair Ball”) which argued, quite convincingly,for meaningful revenue sharing and a salary cap. Unfortunately, the buffoons who run baseball and the players don’t want a level playing field. They are more than okay with the Yankees in the World Series every year.

    Despite all that, we live and we hope. I’m rooting hard for the Rangers to prevail this year.

  • Bill | October 22, 2010 | 5:14 pm

    Actually they have revenue sharing but some teams, notably the Pirates, just take the money and play the game on the cheap. I believe the Rockies even receive money from revenue sharing.

    Let’s stop the whining and start the winning. The Rockies could spend more money and if they spent it wisely they could be in the playoffs every year. If they were Colorado fans would support them and they should then have even more revenue. But they couldn’t or wouldn’t go out and get a right-handed bat this year. I believe they could have been the team, rather than the Giants, to have put in the claim for Cody Ross as they were behind the Giants in the standings. They didn’t, the Giants did. Not the only reason why the Giants are one game from the World Series but certainly one of them.

    I’m really tired of the mind-set that we’re a small market team and have no chance to win. It’s a built in excuse for O’Dowd. Obviously all business owners (even the Yankees) set budgets. But all successful business owners also take risk. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t. I know in my business I’m a little guy competing against people world-wide some who are large companies with offices all over the world. My business is my wife and I. If I sat on my butt and hoped I got lucky I would once in awhile but I probably wouldn’t stay in business for 40 years as I have. I take risks, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Rockies management needs to that more often.

  • Eric G. | October 22, 2010 | 5:28 pm

    THANK YOU BILL!!! I’ve been saying all along that the Rockies owners have people fooled that they are a, “small to mid-market”, team. Denver is a GREAT sports town. They can afford more than what they are saying. They just don’t wanna win that bad.

  • reader f/k/a Mike | October 22, 2010 | 7:05 pm

    Eric, put up the numbers to back your assertion.

    Denver’s a great sports town but it’s also filled with fair-weather fans. And places like Chicago, Boston and NY are great sports towns with larger populations and more large corporations to draw upon for sponsorships.

    Considering that the last 4 seasons is by far the most successful run in the Rockies’ history, I find it funny everyone’s kicking the team. At least try coming up with a suggestion on what they should have done. Bill, you, too. What sort of risks are you talking about. What in your business approaches the sort of risk involved with something like Hampton or Helton’s contracts?

    And yeah, no 20-20 hindsight stuff like “trade for Jose Bautista.”

    There’s room for improvement, sure. But there’s never been much reason for optimism for the Rockies; with the way the team’s been run lately, there is.

  • Rocky | October 22, 2010 | 7:09 pm

    Before I lived here, I used to marvel at the support Denver gives the Rockies. If the Rockies were to win a W.S. they would ,imho, top 3.5 million a yr. in attendance. This is a sports crazy town.

  • Steve Foster | October 22, 2010 | 7:51 pm

    Rockies used to average around 3.7 million fans a season, but it’s important to remember that the last time they went on a spending spree their attendance still dropped dramatically. Everything they do now is driven by that experience. Even with the the 11 percent increase in attendance in 2010, the 2.8 million that the Rockies drew would have been an all-time franchise low 10 years ago. Yet their payroll was also at an all-time high in 2010.

    This idea that the Rockies ownership doesn’t want to win bad enough doesn’t make sense. The remaining Denver newspaper, such as it is, has been pushing that agenda for some time now, and it doesn’t hold up. The Rockies spent big 10 years ago and all it did was get the team hamstrung with bad contracts while fans lost interest. After the Hampton and Neagle fiascos, the team’s payroll bottomed out at $41 million in 2006, one year after their attendance dropped below two million for the first time in franchise history. Since then, the payroll has increased to $54 million in 2007, $70 million in 2008, $77 million in 2009 and $85 million in 2010. Not coincidentally, attendance has increased each year as well. The Rockies’ owners very much want to win, but they want to win and make a profit, which hardly makes them unusual in Major League Baseball.

    Rockies saw increased revenue and shed some salary this year, so they will have more room to maneuver than in past offseasons. But they won’t get into the mix for the big three — Cliff Lee, Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford — nor should they. While all three players would be great additions, they will each make between $16-25 million each year for at least the next five or six years, contracts that would run into the free agency years of Ubaldo Jimenez, Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. The Rockies’ core will all hit free agency after 2014 — any move the Rockies make this offseason will be structure to help the team win now but also allow the team to make a play at keeping their core together beyond 2014. So they won’t be interested in anyone who will be looking for more than a four-year contract. The Rockies have some budget room and they absolutely must use it to complement their current core, but the $20 million it would take to sign someone like Lee could be used to bring in multiple key pieces. The Rockies payroll will be around $85 million again, and that’s plenty of room to do what they need to do this offseason.

  • Bill | October 22, 2010 | 9:39 pm

    F/K/A Mike. When the Rockies ownership pays the many millions of dollars to Helton or Hampton, even if they are busts the Rockies owners are still millionaires.

