Baseball has played its first games in September, and that, of course, means expanded rosters. Expanded rosters means fans get a look at a few prospects their team may have called up to get a taste of big league action. Unfortunately for the Colorado Rockies, all the injuries they've racked up throughout the season has exposed most of their higher level minor leaguers to the fans way before September call-ups. The good news is that the meat of the Rockies farm system is in the lower levels, and overall, can be considered a top 10 system right now.
2014 A: A+
2015 A Outlook: A+
A combination of the short-season Tri-City Dust Devils, the full-season Asheville Tourists and high-A Modesto Nuts have Rockies fans salivating from all the potential these teams are chock full of. Asheville has had an historic season behind guys like Correlle Prime, Raimel Tapia, Ryan McMahon, Emerson Jimenez and Antonio Senzatela. And Ryan Gonzalez, David Dahl, Rosell Herrera and Sam Moll. There is so much talent on these teams that there is no way the A level of the Rockies organization gets anything less than an A+.
Next year will see some of the same faces that already earned an A+, but there will be additions like 2014 draft picks Forrest Wall and Dom Nunez, along with some international signees ready to join the American club. Next year will be just as exciting for the lower levels as it was this year. Just hope that these guys hurry up the ladder and are playing for the Rockies before too long.
2014 AA: B+
2015 AA Outlook: B
The Tulsa Drillers had a solid season, finishing four games over .500. Most of the excitement surrounding the Drillers is the big 3 of Jon Gray, Eddie Butler and Tyler Anderson. All three had good years, with Anderson winning Texas League Pitcher of the Year. Gray and Butler are the team's top two prospects and Anderson is probably around number seven or eight. The Drillers also boast having the top two relief pitcher prospects in Jayson Aquino and Kraig Sitton, and a top infield prospect Trevor Story, though he struggled in Tulsa.
The Drillers will lose most of their top pitchers to the majors, and the ones who don't make the team will probably be with the Sky Sox, so the outlook isn't as high for next season. Story will most likely be back, though, and he'll be joined by guys moving up from single-A and by Kyle Freeland, the Rockies first round pick in the 2014 draft. The outlook is good, but losing the big 3 would be tough for any club.
2014 AAA: D
2015 AAA Outlook: B
The Colorado Springs Sky Sox have had a majority of their roster called up to the Rockies at some point this year, and only Ben Paulsen has really impressed. Tyler Matzek, Yohan Flande and a whole host of relievers have been down in the Springs, but none of them were considered great prospects to begin with. The Sox had a miserable year in terms of wins-and-losses and in terms of prospect buzz, but that could all change next year. All of the AA pitching studs won't make the Rockies, and the Sox will be their landing spot. The possibility of Jon Gray is enough to put their outlook for next season at a solid B.
The Colorado Rockies have been stuck in the doldrums the last few years, but they've been building an enticing farm system during that time as well. If these guys are coached well and brought along at just the right time, the Rockies could be very good for years to come.
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