A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Rockies and Padres

Welcome to the annual series: ‘A Minor (League) Review of 20__.” This series is a great way to receive a quick recap of the 2014 minor league season for your favorite club(s), while also receiving a brief look toward the 2015 season and beyond. It can also be a handy feature for fantasy baseball players in keeper and Dynasty leagues.

Previous Pieces:
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Yankees and Orioles
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rays
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Indians and Tigers
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: White Sox, Royals, Twins
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Angels and A’s
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Astros, Angels, Mariners

A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Braves and Phillies
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Marlins, Mets, Nationals
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Reds and Cubs
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Cardinals, Pirates, Brewers

A Minor Review of 2014: Rockies

The Graduate: Tyler Matzek, LHP: The 11th pick in the 2009 draft, Matzek’s ascent through the minors was hindered by poor command and control. Both began to improve in 2013 before taking a big step forward at the big league level in 2014. The young hurler has a four-pitch mix with his slider grading on his best pitch. Improved fastball command could turn Matzek into a real stud.

The Riser: Raimel Tapia, OF: After first garnering attention in 2013, Tapia’s development continued positively in ’14. He showed defensive acumen, good base running and hit more than .300. The left-handed hitting outfielder doesn’t currently show much pop but he has room to add weight to his 6-2 frame and he has the bat speed to hit for more power as he matures.

The Tumbler: Tom Murphy, C: After spending most of 2013 in Low-A ball, the 23-year-old catcher was poised to spend the bulk of the 2014 season in Double-A. Injuries wiped out his season, though, and he appeared in just 27 games. If he can get back on track next season, Murphy should provide the Rockies with a solid offensive-minded catcher with above-average power.

The ’14 Draft Pick: Kyle Freeland, LHP: A Colorado native, Freeland is the type of pitcher that can succeed in the higher elevations due to the nature sink on his low-to-mid-90s fastball, which pairs nicely with a plus slider. There is some concern over the effort in his delivery, and he could end up as a long-term reliever.

The Lottery Ticket: Dom Nunez, C: The Rockies have a knack for producing offensive-minded catchers — although not all have worked out — and Nunez is the latest prospect to fall under the microscope after hitting producing a 901 OPS in short-season ball. The 19-year-old hitter was a sixth round selection in 2013 and is fairly new to catching so he’ll need lots of seasoning before he’s ready for the Majors.

A Minor Review of 2014: Padres

The Graduate: Jesse Hahn, RHP: Acquired during the previous offseason from the Rays, Hahn reached the Majors in 2014 despite ending the ’13 season in High-A ball. After just a half season in Double-A, he was a dominating starter at times for the Padres and produced a strikeout rate of 8.59 K/9. He allowed just 57 hits in 73.1 innings. Injuries have also been a concern with Hahn but if he can stay healthy, he has a chance to be a solid No. 2/3 pitcher in San Diego.

The Riser: Jake Bauers, 1B: A seventh round selection in 2013, Bauers opened the year off the radar and in extended spring training. However, injuries quickly opened up a spot in the Midwest League and he came out swinging right from the get-go. He doesn’t have prototypical power for the position but he has a natural feel for hitting and a great eye that allowed him to pile up walks while producing a manageable strikeout rate. He might be well suited to play half his games in San Diego.

The Tumbler: Max Fried, LHP: Fried’s loss of value is not the result of poor pitching but rather the fallout from Tommy John surgery and a lost year’s worth of development time. When he’s right, this southpaw has a chance to be a mid-rotation starter with solid stuff and above-average control.

The ’14 Draft Pick: Trea Turner, SS: Turner had a very encouraging (and somewhat unexpected) pro debut. He hit .323 with a strong on-base percentage but he needs to trim the strikeouts and play more to his strengths (putting the ball in play and using his good speed). He has a chance to be an average defender at shortstop or an above-average fielder at second base.

The Lottery Ticket: Tayron Guerrero, RHP: Guerrero has a chance to be a dominating back-end reliever with triple-digit heat and a slider that shows plus potential coming from his 6-7 frame. However, there is a reason why he’s 23 and still in A-ball: He doesn’t always know where the ball is going, although he showed improved control in 2014. If that skill continues to improve, Guerrero could fast track to the Majors; he’ll likely open 2015 in Double-A.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Tapia was thrown out in 16 of 49 stolen base attempts….not a good baserunner…..yet.