    I buy and sell things for a living. I have bought items that I think I could sell (and make a profit) with basically the last dollar I have. If I don’t sell it and make a profit I’m back to where I started. So I think you are dead wrong. The average small business person puts much more at risk almost every day than owners of ball clubs. t

    That being said the Rockies need to spend wisely. We all know that the signing of Hampton turned out to be a bad move. But frankly I also think that the signing of Helton for so much money AND for such a long time has hurt the Rockies. At least Hampton is finally off the payroll (or maybe he isn’t) but Helton will be on for while yet.

    When I’m saying take a chance I’m not saying take a chance on Lee, Crawford or Werth although I would love them to do so but I know they will not. But take a chance on somebody with perhaps a bad rep who might just need a new home. The Rockies have always been a bunch of nice guys, and are proud of it, but maybe they need some guys who will stir things up. The Red Sox of 04 and the Giants of this year are said to have their share of those kinds of players. I’m not saying sign a bunch of criminals, but a couple of guys who might be a little “off” might help. It might not last forever but wouldn’t it be nice to win the World Series at least once. You will get a lot of good will out of that.

  • Steve Foster | October 23, 2010 | 12:28 am

    Rockies could use a little spark. This offseason will be an interesting test for the Rockies. It really is the spot they’ve been trying to get to: top 10 in attendance and rising, a core of three young players (Jimenez, Tulo and Cargo) that any team in baseball would want and are locked up for four more seasons and some payroll flexibility. The Rockies have been conservative in the past few offseasons and this will be a real test to see what they can do.

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | October 23, 2010 | 12:35 am

    “And the competitive balance in baseball is great!…When the Yanks aren’t in the playoffs every year and actually have to build a team instead of buy one, then you can talk to me about parity.”

    Read on the internets tonight after the Rangers win: the Rangers are the 6th team to make their first World Series appearance since the turn of the century.

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | October 23, 2010 | 12:38 am

    Bill, I know several small businessmen and they don’t operate with your level of risk. I’m not sure why you think you need to universalize the way you’ve chosen to do business.

    If the Rockies do what you suggest and bring in some down-on-their luck guys and give them a chance, just as many other fans will complain about the approach.

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | October 23, 2010 | 12:54 am

    And don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying the Rockies don’t have the cash to do anything or that they have avoided all mistakes. Clearly they have the willingness to invest, or they wouldn’t have spent about $30 million last season on relievers, they wouldn’t have signed Matzek, and they wouldn’t have signed a guy like Kyle Parker. (Whether the relievers were the wisest use of resources is another question.) And from my pov they *should* invest. Last offseason I believe I noted around here that their payroll position lagged behind their estimated revenue position a bit, implying they had some head room to spend (while granting that no one really knows their revenue).

    Must like Steve’s post, I’m trying to say, this appears to be a pretty well-run organization. It’s much, much improved over the first 10 years of the franchise’s history. The cynicism and suspicions about the team’s leadership and intentions seem unfounded to me.

    That said, well run organizations can fail, if you consider not making the playoffs or providing a sufficiently entertaining team a failure.

  • Wayne | October 23, 2010 | 8:32 am

    I have been wondering something and would like your opinions, if you would. Every year it seems we have a highly rated farm system. However it takes a long time it seems (except Tulo and Dex) to come up and make an impact. Especially on the pitching side of things.

    Now take the Giants. They have 4 pitchers who are making an impact and I don’t think any of them spent more than 2 seasons in the minors. Is their minor league coaching that much better than ours, or is Righetti that much of a pitching coach genius. Or do they just draft better.
    We take years upon years to develop our minor league pitchers, they take 2 max.

    Sure would like some opinions on this, especially since we just had the 4th best draft in baseball. When will we see these guys make an impact?

  • Eric G. | October 23, 2010 | 8:40 am

    reader f/k/a Mike,

    For one, the Rockies didn’t do a damn thing to help themselves out at the trading deadline while our whole division did something to help and improve their teams.

    Two, why isn’t DLR signed yet? If bringing him back is such a, “priority”, then make it happen. Why would you wait for him to hit the open market where you know teams are going to offer him more money. Hurry up and get him signed. I really have a feeling it’s not going to happen. I hope I’m wrong cause I would love to have DLR back.

    I agree with Bill. This team needs some attitude and some swagger. A guy like Pierzynski would be nice. Hey he’s a free agent! Why not?

    The way this team ended the season left a very bad taste in my mouth. Sorry if I seem like I’m venting but seeing the Giants this close to making the World Series is pissing me off! But hey, at the least the Yankees lost.

  • Steve Foster | October 23, 2010 | 10:38 am

    The Rockies do generally move their pitchers through the system slower than a lot of teams, and their attempts at breaking that habit have never really panned out. Part of that is the fact of Coors Field — right or wrong, the Rockies have made an effort to have their pitchers mentally prepared for life at altitude. The humidor has leveled things a bit, but pitchers will give up hits and home runs will be hit, and the Rockies generally like their pitchers to have have faced some adversity before they reach the majors so they know how to deal with it.

