In 2013, Rockies fans seemed assured that their club would be coming home with either Mark Appel, Kris Bryant or Jonathan Gray. There will be quite a bit more uncertainty this June, though we can pour through mock drafts get some ideas.
I have collected 12 mock drafts from varied sources, all published in the last three weeks in order to maintain accuracy. The twelve:
- Baseball America - Mock 1.0 (5/9), Mock 2.0 (5/16), Mock 3.0 (5/25), written up by John Manuel.
- Keith Law, ESPN - Mock 1.0 (5/16)
- MLB.com, by Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo (5/23)
- MLB Draft Insider, by Chris Crawford of ESPN - The Mock: Volume V (5/19) and Volume VI (5/25).
- Sports Illustrated, by Dave Perkin - MLB Mock Draft (5/23).
- Minor League Ball, by Matt Garrioch - Mock Draft Version 2 (5/19)
- Baseball Prospects, by staff - "Whom Would You Draft?" (5/7)
- MLB Daily Dish - Mock Draft First Round 2.0 (5/23)
- MyMLBDraft (5/14)
Of those 12, six pegged North Carolina State southpaw Carlos Rodon as the top pick, while six others chose prep lefty Brady Aiken. One wouldn't expect much consensus seven slots lower, but there indeed was a clear leader among players pegged to land in Colorado:
|Draftee||Pos, School||Times Mocked||Publication|
|Kyle Freeland||LHP, Evansville||5||BA (5/25), MLB (5/25), Draft Insider (5/19), Keith Law (5/16), MyMLBDraft (5/14)|
|Sean Newcomb||LHP, Hartford||2||Draft Insider (5/25), BA (5/16)|
|Bradley Zimmer||OF, U of San Francisco||2||Daily Dish (5/23), SI (5/22)|
|Erick Fedde||RHP, UNLV||1||BA (5/9)|
|Nick Gordon||SS, Olympia High (FL)||1||BPro (5/7)|
|Casey Gillaspie||1B, Wichita St||1||Garrioch (5/19)|
Gillaspie is a bit of a reach at No. 8 and does not appear nearly that high on any other mock. Nick Gordon does not even reach the Rockies in 10 of the 12 mocks, and recent momentum suggests he is unlikely to be there that late. Erick Fedde is no longer an option, as he has joined the Tommy John Casualty Brigade.
That leaves Freeland, Newcomb and Zimmer as the most tapped names for the Rockies on mock drafts around the web, though there is a dark horse. John Manuel wrote Sunday:
Aaron Nola, who has been outstanding all year, has late helium and isn't expected to fall past Colorado. If he is gone, the Rockies likely will choose between the two healthy top college lefties on the board, Evansville's Kyle Freeland (a Colorado native) and Newcomb.
Nola fell to Colorado seven times in the twelve mock drafts, though not one projected Nola to come off the board to Colorado. With his recent helium, that might change. Conversely, Freeland fell to Colorado in exactly half of the mocks, and on only one occasion was Colorado projected to pass on him. Additionally, two of the five Freeland mocks to Colorado were published yesterday, with votes cast given the most recent information available.
Freeland certainly seems to fit several ideals for the Rockies. The 6'4" Freeland is a polished college lefty with unparalleled control, low-to-mid 90's fastball with sink, two above average breaking pitches and a developing changeup He tends to get groundballs, and he's a Denver native. The ceiling isn't as high with Freeland as other prospects on the board, but in a pitching-heavy draft, he would be more than a defensible pick at that slot. Newcomb is another small-college polished lefty.
Here is how the availability of several of the top names were by the eighth pick in the aforementioned twelve mock drafts:
|Player||Projected Availability at #8||Divergent Mocks|
|Nick Gordon||17%||SI, BPro|
|Grant Holmes||75%||BPro, Draft Insider VI, Daily Dish|
|Tyler Beede||83%||MyMLBDraft, SI|
|Jeff Hoffman||83%||MyMLBDraft, BPro|
|Sean Newcomb||83%||MLB, Draft Insider VI|
|Max Pentecost||83%||BA 3.0, Daily Dish|
|Bradley Zimmer||83%||Draft Insider, VI, Minor League Ball|
|Brandon Finnegan||92%||BA 1.0|
Aside from players projected to actually land in Colorado, there are rumors of the Rockies' interest in Aaron Nola, Nick Gordon and Trea Turner.
There is also one other major factor to note: of the seven teams ahead of the Rockies in the first round, Colorado has a higher alotted bonus pool for the draft than Minnesota, Seattle and Philadelphia. Their total pool is only $4,900 less than the Cubs, who select fourth. Should an impact prospect fall due to signability concerns, Colorado is a great position to pick off a superior talent that falls in their lap.