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Luke Taggart might be an undrafted gem as he impresses in the farm system

Colorado Rockies news and links for Thursday, May 5th, 2022

Despite having a quality five-year collegiate career behind him, big righty Luke Taggart went undrafted out of the University of Oklahoma in 2021. Following the draft the Colorado Rockies signed the pitcher from Texas as their lone undrafted free agent of the year. Now Taggart has been tearing up the minor leagues in a way that says 30 teams made a mistake in not drafting him and 29 are missing out on his services—much to the Rockies’ gain.

Luke Taggart College Statistics

Year School W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Year School W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2017 Incarnate Word 2 5 9.88 15 8 41.0 64 50 45 7 22 28 2.098
2018 Incarnate Word 4 5 3.99 15 14 88.0 94 47 39 7 19 57 1.284
2019 Incarnate Word 7 5 3.68 19 8 88.0 82 41 36 12 17 76 1.125
2020 Incarnate Word 2 2 3.08 4 4 26.1 22 12 9 2 6 28 1.063
2021 Oklahoma 1 6 4.30 22 2 37.2 35 19 18 5 15 54 1.327
TOTAL NCAA 16 23 4.71 75 36 281.0 297 169 147 33 79 243 1.338
Information courtesy of Baseball Reference.

Don’t let the career 4.71 ERA in college fool you, because Taggart had a very strong collegiate career with numbers skewed by a rough freshman campaign. During his freshman year with Incarnate Word in Texas, Taggart had an ERA of 9.88 through 41 innings pitched. Moving into his sophomore year he showed immediate and massive improvement. He would not finish a season with an ERA above 4.00 again for the rest of his career with the Incarnate Word Cardinals. After the first massive jump forward between 2017 and 2018, Taggart’s numbers steadily improved each year, culminating in an excellent truncated 2020 season where he had the second lowest ERA among Cardinals starting pitchers.

Taggart transferred to the University of Oklahoma as a graduate student for the 2021 season, where he mostly appeared out of the bullpen over 37 23 innings. His move to the Big 12 came some adjustment. He finished the season with an ERA of 4.30 and a WHIP of 1.327, a bit of a step down from his senior year at Incarnate Word. However, he also struck out 54 batters for a strong K/9 of 12.9.

Baseball America named Taggart one of Oklahoma’s top MLB draft prospects prior to the 2021 draft, yet all 20 rounds came and went without his name being called. The Rockies quickly signed him as a free agent with a $20,000 signing bonus—a signing that is looking like quite the steal early in Taggart’s professional career. Baseball America called Taggart the Rockies’ best late round or undrafted pick.

The Rockies assigned Luke Taggart to their Arizona Complex League team to kick off his professional baseball career. In the short ACL season he made two appearances and pitched three innings without giving up a single hit or even allowing a single baserunner. He struck out six of the nine batters he faced on the way to the ACL Championship title.

Taggart was sent straight to High-A Spokane to start the 2022 season, where he has continued to thrive on the mound through April. In 13 innings and seven total appearances Taggart has yet to allow a run, earned or not. He’s struck out 17 batters for a K/9 of 11.8 and has given up just for hits and three walks for a WHIP of 0.538. Taggart has also earned three saves working late innings with the Indians, the first of his professional career. He was named the Rockies’ MiLB pitcher of the month for April.

While the season is still young, Luke Taggart has been one of the best surprises out of the Rockies farm system. At 24 years old and pitching this well, he has a chance to be an absolute gem that all 30 teams will regret not drafting, and 29 will regret not bringing into the fold. Here’s looking forward to more great pitching from the big Texan reliever.

★ ★ ★

Scott Oberg: The Next Chapter | Rockies Magazine

Scott Oberg hasn’t thrown a pitch in the major leagues since August 16, 2019. With his career derailed by recurring blood clots in his pitching arm, he is now looking towards his future. He’s raising two daughters, completing his undergraduate degree, and earned incredible praise from his teammates for his work as the Rockies’ union representative during the lockout. He takes phone calls from fellow Rockies pitchers and breaks down their performances. He’s working with the Rockies scouting staff. Honestly he’s doing a little bit of everything. Despite the possible end of his pitching career, Scott Oberg still has a home with the Colorado Rockies.

★ ★ ★

On The Farm

Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes at Oklahoma City Dodgers

This game was postponed due to inclement weather. A makeup game will be played as part of a double-header today.

Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats 3, Binghamton Rumble Ponies 2

Yard Goats starting pitcher Nick Bush had a strong night on the mound. He threw for seven innings while giving up two runs on four hits. He struck out seven batters. Blair Calvo and Gavin Hollowell brought up the rear with two innings a piece. Calvo walked two but allowed no runs. Hollowell struck out four of the six batters he faced in two hitless, scoreless frames. On offense, Ezequiel Tovar remains red hot. He was 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. He walked off on the Rumble Ponies with a bases loaded single in the bottom of the 11th inning. Michael Toglia was 2-for-4 with a home run.

High-A: Spokane Indians 8, Tri-City Dust Devils 6

It was a tough start for Tony Locey, who struggled with command while walking five batters. He gave up five runs on five hits through five innings, including two home runs. The bullpen held tough, with Tanner Propst pitching two shutout innings. Robinson Hernandez pitched just 13 of an inning, walking two and giving up an earned run. Shelby Lackey entered the game to escape the jam with minimal damage, working a 1 23 inning save with two strikeouts. Meanwhile the Indians offense fired on all cylinders. All but one Spokane batter had a hit. Eddy Diaz had a 2-for-4 night with three RBIs and a walk, while Daniel Montano was 2-for-3 with a double, a triple, two RBIs and a walk. Zac Veen and Bladimir Restituyo were both 2-for-4.

Low-A: Modesto Nuts 2, Fresno Grizzlies 1

It was a tough late loss for the Fresno Grizzlies, who kept the Modesto Nuts off the board through seven innings. Case Williams had a strong six inning start with four hits, two walks, and seven strikeouts. Ever Moya ran into trouble in the eighth inning with a single and a four pitch walk, but things looked brighter when he picked off the runner on second. He then gave up a ground rule double that set runners in scoring position. Juan Mejia was brought in to try and escape the jam, striking out his first batter but then allowing a bases clearing double. The Grizzlies would not be able to recover. The Grizzlies had just one run on five hits. Their lone offensive standout was Braiden Ward, who is having a fabulous season. He was 2-for-3 and his average improves to .380 on the year.

★ ★ ★

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