The Colorado Rockies have decided to demote their top pitching prospect and 2009 first round selection Tyler Matzek down to the Asheville Tourists. Matzek has struggled mightily with his control this season while playing for the Rockies' Hi-A affiliate, the Modesto Nuts.â†µ
Matzek, a left handed pitcher drafted out of high school, holds the record for the highest bonus the Rockies franchise has ever given a draft pick at $3.9 million but has failed to live up to his promise yet. He has not really been hit around in Modesto and has struck out 10.1 batters per nine innings, but 12.55 walks per nine innings (!!!!) have limited his success in the minor leagues, slowing his development. He has yet to pitch more than five innings this season.
It's still far too early to panic over a 20 year old prospect with ace potential, but this is a sign that the Rockies front office has determined that Matzek is a long term project and needs to build confidence at a lower level. But with the 2011 draft next week, the Rockies may adjust their draft board with Matzek no longer the sure thing within their farm system.