As we continue our coverage of the upcoming Major League Baseball draft, we look at some of the best overall picks who have been selected ninth, which is where the Colorado Rockies will pick in 2020.
The Colorado Rockies have had the ninth pick in two previous drafts: 2002 and 2004. We covered those picks, as well as other players who have been taken ninth and have made an impact for the Rockies in this article.
So what kind of other players have been available when the number nine selection comes around? Let’s take a look back at some of the best players who were recently taken ninth overall, as well as some recent history with the draft position.
Certainly every draft is different. However, these players could give an indication of the type of talent available when the Rockies are on the clock.
2019 — Atlanta selects Shea Langeliers out of Baylor
The 22-year-old catcher slashed .255/.310/.343 at Class A Rome (Ga.) last season. He was also a non-roster invitee to Atlanta’s spring training this year.
2018 — Oakland selects Kyler Murray out of Oklahoma
The Heisman Trophy winner chose football over baseball when the Arizona Cardinals made him the top overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. In 51 games for the baseball Sooners in 2018, Murray slashed .296/.398/.556 with 10 home runs and 47 RBI in 51 games (50 starts).
2017 — Milwaukee selects Keston Hiura out of California-Irvine
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The 23-year-old second baseman made his MLB debut last season, hitting .303 in 314 at-bats for the Brewers, including a 15-game hitting streak. He went 5-for-14 in the final series of the season against the Rockies at Coors Field. That included a 4-for-4 performance that was his only four-hit performance of the campaign.
2016 — Detroit selects Matt Manning out of Sheldon High School (California)
The 22-year-old right-hander has not gotten above Double-A yet, but was a non-roster invitee to Detroit’s spring training this season and is showing a great deal of promise. Last year for Erie in the Eastern League, he posted an 11-5 mark and 2.56 ERA in 24 starts. Batters held a .192 average against him as he logged a 0.98 WHIP.
2015 — Chicago (NL) selects Ian Happ out of Cincinnati
Happ made his MLB debut in May of 2017 and has played in 315 games over three seasons for the Cubs, accumulating 3.3 career WAR. He has played every position except shortstop and catcher, including pitching an inning of one-hit ball in 2018 against the St. Louis Cardinals.
In 2014, Toronto took Jeff Hoffman with the ninth overall pick and Rockies fans are very familiar with that player’s progress.
How about some others of note who have been picked at number nine?
2011 — Chicago (NL) selects Javier Baez out of Arlington Country Day High School (Florida)
Totaling 16.8 career WAR so far, Baez is in the conversation for best middle infielders in the National League today. He made the 2018 All-Star Game as a second baseman and the 2019 All-Star Game as a shortstop. Additionally, he shared the 2016 National League Championship Series MVP honor with Jon Lester.
1999 — Oakland selects Barry Zito out of the University of Southern California
The southpaw racked up 165 career wins and 31.9 career WAR. He made three All-Star Game appearances and won the 2002 American League Cy Young award by going 23-5 with a 2.75 ERA.
1987 — Kansas City selects Kevin Appier out of Antelope Valley Junior College (California)
Back in 2017, ESPN called Appier the best pick ever at number nine. At 54.5 career WAR, Baez and others still have a ways to go to catch him for that honor. He started 402 games and posted a career 3.74 ERA, playing 13 of his 16 seasons with the Royals. His best season came in 1993 when he went 18-8 with a 2.56 ERA in 34 starts covering 238.2 innings, including five complete games.
1981 — Texas selects Ron Darling out of Yale
Drafted by the Rangers, Darling was traded in 1982 to the New York Mets as part of a deal that brought Lee Mazzilli to Texas. He would find this most success with the Mets, going 99-70 with a 3.50 ERA in 257 games (241 starts). He started Games 1, 4, and 7 for the Mets in the 1986 World Series, posting a 1.53 ERA over 17.2 innings against the Boston Red Sox.