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Rockies Draft Report Card

Best Pro Debut: 1B Ryan Shealy (11) was the Rookie-level Pioneer League MVP, hitting .368-19-70 and leading the circuit in homers, RBIs, on-base percentage (.497) and slugging (.714). OF Brian Barre (13) hit .300-9-35 with 11 steals to join Shealy on the Pioneer all-star team, and LHP Isaac Pavlik (10) earned similar honors in the short-season Northwest League, where he went 5-1, 1.13. LHP Jeff Francis (1) and RHP Steve Reba (21) also posted sub-2.00 ERAs, and Reba had a 47-4 strikeout-walk ratio in 38 innings.

Best Athlete: OF Sean Barker (6) has size (6-foot-3, 225 pounds) and five-tool potential.

Best Pure Hitter: 3B Jeff Baker (4) was the best all-around college hitter in the draft, though a poor start to his season and rumors that he wanted Mark Teixeira money knocked him out of the first round.

Best Raw Power: Baker set the Clemson career home run record, but Shealy can jolt the ball a little farther.

Fastest Runner: OF Mitsuru Sakamoto (24) goes from the left side of the plate to first base in 4.05 seconds.

Best Defensive Player: Baker’s hands and arm give him a chance to become a Gold Glove third baseman. C Neil Wilson (5) is agile and advanced for a high school kid in his first full year behind the plate.

Best Fastball: RHP Doug Johnson (5) maxes out at 94 mph, just ahead of Francis, Pavlik and RHP Mike Esposito (12).

Best Breaking Ball: Johnson can hit the mid-80s at times with his slider.

Most Intriguing Background: Sakamoto is believed to be the first Japanese player ever drafted by a major league club. 3B Duke Sardinha (19) has brothers playing in the Reds (Dane) and Yankees (Bronson) systems. Unsigned OF Tyler Littlehales (45) is playing wide receiver at Colorado. In 2001, Francis was MVP of the National Baseball Congress World Series and unsigned RHP Micah Owings (2) was MVP of the Connie Mack World Series.

Closest To The Majors: Francis and Baker are on an express route to Coors Field, and both may begin 2003 in high Class A. RHP Ben Crockett (3), Shealy and Esposito are California League candidates as well.

Best Late-Round Pick: Shealy or Esposito. Shealy was a fifth-round pick out of high school by the Rockies. Esposito, who had Tommy John surgery in 2000, would have gone much higher this year had he been more consistent last spring.

The One Who Got Away: Owings, who nearly broke the national prep home run record, had more arm strength than any pitcher Colorado signed. He should be a two-way star at Georgia Tech.

Assessment: Francis was a bit of a signability pick, but he has lots of upside and recaptured his 2001 form. Unlike most teams, the Rockies weren’t afraid to go above slot money to get later picks such as Baker ($2 million major league contract) and Esposito ($750,000 bonus).

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