The minor league baseball season is alomost ready to enter its second month of the season, and to say the Colorado Rockies four minor league teams are off to a good start is more than just an understatement. Even those Class A Modesto Nuts are starting to come around after a slow start to the 2012 season.
Pitching, pitching and even more pitching are the key words so far for 2012 – well maybe beyond that guy named Nolan Arenado at AA Tulsa. The high profile prospect pitchers like Drew Pomeranz, Tyler Matzek, Alex White and Edwar Cabrera have all performed extremely well (but honestly they were suppose to). On the other hand Chad Bettis has been injured and has yet to pitch in the minors in 2012, but that maybe the only negative factor in the minor leagues starting pitcher review. And the stark contrast for Matzek between 2011 (the wheels came completely off) to 2012 (he is almost unhittable at the same Class A Modesto level) is simply remarkable.
However the biggest minor league pitching surprises for me to date are Christian Friedrich at AAA Colorado Springs and Parker Frazier at AA Tulsa:
Friedrich: ERA=2.33, WHIP=0.78 and 18 SO/3 BB in 19 innings – the humidor factor has reached a whiole new level of effectiveness for the Sky Sox. No one has pitched like this for the Sky Sox in a long long time!
Frazier: ERA=2.52, WHIP=1.24 and 15 SO/5 BB in 24 innings. That’s very solid pitching numbers right there even at pitcher friendly AA parks. Add to that that Frazier also had some success in the spring cameo appearances for the Rockies – well you start to see the trend here.
After two mediocre seasons at Tulsa Friedrich’s #1 draft pick/prospect status had become severly tarnished and as a result many thought he would be moved to the pen in 2012. Frazier on the other hand has been a solid but not great organizational arm that had only an outside chance of making it to the MLB. The point to be made now is that if these stat trends continue into the summer months, both of these starting pitchers could be in the Rockies MLB future by the end of this season or 2013 at the latest.
Just a year ago DanO’s publicly stated objective was to improve the pitching depth of the farm system. Yes it is early, but the results so far are simply off the charts, so maybe now the Rockies can afford to take a longer look at replacing that HOH guy holding down 1st Base.