The off-season is rolling on and news on the Colorado Rockies’ front is all quiet as we approach the new year. That likely won’t be changing any time soon and the current roster very well could be the product that breaks camp in Arizona come February.
So, with little to report on, let’s look ahead on what’s to come. The MLB draft lottery took place during the Winter Meetings and the Rockies landed the third overall pick in the 2024 draft. MLB.com published their first Top-100 list for the draft last week, giving us a peek into the initial scouting views of the upcoming class.
The group is headlined by three collegiate hitters at the moment. Plenty will change as we get into next year, but let’s take a look at the three hitters atop the initial list – one of which could be a Rockies’ selection next June.
Travis Bazzana – Oregon State
A second baseman from Australia, Travis Bazzana’s left-handed bat is his major calling card. His defense is limited and opinions vary on how effective he will be able to handle a starting role in the middle infield, but his offensive production more than compensates for these question marks.
Graded with a 55 hit tool and 60 raw power, Bazzana has showcased an advanced offensive skill set in his two seasons with the Beavers. He owns a .340/.463/.549 slash-line in 124 NCAA games, collecting 50 extra-base hits while drawing nearly as many walks (104) as strikeouts (109) and swiping 50 bases.
He put on a show in the Cape Cod League last fall, taking home MVP honors with a 1.037 OPS and has displayed the potential to be a middle-of-the-order bat in the majors one day.
Nick Kurtz – Wake Forest
Only one collegiate 1B has been taken first overall – Spencer Torkelson by the Detroit Tigers in 2020 out of Arizona State. But Nick Kurtz has made a strong case in his first two seasons to become the second.
Graded with a 60 hit tool and 65 power, Kurtz has been a monster for the Demon Deacons with 39 homers in 110 games while drawing considerably more walks (111) than strikeouts (88). His in-game power and plate approach is for real, leading Kurtz to a 1.207 lifetime OPS in NCAA play.
Defensively Kurtz is rated as an above-average fielder with limited arm strength and speed. His defensive home is not in question, though, as he seems destined to stay at first base. Like Bazzana, the limited defensive value is a blemish of sorts – but his power may be the most prolific in the draft and a potential cornerstone piece for any franchise.
JJ Wetherholt – West Virginia
The current top-prospect on the Prospect Pipeline board, JJ Wetherholt heads into the 2024 season with a 70-grade hit tool and glowing reviews from scouts on his ability at the plate.
He’s dominated in his two seasons with the Mountaineers, owning a 1.101 OPS with 65 extra-base hits and 51 stolen bases in 109 games played. A left-handed hitter like Bazzana and Kurtz, scouts rave about Wetherholt bat-to-ball skills and his advanced plate approach and pitch recognition.
Reviews are split on his defensive home. He currently mans shortstop but many believe he could shift to second base in the pros. Regardless, Wetherholt may be the best all-around player available in next year’s class.
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