Rockies Draft Preview
By Josh Boyd
Scouting Director: Bill Schmidt (first draft: 2000).
2000 Draft (First five rounds, picking seventh)
2001 Draft (First five rounds, picking 18th)
2002 Draft (First five rounds, picking ninth)
(*Did not sign)
Without a first-rounder in 2001, the Rockies landed a solid prospect in Jayson Nix but failed to sign second-rounder Trey Taylor. Last year they agreed to a predraft deal with Jeff Francis but didn't sign Micah Owings, who looks like he'll be a first-round selection in 2005. Again proving they won't shy away from players because of signability, the Rockies took Jeff Baker, a first-rounder based on talent, in the fourth round.
The Rockies had their eyes on Baker with the pick they used to tab Francis, but agent Scott Boras and Baker's $4 million asking price sent him spiraling down the draft board. Baker signed a $2 million major league contract, with just $50,000 up front, in September.
The Rockies have gone after pitching aggressively in recent years, and they may have found the secret to survival in Coors Field with the success of Jason Jennings, Shawn Chacon and Aaron Cook. But there is speculation the Rockies will go after La Quinta (Calif.) High third baseman Ian Stewart with the 10th pick this year. Not many scouting directors believe Stewart will be able to stay at third, and a move to first could be inevitable. Still, he could hit for 40-plus home runs in Colorado, and he's not an all-or-nothing slugger.
The Rockies will have plenty of options, though, and are paying a lot of attention to two of the top prep arms in the country: lefthander Andrew Miller, whose performance of late might not be worthy of the 10th pick, and righthander Jeff Allison, considered the best high school arm in the draft.