Rockies Draft Report Card
Analyzing Colorado's 2008 draft class
The Rockies were pleasantly surprised to get Christian Friedrich 25th and may have a true find in Blackmon. Cleary and Massey (the only prep player the Rockies signed) give a needed infusion of high-upside young talent to another college-heavy class.
Best Pure Hitter:
OF Charlie Blackmon (2) can do it all, using the entire field, bunting for hits and showing surprising line-drive power. OF Tyler Massey (14) got a $525,000 bonus out of a Tennessee high school thanks to his excellent makeup and natural hitting ability. >> Best Power Hitter:
C Kiel Roling (6) is a physical beast with strength and leverage in his swing, producing above-average raw power. Knee surgery in November 2007 caused him to get too big and slowed his bat in 2008, when he hit just eight home runs for Arizona State, but his bat quickened as he got in better shape as a pro. >> Fastest Runner:
Blackmon's 70 speed stands out in the class. >> Best Defensive Player:
SS Thomas Field (24) has a Jason Bartlett build and similar defensive skills, with arm strength and excellent range.
RHP Aaron Weatherford (3) sits at 91-94 mph and has thrown harder from a high slot and maximum-effort delivery. Fellow Southeastern Conference product Stephen Dodson (10) still has projection and sits in the low 90s with his four-seamer. >> Best Secondary Pitch:
LHP Christian Friedrich (1) has a solid-average fastball, but his above-average breaking balls—a slider and true 12-to-6 curveball—are his trademarks. RHP Kurt Yacko (8), a two-way player at Division III Chapman (Calif.), has a plus slider and is learning to pitch now that he's given up hitting.
ODDS AND ENDS
Best Pro Debut:
Blackmon ranked second in the short-season Northwest League in batting at .338/.390/.466. Friedrich struck out 50 in just 36 innings while going 2-1, 3.35 as Blackmon's Tri-City teammate. >> Best Athlete: Blackmon edges OF Delta Cleary (37), a former high school quarterback and plus runner. >> Most Intriguing Background:
Cleary is an explosive dunker in basketball, hinting at his family background—he's a cousin of NBA star Shawn Marion. Blackmon was primarily a pitcher at Young Harris (Ga.) JC and in his first year at Georgia Tech before getting a chance to hit in 2008. The father of RHP Rod Scurry (31), Rod Sr., spent parts of eight seasons in the major leagues. >> Closest To The Majors:
Friedrich's polish and four-pitch mix puts him on the fast track. Weatherford also could move quickly as a reliever. >> Best Late-Round Pick:
The Rockies went above slot for Massey and Cleary ($250,000) and are happy with the early results. >> The One Who Got Away:
The Rockies wanted 2B/3B Andy Burns, the best hitter out of Colorado's prep ranks in years, and followed him this summer in the Northwoods League, but Burns followed through on his commitment to Kentucky. Redshirt sophomore 3B Chris Dominguez (5) took his above-average power and raw skills back to Louisville.