    The Giants pitchers you mentioned all arrived in the majors soon after they were drafted: Lincecum (second year), Cain (third year), Sanchez (fourth year), Bumgarner (second year). Jason Jennings and Jeff Francis each moved through the Rockies system quickly, arriving the major leagues in their third seasons. But the Rockies’ attempts to draft pitchers who were expected to move faster haven’t worked so far. Greg Reynolds was seen as a bit of a stretch talent-wise with the No. 2 overall pick in 2006, but he was also perceived as one of the closest to the majors in that class. He arrived in the majors less than two years after he was drafted, but has been bothered by injuries since then. Casey Weathers was on the fast track before Tommy John surgery. Christian Friedrich was on the fast track, too, but was slowed first by the Rockies’ caution after Reynolds and then by injuries and a disappointing season. I don’t know that there’s an explanation here other than luck — there are more examples of pitchers who don’t move quickly than there are pitchers who burn through the minors like Lincecum and Bumgarner. The Giants have had a little luck, but they also play in a good pitchers park, which certainly helps.

    As for when the 2010 class (and for that matter the 2009 class) will make an impact, generally you’ll see the 2009ers in 2012-13 and the 2010ers in 2013-14. Some will move faster. Rex Brothers (2009) will probably reach the majors in 2011. Chad Bettis (2010) could move really fast, but the lesson of Weathers hangs over him — he could be in line for the majors in 2011, but 2012 is more likely unless the Rockies desperately need the arm in 2011. Tyler Matzek could be an anomaly in the Rockies system — they’ve never had a high school pitcher with that kind of ceiling. The Rockies will move him as fast as his command dictates — he might have major-league stuff very soon, but the Rockies won’t bring him up until he learns better command. He walked a lot of guys and had a lot of short, if dominant, outings at Asheville. Best-case scenario, everything clicks for him in 2011 at Modesto, he moves to Tulsa midseason and gets a September callup. On the other hand, if he struggles with his control, he moves up one level at a time, Modesto in 2011, Tulsa in 2012, Springs in 2013 and majors in 2014. I think the reality is somewhere in between. We probably see him in the majors at some point in 2012 and he settles in 2013.

    Other 2009ers like Tim Wheeler and Ben Paulsen are looking at 2012 arrivals; if Nolan Arenado’s season in notoriously hitter-friendly Asheville wasn’t an aberration, he could be looking at late 2012. Of the 2010ers, the top two guys — Parker and Tago — are delayed a bit because of their late signings. If Parker focuses on baseball after this season, he could be looking at 2013-14 — there’s always a chance he could move faster than that, but with no professional track record yet, there’s not way to know. If Tago develops as the Rockies hope, probably 2014.

    The key thing to note is that these two draft classes, which have been generally highly regarded, should be settling into the majors around 2013 and 2014, right around the time that the Rockies’ current core — Tulo, Gonzalez, Jimenez, Stewart and Fowler — are eligible for free agency. That will give the Rockies potential replacements, but also the possibility of filling their roster with some talented, but cheap, options if they wanted to devote a disproportionate part of their payroll to keeping Tulo, Cargo and Jimenez.

  • Steve Foster | October 23, 2010 | 10:46 am

    I like the idea of Pierzynski. He’s the kind of swagger they need — attitude without an attitude problem. Rockies will make an offer to DLR — they still have probably two weeks before he can become a free agent. Just because there isn’t an offer doesn’t mean the sides aren’t talking. In fact they are, but unfortunately a reporter and a headline writer the other day only emphasized that there was no offer. It’s worth noting that the most active team in the division at the trading deadline was the Dodgers, who immediately faded after trading for Lilly, Theriot, Podesnik and Dotel. Who should the Rockies have traded for at the deadline?

  • Wayne | October 23, 2010 | 11:20 am

    Steve, thanks so much for that explanation. I think maybe the point you made that stood out the most was “I don’t know that there’s an explanation here other than luck”. That may be very true, but it seems the Giants have been very lucky lately.

    Anyway, thanks again. Gotta love this site for info when you need it.

    Hopefully the Rox get some “luck” with the players you mentioned. If they pan out this could be an exciting future.

  • Steve Foster | October 23, 2010 | 11:34 am

    It does work both ways, though. The Giants have had some luck with their pitchers, but look down the list of their first-round picks and you’ll see those pitchers and a lot of players who haven’t made it. Meanwhile, a lot of other teams look at the Rockies and say they were lucky to have Tulowitzki fall to them in the draft and to pick up Gonzalez after two teams had given up on him. But it is true that the Rockies seem to have had better success developing impact pitchers from Latin America than they have through the draft. That much is a real pattern.

  • Bill | October 23, 2010 | 12:27 pm

    reader f/k/a Mike, I don’t want this to get personal. You asked me who would take risks like Rockies management and I told you. That’s all that should be said on this subject.

    Steve is correct. A guy with attitude who is not an attitude problem. AJ Pierzynski is a perfect example. Somebody you hate when he’s on the other team and love him when he’s on your team. As long as he can play.

  • Eric G. | October 23, 2010 | 1:38 pm

    Like Claude Lemieux!!! Haha!

  • Eric G. | October 23, 2010 | 1:39 pm

    Steve,

    Any word on if the Rockies are interested in Pierzynski at all?

  • Eric G. | October 23, 2010 | 1:40 pm

    They should have traded for anyone that could have helped them.

  • Steve Foster | October 23, 2010 | 2:46 pm

    Haven’t heard anything about the Rockies pursuing Pierzynski if he becomes a free agent, but certainly hope they at least entertain the idea.

