So what to do?
Draft 2001 Progress Report is what. They say that it takes five years before you can really evaluate a draft, but I figure you can check in on the progress along the way, so let's see how this one's cracking for us (I'll do the next three later this afternoon).
Players who have made the majors:
Cory Sullivan, seventh round. Sullivan was actually drafted as a pitcher according to the MLB's database, but never actually pitched in the minors upon his debut in Asheville. After missing last year to injury, he's come back strong and major league ready and figures to be the immediate heir to Preston Wilson in center for the Rox and should be in the mix for the long term solution there as well, although right now we figure him to be a backup because he lacks the power of some of his competition.
Still in the system:
Gerrit Simpson, fifth round, University of Texas
Simpson is the only other one of this draft to see time at AAA Colorado Springs, which says something about what a bad vintage 2001 was for the Rockies, but at any rate, Simpson figures to see time as a reliever for the Rockies sometime, but probably will get little more than a cup of coffee at this point.
Jayson Nix, second base, supplemental first round.
Jayson's story with the Rockies is a long slow crawl through the system with signs of promise but little of actual substance. He's at Tulsa again, and the Rox drafting of another middle infielder who they plan to start just a step below at Modesto, plus the presence of Matt Macri, is a clear sign that Nix's window of opportunity is rapidly closing.
Tony Miller, outfield, tenth round.
He started playing baseball his sophomore year of college at Toledo after being recruited as a football player and to be honest hasn't shown much until this year when his bat has shown some pop and he's started to take walks (.390 OBP). He's 5'8" but he gets a lot of torque on his swing and has shortened it enough to get a SLG of .475. The question is he's on pace to break the century mark in strikeouts this year and whether it's too much. Yes, but the number isn't as problematic as it could be because of the walks and power that go with the K's. He does need to make a bit more contact to raise his average which would subsequently lower his K rate, but he doesn't need to lower it by much to be considered a weapon. Miller turns twenty-five in August, so his shelf life is almost up, but he's the sleeper in the competition for center. The Rockies need to clear up the future direction of this particular position by the end of the season so we can start exploring trading the ones that don't make the cut.
Judd Songster, rhp, seventeenth round
Relieving at Tulsa, Songster's 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA and 25 K's and 11 BB's in 29 1/3 innings pitched. he's also allowed 26 hits and two have been homeruns. He should be promoted at some point and like Simpson might see some time for the Rockies in the pen at some future date.
Chris Buechner, rhp, thirty-seventh round
Buechner's currently pitching in relief at Asheville as a 2004 eleventh round pick actually (thanks to Rox fan in NY for correcting me) so for grading I'll count him more for the later draft when he actually signed and if Nix's rise has been slow, we're talking glacial creep when it comes to Christopher (I guess it makes sense that he spent two years in college) Still, like Nix, he was only eighteen when drafted the first time and the Rockies haven't given up on him obviously, he's pitched well at Asheville and should see some stiffer competition by the end of the year.
Still playing, not in the system:
Kip Bouknight, rhp, thirteenth round
Drafted out of South Carolina, Bouknight initially showed a lot of promise and then made a steady climb before stalling in the upper levels. The Rockies traded him to Toronto last August, but he was released by December and the Blue Jays apparently just paid the Rox cash considerations for his limited service. However, he's subsequently signed on with
Beau Dannemiller, rhp, sixteenth round, Kent State
He never got any higher than Asheville with the Rox, but after a breakout 2004, the Dodgers even let him pitch an inning with the major league squad in an extended inning affair early in the Spring. He's now in AA Jacksonville and not having quite the success, which is surprising since opponents are still batting less than .200 off him.
As far as I'm aware, that's it, but I'm still researching, so if I find any others I'll post them in the comments. But here are a couple of updates on players not with us:
No longer playing professionally, but cranking out the tunes:
Bryan Ingram, catcher, 12th round, Oregon State
His official site has some sample tunes from his debut EP, which you can also buy if you're so inclined. His fansite says he's only 24, which is what I want my fansite to say about me also when it's made.
Still not playing professionally, but drafted again for the third time this year:
Trey Taylor, lhp, second round, Mansfield TX
Trey was drafted by the Cubs for the second year in a row after pitching for Baylor for the last three years. This time around he was a seventh round pick, which is a step up from the 20th round selection he was last year, but still not as high as the Rockies took him.
Progress Report Grades, 80% Complete:
With no stars, only one major league semi-regular player to date, one more likely in the future (Nix), and a darkhorse for a fourth outfield position (Miller), three marginal AAAA pitchers plus one more low A reliever who isn't quite finished leaves the upper limit of this draft as very low. Right now the final verdict rests in the performance of the three position players as the pitchers' ceilings are pretty much established, but it would take all three to play significant roles in order for this draft to compete with either the 2000 or 2002 drafts.
Current Grade: F
Highest Foreseeable Grade: C- (Only because Jayson Nix is still pretty young)