Thursday Rockpile: Several Rockies draft picks close to signing, including one from 2002

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 05: Jordan Pacheco aided the Rockies in bringing a thrill to a high school player battling cancer in this year's draft.

As the Rockies continue to negotiate with 2012 top draft choice David Dahl, news has come out that they are approaching a deal with 2002 top pick Jeff Francis in a bid to shore up a rotation that continues to show weakness. Francis would come in to add innings pitched (starting with Saturday) a commodity that figures to be in short supply as the Rockies two most veteran starters to start the season, Jamie Moyer and Jeremy Guthrie, are either no longer with the club or heading to that point. For those wanting to complain about the potential quality of those IP added from Francis, just try to remember the last couple of nights and consider that it really couldn't get that much worse. Plus, as much as some would like to see all those innings loaded on the young arms from the farm, it might not be the best idea for the future of the club.

Speaking of young Rockies arms that didn't turn out so well, Manny Corpas has returned to the majors with the Chicago Cubs.

While the Rockies already seem to be heading in a better direction in terms of signing their second day draft picks than they took last year, when they lost out on Peter O'Brien, Preston Tucker and Ross Stripling, there's at least one third day pick that the club has no intention of signing, Piedra Vista's Justin Solomon, the local prep player is battling leukemia and was honored by the club for his courage with the 35th round selection. While this may be evidence that the draft is still a few rounds too long, I'd much rather see picks like this than the nepotism picks we usually get in those rounds.

More draft news after the jump...

I'm currently in Kalamazoo, MI, the collegiate home of former Rockie John Vander Wal, and former Rockies draft pick and minor leaguer, Ethan Hollingsworth, who after being traded for Clayton Mortensen, has now morphed into Marco Scutaro. Hollingsworth's a decent example of how collegiate picks without elite upside in a draft can turn into something valuable for a club, even without actually providing MLB value themselves at times.

So with that in mind, the Rockies negotiations with the University of Minnesota's T.J. Oakes this week could be at least mildly important down the road. Oakes indicates that he felt slighted by Twins representatives who wanted him to sign for a hometown discount, and given the 11th round pick, he could be a tricky haul to bring in.

Maybe I'm misreading 12th round pick Corelle Prime's quotes, as well as those of his high school coach, but he seems like a decent bet to come into the Rockies fold.

Even easier was Ryan Warner, who to the best of my knowledge has become the first high school pitcher that the Rockies have ever drafted who actively wanted to pitch for Colorado before they showed interest in drafting him. Warner instantly becomes one of my favorite prospects for this, I'm rooting very hard that he makes it to the show.

9th round selection Zack Jemiola will sign for a $130,000 bonus and join the franchise too, rather than going to UC Riverside. Should Prime's fellow State College of Florida commit and 20th round pick Anthony Seise also sign along with Warner and Jemiola, it would mark the first time a Rockies draft has signed as many as three high school pitchers since 1999. Seise seems like he may be on board based on his initial post draft Twitter statement, and the fact that his brother now sports the team logo and a picture of Tulo on his. Ryan Kibler, Roney Johnson and Deryck Christensen were the three to sign in '99, the next year the Rockies infamously drafted Matt Harrington, burning them on prep pitchers for seasons to come.

Baseball America's Conor Glassey saw a sharp curve from Seise in October, and also had a brief blurb on Rockies 7th round pick Wilfredo Rodriguez from the same event.

One talented HS player that's very likely to get away from the Rockies is 32nd round pick A.J. Simcox. The shortstop and Tennessee commit nonetheless bought a Rockies cap after getting drafted yesterday in appreciation of the team's attention. Should he change his mind, it would be a bit like winning the lottery for Colorado but shouldn't be expected.

Among other college juniors drafted, 19th rounder Kyle Newton will also be joining Colorado, and a Twitter conversation between Jeff Popick (16th) and Shane Broyles (14th) indicates both should be joining the franchise and are just awaiting assignment. The Rockies most intriguing and perhaps least signable college pick from the third day might be University of Oregon draft eligible sophomore Aaron Jones. With two years of draft eligibility left, it's somewhat doubtful the 18th round pick will find enough incentive in Colorado's offer to leave school.

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