    Love the discussions and they should help us get through the offseason, just bring specifics. Every team was looking for someone who would have helped them, but in the end not that many players changed teams. The Rockies pursued a number of players at the deadline — Ryan Theriot and Jorge Cantu were a couple — but they never found a match to their needs and asking price. I, too, wish they had found what they were looking for, but of the players who changed teams at the deadline few stand out as someone who could have helped the Rockies significantly. Ted Lilly was probably the best match for the Rockies’ needs, and the combo of Lilly and Theriot would have helped. But while the Rockies could have matched the pitching prospects that went to the Cubs in the trade (roughly equivalent to Chris Balcom-Miller and Casey Weathers), they didn’t have the other piece the Cubs were looking for and found from the Dodgers in Blake DeWitt: an established major-league infielder who isn’t arbitration eligible. The Rockies had pieces to move, but not the right ones to land the players they wanted. And the one player every other team wanted — Jhoulys Chacin — was off limits.

  • Rich M | October 23, 2010 | 5:06 pm

    Been off the site for a couple days, but I really like the discussion here. Steve you seem to defend the Rockies ownership on this site, and although I can partially agree, I also have to partially disagree.

    There were starting pitchers like Lee and Lilly that were available for a late season rental, as far as I can tell the Rockies didn’t pursue either of these guys. In addition, Cantu and Burrell were both available and again the Rockies decided not to close the deal on either of these guys to fill the right handed bat hole.

    Just my opinion but a right handed bat along with a starting pitcher and the Rockies are right back in the playoffs. Now before you say it – acquiring a couple of those guys would have cost nearly #7.5 and several quality prospects – and you would be right. My point is how many times do you have a chance to really go for it?

    DanO either truly believed that he had enough at the deadline which is what he said, or he told a little white lie and was actually blowing off the 2010 season. Just my opinion and I said so at the time – but DanO knew 2010 was not going to be the Rockies year. Other than the lack of honesty that’s really ok with me, because I think DanO knows that its 2012 and 2013 when the Rockies have a real shot at the World Series.

    And now for my last beef with the ownership – please increase payroll by a similar percentage as the attendance increase – noted above at an 11% increase. To my way of thinking that gives ownership enough room to increase payroll by say 10% to about $93.5m Your still not going to sign any of the big three free agents mentioned but that $8.5m plus the $15.0 to $20.0m in available payroll space gives you enough romm to get some quality guys for the several holes the Rockies have to fill.

    So no until ownership proves to be substantially more aggressive in this off season, I am still of the opinion that the Rockies ownership is excessively cheap and almost afraid to take any financial risk what-so-ever.

  • Mike Raysfan | October 23, 2010 | 5:25 pm

    Great stuff!

    1st the Yankees. Yes they make the playoffs on a ridiculous payroll. More important to me? The Rays have won the AL East 2 of the last 3 seasons on CONSIDERABELY LESS money than the Yankees. In the Rays case, it took new ownership, not a boat load of more money.

    I am not suggesting nor do I believe the Rockies need new ownership. They do spend money. Again, using the Rays a reference, about 11 million more than the Rays.

    $$$$$$$ spent does not necessarily translate to World Series or even playoffs.

    I still am under the belief that the Rockies have players that are huge underachievers. Nothing more nothing less. If these players would play up to their potential then life would be good.

    Steve, I think you summed it all up regarding the pitchers. I think there are some that just find it hard to believe that there are pitchers that just don’t want to come here. The Rockies are banking on their draft picks to fill that gap and maybe they were pushing a couple a little too fast.

    Mike Hampton? I think the Rockies are still paying him. Maybe they are re-coupng some of that money now because the national talking heads claim that Friedrich is working out with him.

  • Eric W. | October 23, 2010 | 10:01 pm

    Steve- do you see the Rockies re-signing Jason Giambi at all? Out of Lance Berkman, Derek Lee, Colby Rasmus, Zack Grienke, Yonser Alonso, and Victor Martinez who has a greater chance of getting traded/ signed with the Rockies?

    Could Garrett Atkins get a chance in a Rockies Uniform on a Minor League Contract?

    * I saw that Berkman is likely(er) out of Grienke, Rasmus, V-Mart.*

  • Bill | October 23, 2010 | 10:16 pm

    By the way the Giants had almost 20% of their team this post season who are ex Rockies. Alfredt, Javier Lopez, Uribe, Ramon Ramierz.. not sure of anyone else. None of those guys are great but they are going to the World Series. And two guys they could have had for not much in Cody Ross and Pat Burrell. I’ll give them a pass on Burrell cause he probably couldn’t play the outfield at Coors everyday, but Ross was a guy they could have put a claim on.

    Mike the Raysfan is absolutely right. You can’t buy a pennant but the after awhile you want to keep some of your key players. The Rays are going to lose Crawford but have Longoria and Price for awhile. The Rockies have their big three and need to build around them with the right pieces.

    And as I mentioned earlier sometimes you have to take a risk and sometimes the risk isn’t worth it. I mentioned Hampton and Helton above but remember Mike Lansing. We paid a good price for him in giving up Jake Westbrook who is still a quality starter in the bigs. I’m sure Tracy R. knows where Lansing is now but I sure don’t. That didn’t work and perhaps the Rockies are afraid to give up a prospect but I think the window of opportunity with our Big Three is only 3 or 4 more years and unless we start to win we will lose 1, 2 or all 3 of them. That being said I don’t want to go all negative on O’Dowd. He pulled the trigger on the Matt Holliday deal earlier then most people thought he would and we came out smelling like a rose. Although having a right hand power hitter like Holliday would be great also.

