State Report: Colorado

Top players disappointed, so not much to see




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THIS YEAR'S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
Rating compares this year's group to what a state typically produces, not to other states
It's a rocky year for talent in Colorado. The top high school player lost a good bit of his value when he changed positions, and the second-best prep missed most of the season with a knee injury. With so few colleges that play baseball in the state, the college side is typically thin, and this year the situation was made worse when the top hitter had an up-and-down year and the top pitcher walked off the mound in the playoffs with an injury. Hopes are higher for next year, as Highlands Ranch High righthander Ryan Burr has already been up to 96 mph.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

None

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

1. Greg Bird, 1b, Grandview HS, Aurora
2. Arturo Maltos-Garcia, rhp, Lamar CC
3. Jarod Berggren, of, Northern Colorado
4. Connor McKay, of, Regis Jesuit HS, Aurora
5. Matt Ogden, rhp, Smoky Hill HS, Aurora
6. Jeff Popick, of, Mesa State

SCOUTING REPORTS

Greg Bird first put himself on the scouting radar when he was the catcher for righthander Kevin Gausman, who is now at Louisiana State. Bird has a 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame and mostly played first base this year, and that's where he projects as a pro. There's obvious strength in his lefthanded swing. It can get a little long at times, but he has good bat speed and gets plenty of loft and backspin on the ball. If he could catch, he would be a much more attractive prospect, but as a first baseman scouts aren't quite sold on his bat, so Bird will likely have to go prove himself at Arkansas.

Righthander Arturo Maltos-Garcia was sailing along this season, going 11-1, 2.11 with 139 strikeouts (and 64 walks) over 94 innings. His fastball sits in the 90-92 mph range and he has the best curveball in the Four Corners, a true 12-to-6 hammer. But he walked off the mound in the juco playoffs with an arm injury, which probably squashed his draft chances. He'll likely head to New Mexico next season.

Outfielder Jarod Berggren put his name on the map last summer in the Alaska League, where he ranked as the No. 2 prospect. The ranking may have been aggressive, but Berggren does have intriguing tools and a 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame. He put a lot of pressure on himself this season and got off to a slow start, batting just .242 in mid-April. His timing was off and he tried to pull everything, so coaches got Berggren to incorporate a small leg kick, which kept his weight back and allowed him to start driving the ball back up the middle better. When he's on, Berggren has above-average power, mostly to his pull side. A righthanded hitter, he typically hits doubles and triples when he goes the other way. He doesn't run well out of the box, but is an above-average runner under way and goes first to third well. He'll have to move to a corner outfield spot as a pro and has the arm strength for right field.

Outfielder Connor McKay is a two-sport standout who tore his ACL while playing wide receiver for Regis Jesuit High in the Colorado 5-A championship game. The Raiders lost that one, but McKay returned to action in baseball in time to DH as Regis Jesuit won the state title in baseball. He has a lean, projectable 6-foot-6, 180-pound frame. He showed good tools on the showcase circuit, including above-average running times, a strong arm and lift in his swing. He could show power when he fills out. Because scouts didn't get to see much of him this spring, he'll likely head to Kansas next season.

Righthander Matt Ogden has touched 92 mph with his fastball, but he pitched most frequently in the mid-80s this spring and will likely wind up at Michigan.