Major League Baseball’s Rule Four Draft is Monday June 8th, and your Colorado Rockies have the third overall pick. This draft while not very deep has some guys at the top who could turn into some very good position players, but the 2015 draft does not have a great amount of pitching. For the Rockies they have four selections of the top 44 overall. In this article I will review the top draft prospects, as well as look into who the Rockies might take at third overall and who I think they should take.
To look at who the Rockies may take third overall we have to first understand what the Arizona Diamondbacks will do with the first overall pick, and what the Houston Astros will do with the second overall pick, a pick they got as compensation for not signing 2014 No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken in 2014. Let’s take a look at the big board.
|Player||College||Keith Law||Baseball America||Mike Rosenbaum||Fangraphs|
|Brendan Rodgers SS||High School||1||1||1||2|
|Kevin Newman SS||UofA||2||29||21||20|
|Dansby Swanson SS||Vandy||3||2||2||1|
|Alex Bregman SS||LSU||4||4||3||3|
|Dillon Tate RHP||UCSB||5||3||4||4|
|Daz Cameron OF||High School||12||5||12||8|
|Carson Fulmer RHP||Vandy||43||6||5||5|
|Kolby Allard LHP||High School||6||8||8||18|
|Kyle Tucker OF||High School||8||8||9||4|
Below are the draft targets for the Rockies, grades and MLB comparisons are from MLB.com, the grades are on the 20-80 scale which grades, 30: Well below average, 40: Below average, 50: Average, 60: Above average, 70-80: Well above average.
Brendan Rodgers: The High School shortstop from Florida is the almost consensus number one player in the draft. Keith Law says of Rodgers “a true shortstop with feel to hit and the potential for average or better power down the road.” Grantland’s Michael Baumann wrote of Rodgers “He’s not a burner, but he can run, field, and throw well enough to play the position competently. If you can do those things and hit as well as the Florida State commit can, you’re going to be a first-division starter for years and years and years.”
MLB comp: Addison Russell
It is important to note that Rodgers is committed to Florida State but he can sign with the team that drafts him if he so choses. Also a fun tie-in to the Rockies is that Rodgers’ Little League coach was Dante Bichette.
Kiley McDaniel’s vine of Rodgers’ great play at shortstop, LOOK AT THE TRANSFER!
Dansby Swanson: A finalist for the Golden Spikes Award played on the 2014 National Championship winning Vanderbilt Commodores, where his stock rose big time while playing in Omaha at the College World Series – he was the most outstanding player of those 2014 CWS. He moved to shortstop this season, where he has plus speed and he has been dubbed as one of, if not the best bat in all of collegiate baseball by USA Today.
MLB comp: Derek Jeter
The Rockies drafted Swanson in 2012 in the 38th round, foot and shoulder injuries have limited him as well as well as raised questions about his arm strength and whether he can remain at shortstop
Alex Bregman: There are questions about if Bregman, the power hitting shortstop can stay at his position, some think he’s a second baseman, but he still has been dubbed by Keith Law as “the best pure hitter in the class.” The LSU Tiger has a slash line of .336/.410/.518 in his 190 plus games in Baton Rouge. In 2013 he was National Freshman of the Year, while also winning the Brooks Wallace Award, given to the nation’s best collegiate shortstop. This year he is a finalist for the Golden Spikes.
MLB comp: Dustin Pedroia
Your Rockies tie-in here? Bregman is an Albuquerque boy.
Dillon Tate: Reading up on the Gauchos starter Tate you hear one great sentence followed by a not so good one. Keith Law “Tate will show two plus pitches, but has a fair amount of work to do to develop his command and feel for pitching. He has the best combination of present stuff and long-term upside in the class, but isn’t a quick-to-the-majors guy like most top college arms.” AJ Cassavell / MLB.com “Though there’s considerable effort in Tate’s delivery, it also provides deception, and he’s proven to scouts this year he can start, with his athleticism translating into durability.” It sounds like Tate is a strong, and athletic guy, but there are a of of questions around his frame and durability. He’s also raw but he did dominate the Big West a very solid league, posting a 0.91 WHIP in 95.1 innings.
MLB comp: Dave Stewart
Tyler Jay: Notice anything different about Jay? That’s right he wasn’t in anyone’s top 5. But he still is a draft target of the Rockies which you will see in a second. Jay is a 21 year-old left-handed pitcher from the University of Illinois. He has been a dominant closer for the Fighting Illini but most project him to have the stuff to be a middle of the rotation starter. Jay has been maybe the best pitcher in Illini history since Ken Holtzman. His pitching coach Drew Dickinson at U of I said “He’s an effective closer, but I think he could be one of the best starters in the nation. To me, he looks like a big league starter, and I’ve never seen a big league guy look like that for how he executes his pitches.” He’s a great athlete but there are questions about his frame.
