The MLB Draft is unlike any other event of its kind in the four Major sports. Fans who follow the procedures know that these young men who have their names called in front of the world won’t make an impact in the Major Leagues for years to come, and the overwhelming majority won’t even reach the Show. The inherent randomness of it all leads to drastically different fan expectations, fan reactions, and overall draft strategy.
How many times have we heard football people talk about how their team can fill their holes through the Draft? How many times have we seen NBA or even NHL fans instantly regain optimism after their team drafts a stud top 5 overall? Baseball doesn’t work like that, which often leads to the very simple strategy: take the best prospect available, and worry about positional fit later. Not every team evaluates player the same, obviously. Some teams are extremely data-heavy in their approach, some are more traditional.
But regardless of the process taken, regardless of the pick, people will have strong reactions to it, and that’s why it’s always good to let a draft pick breathe, since people are bound to have some intense takes, ranging from “OMG what are they doing? This guy stinks!” to “I LOVE this pick, he’s a future Hall of Famer!!”. And Rockies first rounder Benny Montgomery was no exception. It doesn’t matter that we all know you can’t judge a Draft the day after, armchair GM’ing is always a thing. So what about Montgomery?
Well, there’s no doubt there’s some serious risk to the profile. High schoolers in general carry obvious volatility, but Montgomery takes it up a notch. Now, the Zac Veen comparisons are easy to make (both HS outfielders taken in the top 10), but I think they don’t make too much sense; Veen seems destined to move to an outfield corner and gets legitimate 60 grade hit tool evaluations to go along with plus power, whereas Montgomery looks like a much more explosive athlete (70 grade runner, cannon arm, plus raw power) with some questions about the hit tool.
Of course, Rockies fans will quickly shudder when hearing the words “risky high school prospect”, mostly thanks to the organization’s well-known failures to develop Riley Pint and Tyler Matzek, but allow me to play devil’s advocate for a second here. While the Rox have definitely not had a good track record with high profile HS hurlers, the prep hitters they’ve picked up in the first round in the past decade or so look much better: David Dahl, Brendan Rodgers, Ryan Vilade, Zac Veen. That’s a good list of players, and I’m going to have some faith that the Rockies can work with Montgomery and get him to the Show.
Personally, after getting over the fact that they had Kahlil Watson right there and let him go, I really liked the pick, and not just because I like the prospect they took, which I do. Fast-twitch athletes with loud physical tools are always fun to project, of course, but the main reason I liked it is the inherent risk of said profile. This isn’t a team with a contention window right around the corner. In other words, they can afford not to be safe, and they were not. I think we can all respect that, but how do we feel about the pick?
How did you feel about the Rockies picking Benny Montgomery 8th overall?
This poll is closed
I loved it.
I’m okay with it.
I really don’t like it.
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From a few days ago, a terrific piece on Bud Black’s journey through the world of baseball that’s lead him to 2,000 big league games overseen from the dugout. You get the feeling he’s genuinely beloved by almost everyone around the industry.
Some insight on the decision and process of drafting Benny Montgomery, from Bill Schmidt and the draftee himself.
What a Home Run Derby it was, huh? Soto upsetting Ohtani in the first round, Mancini going to the final, some of the BP pitchers trying to strike their hitters out, Pete Alonso going ballistic... it had it all. Trevor Story hit the second-longest homer of the day (518 feet, only bested by Soto’s 520 foot shot) and made it to the second round before getting knocked out by Mancini. A piece on how he’s embraced being a part of the Derby and the festivities at All-Star Week.
On The Farm
League-wide day of rest for every level of the Minors except for Triple-A.
Pitching, defense, and a three-run home run. Earl Weaver would’ve been pleased by this performance from the Isotopes, wouldn’t he? The ‘Topes got a good outing from starter Frank Duncan (6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 0 HR), three shutdown innings from the bullpen, turned a double play, had an outfield assist, made no errors, and took the decisive lead on a second inning three-run homer from second baseman Rio Ruiz. Ruiz is now slashing .333/.397/.574 for Albuquerque -call him up, Rockies!- and the Isotopes improved to 23-35. They’ve won four in a row at Round Rock and will close out the series on Wednesday before returning home for a series against the Sugar Land Skeeters.
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