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Draft Report Card

Bonds
Jayson Nix
Photo: Rodger Wood
COLORADO ROCKIES

Best Pro Debut: OF Tony Miller (10) was a Rookie-level Pioneer League all-star, hitting .306-10-34 with 28 stolen bases. RHP Kip Bouknight (13) went 3-5, 2.78 with an 86-18 strikeout-walk ratio in 81 innings at short-season Tri-City.

Best Athlete: A former University of Toledo defensive back, Miller has foot speed, bat speed and center field skills. OF Jason Frome (3) has speed and power potential. RHP Jay Mitchell (4) was an all-state basketball player at his Georgia high school.

Best Hitter: SS Jayson Nix (1) has a quick swing that should allow him to hit for average with decent power. After batting .294-5-24 in Rookie ball, he moved to second base in instructional league.

Best Raw Power: 1B David Burkholder (15), whose pro debut was abbreviated when he broke a foot running the bases. OF Trey George (22) has a short power stroke that makes scouts think of former National League MVP Kevin Mitchell.

Fastest Runner: Miller has 65 speed on the 20-to-80 scouting scale.

Best Defensive Player: Cory Sullivan (7) has speed and outstanding center field instincts. He also has a solid average arm and threw 87-89 mph as a pitcher last spring at Wake Forest. His overall game calls to mind Steve Finley before Finley’s power surge. C James Sweeney (9) has solid catch-and-throw skills.

Best Fastball: RHP Gerrit Simpson (5) was clocked at 94-95 mph this summer, though the book on him at the University of Texas was that he was more effective when he threw in the low 90s and got more life on his fastball. Mitchell (4) could pass Simpson in time, because he’s a 6-foot-7 teenager who already can reach 94 mph. RHP Jamie Tricoglou (6) started throwing 93-94 mph this spring and could be a Mark Wohlersesque closer.

Most Intriguing Background: Bouknight won the Golden Spikes Award and Burkholder was the NAIA player of the year in 2000. RHP John Toffey (47), who opted to play hockey at Ohio State, is the son of prominent agent Jack Toffey. Nix’ brother Laynce plays in the Rangers system. Unsigned SS Eric Patterson (23) is the brother of Corey Patterson, while unsigned 3B Duke Sardinha (41) has brothers in the Reds (Dane) and Yankees (Bronson, a 2001 first-rounder) chains.

Closest To The Majors: Because the Rockies constantly are in search of pitching, Simpson figures to beat Sullivan to Coors Field.

Best Late-Round Pick: George would have been a much higher pick had he not had a strong commitment to Tulane. He’s an offensive player who has all of the tools except for speed.

The One Who Got Away: Colorado found the money to sign George when it couldn’t get LHP Trey Taylor (2) under contract. He took his 92-93 mph fastball to Baylor.

Assessment: In their early drafts the Rockies always loaded up on pitchers in the early rounds, yet their biggest success came with 1995 first-rounder Todd Helton. Now they’re taking a more balanced approach and getting better results. Still, they forfeited two premium picks for signing lefthanders Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle.

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