The Rockies love players from Clemson University and yet passed on the power bat of Richie Shaffer. They also saw California prep pitcher Lucas Gioloto, a potential workhorse ace if recovered from an elbow injury, fall to them. The Rockies passed. Time will tell whether the Rockies were wise in their pick or not.
Colorado then took hard-throwing Radford U. pitcher Eddie Butler and speedy Florida prep outfielder Max White. Colorado prep pitcher Ryan Warner was a third-round pick, the highest drafted player from the state for the organization since Shawn Chacon was taken in the third round in 1996.
St. John's second baseman Matt Wessinger could be a smart selection as could 11th-rounder T.J. Oakes.
2011 - The Rockies passed on highly-regarded prep bat Josh Bell, who insisted he was going to college and then...signed...with, of all franchises - Pittsburgh. Colorado instead chose college arm Tyler Anderson out of Oregon who is said to have great pitchability but not great stuff or a high ceiling. The comp used with him is former Rockie Jeff Francis. If that's the Francis that won 17 games once, and then two earned two postseason victories, excellent. If it's the not, the Rockies went overly safe on that pick.
Compensation pick Trevor Story (SS), a Texas prep, signed quickly and produce right away at Casper and the Colorado Rockies' Prospects Report named him the top prospect on that team and Baseball America then named him the top prospect in that league.
Third rounder Peter O'Brien, a college catcher, refused to sign and was taken in 2012 in the second round by the New York Yankees.
Sixth rounder Chris Jensen, a college pitcher, did sign and showed possibilities at Tri-City, results that had the Colorado Rockies' Prospects Report name him the top prospect on the team.
Pitcher Ben Alsup, an 18th-round pick out of LSU, competed strongly after signing and 20th-round pick and fellow pitcher Daniel Winkler earned sleeper recognition from the respected John Sickels, the creator of Minor League Ball.
Shortstop Sam Mende (31st round), a college player, hit for average and plus-power immediately and looks like a highly astute pick.
2010 - First-round pick, Kyle Parker, an outfielder from Clemson who also started at quarterback for the Tigers, delivered at Asheville in Low-A ball and as of now looks like a legitimate hitting prospect with power and run-producing MLB potential. He needs much more development, time devoted to strictly baseball, which he will get now. There is the ability to be a plus-producer but to get there Parker will need to quit giving so many at-bats away to strikeouts.
Peter Tago, a supplemental pick and a California high school pitcher, got his pro career started late. He showed talent in 2011 but also is a mechanical mess, with an unbelievably high walk rate and low amount of strikeouts. Extremely raw.
Second rounder Chad Bettis, a pitcher from Texas Tech, developed into the pitcher of the year within the organization in 2011. He is showing durability, a high strikeout rate and limiting walks. He has more value now than when drafted. He has the appearance of a future piece of the big league rotation, likely in the middle of five, but maybe as high as a no. 2 starter (ceiling).
Eighth rounder Corey Dickerson, drafted twice by the Rockies continues to show his talent, hitting close to .300 and with plus-plus power and above-average plate discipline. He has to prove he can hit away from the shoebox that is Asheville and hit better with men on base and in scoring position. He's not a finished product but he has big talent. I like him more than others do.
In the 15th round, California prep catcher Will Swanner was the selection and he's a prospect for sure, showing a live bat and power potential. He does have to find a way to make more contact, decrease strikeouts and work pitchers for some walks but the ceiling is high as a hitter.
The Rockies' scouting department and front office takes a lot of criticism for some bad choices and bungled drafts but they deserve credit too for when they find players and help develop them, and they did high-quality work in this class.
2009 - California high school pitcher Tyler Matzek seemed like a huge "get" at no. 11 in the first round and his debut showed flashes of high-end starter potential but in 2011, pitched very poorly for most of 2011, showing no control and seemed like he was headed towards being a bust but he showed great composure, resolve, adaptability and he turned it around to the point where he again is showing great talent and producing. Choosing to be cautiously optimistic with him. The ceiling is still very high with him. If Matzek can work himself, on merit, to Double-A by next season, his status will rebound quickly. His confidence seems back and that can only help. His mechanics will always have to be watched, which make him high risk-high reward.