MLB comp: Billy Wagner
|Pick||Team||Jim Callis||Keith Law||John Manuel||Kiley McDaniel|
|1||Diamondbacks||Dansby Swanson||Dansby Swanson||Dansby Swanson||Dansby Swanson|
|2||Astros||Alex Bregman||Alex Bregman||Alex Bregman||Alex Bregman|
|3||Rockies||Brendan Rodgers||Brendan Rodgers||Tyler Jay||Brendan Rodgers|
|4||Rangers||Daz Cameron||Dillon Tate||Brendan Rodgers||Dillon Tate|
|5||Astros||Kyle Tucker||Kyle Tucker||Daz Cameron||Kyle Tucker|
|6||Twins||Tyler Jay||Kolby Allard||Kyle Tucker||Daz Cameron|
|7||Red Sox||Carson Fulmer||Andrew Benintendi||Carson Fulmer||Andrew Benintendi|
|8||White Sox||Dillon Tate||Carson Fulmer||Dillon Tate||Carson Fulmer|
|9||Cubs||Andrew Benintendi||Tyler Jay||James Kaprielian||Tyler Jay|
|10||Phillies||Jon Harris||Kevin Newman||Tyler Stephenson||Tyler Stephenson|
Jonah Keri of Grantland had Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs on his podcast where Jonah asked “Perennially, every year you would think that the Rockies would need pitchers, because the Rockies will never get anyone outside of the organization barring a trade. So they absolutely have to draft pitchers and develop them well. They have the third pick and there are these three blue chip shortstops, but there are some pretty good pitchers, Tyler Jay, and a few others. Are they obligated to take a pitcher or are they, under new GM Jeff Bridich who is analytically oriented, say pitchers are a crapshoot anyways, let’s just go take the best player. What could they do and what should they do?”
McDaniel responded “It’s hard to say using data whether you just draft all pitchers round three and later while getting every guy out of Latin America or do you try to take pitchers with your highest picks. I don’t think there is a right answer to this, or that either of them work better than the other. I think when you’re picking third you just take the best player and you can’t let your past or your park dictate who you pick, because maybe Tyler Jay (who McDaniel projects the Rockies to take) is exactly the type of pitcher that will be great in 29 parks and terrible at Coors Field. If he’s the best player, he is the best player. You can make trades later, I think you have to treat them as assets.
… What I’ve been told is the Rockies would take Swanson or Rodgers if they get to the Rockies, but it sounds like they are on a pitcher and THE pitcher is Tyler Jay who they’d take over Bregman. It’s a completely defensible pick even though I do have Bregman ranked three and Jay Seven. Jay might have the highest upside.”
With that all in mind I think the Rockies draft board looks like this:
1: Brendan Rodgers
2: Dansby Swanson
3: Tyler Jay
I think the Rockies should jump at any chance they get to grab either Rodgers or Swanson, preferably I want the Rockies to take Brendan Rodgers third overall. It seems that he has a higher upside than Swanson, Rodgers has routinely been ranked as the best player in the 2015 draft class for a while. I’m hoping the Diamondbacks late front office shake up, which happened after the summer scouting season sways them from taking Rodgers who has had better summers than springs. I think the Astros could also do something funky as they’ve been known to do where they play with slot bonuses, but that is a whole headache that we shouldn’t get into. In my view it looks very likely that one of the two of either Rodgers or Swanson will fall to the Rockies, and if not things get a bit blurry. It sounds like the Rockies are high on Tyler Jay, but I have doubts considering he’s only started one game in college this year. Also his pitching motion looks a bit off to me in the sense that he opens up and faces the third base side more than the normal guy (he’s a lefty). This has been studied in biomechanics and there is correlation between pitchers who open up their bodies too much and future injury risk. Specially there is higher torque in the elbow when you do open your body up as a pitcher. I’m not a doctor, I’m a blogger but it is scary because you do not get to see players medical reports until future after you draft them which caused a big issue with the Astros and Brady Aiken last year. It does sound like Dillon Tate is not as polished, and the Rockies have now a bit of history taking more polished college guys, yet I do think there is a possibility Tate finds his way to the Rockies at three. I hope it doesn’t come down to Jay vs Tate vs Bregman for three and the Rockies find Brendan Rodgers right in their lap.
The Rockies also have picks number 27, 38, 44, 77 and every 30 picks after 77. Our friends over at Purple Row mocked the first 10 rounds of the draft for the Rockies.
The 2015 draft will be very interesting for the Rockies since it is the first draft under new GM Jeff Bridich. According to Thomas Harding at MLB.com “The Rockies have been assigned a pool of $13,989,800, which ranks second in the Majors. Colorado’s first pick is slotted at $6,223,300.” Meaning the Rockies will be able to spend some significant dollars to sign their hopefully high quality talent that they draft.