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MLB Draft 2021: Native Colorado prospects

Rockies news and links for Saturday, July 3rd, 2021

On July 11th-13th there will be plenty of buzz around 20th and Blake when the All-Star game and it’s accompanying festivities rolls into town. The future of baseball will be one of the first items on display, with the All-Star Futures game and the MLB Draft set to take place on July 11th. The All-Star Futures Game rosters have just been announced, but there is still plenty of speculation surrounding the draft.

Articles digging into who will be selected and when are always prevalent heading into the event, and this year is no different. You can’t cruise a baseball site without running into a mock draft or two, and we’ve touched on some names who the Rockies could be picking with the eighth overall pick three times already.

But I wanted to go in a different direction today and focus on some draft-eligible prospects that have called Colorado home. Not all may be picked in the 20 round format this season, but they are making names for themselves in the ranks and could be picked in future drafts as well.

Prospects from the “Centennial State” are not uncommon. On the Rockies current roster, Kyle Freeland is famously a Denverite and Lucas Gilbreath hails from Westminster. You’ll find plenty around the league as well. Kevin Gausman of the Giants, David Bote of the Cubs, Mark Melancon in San Diego and Seattle’s ace Marco Gonzalez all come from the Rockies’ home state, to name a few. A Coloradan was selected as recently as 2020, when Case Williams was picked by the Rockies out of Douglas County High School in the fourth round.

With that in mind, let’s look at some of the names to keep an eye on this season:

Alec Willis - Regist Jesuit High School (Minnesota commit)

Ranked 130 on the MLB top 200 draft prospects, Alec Willis has been a star at local powerhouse Regis Jesuit for four years and is committed to taking his talents to the University of Minnesota next season. Sitting 90-94 with his fastball, Willis has a projectable 6’5” frame and has shown good life on his fastball, a strong feel for his curve and a developing changeup.

Cale Lansville - Thunder Ridge High School (LSU commit)

Out of Centennial, CO, Cale Lansville is committed to Gausman’s old stomping grounds of Louisiana State University. Sitting in the mid-90’s with his fastball, Lansville shows polish with his efficient and repeatable mechanics. His ¾ arm slot gives ride to his fastball and provides depth on his high-spin slider.

Greysen Carter - Fairview High School (Vanderbilt commit)

Another large frame at 6’4”, Greysen Carter just finished bringing the Fairview Knights to the cusp of 5A state championship and will be headed to the pitching factory of Vanderbilt University this fall. Sitting in the mid-to-high 90’s with his heater, Carter is a power arm with an over-the-top delivery that provides strong movement for his primary secondary offering, a 12-6 curve.

Riley Cornelio - TCU (Pine Creek High School)

A draft-eligible sophomore originally from Monument, CO, Riley Corenlio entered the Division-1 NCAA ranks in 2019 as the top-ranked player out of the state according to Baseball America. At 6’3”, Corenlio has a deceptive delivery and can reach the high 90’s with his fastball. His curveball is sharp and his changeup is a solid offering as well. He has only appeared in nine games and pitched 17 ⅔ innings in his two years with the Horned Frogs, however.

Casey Opitz - Arkansas (Heritage High School)

Brother of former Grand Junction Rockies manager Jake Opitz, Casey Opitz was a backbone behind the plate for a Razorbacks team that ranked as the top team in the country. Opitz has been a popular name in draft circles for a few seasons with his strong arm and solid blocking abilities. A renowned defensive catcher that would be a welcomed addition to any farm system, Opitz returned to Arkansas for his senior season in 2021 and finished his collegiate career with over 100 hits and .705 OPS.

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Sunday Notes: Rockies Prospect Mitchell Kilkenny Channels Calvin and Hobbes | FanGraphs

Mitchell Kilkenny has put together a fine season so far between Low-A Fresno and High-A Spokane in 2021, amassing 60 punch outs in 48 23 innings while putting up a superb 1.85 ERA across the two levels. David Laurila had the chance to catch up with Kilkenny to discuss his success, the next gear he may possess in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, and his life before reaching the professional baseball ranks. A notable part from Kilkenny’s past life is the achievement of winning two creative writing contests. In one contest, Kikenny was asked to write about his favorite author and chose Bill Waterson, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes.

On the farm

Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes 6, El Paso Chihuahuas 4

Albuquerque took their second straight game against El Paso, beating the Chihuahuas at home 6-4. “Slam” Hilliard struck again for his sixth homer in his last eleven games. The Isotopes bullpen picked up starter Ian Clark, allowing only one earned run over 4 23 innings after the starter departed.

Double-A: Altoona Curve 2, Hartford Yard Goats 1 (five innings)

Sean Bouchard doubled in the bottom of the first inning and was brought around on a Coco Montes single to give the Yard Goats an early 1-0 lead. Hartford starter Garrett Schilling would surrender a run in the second and third innings, however, and the Yard Goats trailed Altoona 2-1 when the game was officially ended in the fifth inning due to rain.

High-A: Spokane Indians 4, Tri City Dust Devils 3

Chris McMahon and Nick Bush provided solid performances on the mound for Spokane, leading the Indians to a 4-3 victory at home against the Dust Devils. McMahon started the game for the home squad, allowing just two runs over five innings while striking out nine Tri City hitters. Bush picked up the rest of the slack, giving up just one run over four innings with no walks issued and four strike outs. Michael Toglia hit two of the seven singles in the ballgame for Spokane.

Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies 2, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 1

The Grizzlies took down the Quakes at home behind a strong performance by starting pitcher Mike Ruff. Ruff threw six innings, gave up one unearned run while allowing four hits, two walks and striking out eight batters. Ezequiel Tovar continued his impressive season, going 2-3 with a double and a run scored. Zac Veen also doubled in the victory.

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