Let’s Overreact: Rocky Draft


The 2013 Major League Baseball amateur draft took place over the weekend from June 6-8. With big names like Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper getting drafted in previous years and making an almost immediate impact in the ‘Bigs, the draft has developed a new, and more broad, interest among less than obsessed fans. With the Colorado Rockies having the worst record in the teams’ history a year ago, the team garnered the third overall pick, perhaps peaking interest with even casual Rockies fans.

As bad as the Rockies were, they were still only the third worst team in baseball? I feel bad for Astros and Cubs fans.

Jun 7, 2013; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners pitcher Jonathan Gray (22) pitches against the LSU Tigers in the third inning during the Baton Rouge super regional of the 2013 NCAA baseball tournament at Alex Box Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockies have a less than average history in the amateur draft. Out of the 30 1st round picks by Colorado, exactly two have been to an All-Star game as a Rockie. Those two are Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki: no complaints there. But both Ian Stewart and Chris Nelson wore out their Mile High welcomes, 1st round picks in ’03 and ’04 respectively. Jamey Wright and Jake Westbrook have also both moved on and neither gave stability to the Rockies rotation. While Wright remains a journeyman playing for ten teams and still active, Westbrook pitched in Cleveland for ten seasons and is now in St. Louis where he’s pitched since 2010.

The most recent 1st rounder to make the club was Rex Brothers, who was the 34th overall pick in 2009. To the Rockies’ credit they have not lost many draft picks to  the compensatory draft by going after free agents. Brothers was one of the compensatory picks the Rockies were rewarded with when closer Brian Fuentes was signed by the Angels before the 2009 season.

So as a Rockies fan I ask this: Where are the young impact-makers like Harper and Strasburg? Everybody in the world will soon know the name Yasiel Puig, and because he’s a Dodger, Rockies fans will even know how to spell and pronounce it. Come on Rockies, get with the program and get a difference maker.

What about Nolan Arenado? Sure, you got me there. Listen to this: in Rockies history the Rockies have only drafted four, count ’em four, players in the first ten rounds that have made an All-Star game. Those are Helton, Tulo, Shawn Chacon, and Matt Holliday. Holliday, a three-time All-Star in Denver, has played in the last three summer classics as a Cardinal. Chacon who was thought of by many to be the future of the Rockies seeing as how he attended high school in Greely, Colorado. So an impact player like Arenado, who was a 2nd round draft choice in 2009, was long overdue.

For questions on how you are supposed to draft a baseball team,  refer to Cardinals, St. Louis or Braves, Atlanta. They will show you how it is supposed to be done.

When it comes to grading this year’s draft, you really cannot do more than say “I like what they did” or “I have no idea who any of these guys are.” Which may be the case for most fans. But the Rockies did draft third overall and picked the highly touted Jonathan Gray, a pitcher from the University of Oklahoma. Gray has an outstanding fastball that has been clocked in the triple digits and a hard slider to go with it. Much like Strasburg his off-speed pitches need to develop to fool big league bats, but the sky is the limit.

Gray, who as a junior has posted a 1.64 ERA and struck out 147 batters in 126 innings, also tested positive for Adderall, a banned substance in Major League Baseball. Perhaps that is the reason he dropped to third. However there are conflicting reports: both OU and the NCAA cleared the righty to pitch in last weekend’s super-regional in which Gray was credited with the loss after pitching 7.1 innings and giving up the only two runs of the game. Adderall has nothing to do with Biogenesis, and if Gray has taken the drug it will be a medical miracle if it is the reason behind the heat he has shown to NCAA batters this season.

Cheers to Gray keeping clean, and making short work of the minors, to become the first great Rockies pitcher.