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Rockies Draft Primer: Part 1, the first pick

The MLB draft (rule four, amateur players) is less than three weeks away (June 6 and 7) so I thought it's high time we start ramping up our pre-draft coverage and explaining a few of the more Rockies specific draft notes. The reason? Because on the sixth and seventh Purple Row will be doing wall to... er... almost to the other wall coverage of the Rockies draft (what, are you kidding? You want the whole enchilada? It's fifty freaking rounds!? I mean maybe you can sit through all of that, but me, I'll kind of want to shower somewhere in there) and we'll have instant analysis and top quality Google research on every Rockies selection. We might even throw in links. Several links, even, and historical perspectives you just won't find at other places -well besides the The Rocky Mountain News three days later when they tell you who the forty-sixth round draft pick is related to. Anyway, we start at pick #2 and the discussion will just go off the hook from there.

Who will the Rockies take with that top pick? Despite what we'd all like to think, our history suggests that the player won't necessarily be the one with the best talent/tools but one who combines certain traits. These are:

  1. The player will be within a range of talent suitable for the pick. While we may not always draft the best talent available, (we passed on Luke Hochevar and Cameron Maybin last year to select Tulowitzki, the year before we passed on Stephen Drew for Chris Nelson) we will always pick one of the best talents available, projected within a pick or two of where we select. Since Bill Schmidt has taken over we haven't made any big reaches with our first selection. Always with our picks the player figures to have enough talent to be a regular everyday player on a contending team, or an upper rotation starter.
  2. The Rockies will take somebody who won't hold out for a year. This is where signability comes into play. While we've been willing to spend for players, we don't play games with development and like for our draftees to get right in the mix of things. This is why we passed on both Drew and Hochevar and why we may pass on Andrew Miller this year. If the Rockies feel there will be a holdout, they will go quickly to their next player on the list.
  3. The Rockies will choose players with good character. This kind of goes along with the last one, but the Rockies have shied away from players rumored to have off field issues in the past few years.
Andrew Miller has a few things going against him, here. Well, one big thing really, that second point seems very much to apply. With Scott Boras as his representative, I have heard that neither the Royals or Rockies have gotten any sort of indication that Miller will be willing to sit down and pound out a contract early. In fact, it seems with Luke Hochevar's recent success going an Independent League route, and the protracted Mike Pelfrey signing of last year, that Miller is more likely to hold out than not. I have to agree with Mike Emeigh's assessment (see the link above) at this point that we're going to choose a Dirtbag as our first rounder for the second year in a row. My projected Rockies pick is Evan Longoria, even though my personal fave talent wise is Miller.

I personally like Longoria, I think he'll be a fine ballplayer. This amateur video from shows some of his better points. You can see his good fluid lateral movement in those drills, and a quick release to first. He's got a lot of sound fundamentals in his approach at the plate, and you can see his patience and quick swing through the box allowing him to sit back and wait for his pitch. You can only kind of see this from the video, but he does have a bit of an uppercut swing, although a nice, smooth follow-through which the video does accurately capture.

I'm going to follow up with other articles leading up to the draft about our picks later on, plus Rox Fan in NY might have a thing or two to say about things as well. At any rate, I look forward to all of your comments and points in this and future threads and hope you all join us for the fun and festivities on draft day.