Thomas Harding asked Rockies vice president of scouting Bill Schmidt how they would approach the draft given the impact of COVID-19: “It’s no different than any other year in terms of work, we’ve always had five rounds,” he said. Of reduced chances to watch potential draftees play, Schmidt adds, “While the high school state tournaments and early-summer travel events were nixed, there were enough late-winter events to provide some intelligence.” He gives nothing away in terms of the Rockies’ thinking but says this: “There are some interesting high school pitchers and hitters. There are some good college hitters and pitchers. We’ll find out about seven or eight years from now.”
The Rockies’ philosophy is to take the best available player, so it’s anyone’s guess, but right now, here’s what the most-informed guessers are saying.
In a previous piece, I wrote that most were predicting the Rockies would select Heston Kjerstad. (ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel is standing with that prediction. Eric Longenhagen agrees in the FanGraphs 2.0 mock draft released this morning.) Since then, there’s been a bit of shifting. Here’s a quick overview of the potential future Rockies.
Reid Detmers, LHP, University of Louisville
As Josh Norris writes, “Detmers is arguably the most polished pitcher in the 2020 class. While he doesn’t have the loudest pure stuff, he has a long track record of well above-average strikethrowing and as such, scouts believe he is one of the highest floor prospects in the 2020 class.”
According to Baseball Reference, in 2020 (and an admittedly small sample size) in four games and 22 innings, he struck out 48 batters. He walked six and gave up 16 hits (one home run) with an ERA of 1.23. In 2019, Detmers pitched 113.1 innings and struck out 167. He had a WHIP of .918 with a BB/9 of 2.6 and a K/9 of 13.3. He had an ERA of 2.78. You can watch video here and here.
Fun Fact: According to Mark Feinsand, “The curveball is where Detmers separates himself from the rest of the pack, though he believes his changeup – which he doesn’t use much in college – has the potential to be his best pitch.”
Patrick Bailey, C, North Carolina State University
Axisa calls Bailey “the best all-around catcher in the draft.” Carlos Collazo writes that Bailey is “the best catch-and-throw prospect in the 2020 draft class. He has exceptional hands, blocking ability and he is one of the rare college catchers to call his own game.” According to Baseball Reference, in three seasons with NC State, the switch-hitting Bailey slashed .302/.568/.979. You can see video here and here.
Fun Fact: In the dé jà vu category, David Adler notes that because of his bat, Bailey’s Wolfpack teammates call him ‘Patty Barrels.’
Robert Hassell III, OF, Independence High School (TN)
Says Who? Keith Law (The Athletic)
Hassell has committed to Vanderbilt and is a 6’2” 185 lb. outfielder and left-handed pitcher. (Echoes of Charlie Blackmon, anyone?) According to Tom Kreager, Hassell “led the USA Baseball 18U National team to a silver medal at the Baseball World Cup in August. He led the tournament in runs, hits and RBIs and was tied for the lead with two home runs.” Hassell also had a career .415 batting average with 22 home runs.
In terms of pitching, according to Manny Randawa, “Though he is projected to have a higher ceiling professionally as a hitter, Hassell has hit 93 mph on the mound . . . posting a 1.07 ERA with 113 strikeouts over 59 innings last year. That arm strength also makes the 18-year-old Vanderbilt commit potentially a better fit in right field than center. At the plate last year, he hit .423 with 14 home runs and 36 RBIs out of the leadoff spot to go along with 22 steals.” You can see video here and here.
Fun Fact: He faced Mo’ne Davis in the 2014 Little League World Series.
More details about the draft
The draft will air on Wednesday, June 10 on ESPN and the MLB Network with coverage beginning at 5:00 pm MT. In the meantime, you can read Justin Wick’s take on the new rules and his view on impact of the new draft.
Purple Row will update our draft coverage in the coming days.
Who will the Rockies select in the first round of the 2020 MLB draft?
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Robert Hassell III