Grading every Rockies’ first round pick in franchise history

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

2002 – Jeff Francis LHP (9th overall) University of British Columbia

Francis was named Minor League Player of the Year in 2004 after recording a combined 16-3 record with a 2.21 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A. He made his Major League debut in September of 2004 and went on to make 33 starts in 2005, posting a 14-12 record with a 5.68 ERA. By 2007, Francis had reached the peak of his career, the ace of a staff that made it to the franchise’s first ever World Series.

He became the first Canadian starting pitcher to win a postseason game in the Divisional Series that year, and just the second Canadian starting pitcher to pitch in a World Series game. Francis struggled in 2008, making just 21 starts, and eventually needed arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder, causing him to miss the entire 2009 season. In 2010, Francis returned from injury and had a mediocre season, posting a 4-6 record with a 5.00 ERA.

In 2011, Francis signed a one-year deal with the Kansas City Royals. He returned to Colorado in mid-2012 and re-signed with the team in 2013. He posted a career-worst 6.27 ERA that season, his last with the Rockies.

 Numbers with Rockies: 64-62, 4.96 ERA, 742 K, 1066.0 IP

Where Are They Now? Francis has bounced around but is still in the Majors. He pitched for the Cincinnati Reds, Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees in 2014, mostly in relief.

Grade: B+. Overall, Francis was solid in his time with the Rockies. He has the third-most wins in franchise history, and led the team to its only World Series appearance.