Reminiscent of their 2015 class, the Colorado Rockies will make four selections inside the top 50 in 2022. They hold picks 10, 31, 38, and 50. In a draft loaded with college hitting and high school pitching — the Rockies’ apparent kryptonite — stellar prospects will be available at each spot.
Since the Colorado Rockies have selected three straight hitters at the top of the draft (Benny Montgomery, Zac Veen, and Michael Toglia), it’s reasonable to think they might target a high-end pitcher at pick 10. Unfortunately, the value won’t match that assertion.
It seems very likely the first pitcher in the 2022 draft will be taken outside of the top 10. According to Prospects Live’s Joe Doyle, a pitcher hasn’t been selected in the top 5 just twice in the last 57 years. This year will almost guarantee a third time and perhaps be the first time a pitcher isn’t selected in the top 10.
At pick 10, the Rockies need to continue their trend of finding offensive prospects with high-end tools. With their next three picks, pitching can enter the equation.
In this article, I’ll outline a sleeper prospect that will likely be available at each of the Colorado Rockies’ top 50 selections.
Pick 10: Zach Neto, SS, Campbell
Coming from a less-heralded Big South program in the Campbell Fighting Camels, Zach Neto checks every box as a player.
The athletic shortstop brings a plus hit tool, power, speed, and corresponding defensive ability at a premium position.
Now you might be thinking about Ezequiel Tovar, the Rockies ascendant shortstop prospect. Neto gives the Rockies another potential option at shortstop but, more importantly, a queen-like chess piece capable of manning second base, third base, and likely center field.
As is always the case with the draft, targeting a great player regardless of their positional fit should be a key focus.
Neto’s numbers back up a top 10 selection, despite limited media hype to this point.
The Miami native hit 15 home runs and slugged .769 this season, a ridiculous figure for any hitter. His batted ball metrics suggest he hasn’t been lucky in any way either. He’s likely a 25+ home run hitter in the pros with an approach that will accumulate doubles and triples like a vacuum.
The real selling tool for Neto is his hitting ability. Despite having an unorthodox plate setup and swing, Neto looks to be one of the absolute best hitters in the country.
The Campbell star’s contact rate was 84% (would have ranked 17th in MLB last year), he swung at 24% of pitches outside of the zone (would have ranked 11th in MLB last year), and his strikeout and walk numbers are as you’d expect.
In 2022, Neto walked 39 times and struck out a mere 19 times. Obviously, these numbers will take a hit as Neto enters the pros but they do outline the high talent level.
While Campbell’s competition level is slightly below other college stars, the Fighting Camels faced Georgia Tech, Tennessee, East Carolina, Ohio State, Duke, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and other notable and respected programs this season.
Neto also went to the Cape Cod League last summer and proceeded to record a 1.026 OPS against many of college baseball’s best players and with wood bats.
The final pro of taking a college player with less namesake is the signing bonus flexibility that could be used to secure high upside high school talent.
Honorable mentions: Eric Brown, SS, Coastal Carolina | Drew Gilbert, OF, Tennessee