Jeff Bridich continues the trend of selecting powerful arms as the Colorado Rockies take right-handed pitcher Robert Tyler out of the University of Georgia in Competitive Balance Round A and left-handed pitcher Ben Bowden out of Vanderbilt University in Round 2.
I’m excited about the CBA pick, as Tyler and I share an alma mater. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily translate to success on a professional baseball field (if my accomplishments are any indication, it definitely does not translate to that). But it’s still fun.
In his second season as general manager of the Rockies, Bridich’s plan is starting to emerge a bit. I’m still confused by how hard he worked to build a team full of guys that would only contribute to short-term success, if they contributed at all (Jason Motte, Chad Qualls, Mark Reynolds, Gerardo Parra), but his long-term plan is squarely focused on getting pitchers in the draft. That is what the Rockies need … the more young pitchers they have under their control, the more choices they will have when building a major league roster. And the more depth they will have when the inevitable injury or meltdown happens.
Bridich drafted pitchers in the first seven of 10 picks in last year’s draft, but infielder Brendan Rodgers was his first pick. This year, he started with pitching and continues with pitching.
Tyler, a junior at UGA, has two good pitches and profiles well as a major league reliever. His college career has netted him a 10-10 record and a 3.62 ERA with 182 strikes in 179 innings. He’s been a starter in this phase of his career, and notably dueled with Florida’s A.J. Puk (taken sixth in today’s first round by the Oakland A’s) in a game this past April that the Bulldogs ultimately won (Tyler took a no decision).
Durability may be a concern with him, as he missed most of his sophomore season with a forearm strain, but with some good playing time in college under his belt, he is certainly more ready for the bigs than he was three years ago when the Orioles drafted him.
Check out Tyler in action below…
Bowden, a junior at Vandy, could be either a starter or reliever, although Colorado is expected to keep him in the bullpen. According to ESPN’s Peter Gammons, he has a swing-and-miss fastball and could be fast-tracked to the majors. In his three college seasons, he’s accumulated an 8-2 record and a 3.28 ERA with 10 saves this past season as he spent more time at closer. He has 124 strikeouts in 96 innings.
Take a look at Bowden below…
On a late-night conference call on Thursday night, Bridich and vice president of scouting Bill Schmidt said the fact that the Colorado Rockies netted three pitchers on the first day of the draft was simply because the board fell that way.