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Rockies 2002 Draft Overview

By Jim Callis
May 18, 2002

Scouting Director: Bill Schmidt (first year: 2000).

2000 Draft (First three rounds, picking seventh)
1. *Matt Harrington, rhp, Palmdale (Calif.) HS.
2. Jason Young, rhp, Stanford.
3. Chris Buglovsky, rhp, College of New Jersey.

2001 Draft (First three rounds, picking 18th)
1a. (Choice to Mets as compensation for free agent Mike Hampton).
1b. Jayson Nix, ss, Midland (Texas) HS.
2a. (Choice to Yankees as compensation for free agent Denny Neagle).
2b. *Trey Taylor, lhp, Mansfield (Texas) HS.
3. Jason Frome, of, Indiana State.

(*Did not sign.)

2002 Draft
Rockies pick ninth in rotation.

Overview
Bill Schmidt's two drafts with the Rockies haven't been the easiest, but he's managed to come through them just fine.

Schmidt is just the club's second scouting director. He came to Colorado in the fall of 1999 as part of general manager Dan O'Dowd's new administration, having worked with O'Dowd in Cleveland as the Indians' national crosschecker.

His first pick as a scouting director led to the most acrimonious negotiations in the history of the draft. Matt Harrington was the consensus top prospect in 2000 but fell to the Rockies at No. 7 because of signability concerns. Agent Tommy Tanzer claimed Colorado promised his client $4.95 million, which the team denies.

The Rockies wisely had a Plan B in Jason Young, another first-round talent who dropped because of his price tag. When the Harrington situation deteriorated, they signed Young for a club-record $2.75 million. Young is arguably the system's most promising pitcher, while 2000's fifth-rounder, third baseman Garrett Atkins, may be its most talented hitter.

Last year the Rockies forfeited their top two choices to sign free agents Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle. With a supplemental first-rounder received for not signing Harrington, the Rockies got offensive-minded middle infielder Jayson Nix. When the club couldn't sign second-round lefty Trey Taylor, it again had a contingency plan: 22nd-round outfielder Trey George, who would have gone about 20 rounds higher had he not seemingly been intent on attending Tulane.

The Rockies' early drafts were top-heavy with pitchers, but Schmidt has taken a more balanced approach that looks like it will yield better results. Last year, he hit on two two-sport athletes in righthander Jay Mitchell (fourth round), an all-Georgia basketball player in high school, and outfielder Tony Miller (10th), a former Toledo defensive back.

This year, Schmidt reportedly likes Clemson third baseman Jeff Baker, while O'Dowd would prefer a college pitcher. Candidates there include righthander Bobby Brownlie, righthander Jeremy Guthrie and lefthander Luke Hagerty.

A complicating factor is that the Rockies have a tighter signing budget this year, which could rule out Baker, Brownlie and Guthrie, all of whom are Scott Boras clients.

The budget could make it more likely they will go for another two-sport player, which would allow them to spread bonus payments over several years. If that happens, likely picks would be outfielders Jeff Francouer (a Clemson defensive back recruit) and Denard Span (a standout wide receiver).

The Rockies have an extra pick this year, but it doesn't come up until the fifth round. They'll have the Rangers' pick, 142nd overall, as compensation for losing Jay Powell as a free agent.

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