|Jim Callis' Quick Take|
|Righthander Casey Weathers (first round) may beat Vanderbilt teammate and No. 1 overall pick David Price to the majors. He's a reliever with a power fastball-slider combo. I thought Louisiana Tech outfielder Brian Rike (second round) might have lasted another round or two, though he's a good athlete and has power.|
DENVER--Moving from the outfield to pitching paid off for Casey Weathers when the Rockies took him eighth overall in the draft.
The closer for Vanderbilt, Weathers made the conversion from an outfielder to a pitcher in his second year at Sacramento City College. Weathers was taken by Detroit in the 25th round last year but returned to Vanderbilt for his senior season and went 12-2, 2.37 with seven saves in 31 relief appearances. Weathers had 75 strikeouts and 21 walks in 49 innings.
"We're talking about a power arm with power stuff," Rockies scouting director Bill Schmidt said. "We're talking about a guy who can run his fastball up to 98 (mph) and compliments it with a slider that gets up to 91. Plus he has a fresh arm. He hasn't pitched a lot, so we feel he has a big upside."
Weathers followed Vanderbilt teammate David Price, who went first overall to the Devil Rays.
The bullpen was a point of emphasis for the Rockies, who took three players in the first five rounds projected for relief roles.
In the second round, the Rockies selected outfielder Brian Rike of Louisiana Tech, a lefthanded hitter with power and a right-field arm. A walk-on at Louisiana Tech, Rike played right field his first two seasons before moving to center field as a junior. He hit eight home runs as a sophomore and increased that total to 20 this spring.
Illinois catcher Lars Davis, only the 21st player in Big Ten history to hit .400 (90-for-225), was the Rockies' third-round pick. A native of Grand Prairie, Alberta, Davis hit 13 homers with 56 RBIs but threw out just 24 of 84 attempted basestealers.
In the fourth round, the Rockies chose lefthander Isaiah Froneberger from Forest Park (Ga.) High. He has a scholarship to Georgia but has indicated a preference to sign. Froneberger, who is 5-feet-10 and 200 pounds, compliments a 90 mph fastball with a very good curveball.
The Rockies took righthander Connor Graham out of Miami (Ohio) in the fifth round. The 6-foot-7, 235-pound Graham has size and a solid assortment of pitches, including a mid 90 mph fastball, slider and split-fingered pitch he uses for a changeup but has been inconsistent, causing him to slip to the fifth round.
"He started at Miami, and he's going to start for us," Schmidt said. "He has the size and pitches to be a starter, but he could wind up in the bullpen."
• The Rockies recalled outfielder Sean Barker, 27, who in his sixth season in the organization and second at Triple-A Colorado Springs hit .333/.364/.556 with five home runs and 30 RBIs in 45 games.
• Low Class A Asheville reliever Sean Jarrett had ligament transplant surgery on his right elbow, ending his season after he went 0-1, 1.15 with five saves in 15 games and become the Tourists' closer.