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Rockies Draft Report Card

By Jim Callis

Best Pro Debut: 1B Garrett Atkins (5) shared MVP honors in the short-season Northwest League after hitting .303-7-47. 3B Eric Storey (24) won the home-run crown in the Rookie-level Arizona League and batted .328-9-40, though at 22 he was much older than most of his competition.

Best Athlete: SS Clint Barmes (10) has no outstanding tool but he’s steady across the board. He’s also versatile, having played center field in junior college before moving to short at Indiana State.

Best Hitter: Atkins will hit for average, and the Rockies hope his propensity for hitting doubles develops into a propensity for hitting home runs.

Best Raw Power: OF Jose Vasquez (16), who hit .311-5-38 in the AZL. He was headed for Louisiana State before calling a Rockies area scout before the draft to say he wanted to sign. OF/1B Brad Hawpe (11), who tied an NCAA Division I record with 36 doubles this year for LSU, just needs to add loft to his swing to become a homer threat.

Fastest Runner: Colorado didn’t sign any speed. Its quickest player is Barmes, an average runner.

Best Defensive Player: C Dan Conway’s (8) catch-and-throw skills played as well in the pros as they did in college. But he has work to do adjusting to wood bats.

Best Fastball: RHP Matt Harrington’s (1) 98 mph heat was as hot as any in the draft, but the Rockies’ ability to get him signed is in doubt. RHP Jason Young (2), whom Colorado would have taken in the first round if Harrington had not been available, hits 94 mph at his best.

Most Intriguing Background: OF Michael Vick (30) hasn’t played baseball since he was 14 and is better known as a Heisman Trophy candidate as the quarterback at Virginia Tech. He was tempted by the idea of signing but had to attend summer school.

Closest To The Majors: Young held out all summer before signing for $2.75 million, and his shoulder bothered him at times during the spring at Stanford. The Rockies will be patient with him at first. As a result, LHP Cory Vance (4) is the favorite to reach Colorado first. He has an average fastball and a plus curveball.

Best Late-Round Pick: Hawpe and Vasquez.

The One Who Got Away: The Rockies have offered $4 million to Harrington, the consensus top prospect in the draft. That was believed to be his asking price, but now he’s looking for $4.95 million after Joe Borchard got $5.3 million from the White Sox. The best player that Colorado definitely has lost is raw 6-foot-5 RHP Bob Zimmerman (14), who’s at Southwest Missouri State.

Assessment: First-year scouting director Bill Schmidt wasn’t necessarily looking for pitching, but he took five arms in the first six rounds. The Rockies will have gotten two of the best if Harrington joins Young.

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