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Rockies Prospect Watch: Juan Nicasio Leads Strong Group Of Pitchers

Over at our Colorado Rockies blog, Purple Row, the team over there (which does include me) does a great job at following the minor league seasons for the Rockies' affiliates with a Daily Pebble Report. But for anyone looking for a quick take on who may be charting prospect lists, Baseball America offers a weekly Prospect Hot Sheet, and in this week's edition several Rockies appear.

Making the top 13 list at No. 9, Double-A Tulsa's Juan Nicasio is having a great season. He leads the Texas League with 40 strikeouts, is second in ERA at 1.88 and checks in at third with a 1.05 WHIP. With a blazing fastball that has reached the upper-90s, Nicasio could force his way into the rotation equation in 2012, if not earlier.

The Rockies' second round selection in 2010, Chad Bettis, could be making waves soon after he struck out 11 in his last start. Pitching in the offense-friendly California League, Bettis has 40 strikeouts in 30 innings pitched and a 3.55 ERA. Any talks of moving him to the bullpen should be silenced for now.

Edwar Cabrera is a 23-year-old lefty pitching for the Low-A Asheville Tourists, so he's a bit old for the league, but 44 strikeouts to just two walks is certainly the way to put one's self on the map. Will he receive a promotion to Modesto later this season?

This may take some of the nervous edge off after Tyler Matzek's start on Thursday in which he walked four and gave up three hits to allow four runs--all in the first inning, all on 49 pitches. He didn't come out for the second frame. Don't start jumping off the ship, but there should definitely be concern over hi lack of progression, or really his regression.