    Anyway I’ll root for the Rangers. Like to see Hurdle get a WS ring.

  • C Thistle | October 23, 2010 | 11:07 pm

    I think the one position that separates the Giants from the Rockies right now is catcher. If Iannetta would’ve put up Buster Posey numbers we’d be celebrating our second trip to the Fall Classic. The single hardest position in baseball keeps us from the next step. We have pitching (DLR needs to be signed) but we don’t have catching. Olivo is a great guy, but isn’t the answer in my opinion.

    Steve’s posts are great; we don’t need to spend more, we need to spend wisely. Texas and SF are in the World Series, not through spending (in and of itself) but through building great teams. The Rockies are really close.

  • C Thistle | October 23, 2010 | 11:15 pm

    And, as a P.S., I used to think Iannetta would put up Posey numbers. I’m not so sure anymore.

  • Steve Foster | October 23, 2010 | 11:56 pm

    I have my own problems with ownership/management and the conservative moves they’ve made (or haven’t made) in the past couple years, holding on to certain players long past the point they had any trade value, but I am more or less willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for the moment for the reason noted above: the Rockies’ payroll in 2010 was the highest in franchise history. Would like to see it grow, but I see no reason to call them cheap.

    I don’t want to dwell too much more on the trade deadline so long after the fact, but I absolutely agree that Cliff Lee would have been a great addition. Never heard much about the Rockies getting involved in there, but considering the prospects other teams were willing to give up — Justin Smoak from the Rangers, Jesus Montero from the Yankee and Wilson Ramos from the Twins — I don’t know how I would have felt if the Rockies had given up the equivalent, a top, close-to-the-majors prospect along the lines of Jhoulys Chacin or Wilin Rosario (certainly the players the Mariners asked for) for a three-month rental and seen him walk. If the Rockies were where the Rangers are now, it would have been worth it.

    Eric W., good question. Greinke is a real longshot for a couple reasons discussed this week — he has a partial no-trade clause and every team not on his no-trade list will be trying to trade for him so the price is going to be very high. He would certainly cost the Rockies Chacin given what other teams will offer. Among first basemen, the Rockies aren’t going to suddenly make Todd Helton a pinch-hitter, so whoever they bring in will either be a young player in a trade who can grow into the position or someone who plays another position. With that in mind, I don’t expect Giambi back at all. Just doesn’t fit with what the Rockies need to do. Berkman has been mentioned but doesn’t make a ton of sense — he’s mostly a left-handed hitter limited to first base at this point. Don’t think the Rockies have any real interest for that reason. Lee’s at least a right-handed hitter, but he’s not going to be interested in a part-time job. So that leaves Rasmus, Alonso and Martinez, all reasonable possibilities. Of the three, Rasmus is the longest shot because he’s uber-talented and the only reason the Cardinals would even consider trading him is lingering issues with Tony LaRussa, issues the two put aside for most of the season. Alonso’s a lefty but he could conceivably play a little outfield as he grows into first base. Martinez is maybe the most likely, but it’s tough to know until or if he’s on the market and there’s a sense of what he really wants. He’s the best fit for the Rockies’ needs of the names you mentioned.

    Wouldn’t hold my breath for Atkins. He’s been mentioned a lot, but based on his truly awful season with the Orioles, I don’t see much reason for the Rockies to bring him back. If he was the Atkins of 2006-08, that would be great, but he’s not that player anymore.

  • Rocky | October 24, 2010 | 8:29 am

    Just out of idle curiosity, whatever happened to Kaz Matsui? I know he is probably finished, but he really dropped off the radar screen quickly after he arrived in C.S. Since, I’m living in the past. I’d like to see Atkins get a shot in spring training. He is still a fairly young player, could he be an option to resurrect his carrer here at 1st base? He’d be cheap, which the Rockies love.

    Thanks Steve for your input, appreciate your perspectives.

  • Steve | October 24, 2010 | 8:59 am

    Could the Rox make a trade with the royals for outfielder David DeJesus and right handed first baseman Billy Butler? DeJesus can play all outfield positions and has a better than average bat, and Butler could spell Helton at first against left handed pitchers. Butler isn’t the greatest defender but he could learn from Helton. He also doesn’t have the biggest bat, but has shown gap-to-gap power in his first couple seasons. Plus he is young and can still develop a better glove. We have the prospects to make a trade like this happen, and both would be an upgrade for the Rox.

  • Agbayani | October 24, 2010 | 10:56 am

    I’ve seen absolutely no reason to believe that Atkins has anything left. And even less reason to believe (if that’s possible) that Kaz Matsui has anything left.

    Pierzyynski? Why? We already have two better catchers under team control, and Pierzynski will likely bring a similar salary to Olivo. “Upgrading” doesn’t mean getting rid of a better player to bring in a worse player, which would be exactly what signing Pierzyinski would be.

