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MLB Draft 2017: The Colorado Rockies have found second and third round gems

The Rockies have the 48th, 70th, and 86th overall picks—who have they taken there before?

The Colorado Rockies don’t have a selection in the first round of this June’s amateur draft. But they do have three picks in the top 100. It’s not as sexy as the eleventh pick overall, which they conceded after signing Ian Desmond this past offseason, but it’ll have to do. The Rockies will have one pick in the second round (48), one in the Competitive Balance Round B (70), and one in the third round. Here’s how the Rockies have done in those spots in the past, as well as some of the other notable players selected out of those spots.

The Rockies have chosen 48th overall just once, and it came in 2014 when they took Ryan Castellani. Castellani is still working his way through the Rockies’ system. He’s a pitching prospect who hasn’t pitched above Double-A, so it’s tough to call it a win just yet, but Castellani’s poised to rise among the prospect ranks soon. And if all goes well, he should debut by the end of next season. Nabbing another Castellani would not be a bad thing at all.

The 70th pick has come the Rockies way three times in their history. The first came in 1993, when the Rockies took right-handed pitcher Bryan Rekar. He made it to the majors and even put together a fine enough career, so that was a successful pick. In 2013, the Rockies took Alex Balog with the 70th pick in the draft. The Rockies liked Balog’s size and stuff, but he never put it together. They released him this past April, and he’s extremely unlikely to ever see the major-leages. That one didn’t work out. With the 70th pick in the 1997 draft, however, the Rockies chose one of the most successful pitchers the team has ever had: Aaron Cook. This is an easy two-out-of-three for pick number 70.

The Rockies have only had the 86th pick in the draft once. In 1996, they took Shawn Chacon, who pitched three years as a starter and one as a closer for the Rockies. That’s also a win.

Some good players and a couple of Hall of Famers have been taken out of these specific spots in the past. The Orioles drafted Cal Ripken Jr. 48th overall in 1978, and the Padres took Ozzie Smith with the 86th pick of the 1977 draft. Andrelton Simmons is currently the most successful major-leaguer drafted with the 70th pick, and he still has time to add more distance between him and the rest of the pack.

The guys the Rockies chose in the 70th and 86th spot haven’t been near as successful as the absolute best, but they are among the best. Aaron Cook’s 16 rWAR ranks third among those drafted in at 70 (old friend Jon Vader Wal is fourth; the Expos drafted him at number 70 in 1987). Shawn Chacon’s 6.6 rWAR in his career makes him the third most valuable pick with the 86th spot—Matt Clement is between him and the Wizard.

There’s no substantial difference between picks. For instance, the only real distinction between pick number 70 and pick number 69 is that one is an internet meme and the other isn’t. To get a more accurate scope of the most successful players the Rockies have drafted with these types of picks, here is a list of every player the Rockies selected and signed between picks 45 and 90 to have made the major-leagues:

Signees between picks 45-90 to have made the majors

Player Year Pick Position rWAR 38
Player Year Pick Position rWAR 38
Jason Young 2000 47 RHP -1.0
Seth Smith 2005 50 OF 12.5
Nolan Arenado 2009 59 3B 22.4
Jermaine Van Buren 1998 60 RHP -0.5
Mark Thompson 1992 65 RHP 0.1
Bryan Rekar 1993 70 RHP 1.9
Aaron Cook 1997 70 RHP 15.9
Jody Gerut 1998 71 OF 7.3
Charlie Blackmon 2008 72 OF 10.3
Chad Bettis 2010 76 RHP 2.2
Steven Register 2003 80 RHP -0.2
Shawn Chacon 2006 86 RHP 6.5
Ben Paulsen 2009 90 1B 0.1

Thirteen of the 38 players the Rockies have drafted between picks 45 and 90 made the majors. Some have been more successful than others, and one fine day in the future someone else might note that the Rockies took their own Hall of Famer with the 59th pick in the 2009 draft. Six of the remaining players are still in the minor leagues, with varying degrees of major-league hopes that range from probably not (Max White) to extremely likely (Castellani). That makes 50 percent of all names on the list. The other half are guys who never made it—your Ryan Kiblers and Brian Rikes of the world.

The Rockies don’t have a first round pick in the 2017 draft, but they have three in the top 100. Of the names that we’ll soon learn and become familiar with, at least one will probably play for the Rockies at some point in the future, and there’s a non-zero chance the Rockies will choose a Hall of Famer. I can’t wait to get to know them.