College outfielder Tim Wheeler, picked at no. 32, has had a breakout season, exhibiting surprising power, leading the Rockies farm system in homers. He's still strikeout prone but ultra-productive. He can be streaky. He has to find a way to reduce the amount of swing-and-miss in his game and hit lefthanders better.
Supplemental pick, college lefty Rex Brothers has reached Colorado and one day, with better control, could press to become a strong set-up man or closer.
Second-round pick, California prep infielder Nolan Arenado is a grinder, someone who can have slumps but when wired in, is a .300-plus hitter with serious doubles potential. His power is coming and he is a serious run producer. He was the hitter of the year in the system.
Fourth rounder, Kent Matthes, an outfielder from the University of Alabama, had a tremendous 2011 by hitting .334, piling up doubles, hitting home runs and driving in runs at a high rate before getting hurt by a pitch. He doesn't draw many walks and will strike out but when you hit way over .300 and produce like he does, you can live with some swing and miss.
12th-round pick, Jared Clark, a college first baseman has started slow after a spring injury but showed power and plate discipline in 2010.
In the 29th round, community college outfielder Corey Dickerson was picked. He didn't sign. He was drafted again by the Rockies, signed and is now looking like a wise investment.
In the 30th round, University of Georgia catcher Bryce Massanari was selected and he's showed a highly-productive bat in 2011 in the low minors.
In the 33rd round, the Rockies may have found a gem in college pitcher Coty Woods, who is dominating low-A hitters in 2011.
Chris Balcom-Miller, the sixth-round pick, looked strong in the minors with Colorado but was eventually traded to Boston, where he fizzled in their farm system.
Even with Matzek still an unknown, this was a rich draft. If Matzek rebounds for good, it looks even more premium. The scouting department and front office as well as minor league affiliates deserve a lot of praise for their efforts.
2008 - College lefty Christian Friedrich, the first-round pick, has had some injuries and struggles and after a fast start in the organization, appears to have maxed out. He will likely get an invitation to the majors but at this time he doesn't have the look of a reliable starter, not even a back-end one. He can be very good but he is maddeningly inconsistent and his outings often look like fireworks displays for hitters.
Second rounder Charlie Blackmon, an outfielder, reached Colorado and looks like a spark plug if he can learn to produce some more extra-base hits.
Seventh round pick, Boston College pitcher Dan Houston, developed nicely in A-ball but has leveled off in Double-A.
Fourth rounder Ethan Hollingsworth, a college pitcher, was traded to Oakland for pitcher Clayton Mortensen.
Fifth-round pick, Matt Dominguez, a college third baseman, refused to sign and later ended up in the San Francisco Giants' organization, where he has stalled out as a prospect.
2007 - First round pick Casey Weathers, a reliever from Vanderbilt, was expected to take the fast track to Colorado as a power arm. Control problems and injury derailed that path. The ninth pick, he has been a disappointment. He does not look like a big league player, still fighting the demons of insufficient control. The Rockies dealt him to the Cubs after the 2011 season for outfielder Tyler Colvin and infielder D.J. LeMahieu.
In round 20, college arm Matt Reynolds was picked and he impressed throughout the minors and has become a reliever that can go on runs of successful shut-down efforts with only the occasional disappointing outing.
The Rockies then used two drafted players in trades to help the current roster. In the fifth round the team selected college arm Connor Graham, big and strong and difficult to hit, thus growing to be attractive enough to Cleveland that they traded Rafael Betancourt to Colorado. That proved to be a smart decision as Graham's lack of control has not improved.
In the 30th round, college pitcher Bruce Billings was drafted. He earned a cup of coffee with Colorado and then was traded to Oakland for infielder Mark Ellis. Again, the Rockies used a draft pick to acquire a proven big league player. This too was a smart front office move as Billings is likely a fringe player for the major league level.
In the 14th round, the Rockies took Alabama high school OF Kentrail Davis, who didn't sign, went to the University of Tennessee and became a first-round pick of the Brewers.
In round 21, Florida high school pitcher Chris Sale was the selection. He too chose to go to college and later was a first-round pick of the White Sox, with whom he quickly reached Chicago.
2006 - With the second overall selection, the highest in franchise history, Colorado took big Stanford pitcher Greg Reynolds. A nightmare of a choice. To be fair, Reynolds has pitched some high-quality games but he's been bombed often too, looking more like a washout than a quality starter.The Rockies gave up on him finally. Like Jason Young before him, Stanford pitchers taken high, who failed. Outside of Mike Mussina, no one comes to mind from that baseball factory who succeeded. Maybe Mark Appel (Pittsburgh draft pick) will change that fact.
