SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A Rockies club that lives by its player development system suddenly found the farm a little bare. There was a shining prospect in third baseman Nolan Arenado, but he was a few steps away.Several trades later, the Rockies are stocked with reinforcements for the big league team. A deal with the Indians last August brought top Draft choices Drew Pomeranz, a left-handed pitcher, and Alex White, a right-hander, in the four-player deal. Both appeared with the big club before the end of last year. The Rockies made further trades for young Major League pitchers Tyler Chatwood from the Angels, and Josh Outman and Guillermo Moscoso from the Athletics. They also grabbed outfielder Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu from the Cubs. It wasn't as much stocking a prospect list as much as making sure there was depth at, and just below, the Major League level.
where to watch
|3||Wilin Rosario||Colorado Springs||AAA|
|5||Tyler Anderson||Extended ST|
|7||Tim Wheeler||Colorado Springs||TBD|
|9||Zach Putnam||Colorado Springs||AAA|
|13||Charlie Blackmon||Colo. Springs/Colo.||TBD|
|14||Christian Friedrich||Colorado Springs||AAA|
|17||Hector Gomez||Disabled List|
"On paper, you could say there's another wave of talent that's approaching the big league level," Rockies player development director Jeff Bridich said. "Some of that has to do with the acquisitions that we made, the trades that we made in the offseason. I think in terms of players that could impact us at the big-league level, there's a wave that should be at Tulsa and Colorado Springs that, on paper, should be pretty good."With the Minor League season getting under way, fans can keep track of the Colorado Rockies' top prospects throughout the year on Prospect Watch. And get scores, stats, news, schedules, tickets and more for all of the Rockies' Minor League teams on the Rockies' affiliates page. The additions to the system help the franchise at the beginning of the season. But by season's end, Arenado could be ready to demonstrate that the Rockies' system is all right through and through. Arenado, who turns 21 on April 16, led the Minors in RBIs last year with 122 and hit 20 homers at Class-A Modesto, earning him Arizona Fall League most valuable player honors. The Rockies invited him to Major League Spring Training. Arenado showed his fielding, which had improved since the Rockies drafted him in the second round in 2009 out of El Toro (Calif.) High School. Arenado hit just .192, but manager Jim Tracy said the experience will help him. "It goes without saying that this kid has a wonderful opportunity to be one of those building-block players," Tracy said. "But there's a learning curve that goes along with this. "One of the responses was things happen really quickly here. Whether it's at the plate, or whether it's in the field and there are decisions that involve you defensively, all these things have to be taken into account. But when you look at the progress that this kid has made -- a kid that played in high-A last year -- it's just incredible."
Tulsa could be a star-studded club. Arenado is beginning the year there, although there was consideration for starting him at Triple-A Colorado Springs. Shortstop Josh Rutledge (.348, .414 on-base percentage at Class-A Modesto), outfielder Kent Matthes (.334, 23 HR, 95 RBIs at Modesto), and right-hander Chad Bettis (12-5, 3.34 ERA, 184 strikeouts in 169 2/3 innings at Modesto), who is coming off a lat injury suffered earlier this spring, are also at Tulsa. Colorado Springs has left-hander Christian Friedrich, the team's top Draft pick in 2008, outfielder Tim Wheeler (.287, 33 HR, 86 RBIs at Tulsa) and right-handed pitcher Rob Scahill (12-11, 3.92 ERA, 104 strikeouts in 160 2/3 innings at Tulsa.)
Debuts and Draftees
The key player to watch is 2011 top Draft pick Tyler Anderson, a left-handed pitcher from the University of Oregon -- the first former Ducks player to be a top pick since the Padres took pitcher Dave Roberts first overall in 1972. Anderson attempted to pitch after signing but never appeared in a game because of a pelvis injury. Anderson pitched well in camp, but the Rockies are taking it slowly with him and figure to have him at one of the Class A clubs at some point this season.
Teams on TV
The Colorado Springs Sky Sox are among a growing number of teams whose games are available on MiLB.TV. The 2012 MiLB.TV package will include more than 2,500 Minor League games streamed live, as well as games archived for on-demand streaming soon after completion.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.