2014 MLB Draft Preview: Who Does the Purple Row Community Want?

Many Rockies fans wanted the guy in the center of this photo over the guy on the right. - Doug Pensinger

The time has come for you to go on record.

The MLB Draft is in five days, and the Rockies will select 8th overall.  The player that they select will quite possibly have a markedly better career than some of the players selected among the first seven.  He also is guaranteed to have a worse career than players Colorado pass on at the 8th spot.  As a fan, you don't hold that power or liability, but if you're willing, you can still be embarrassed by your draft thoughts as years go by.

Go back nine years to the 2005 draft.   When the Rockies selected arguably the best player in Rockies history, the Purple Row community collectively groaned.  Most lamented Colorado passing on an outfielder who has a career WAR close to Troy Tulowitzki's projected output for this season alone.  Man, Rox Girl looks foolish.  Russ was silly.  Now is your chance to put your name down to fuel ammunition for the Purple Row community in 2023.

You are not permitted to vote for Brady Aiken, Tyler Kolek, Carlos Rodon or Alex Jackson.  While one might fall like an Appel, none have been projected to even be available for the Rockies in any mock draft.  I'll also exclude Nick Gordon, as the Twins seem to be high on him at 5.  The rest are fair game, even though they might be unavailable. The choices, which are pitching-heavy due to projected draft boards:

RHP Tyler Beede, Vanderbilt

Less than three months ago, Keith Law projected Beede as a top five pick.  A rough finish to the SEC tournament capped a rocky season, and Beede isn't even in a first round pick in Law's latest mock.  There's erratic control and stuff, but he has a classic pitcher's body and top velocity.  He's been all over the place since Toronto drafted him in 2011.  Consistency shouldn't be expected suddenly once drafted, but the upside of a top 5 pick remains.

OF Michael Conforto, Oregon State

Projections on Conforto are all over the place, with some suggesting he will last until the 20's, while Keith Law has the Cubs picking him 4th.  Perhaps the best overall hitter in the draft right now in a weak class, Conforto is a corner outfielder or possibly first baseman due to defense.  He's a left-handed power bat with solid grades for make-up.  If you want a strong bat at 8, Conforto might be the best choice.

LHP Kyle Freeland, Evansville

The Colorado native has shot up draft boards after posting a K/BB over 20 and setting strike percentage records for the Purple Aces.  He has drawn comparisons to Cliff Lee, Chris Sale and Scott Kazmir, boasting a fastball that reaches the mid-90's, two above average breaking pitches and a high-80's change-up.  Freeland has been tied to the Rockies in nearly half of mock drafts, but late helium might make him unavailable at 8.

1B Casey Gillaspie, Wichita St.

In his second mock draft, Matt Garrioch mocked Casey Gillaspie to the Rockies at 8.  He is a prototypical first base prospect with plus power and contact and a big body and should be in the middle of some MLB lineup in a few years.  Drafting a first baseman 8th is risky, but it could be an opportunity for an underslot deal in order to net a bigger talent at #35 with the savings.

RHP Jeff Hoffman, East Carolina

Hoffman was nearly guaranteed to be a top 5 pick and was in the running for the top slot until a UCL tear derailed his momentum.  Tommy John surgery bounces him out of the top rung of picks, but the high-90's heat and two above average secondary offerings will keep him in the high first round.  Most mocks predict Toronto to select Hoffman with one of their picks in the top 11, but there's a buy-low opportunity on a guy with an electric arm.

RHP Aaron Nola, Louisiana State

Nola is a strong fit for Coors Field, with strong command, a low to mid-90's two-seam fastball and polish.  More than anyone in the last two weeks, Nola's stock has risen from below the 8-slot to above, with some suggesting he could go as high as #4.  He's a strong pick for a team that has a strong offensive core and could use reinforcements in the rotation in coming years.

LHP Sean Newcomb, Hartford

Newcomb is a large lefty (6'5", 240), built to withstand innings and mileage at Coors Field.  He carries a plus-fastball that has reached 97mph from the left side and has a four-pitch repertoire with a simple delivery.  His command has varied and his primary offspeed pitch is a slow curveball, and his secondary stuff still could use some development.

C Max Pentecost, Kennesaw St.

The top catcher in the draft has not been tied to the Rockies in any rumors or mock drafts, but he has been rumored to be selected before Colorado picks.  Part of the reason the Rockies might not be tied to him is his 6'1", 190lb frame could cause concerns of holding up catching at Coors Field.  But he's a solid polished hitter, and Frankie Pilliere called him the most impressive catcher to play in the Cape Cod League since Buster Posey.

C/1B Kyle Schwarber, Indiana

Schwarber is more likely to go a dozen picks after the Rockies than to Colorado at 8, but Keith Law mentioned the Rockies as a dark horse for left-handed hitting Schwarber, and bats are at a premium high in the draft.  Despite being a poor enough left fielder and catcher that he'll likely be stuck as a first baseman, Schwarber is a definite first round talent as a first baseman, which speaks to his bat.  He has plus raw power and a solid enough approach to be a plus hitter overall.

RHP Touki Toussaint, Coral Springs HS, FL

This high school pitcher is about as fun as his name.  Hailing from Haiti, Toussaint throws a mid-90's fastball with variable control and a future Grade 70 curveball.  He has potentially explosive stuff, the type of of guy that could jump up prospect lists quickly with some development.

SS Trea Turner, North Carolina St.

Turner's stock has fallen recently, in part due to slowed production stemming from an ankle injury that robbed him of three weeks.  His two big tools are exceptional speed and strong defense at short.  He could be an above average hitter with below average power, and the Rockies have been rumored to like Turner specifically.

OF Bradley Zimmer, San Francisco

Two mock drafts have the Rockies selecting Zimmer.  He's a potential five tool outfielder, but some of those tools need more refinement than one would expect from a college bat in the top ten.  He might be a tweener of an outfielder, with not enough power to start regularly in a corner outfield spot and not enough defensive prowess to start in center.

There might be more, but that's all I'll include in the poll.  If you have arguments for anyone else outside those listed and the top five, let the name be heard.   Vote below and defend your choice in the comments.

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