A disaster of a decision, especially considering the Dodgers took pitcher Clayton Kershaw, a high school pitcher out of Texas, the Giants took University of Washington pitcher Tim Lincecum, slight of build (wasn't Pedro Martinez the same) but big of talent and arm and Tampa Bay grabbed Long Beach State 3B Evan Longoria. All are stars and Kershaw (2011 Cy Young Award winner) has the look of a potential Hall of Famer. Lincecum, a two-time Cy Young winner, if he can prove durable, could be a Hall inductee too.
Second rounder, Florida high school outfielder David Christensen was a complete bust. He certainly had tools and power but his ability to make contact and defend with two strikes were both fatal flaws.
Seventh rounder, college catcher Mike McKenry, reached the majors with Colorado but is now playing in Pittsburgh.
In the 18th round, the Rockies drafted college pitcher Andrew Cashner, who declined to sign. He later ended up at TCU and was drafted in the first round by the Cubs, with whom Cashner reached the majors. He's now in San Diego.
2005 - The Tulo draft, plain and simple. That's all the Rockies needed to make that year successful and all they got too. Troy Tulowitzki, a shortstop from Long Beach State, was the seventh overall pick and has become a power-hitting, run producing, strong-armed defender and new face of the franchise. In other words, it appears the Rockies struck gold.
It's a great thing Colorado decided on Tulo because the rest of the draft was unbelievably awful and would net the front office a fair grade of "F."
2004 - First rounder Chris Nelson, a high school infielder from Georgia, reached the majors but hasn't been able to establish himself, either as a starter or a reserve. He was the ninth overall pick so there's higher expectations, at least from fans, than what Nelson's accomplished.
Second rounder Seth Smith, a college outfielder from Ole Miss, has turned into a nice complementary piece for the Rockies, although he lacks true corner outfielder power. He ended up being traded to Oakland for pitchers Josh Outman and Guillermo Moscoso so Smith developed enough to become a useful trade chip.
Fourth rounder, Chris Iannetta, a college (North Carolina) catcher, has shown pop but struggled to hit for average and was traded to the Angels for pitcher Tyler Chatwood so Iannetta was a trade chip.
Dexter Fowler, a 14th round selection out of a Georgia high school, was once a stellar prospect who showed real potential early in the majors but just hasn't hit for average or stolen the bases expected. His defense has been rated as a plus. He bounced back strong in the latter part of 2011 and even displayed power. There is a flicker of light still that he could become a dependable, valuable starter and offensive creator.
Third rounder Steven Register, a college (Auburn) pitcher, had a cup of coffee in Denver as did minor league masher and pro bust Joe Koshansky (1B), from the University of Virginia.
Five other draftees played in the majors.
Insightful drafting but no stars. Fowler still could improve dramatically so that's where the hope of a better grade still lies.
2003 - Prep infielder Ian Stewart went no. 10 overall to Colorado and looked like a star on the rise but overall he's been a tease more than a player. In 2011, he was hurt or woefully terrible, spending a lot of time in either Tirple-A or hitting under .100. That ended him a trade out of town to the Cubs. His time in Colorado produced some highs but his final grade is disappointing.
California prep Cole Garner was drafted in the 26th round and Eric Young Jr. in the 30th and both reached the major leagues. Young has value because of his speed and acumen on the base paths. He must hit more though to get more playing time.
In the 19th round, the Rockies drafted pitcher Ryan Mattheus for the second time. He's now in the bullpen in Washington and in the 37th round the team selected Jessie Litsch from a Florida high school. He decided to go to college, got drafted later by Toronto and won 13 games in 2008 for the Blue Jays.
2002 -- Jeff Francis, the no. 1 pick of the club (and ninth overall selection), averaged nearly 15 wins a season from 2005-2007, with a high of 17 in 2007 (with two postseason victories too), and totaled 55 wins before leaving to play for Kansas City.
Seventh rounder Ryan Spilborghs, a college outfielder, has forged a nice career as an extra outfielder.
Fourth rounder Jeff Baker, a middle infielder now, reached The Show with Colorado but has done his best work with the Cubs.
