The Draft Is Jeff Bridich’s First Big Test As Colorado Rockies General Manager

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Apr 25, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; General view of the arm of Colorado Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau (left) as he signs autographs before the game against the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Bridich is about to preside over his first MLB Draft as general manager of the Colorado Rockies, and it will be a big one for him and the team.

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The Major League Baseball Amateur Entry Draft is upon us, and the Colorado Rockies have four of the first 44 picks in the three-day affair.

Granted, the club comes in with a relatively solid farm system in many places, but with the big club failing to make their way to the playoffs recently and the front office not in the big-spending/big-payroll game for veteran free agents, improvement through the draft will always be necessary.

General Manager Jeff Bridich is now presiding over his very first draft, so this will be a big week for that reason, too. Drafts take a few years to grade out, so if Bridich doesn’t draft your favorite amateur player, it’s most likely not the best thought to believe he ought to be fired. But this draft will give us all a sense of Bridich the decision-maker as he shows us his thought process.

Will his Rockies go for college hurlers? Younger, raw high schoolers with big upside? Will they focus more on bats, or arms? Do they take the best player available at every slot, or do they seek to do one thing – e.g., build their staple of pitching prospects – more than another over the next three days?

Vice President of Scouting Bill Schmidt spoke to MLB.com about the draft, keeping things pretty close to the vest about how the Rockies would hold a draft strategy:

"“Really, it’s balance; that’s one of the things we’ve been able to do with our Draft. If you look at our system, at Double-A it’s a little stronger with position players, but at the lower levels, it’s a little more balanced.”"

That may be part media gamesmanship so he doesn’t let out the strategy, or part strategy, or a combination of both, but it’s really immaterial, anyways; we’ll find out soon what the Rockies plan to do. I’m not crazy about the mock drafts, either; it’s all a crap shoot that’s primarily looking for content, and secondarily predicting things that, well, writers can’t predict.

One thing that will matter: the Rockies have money to spend. The club has been granted a bonus pool of nearly $14 million, the second highest total in the big leagues. The team also has a slotted first pick bonus at $6.2 million, which is… mammoth. (Jon Gray took in about $4.8 million in 2013, so the club could have room to get a nice prospect with their first selection.) That money can allow the team to take chances on some high schoolers, or college juniors, and entice them to enter professional baseball this summer.

Whatever ends up happening, Jeff Bridich is facing two major tests in the next couple of weeks — one being the trading deadline hubbub surrounding Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, et. al., (more on that in another post) — and the draft. You can’t judge a general manager’s draft the very same week it happens, but you can make some generalizations about which way he’s taking the organization. And that’s worth following this week.

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