June Farm Report: Tale of Two First-round Picks
In the 2009 draft, the Colorado Rockies had two first-round picks. With the 11th overall pick, the Rockies selected left-handed pitcher. With the 32nd overall pick the Rockies selected outfielder . Both were beaten to the majors by the 34th overall pick, supplemental first-rounder , but Wheeler at least is headed in the right direction while Matzek is trying to recover the talent that led many to consider him the best high school pitcher in the draft.
Wheeler is currently slugging from the leadoff spot at Double-A Tulsa, where he tops Rockies minor-leaguers in home runs and RBI and is having a breakout year after a so-so season at Modesto in 2010. Wheeler is getting the Tulowitzki Treatment at Tulsa.led off for Tulsa in 2006, his first full professional season, to get as many at-bats as possible and accelerate his development rather than hone his leadoff skills. The Rockies are using that rationale with Wheeler, who is so focused, driven and hellbent on winning that player development director Marc Gustafson said, “When he’s at the baseball field, if you can get him to smile — call me, and I’ll be happy to see that.”
Matzek, meanwhile, was demoted from Modesto to Asheville and after three starts, has been a given a break from the rotation. Modesto pitching coach Darryl Scott said of Matzek, “I honestly think it’s more mental than physical. From a confidence standpoint, he allows negative thoughts to creep in there pretty quick. The kid’s got really, really good stuff and he’ll throw some bullpens (where) you’re just, ‘Oh my God.’ It’s unbelievable. But he has trouble carrying it into the game right now.”
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