Second rounder Micah Owings, a high school pitcher, didn't sign, went to college and later landed in the majors where he's struggled as a starting pitcher (now a reliever) but shown power in his bat.
In the 40th round, the Rockies took a California high school pitcher, who didn't sign, went to college, became a first-rounder of the Twins, developed nicely in Tampa Bay and is now with the Cubs - Matt Garza.
2001 - Jayson Nix, a supplemental first, made the majors but didn't do much in Colorado. He's bounced around, showing some power but struggling to hit for average. Second rounder David Taylor refused to sign and went to college. Third rounder Jason Frome was a bust. A wretched draft that saw only Cory Sullivan, a seventh rounder, contribute much - he played in 355 games, hitting .279 with 10 homers.
2000 - California prep superstar pitcher Matt Harrington, he of the golden arm, seemed like a gift but he refused to sign and disappeared from the radar, never to pitch in the majors. Second rounder, pitcher Jason Young of Stanford, was a bust. Fourth-round pitcher Corey Vance earned a cup of coffee in the "bigs" and sixth-rounder Scott Dohmann had a short run in the majors.
This would have been yet another terrible draft except for the fact the Rockies "hit" in the 5th, 10th and 11th rounds, an incredible tri-fecta, landing three future starters, UCLA first baseman Garrett Atkins, Indiana State shortstop Clint Barmes and LSU 1B Brad Hawpe. Atkins became an RBI machine until he lost his hitting stroke, Barmes was a gritty player and Hawpe was a solid producer until he, like Atkins, quit hitting unexpectedly.
1999 - Baylor pitcher, Jason Jennings, the first-round pick, started fast and then settled in as a durable, middle-of-the-rotation caliber pitcher who eventually grew tired of losing, wanted a trade, got it and then fell apart physically. Third rounder, catcher Josh Bard, was traded away early to Cleveland and became a major league contributor.
1998 - This draft was loaded with top picks (a first, two supplemental selections and two seconds). The Rockies amazingly whiffed on the first four - Matt Roney, Choo Freeman, Jeff Winchester and Jermaine Van Buren. Freeman had a cup of coffee but has to be considered a big miss too.
The fifth, Jody Gerut was traded and reached the majors in Cleveland.
However, for that complete disaster of scouting, the Rockies struck gold in the 7th round with Oklahoma State elite football/baseball recruit Matt Holliday (3B), who played like a high first rounder, and in the 13th round, came up with a smart choice with the hardworking and long-lived outfielder, Juan Pierre.
1997 - First rounder Mark Mangum, a pitcher, never played in the majors. Second round pick Aaron Cook became a quality pitcher, when not set back with health concerns or body breakdowns.
Third rounder Chone Figgins became a contributor, but with the Angels, not the Rockies.
1996 - Jake Westbrook, the first round pick, proved to be a serviceable pitcher, just not for Colorado, for whom he never played. Third rounder Shawn Chacon made an all-star team but flamed out soon after.
1995 - The Rockies finally got it right. They passed on Geoff Jenkins and Matt Morris and Roy Halladay to select Tennessee first baseman/pitcher Todd Helton no. 8 overall. The rest was history. Helton is Mr. Rockie, not the great Larry Walker, Andres Galaragga, Dante Bichette or anyone else. Ben Petrick, a football/baseball player from the Oregon prep ranks showed real talent but Parkinson's disease ate him up and ruined his career after just 240 games and a .257 average. What might have been for Petrick...
1994 - Another awful draft. Sixth round pick Luther Hackman won 9 games in the majors. The draft could have been considered a success if first rounder (no. 7 overall) Doug Million, a Florida high school sensation, would have made it to the majors and stuck in the rotation. He had talent and even though he was struggling, he showed promise but tragically died of an asthmatic condition at the age of 22.
1993 - Four pitchers, including top pick Jamey Wright, combined to win over 170 games in the majors but this was another bad draft. The most interesting player was Derrick Gibson, taken out of high school in the 13th round. He was a football player playing baseball and there was a time in the minors when he looked like a future superstar, capable of hitting home runs by the dozens and stealing bases, a potential 30-30 guy. He fizzled quickly once he got to Denver, leaving as his only positive memory a two-homer game.
Others - Pitchers Bryan Rekar and John Thomson.