The 2011 MLB draft has come and gone, and now the dust has settled. What remains is the difficult task of signing these kids and acclimating them to the life of a professional athlete. But, at this time, I think we can take a look at these prospects and grade the organization's efforts this year. Rox Girl wrote a quite a bit in today's Rockpile, but this will be my take.
The Rockies started the first day with the 20th and 45th overall picks. There, they selected LHP Tyler Anderson and SS Trevor Story. These picks are a good mix of safety and risk: Anderson is an advanced lefty with good present stuff and should sign for slot. Story is a polished defender at short stop who has a chance to be a plus batter as well. His overall value, however, will depend on the bat developing. He is expected to sign, but I suspect it will be over slot and will probably wait until August. They won't spend too much here.
Both Anderson and Story fill organizational needs. Shortstop is very thin behind All Star Troy Tulowitzki. Hector Gomez is the only SS on our current Purps list, and he will drop down on the soon to be released updated Purps list. Josh Rutledge is the only other SS of note in the system, but he doesn't project to do much with his bat. LHP has also been a weakness in the system, with both Tyler Matzek and Christian Friedrich struggling this year. Beyond them, LHP depth is almost nonexistent in the system. Drafting for needs is often a bad strategy in baseball, but I believe they will get decent value in these two picks.
Day two had the Rockies picking 77th overall. Here, they selected HS OF Carl Thomore. I like this pick in that has toolset is solid if not flashy, but he is an absolute competitor. He broke and dislocated his ankle on a tough slide into 3B, and bore the excruciating pain as the ankle was re-set on the field, possibly saving his foot. He is a tougher than truck stop jerky (to borrow the phrase), and is willing to do anything to succeed. The Rockies love these character guys, and I can't think of any better than Thomore.
Catcher Peter O'Brien with the 107th pick is a power only guy. If he can make enough contact, and at least field, I see a Mike Napoli type bat. There is at least upside with the pick, and he has had much more success in the past.
Other picks I like are 1B Harold Riggins in the 7th round and RHP John Curtiss in the 30th round. Riggins is regarded as a good athlete at 1B with power and bat speed. If he can tone down his swing and hit for more contact, he can be a steal in the 7th. Curtiss is this year's high-upside-late-round pick who they hope to sign. His low 90's fastball with solid secondary pitches and plenty of remaining projection would be nice in the system, but at round 30, he can significantly improve his draft position in 2014 by accepting his Texas commitment. It will likely take late 1st round slot money to buy him out.
Overall, it's been a solid draft this year. The Rockies went fairly heavy on high school kids, selecting more than they usually do (the team tends to favor College talent). There is a good mix of projectable upside talent, as well as safer advanced players. There was considerable talent left on the board with their top picks, such as RHP Tyler Guerrieri and OF Josh Bell, but you can't really fault the team for not selecting them when you consider their bonus demands. In the end, the Rockies don't project to spend much on this draft. But they will get good value for the money they do spend.
The Rockies will receive B- on this draft. There were no steals, but no wasted picks either.