As everyone here knows, Coloradan native Roy Halladay threw a perfect game for the Phillies yesterday. While we did manage to get a 'decent player' named Todd Helton in that same draft, given the fact that the response from Coloradans has been overwhelmingly positive towards Roy despite a general distaste of the Phillies (and their fans) leaves us to wonder what might have been if Doc landed in Denver. Well, for the first time since then, there's a local pitcher who may potentially return hope to the dream of a truly homegrown talent in Colorado.
With the 26th overall pick, a mock draft has the Rockies selecting Kevin Gausman, a 6'4" 180 lb right handed pitcher from Grandview High School in Aurora. The word is that he has tremendous velocity for a high schooler (reaching 95, and living between 89-93 mph), but below average secondary stuff all across the board and a very flat/straight fastball. Regardless, baseballdraftreport.com has him rated as the 11th best RHP in the draft.
Given these factors, the big question I'm asking myself, and you're probably asking yourself, is whether or not we should draft this kid? So, some point-counterpoint:
Point: Obviously, there's the hometown kid factor. People here will latch themselves to him if he's successful in the same way as they do with Chauncey and, to a certain extent, DU grad Paul Stastny. I don't personally know him, but I'm guessing that he's grown up a Rockies fan and it would likely be a dream scenario for him to pitch for the Colorado Rockies. This could be a fantastic story in the making! The Rockies have never drafted a hometown pitcher that highly aside from John Burke in the inaugural Rockies draft.
CTP: His career could go in the way of John Burke. While he may not be a reach in the draft, the Rockies have been successful for the most part in the draft during the O'Dowd era, which is the reason they have been successful in recent times. A wasted first round draft pick is never, ever good news. Just ask the Pirates and Bryan Bullington. And John Van Benschoten. And likely Brad Lincoln.
P: Great velocity. Sometimes having good velocity is a good start--and pitchers figure themselves in the next few years. This is especially true for high school pitchers who still need to mature.
CTP: Matt Anderson. This goes back to the last CTP, is it really worth it?
P: Having grown up in Denver, he has already had enormous amounts of altitude exposure and training. This has always been a big concern in the Rockies system (and one of many reasons why the Rockies have their rookie ball in Casper and AAA in CSP), and will likely be less of a concern with Gausman. Additionally, this could explain why his secondary stuff hasn't developed as well as some other pitchers.
CTP: This fact doesn't alter the reality that he throws nothing (with a major league level of aptitude) more than a straight fastball. You can't win anywhere with a straight fastball unless you can back it up with some wrinkles.
P: His velocity and age allows the Rockies the flexibility to move him to the bullpen in the future as well. If his velocity continues to improve with age, given the crippling injuries suffered by once 'closer of the future' Casey Weathers, he could ultimately succeed Huston/Manny at the position a few years down the road. This flexibility makes him a great selection.
CTP: He is also committed to LSU's historic baseball program and could hold out for a big deal with college leverage on his side as many suspected Tyler Matzek would. Additionally, 180 is fairly wiry for a 6'4" kid and could lead to injuries in the future.
Ultimately, as always, it comes down to what is still available by the time the selection comes. However, given his potential, his ideal physique for a starting pitcher, and Colorado ties, I think he'd be a great selection for the Rockies and could have a great future ahead of him in a Rockies uniform.
Reed Saunders in 2014: "And on the mound for the Rockies, Kevin GAUSMAN!"