    As far as moving pitchers through the system more slowly than the Giants or others: thanks for the insight, Steve. I think you’re right — the Rox have been far more cautious. But I think that’s ending, not just for the Rockies, but in baseball in general. Clubs are very cautious about the so-called “Verducci Effect” (which, as Tracy R. has mentioned, was talked about long before Verducci stuck his name on it) of not increasing innings loads on young pitchers too quickly. But the other side of the coin is that pitchers have arm trouble, and if you’ve got a talented one, you’re going to want to squeeze the value out of him early, before the wear and tear hits. Francis is a fine example of that. We got some good value out of him early on, and then saw him draw very generous salaries over the last 3 seasons for basically rehabbing. And since time on the DL doesn’t stop the free agency clock from ticking, even if he finally bounces back strong he’ll be able to sell his services to the highest bidder. Let’s say he hadn’t been moved aggressively. I think it’s still likely he would’ve broken down in 2008, and without the Rox having obtained any real value from him. Chacin moved quickly because he had the results to warrant it. Other guys haven’t mostly because they haven’t been that good. That’s more of a drafting error rather than a pitcher development error. I know the club hasn’t given up on Greg Reynolds yet, but even those who still think he can make it have to admit that he’s a relatively low ceiling guy. Lincecum, on the other hand, was moved fast. The Giants have gotten tremendous value out of him while his arm is still good, but that window is closing. He’s managing to still be an excellent pitcher despite losing about 3 mph off his fastball, and I’m guessing his dominant days are ending. Better that they end after 3 or 4 superb big league seasons than 3-4 years in the minors; I think that kind of thinking is gaining real traction. See, for example, Mat Latos, who (if he’d been drafted five years earlier) probably would’ve been held back for the Padres to rebuild and to toll his arbitration clock.

  • Rich M | October 24, 2010 | 11:17 am

    My point on the payroll is this. If the Rockies can create say $24.0m for available for free agents, then they could acquire cost effective solutions for the following holes:

    1. #2/3 Starting Pitcher (DLR if the price is right)
    2. Right handed 1st Baseman with power.
    3. Right handed outfielder with power.
    4. O Hudson type second baseman for the top of the order.

    In much the same way as the Giants did this year, this would remake the Rockies lineup and provide some serious help for Tulo and Cargo as far as the offense.

    So if ownership can increase the salary number by the same percentage as the attendance increase, then I think the Rockies have a real shot at winning something in 2011.

  • MOROCKIE | October 24, 2010 | 11:52 am

    Interesting reading. The Rockies are not as bad as some seem to thank. Some luck is always involved in winning seasons. The Rockies were in it until the last couple of weeks of the season leading the disappointment. They were disappointing in 2008 also. The similarities: Tulo missed significant time both seasons. Does one player matter? Depends on the player. I was a Yankee fan growing up. In the early 60’s the Yanks were in first place when Mickey Mantle broke his foot in Baltimore. In the 6 weeks he missed, the Yanks fell to 3rd. They were soon back in first when he returned. Tulo makes the Rockies go.

    Continuing on the luck theme, do you think the Giants would have won if Cain had missed half of the season like DeLarosa? And they hit the lightning in a bottle with Burrell and Ross. They took the risk because those guys were better than what they had. Do you think Burrell is better than Spilly? Ross is also an outfielder, which the Rockies didn’t need.

    Next subject: Billy Butler. He is a hitter. The fans here in KC are critical because he doesn’t hit a lot of home runs. He has plenty of power but he is a line drive gap to gap hitter and is young enough to get better. He would hit more home runs in Colorado. Is his mediocre defense worth his bat?

    To me, DeLarosa and Tulo missing so much time was the key to the season. They need to sign De and pick up the option on Olivo. De needs a passionate catcher to keep his mind in the game.

  • Agbayani | October 24, 2010 | 2:06 pm

    Morockie (love the name), some excellent points.

    What’s the Giants real secret to success this year? It’s not something intangible like “the veteran leadership that Pat Burrell brought.” (You’ll hear a lot of such nonsense from the Tim McCarvers of the world in the next couple weeks. Every time you do, ask yourself this: isn’t Bengie Molina bringing “veteran leadership” to the Rangers? But how then can it be that the Giants got better when they dumped him? Could it possibly be that its simply that Buster Posey is a whole lot better player?)

    No, the secret is this. Starts made by top 5 starters:

    Lincecum 33
    Cain 33
    Sanchez 33
    Zito 33
    Bumgarner 18 (basically joined the rotation midseason)

    That’s just ridiculously good health. They’re all workhorses, but you’ve also got to be just a little bit lucky to get 132 starts out of your top 4 guys going into the season. That means only 30 starts to distribute among lesser guys. Add to that that Bumgarner is in no way “lesser” (in fact, he’s probably behind only Lincecum and Cain) and he gave them 18. That means 11 starts for Todd Wellemeyer and one throwaway for Joe Martinez and you’ve covered 162 games. Just sick.

    Compare our Rox:

    Ubaldo 33
    Francis 19
    Cook 23 (although it seems some of the missed starts were as much about ineffectiveness as they were about injury)
    De La Rosa 20
    Hammel 30

    That’s 125 starts, leaving the Rox to cover 37 with lesser guys. Luckily it turned out that Chacin (like Bumgarner) was not lesser at all. He got 21 starts. So 16 starts went to the likes of Esmil Rogers (8) and Greg Smith (8). And particularly the latter was awful.

