That gives them nearly as many top 50 picks as they had between the years 2005-2008. In three of those years the Rockies were a bottom-eight team in MLB. In fact, in the non-Troy Tulowitzki division, all the players the Rockies signed combined for 2.3 rWAR (though this number would have been greatly helped if 2007 21st rounder Chris Sale had signed). The last time the Rockies had four top 60 picks was 2009 -- the year they ended up with Tyler Matzek, Tim Wheeler, Rex Brothers and Nolan Arenado -- and they have never had 4 top 50 picks before this year.
The frustrating thing to many Rockies fans is that the team has been so aware of where it sits in the payroll/market standings but has refused to make an all-out push to add value in every way. The Rockies have been in terms of drafting much like they are in almost every other aspect of running their organization, namely being fully aware of their shortcomings, but never seemingly willing to dedicate themselves to fully pursuing alternative ways to build a winner.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement has worked out well for the Rockies, mostly by blocking the strategy of collecting draft picks by general managers like Alex Anthopoulos, Andrew Friedman and Theo Epstein. In 2010 the Rays finished 96-66, the Red Sox 89-73 and the Blue Jays 85-77. But in 2011, those three teams drafted 19 times in the first 60 picks. Friedman's Rays drafted 10 times before the Pirates, coming off a 57-win season, drafted twice. Hightlighting something interesting about the draft is that it is pretty likely the Rays would trade Taylor Guerrieri, Mikie Mahtook, Jake Hager, Brandon Martin, Tyler Goeddel, Jeff Ames, Blake Snell, Kes Carter, Grayson Garvin and James Harris -- the ten players they drafted -- for Gerrit Cole, who the Pirates nabbed with their No. 1 pick.
Though it doesn't get anywhere close to the attention, draft day is more fun in MLB than any other league namely because there is such an insane spread of talent levels over the 40 rounds of the draft. The MLB draft is a unique brew of scouting and magic that makes a 112 WAR high school shortstop like Alex Rodriguez be the clear consensus No. 1 pick of the 1993 draft, but six years later, 97 WAR infielder Albert Pujols was grabbed at pick No. 402. Pujols was passed on 13 times by the Royals despite playing high school and community college ball less than a half hour from Kauffman Stadium.
It's stories like that of Pujols -- or ones about scouts like Al Goetz, who met Jason Heyward as a 10 year old and used to hide in the trees outside center field at his high school so nobody would know how high the Braves were on him -- that make the draft fascinating to me.
For all the "Mike Piazza was taken with the 1390th pick and the Dodgers drafted seven catchers ahead of him" stories in draft lore, history shows a pretty sharp drop off in average WAR production by pick. A ton of great articles have been written about how valuable draft picks are, but no matter how you look at it, the higher the better has on average been the case.
The next several articles in our "Rockies Draft" section will focus on each of these upcoming picks with links and a list of players that are interesting for the Rockies in that spot. If at any point in this process leading up to the draft there is a particular player you would like considered, please feel free to add their name to the pile.