clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Predicting the Rockies’ 2023 first-round draft selection

Colorado Rockies news and links for Tuesday, June 13, 2023

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Let the MLB draft speculation begin!

This year, the draft will be held July 9-11 in Seattle as part of the All-Star Game festivities.

The Colorado Rockies will have a bonus pool of $11,909,800 and the following picks:

  • 9th pick (first round; $5,716,900)
  • 46th pick (second round; $1,868,400)
  • 65th pick (Competitive Balance Round B; $1,184,100)
  • 77th pick (third round: $930,600)
  • 109th pick (fourth round; $615,500)
  • 145th pick (fifth round; $433,500)

To finish things off, in the sixth round, they have $336,700; in the seventh round, they have $263,200; in the eighth round, they have $209,400; in the ninth round, they have $181,600; and in the tenth round, they have $169,900.

Be advised — and this will surprise no one — only the Rockies and Twins have never exceeded their pools.

So that’s the money. Now for some editorializing on my part.

If the Rockies have learned nothing else in 2023, it’s that they really need pitching. They knew that before the season started, but before it was one-third over, their need became acute. I expect them to be aggressive at the trade deadline to acquire pitching, especially since their position players appear to be developing quickly. They began to address this issue last year by drafting Gabriel Hughes, an accomplished college pitcher who has quickly moved to Double-A. I expect them to repeat that philosophy in this draft, prioritizing near-finished pitching over position players.

But that’s just me.

Now to consider what the experts are projecting. Here are the most recent draft predictions for the Rockies:

Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee

Predictor: (Jim Callis, 6/1/23), The Athletic (5/24/23)

The 2022 SEC Pitcher of the Year, in 2023, Dollander earned an ERA of 4.50, striking out 111 and giving up 13 home runs. (He threw 78 innings.) The 6’2”, 200-lb right handed has a four-pitch mix: fastball, curveball, changeup, and slider (his weakest pitch). Dollander was less consistent in 2023, but still finished strong, striking out 13 of 20 in his final start at South Carolina. His K/9 at the end of the 2023 season was 13.1.

Keith Law reports that the Rockies have been following Dollander closely.

Here he is in action against the University of Georgia in May.

Is this happening? Maybe. Clearly, the Rockies would love this, but it’s hard to see Dollander staying in the draft until the ninth pick.

Rhett Lowder, RHP, Wake Forest

Predictors: Bleacher Report (6/9/23), ESPN (5/30/23), Future Stars Series (5/16/23)

Here’s how Bleacher Report puts it: “[Lowder] does not possess the same upside as Dollander, but he has a much higher floor with a great chance to be a mid-rotation starter for years to come.” He’s known for his fastball, changeup, and a developing slider as well as his ability to induce ground balls. In short, Lowder seems like exactly the kind of pitcher the Rockies would look to draft.

Lowder, who is 6’2” and 200 lbs., finished the season with an ERA of 1.77.

See for yourself.

ESPN reports that Bill Schmidt has been watching Lowder pitch.

“There’s a theory,” Kiley McDaniel writes, “that the Rockies, like with Gabriel Hughes in last year’s draft, think they can pick hitters well at lower spots and want to prioritize two seamer-oriented (due to their park) potential starters at higher picks since they can’t sign them in free agency.”

Is this happening? I could see it. However, whether he’ll be available remains in question.

Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon

Predictor: Baseball America (6/8/23)

In 2023, his junior year, Wilson slashed .411/.461/.635. He also hit six home runs and 17 doubles in 192 at-bats. Also, the fact that he struck out only 31 times is deeply impressive. Wilson also stole eight bases. The 6’3”, 190-lb. shortstop earned a 948% FLD%. According to Baseball America, Wilson has “an outlier skill in his pure hitting ability.”

Roll tape:

Is this happening? I don’t see it. I know that the Rockies’ philosophy has been to take the best available player, but I just think this draft is about pitching. Plus, Tovar is making a name for himself, and they’ve got Dyan Jorge in the system.

Noble Meyer, RHP, Jesuit HS, Portland, OR

Predictor: MLB Pipeline (Jonathan Mayo, 6/9/22)

The RHP/1B has a fastball that sits 94-96 mph, a slider, and a developing changeup. As Perfect Game puts it, “Long and fluid arm action with a 3/4’s to mid 3/4’s arm slot, gets out front very well, lands open with his front side, repeats his mechanics well, has outstanding arm speed and a low tension release.” He’s also 6’5” and 195 lbs., so another tall player.

Here he is:

For Jonathan Mayo, Meyer represents, probably, the best arm that will be available to the Rockies given their ninth spot in the draft.

Is this happening? I don’t see the Rockies taking a high school pitcher in this draft. They need viable pitching soon, and developing a high school player would require too much time. Plus, Peter Lambert provides a cautionary tale for developing high school pitchers at Coors Field.

But what do I know?

Share your draft predictions in the comments, and look for an update in a few weeks.


Coors Field Attendance

According to ESPN, 978,085 have attended games at Coors Field in 2023 (the end of the Padres series and the Rockies’ 35th home game). That number ranks 16th in baseball, so they have moved up one step in the rankings. The average Coors Field game attendance is 27,945. (Last week, the average attendance was 27,236.)

As a benchmark, in 2022, the average game attendance at Coors Field was 32,467.


Cuts at The Athletic

Yesterday, The Athletic cut nearly 4% of its newsroom, or about 20 positions. Ben Strauss reports, “[A]n additional 20 reporters w[ill] be moved from their current team beats to new ones, including regional coverage or general assignment roles.”

Among those cut were Nick Groke, who’s been The Athletic’s Rockies beat reporter since 2018, and Zach Buchanan, one of the best Diamondbacks reporters. At a time when the D-back are one of the most surprising and exciting teams in MLB who look to be on a post-season trajectory with one of the best young players in baseball, The Athletic chose to terminate one of the people most qualified to tell that story.

These cuts mark a real loss for fans. When it came to the Rockies, Groke’s reporting was smart and insightful — and we never would have had all those laundry memes without his hard work.

He will, surely, land somewhere else soon because he’s too talented not to. But The Athletic’s decision to contract team coverage is ill-conceived — and not just because fans want to know what’s going to happen at the trade deadline.

MLB is big business ($10.3 billion in 2022), and the 30 owners who are stakeholders in that business deserve consistent media scrutiny. Dick Monfort should be reported on as carefully as Brian Cashman. The D-backs’ stadium plans should receive as much attention as the next MLB expansion effort. That’s less apt to happen now.

The Athletic chose clicks and short-term gain over keeping reporters in place to do serious work. It’s a decision that will have long-term consequences.


“They Didn’t Pay Me by the Hour” — Rockies’ Alum Aaron Cook Returns to Coors Field | Rockies Blog

One of the great things about 2023 being the Rockies’ 30th anniversary season is the return of notable Rockies. Jack Etkin spoke with Aaron Cook about his time with the Rockies and how his delivery would have played with the pitch clock. Cook also discusses various points of his career and life, including the time he almost died on the mound at Coors Field due to blood clots.

Moneyball Broke Baseball: But Now the Whiz Kids Who Nearly Ruined the National Pastime Have Returned to Save It | The Atlantic ($)

Mark Leibovich is one of my favorite political writers, but when he turns his attention to sports, he is especially good. A long-time Red Sox fan, Leibovich found himself losing interest in baseball because the games were long and lacked action. Last spring, he headed to Spring Training to see the pitch clock in action and interview players and managers about the change. Come for the great writing and insight; stay for the Trevor Story shade.


Please keep in mind our Purple Row Community Guidelines when you’re commenting. Thanks!