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Draft Lines: Colorado Rockies 2002 - 2006 Current Projections

One advantage of the new Rule 5 draft qualifications  of the new CBA that I hadn't thought of before is that it's likely to also have a huge impact on those players the Rockies drafted this past June. Unlike previous drafts where we've trended to more polished college hitters with a few raw young talents like Dexter Fowler, Cole Garner and EY Jr blended in, this past draft we went heavy on the raw potential side with only first rounder Greg Reynolds really falling into the "polished" category. Even Baseball America notes it (subscribers only), albeit subtly, in their draft report cards. They are very careful not to label hitters like David Christensen or Helder Velazquez as misses despite more auspicious professional debuts by the draftees of other teams. These guys have immense talent, but it might take a little while for it to show up in their stat lines. By giving us an extra season to coach and prep these players without exposing them to other teams, this CBA has done the Rockies a huge favor.

Russ is giving an overall MLB view of past drafts and we can use his entries as a way of comparing how the Rockies have fared to other teams, and he's going to prep us for 2007, but I do want to give a progress report on the Rockies' last five drafts.


(Mostly) Final Grade: B

At this point, only catcher Neil Wilson remains in climbing status and the results of the 2002 draft show that it produced one mid-rotation starter in Francis, one likely average to a bit above average everyday outfielder/infielder in Jeff Baker, one average first base/DH type in Ryan Shealy, a backup center fielder in Jeff Salazar and a possible back-up catcher in Wilson as well as a few organizational fillers. Three everyday/rotation quality players and a couple of worthy back-ups isn't bad, although it's not stellar either. The Shealy to Kansas City trade netted us Denny Bautista, who could actually give this draft some further legs. Right now, 2002 compares favorably to the best and only good draft of the Bob Gebhard era, the 1998 draft that netted us Matt Holliday and Choo Freeman, as the second best draft in franchise history.


Current Grade: C-

If there was a precedent for the raw talent search of the 2006 draft earlier in the Bob Schmidt era, this would be it. In addition to Ian Stewart, the Rockies drafted high schoolers Garner, Young and Jason Van Kooten in later rounds, as well as fairly raw college players like Joe Gaetti and Christian Colonel. Right now it's looking like Gaetti and Stewart will make the MLB grade for sure, with the others still being fairly solid movers. This grade should improve despite the slow arrival of any of these draftees to the majors. Ian Stewart will make his debut next season, Gaetti and possibly Colonel as well. I see Young being a likely 2008 arrival and Garner and Van Kooten likely in 2009 if they're still in the system.


Current Grade: A+

This draft should blow past 1998 and 2002 and will probably pass the 2001 draft for best in franchise history. Chris Iannetta already made the majors and looks to be an everyday above average catcher, if not an all star. Dexter Fowler could be a star center fielder and Chris Nelson, Seth Smith and Joe Koshansky should be everyday MLB players at their positions as well and could be above average. We can't close the book yet on Matt Miller, Matt Macri or Jeff Dragicevich as role players, and the draft still looks to spawn two solid relievers in Josh Newman and Jim Miller and one potential rotation candidate in Xavier Cedeno. Plus, even other fillers I'm not mentioning are solid. We'll likely benefit as much from trading some of these chips as we will on the field, so this draft should continue to feed the system for several seasons yet.


Current Grade: B

Troy Tulowitzki alone raises this draft's score a lot, right now it looks like he'll be joined in the majors eventually by Chaz Roe, Josh Sullivan and Corey Wimberly. There are a couple of others that have the talent to break into that category in Brandon Durden, Andrew Johnston and Daniel Carte, as well as one prominent and intriguing (to me at least) overachiever in Phillip Cuadrado who I think will prove himself as this draft's steal for the Rockies.


Current Grade: Incomplete

Like Baseball America, I'm not going to assign a letter grade to this bunch, but I will say that Greg Reynolds looks like a fairly sure-fire major leaguer and will join our happy bunch of mid-rotation draftees. As for everybody else, let's wait to see what happens in 2007 before starting that assessment.