    And then the bullpen stayed healthy too, with Brian Wilson making 70 appearances/74.2 innings. Meanwhile Huston Street was at 44 games/47.1 innings. Meaning much lesser guys (anyone remember Manny Corpas?) were forced into high-leverage closer-type situations.

    It all adds up to the Giants in the World Series. I’m instinctively a Rockies fan first, an NL fan second. But I find myself pulling for the Rangers this year …

  • GARY | October 25, 2010 | 1:43 am

    Agbayani,where would are passionate musings be w/o your stats?As others have posted thank you.Really put the pitching short comings front and center!

  • GARY | October 25, 2010 | 1:48 am

    Probably really meant put Giants obvious strenght front and center.Their best relievers,other than Wilson,in the playoffs have all been ex-rockies!If we are needing another lefty to replace Beimel,whats Javey Lopez’s contract status-he has been lights out!

  • Eric G. | October 25, 2010 | 10:25 am

    Agbayani,

    Wow! Great stats!

  • Eric W. | October 25, 2010 | 3:45 pm

    O think the Rockies have a real shot as well. They need to add someone in terms of Lance Berkman, Zack Grienke, Victor Martinez or Colby Rasmus. Troy Renck and MLB Trade Rumors both think out of those four names Berkman is the better shot of coming here.

    Oh Well will see.

  • ProgMatinee | October 25, 2010 | 5:10 pm

    Berkman seems like a SH and more expensive Giambi.
    I think the most likely big pick up is a player that can play more than 1 position.

  • Rich M | October 26, 2010 | 7:45 am

    Can I just say that Giambi made zero sense to begin with – strange move DanO?

  • ProgMatinee | October 26, 2010 | 8:06 am

    I thought the Giambi move made sense considering I thought Ian Stewart would have progressed. If Stewart would have progressed just a little bit then Giambi’s inflexibility on defense wouldn’t have been a big deal.

  • jimboelrod | October 26, 2010 | 9:23 am

    Steve

    Seems like 15-20 years ago NCAA baseball was considered equivalent to AAA. What level would you say it compares to now?

    Also, as far as Todd Helton, his career averages (backing out his rookie season and injury shortened 2008) are .327/27/100. When you see people advocating going after Jayson Werth ((.280/29/83 avg over the last 3 seasons)(I would like to see the Rox pick him up)) for $20mil, Todd has been a real bargain over the years. When Helton struggles now, think back to his professionalism back when it was Todd and the Toddlers.

    Thanks for the forum. Enjoy the informed discussion on here!

  • Steve Foster | October 26, 2010 | 10:51 am

    Interesting question, Jim. I don’t know that college baseball was ever truly equivalent to Triple-A, because even 20 years ago players drafted out of college far more often than not started their careers at Single-A or lower and moved through organizations as they do now. The player who jumped from college to the majors (like a Pete Incvaglia or Jim Abbott) was a little more common then than it is now, but that has more to do with finances than talent level — teams don’t like to bring a player up to the majors too soon and start the arbitration clock ticking if player isn’t definitely ready. Back then, you maybe saw players more often skip Double-A to move up to Triple-A before getting to the majors (I’m thinking of Barry Bonds and Kirby Puckett in particular), where now players rarely skip Double-A but will sometimes skip Triple-A on their way up (with the Rockies, Fowler, Chacin and Tulowitzki all made their major-league debuts without playing a day in Triple-A). Triple-A for a lot of organizations is a reserve list, players who can be called upon when needed, prospects who have made their major-league debuts and need more seasoning or prospects who are blocked at a position in the majors. Double-A is becoming more and more what Triple-A used to be, the final stage of development for a lot of the best prospects. You also see a lot more pitchers, especially relievers — using the Rockies as an example, Chad Bettis, Casey Weathers and Rex Brothers — who arrive in the minor leagues with two pitches close to major-league ready and just need to learn a few things. I would say college ball is still roughly equivalent to Single-A — at least you often see the best college players succeed there quickly.

  • sabrchip | October 26, 2010 | 12:42 pm

    Lots to talk about:

    Billy Butler would probably lose a little sitting on the bench. This in particular couldn’t do him any good. Coming here and spend his time launching batting practice balls in to the LF mezzanine can’t help him.

    Lance Berkman??? Please, his numbers lean hard to the left handed side of the plate. The Rox need right handed bats. If you’d like to see his real worth based on last year’s #s check out BaseballReference.com. Go to his splits. What stands out to me is his BA vs NL West foes. Under .200 to everyone except SF whom he tagged in 6 games for a .318. Plus he’s coming off a $15M contract. How much is it gonna cost to put this guy on the bence for 100 games?

    I like the David DeJesus trade Eric. A young right-handed outfielder with some pop. Somehow I don’t think Dan O’ gives up what the Royals want to get Greinke.

    College baseball. Some players might be AAA caliber, very few though. Take those horrible metal sticks outta their hands and you don’t have many guys who can play high A ball. That’s the problem with the college game, metallic sweet spots.

    Let’s see what Lansford brings to Iannetta, Stewart and Smith. We should be able to gauge that by the end of March if those guys work it hard over the winter.

