Losing nearly one hundred games provides some benefits, including drafting in an enviable position where the best talent is available. Once a team is in position to choose the best players, they need to have a strong group of talent evaluators and scouts in place in order to get the job done.
It's early in the development process, but so far, Colorado's front office has done well as graded by Baseball America. The notable baseball publication recently published its 2013 Draft Report Card revealing Colorado ranked No. 5 behind the A's, Yankees, Diamondbacks and Pirates.
Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray was selected third overall by Colorado and took the minor leagues by storm. The right-hander finished the season with an ERA of 1.93 over two levels with a 0.884 WHIP and a 12.3 K/9.
According to the Draft Card, Gray graded out with the No. 1 fastball and the No. 1 secondary pitch among all pitchers in the 2013 draft. Both grades correspond with mid-season reports of Gray exceeding triple digits while throwing a killer slider.
In addition to his other grades, Gray received the No. 2 ranking in the category of Best Pro Debut for a College Player. Jon began the year in Short-season Grand Junction and made four starts before being promoted to High-A Modesto. He finished the season on a tear allowing just two earned runs over five starts and striking out 36 batters in that span. Only No. 2 pick Kris Bryant ranked higher in this category, competing in three levels and finishing in High-A Daytona with a total of nine home runs and a 1.078 OPS on the season.
Colorado's No. 2 draft pick, Ryan McMahon also found his way into the ranking system in the category of Best Pro Debut by a High School Player. McMahon placed fourth overall behind Austin Meadows, Justin Williams and Gosuke Katoh. The third baseman hit .321 in 59 games for the Grand Junction Rockies, including 11 home runs and 18 doubles.
Praised for his athleticism and leadership skills throughout the season, McMahon demonstrated a high ceiling and earned recent praise in a well written Milb.com article. The article discusses McMahon's work ethic and athleticism, focusing on how his skillset as a high school quarterback translated into the minor leagues.
While drafting in the top three should in turn produce a top five draft stable, it's reassuring that an independent source can verify the Rockies returns. It's notable that the two teams selecting ahead of the Rockies failed to make the Baseball America list. While it's still too soon to determine how successful the draft truly is, the early returns are encouraging.
Tweet of the Week
Feels great running fast again and being healthy #ready4springtraining— David Dahl (@ddahl21) October 15, 2013