We continue our series looking back on the Colorado Rockies and their draft picks. Today, we look at the 2003 Draft.
The Colorado Rockies were coming off of a dreadful 2002 season, in which their manager, Buddy Bell, was fired within the first month of the season. Hitting coach Clint Hurdle took over after the Rockies started with a 6-16 record and while they improved under Hurdle, they still went 73-89.
The Colorado Rockies of 2002 and 2003 were very similar to the 2020 and 2021 Rockies.
Much like the current era of the Colorado Rockies, the Rockies had an awful offense. Of the 22 position players that had a plate appearance with the Rockies in 2002, only four had an OPS+ above 100. Only two of those four (Todd Helton and Larry Walker) played in more than 100 games.
The pitching wasn’t any better as their ERA was dead last in the NL and they had an ERA+ of 92. However, during the 2002-2003 offseason, they were able to unload the behemoth of a contract that Mike Hampton had to the Marlins. The Marlins, in turn, traded Hampton to the Braves … where he pitched a lot better after getting out of altitude.
In return, the Rockies got catcher Charles Johnson and center fielder Preston Wilson, both of whom helped their offense. But the Rockies were still far from a contender.
As a result of their 2002 season, the Rockies got the 9th overall pick in the 2003 Draft. Ahead of their pick, there were a few good picks (Baltimore selecting Nick Markakis, Rangers selecting John Danks) but most were duds (Tampa Bay selecting Delmon Young 1st overall and the Tigers’, Royals’, and Cubs’ picks didn’t even make it to the majors).
For the Rockies, they fared better than the latter three teams with their first-round pick … but not after that.