In 2010, Baseball America rated Rockies left-handers Tyler Matzek and Christian Friedrich the 23rd and 33rd best prospects in the game, respectively. They were eighth and 12th among pitchers. However, the stock of both had plummeted in the two years since, even though neither suffered a major injury. Neither came close to sniffing the top 100 this year. BA ranked them 12th and 14th, respectively, on a Rockies list that placed four players in the top 100.
Fortunately, two two are off to great starts in reviving their prospecthood. Matzek has a 1.72 ERA and a 19/8 K/BB ratio in 15 2/3 innings for high-A Modesto. Friedrich has a 2.33 ERA and an 18/3 K/BB ratio in 19 1/3 innings for Triple-A Colorado Springs.
In both cases it may be too early to get too excited. Still, the Rockies couldn’t have hoped for much more. Matzek had a 9.82 ERA and more walks (46) than strikeouts (37) in his 10 starts for Modesto last year before being demoted to low-A ball. He wasn’t any good there either, finishing with a 4.36 ERA and a 74/50 K/BB ratio in 64 innings. Friedrich ended up with ERAs of 5.05 and 5.00 in his two years at Double-A Tulsa. He went from averaging 12.0 K/9 IP in 2009 to 8.0 in 2010 and 7.0 last year.
Matzek still has a long way to go before he reaches the majors, but Friedrich might help this year if he keeps it up. Having made deals for Drew Pomeranz, Alex White and Tyler Chatwood over the last year, the Rockies may suddenly find themselves with an excess of young pitching to make available in future trade talks.
Danny Picard of Boston Metro reports that, during Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday, a man claiming to be an Astros employee was removed by security. The man was in the media-credentialed area next to the Red Sox dugout but he did not have media credentials. He was, however, using a small camera and texting frequently. When the man was taken away from the area, an Astros staffer tried to intervene, saying he was authorized to be in the area. Security did not buy the story, so the man was not allowed to return to that area but was allowed to remain in the ballpark.
This wasn’t the first time security had been made aware of the man. Apparently the same man had been up to some shady business during the ALDS against the Indians as well, which means the Astros may have been cheating throughout the postseason.
Representatives from all three teams have thus far opted not to comment on the matter. MLB chief communciations officer Pat Courtney said in an email on Tuesday, “We are aware of the matter and it will be handled internally.”
Teams, especially nowadays, are paranoid in the postseason about sign-stealing, so they’re always doing their due diligence to make sure their signs are secure. Sign-stealing is part of the gamesmanship of baseball. Players and coaches are, obviously, allowed to use their eyes, ears, and mouths to communicate about opposing teams’ signs. They’re not allowed to use any kind of technology, including cameras and cell phones. If the allegations are substantiated, the Astros’ recent and upcoming accomplishments may be looked at with a raised eyebrow.