Three. Eight. Three. Ten. Over the last four years, the Colorado Rockies have seen their first selection in the MLB draft come in the top ten picks. Twenty sixteen won't be any different as the team holds the fourth overall pick (plus Nos. 38, 45, and 81 in the top 100 selection). Jon Gray (2013) has already made the majors; David Dahl (2012) is on the cusp of the majors, perhaps able to break on through later in 2016; Kyle Freeland (2014) has battled injury; and Brendan Rodgers (2015) will see his first full-season action this year. Who might join this collection of top-ten picks on June 8?
Four names that stand atop many draft prospect lists are college pitchers A.J. Puk and Alec Hansen and high school pitchers Jason Groome and Riley Pint -- all potential targets for the Rockies. Let's take a look at what Hansen and Puk did on college baseball's opening weekend along with a few others.
A.J. Puk, LHP, Florida
A 2013 draftee (35th round, Tigers) who decided to attend college, Puk is a 6'7 lefty who throws a mid-90s fastball. He attracted a contingent of 70 scouts to Gainesville, Fla., on Saturday, according to CSN Philly. It wasn't the best outing, but it was far better than Hansen's.
He struck out two batters over the first two innings and entered the top of the third with a two-run cushion. But Puk committed a throwing error to the leadoff hitter that inning. A single and a fielding error by the third baseman later, Florida Gulf Coast was on the board. He allowed three more unearned runs before getting a swinging strikeout to end the inning after 32 total pitches.
The lefty came out for one more inning and picked up the three outs on swinging strikeouts. His final line was four innings pitched, four unearned runs allowed on four hits, and six strikeouts on 70 pitches. Florida visits in-state rival Miami this weekend.
For more on Puk, read The Good Phight's recent evaluation. The Phillies hold the No. 1 pick this year.
Alec Hansen, RHP, Oklahoma
Hansen is draft-eligible for the first time since the Rockies selected him out of Loveland (Co.) High School in the 25th round of the 2013 draft. At 6'7, 235 lbs. and throwing mid- to high-90s fastballs, Hansen might appear to be a bigger version of Jon Gray, also a product of Oklahoma. But his start on Saturday against Northeastern proved to be anything but reassuring.
Hansen pitched one-plus inning, leaving in the top of the second after walking the leadoff batter, his fourth free pass of the game. He started fast by inducing two grounders for two outs ... and then things bottomed out. He walked the next two batters, gave up his first run on a single, loaded the bases with his third walk, and allowed his second and third runs on a hit-by-pitch and a wild pitch. He ended the inning on a swinging strikeout.
Hansen's final line was one inning pitched, three earned runs, a hit-by-pitch, a wild pitch, and one strikeout on 36 pitches.
Baseball America's Jim Shonerd indicates that he was throwing 95-98 mph, which Keith Law also echoes (Insider required). However, Law mentions that Hansen failed to maintain his release point and fears that Hansen's past arm injuries might make him another highly-touted draft pick who has Tommy John surgery before the draft, just like current Rockies pitching prospect Jeff Hoffman.
True Blue LA's David Hood had this to say after Hansen's start on Saturday:
So a top draft prospect that I've suggested might have 20 grade command and didn't pitch much in offseason got an early hook today. Weird.— David Hood (@davidchood) February 20, 2016
That's not good. Add in the injury concerns and Rockies fans might become wary of Hansen should this continue. Hansen and the No. 25 Sooners play Sam Houston State this weekend.
Other players of note
Buddy Reed, OF, Florida - Puk's teammate is also currently a top ten college prospect. The switch hitter went 3-for-12 with a double, two stolen bases, and four strikeouts.
Corey Ray, OF, Louisville - Ray is off to a quick start, going 6-for-9 with nine runs scored, a double, two home runs, and seven RBI. He also swiped six bases.
Connor Jones, RHP, Virginia - Jones pitched seven shutout innings and surrendered just three hits in an 8-6 win over Kent State. He struck out eight and threw a wild pitch on 84 pitches. He throws a low-90s fastball that has gotten up to 95. His repertoire also includes a curveball, a slider, and a changeup. He isn't as flashy as Hansen and Puk, but he might be a safer pick than either.
Check back next week for more on these players and some new additions.