    DLR: Renck made a good point about getting two high draft pix if he signs away. Would love to have him back but not 5-yrs for $80M.

    Increasing the payroll based on the increase in the turnstile might sound good, but how much increased revenue was that really? The Rox may have given away a lot more tix through promotions and discounts this season which would affect that attendance increase. The AraMark deal works this way: Rox get 50% of gross, Aramark uses theirs for payroll, wholesale purchases, etc.

    Great stuff guys. I just can’t get here often enuf to contribute. Have to pull for NL West to win. Texas is still Texas tho they’ve a good shot at winning this.

  • ProgMatinee | October 26, 2010 | 2:34 pm

    Renk’s not the first to mention it by anymeans, but yes, imo getting 2 high draft picks AND avoiding an overcommitment to a historically very shaky starter are good motivations to be cautious.

    IMO if we lose DLR it could very well be a blessing in disquise.

    He would be a tough loss to absorb short term, but DLR is such a huge quesiton mark I would rather keep the financial flexibility in the future and get the picks.

  • Rich M | October 27, 2010 | 8:48 am

    My advice to DanO is “do not over pay for DLR.” All things considered I would offer 3 years and $21.0m – that’s it – because the risks are too high to go any higher. If he doesn’t take it, then secure your draft picks and move on.

    Different pitchers for sure but I still like Francis with a deep discount and incentives to put up similar numbers in 2011 to what we are hoping for from DLR.

  • Jasper | October 27, 2010 | 11:57 am

    I have been gone for quite awhile but it is gratifying to come back and read a marvelous succession of intelligent posts. What’s to add?

    My views on the failure of this past season to live up to high expectations begin with the failure of veterans to perform, Helton, Hawpe, and Cook; go on to the injuries to DLR and Tulo; and conclude with the slow development of the three prospects mentioned, Ianetta, Stewart, and Smith. The latter is somewhat ameliorated by the development of Tulo and Cargo into stars and the brightness of Chacin.

    I did not see players who would be of much help at the trading deadline this year. The real difference maker, Lee, was available in 2009 (the Phillies got him) and the Rockies could have had him at about 8 mil per year for one and a half seasons at that time. To not go for him then was a mistake in my opinion.

    For now, we need a real first base prospect in the minors as well as a stop gap part timer for next season; signing of DLR or equivalent – I would up the pay level for him (8 to 9 mil) and keep the time down to two years; and consistent right handed power somewhere in the line up since Iannetta has not delivered. Beyond that, players who do not swing for the fences are needed – Seth Smith, where did you go?

  • sabrchip | October 27, 2010 | 12:41 pm

    I like Rich’s suggestion of 3 years for $21M. You could throw in a couple of team options that would vest if he gets 200 innings in the final year with a $9M salary. That or you could give hime $30M with innings pitched incentives.

    If he leaves, then use the draft picks for best available position players coming out of college unless there’s a Posey/Tulo coming out of HS.

  • Eric B. | October 29, 2010 | 5:00 pm

    @ sabrchip: both Posey and Tulo came out of college, not high school.

    As for JDLR: If the Rockies want to put forth a competitive bid, it would need to be aroung 8-10 million per year, something like 3 years for 27 million might keep him here. I’m thinking he gets at least 10 million per year if he goes somewhere else. 3 years for 21 million isn’t even going to be competitive.

    I’m okay with a 3-27 type deal, but no more than that. I’m thinking that letting him go would likely be better for the clud in the long run, but does nothing for their window of competitiveness with this core (through 2014). By 2012, though, other pitching prospects will likely be ready to take on roles with the big league club (Bettis, Matzek, Friedrich, etc.).

  • Jasper | October 30, 2010 | 11:10 am

    It’s hard to predict what will happen in the free agent market for talents like DLR. The latest news is that the Mets will not be big players this off season according to the new GM, Sandy Alderson. That development may take some steam out of the amount that DLR may command but others like the Angels are still out there.

    When evaluating what DLR is likely to do, it is made more difficult by his reticence, a product of his inherent shyness coupled with a reluctance to speak well in English, either because of a significant lack of command or perhaps a fear of saying something that would be misunderstood. In my view, that shyness contributed heavily to the problems he experienced prior to coming to Colorado; now that he has found a place of comfort, that shyness may work to the advantage of the Rockies who appear to be handling him the right way – that is, afford him respect for the opportunity he has to test free agency coupled with the right move later on to remove any doubt that the club respects him as a person and respects his talent. I think that he might choose the Rockies for a good bit less than he might get from another outfit, and in his case, I think that it would be a sound move for him to stay here, given his shyness which seems to be translated by the media into “fragile psyche.”

    By the way, I think that some players would benefit from being traded elsewhere – notably, Smith and Iannetta.

  • Julian | October 30, 2010 | 4:19 pm

    We’ve talked a lot about DLR. Obviously, we need to come out of the winter with one or two starting pitchers. We’ve also talked a lot about Greinke, and a little about the more expensive free agents, such as Cliff Lee. I wonder who slots in as the available starting pitchers immediately below DLR. Another way to ask the question is who could we get for about six or seven million dollars for a year or about twelve to fourteen million dollars for two years, and how good are those alternatives?