Happy Draft Day, Rockies fans! Today is the day that the Rockies will add two more players in hopes of beefing up their farm system, and tomorrow they will add four more. Thomas Harding spoke with Rockies Vice President of Scouting Bill Schmidt about their strategy, which is still “best player available.” It’s anybody’s guess as who they will take, but outfielder Heston Kjerstad and left-handed pitcher Reid Demters are names that have popped up on multiple lists (see our predictions here and here).
Pitching is always a need for the Rockies, but they haven’t used their first round pick on an outfielder since David Dahl in 2012. It’s certainly an area of need for them now, so maybe this will be the year that they switch things up.
Justin Wick has done an excellent job of explaining the changes surrounding the 2020 draft. As a college pitcher himself, Wick has first-hand experience with the MLB Draft. In this article, he explains the new rules of the draft. Sure, we’ve all seen them, but this serves as a good refresher as he gives insight on normal draft rules, the changes for 2020, and how that affects the Rockies.
Wick wrote a second piece outlining the ripple effect of COVID-19 on the baseball landscape. It’s not only affecting the 2020 draft, but will also potentially affect college and minor league (and eventually major league) baseball for years due to changes in NCAA eligibility, college roster construction, and undrafted free agent signings. The shortened draft will really affect things at the college level, since spring sport athletes were granted an extra year of eligibility. That means college seniors can stay and extra year if they want, but high school seniors still have to leave high school. That could potentially lead to an increase in junior college rosters, since four-year institutions will have fewer scholarships and roster spots available. Also, with the $20,000 maximum contract instituted to undrafted free agent signings, that might mean more kids decide to stay in school.
Long story short, there are a lot of moving parts to this in which we won’t see the full effects for many, many years.
The Rockies drafted Nolan Arenado 59th overall in 2009, which seems like forever ago! He was a nice pick-up, especially since he was drafted on June 9. Also because he’s arguably one of the greatest Rockies of all time, and he’s only been on the major league roster for six seasons.
Kevin Henry looks at Nolan’s lifetime numbers (spoiler alert: they’re pretty good), as well as recalls the players who were drafted ahead of him by the Rockies (Tyler Matzek anyone?) and by other teams (AJ Pollock and Shelby Miller are both mentioned, as well as some guy named Mike Trout).
Fun fact: DJ LeMahieu was drafted in this same class — 79th overall by the Chicago Cubs.
The last two times that the Rockies selected ninth, they picked Jeff Francis in 2002 and Chris Nelson in 2004. The last time they picked in the top ten, they picked Riley Pint (No. 22 PuRP) with the number four pick in 2016.
Kevin Henry looks at the history of the number nine pick amongst all teams. Two notable names include Kyler Murray (Oakland A’s, 2018) and Javier Baéz (Chicago Cubs, 2011). Keston Hiura (Milwaukee Brewers, 2017) and Ian Happ (Chicago Cubs, 2015) also made the list.
Obviously Kyler Murray chose football, but the others really show what kind of talent could be available for the Rockies at number nine. Who knows, maybe they’ll have a runner-up MVP candidate like Javy Baéz (or finally an MVP winner) waiting in the wings.
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