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Colorado Rockies 2018 MLB Draft Grades

Image credit: Grant Lavigne (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

BEST PURE HITTER: 1B Grant LaVigne (1s) was something of a risky pick at No. 42 overall as a high school first baseman out of New Hampshire, but the Rockies loved the big lefthanders feel to hit and hit with power, and he rewarded the team with a loud pro debut, hitting .350/.477/.519 in the Pioneer League with 45 walks to 40 strikeouts.

BEST POWER HITTER: Both Lavigne and OF Niko Decolati (6) have plus raw power. Lavigne homered six times with Grand Junction in 59 games, while Decolati hit .327/.414/.532 with 11 home runs in 69 games with the same team after hitting six with Loyola Marymount as a junior in college.

FASTEST RUNNER: Decolati is a plus runner, as is OF Luke Morgan (20). Decolati went 17-for-22 (77 percent) in stolen base attempts in rookie ball this summer, while Morgan went 16-for-19 (84 percent) with Boise in the Northwest League.

BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: SS Terrin Vavra (3) stood out more for his offensive production in college and hit well in his pro debut (.302/.396/.467), but the Rockies were impressed with his defensive ability up the middle. Vavra split time at shortstop (246.1 innings) and second base (137 innings) this summer in the Northwest League, and likely fits better at the keystone moving forward, but is solid at both spots.

BEST FASTBALL: RHP Ryan Feltner (4) has run his fastball up to 97 mph in the past but was mostly in the 90-95 mph range this summer in nine successful starts in the Pioneer League, where he posted a 0.88 ERA with 39 strikeouts and just four walks in 30.2 innings of work. RHP Shelby Lackey (18) saw a bit more velocity out of the bullpen this summer, reaching back for 96-97 regularly working out of a relief role. Lackey posted a 1.60 ERA in 33.2 innings with 32 strikeouts and 10 walks.

BEST SECONDARY PITCH: LHP Ryan Rolison (1) was one of the top college lefthanders in the 2018 draft class and was the first player of that demographic selected when the Rockies called his name at No. 22. Rolison throws an above-average curveball that routinely generated whiffs at Mississippi, and plays up with Rolison’s crossfire delivery.

BEST PRO DEBUT: Lavigne finished second in the Pioneer League with a .481 on-base percentage and showed that he could more than hold his own against low-level minor league arms, while Feltner breezed through the hitting competition of the league with a 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings and 1.2 walks per nine—good for a 9.75 K/BB ratio.

BEST ATHLETE: Decolati is tooled up with plus power and running ability, but also brings a physical athleticism that will help him on the bases, in the batter’s box and as he transitions to the outfield with Colorado. A shortstop with Loyola Marymount, Decolati mostly played right field with Grand Junction this summer and should have enough arm strength to profile well there.

MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: Vavra’s father, Joe, was drafted by the Dodgers in the eighth round of the 1982 draft and played five seasons in the minors, reaching Triple-A. After his playing career, Vavra became the coach of the GCL Dodgers, served as a minor league field coordinator for both the Dodgers and Twins and also served as a hitting coach with Minnesota. He is currently a quality assurance coach with the Tigers.

CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Rolison has two years of solid track record in the SEC, impressive strike throwing ability and a solid three-pitch mix that should allow him to move quickly through the minor league system.

BEST LATE-ROUND PICK (11-40): SS Coco Montes (15) was named the MVP of the Pioneer League after hitting .333/.413/.513 with eight home runs while logging significant time at second base, shortstop and third. Montes had a solid three-year career at South Florida, but had a career junior season, hitting .331/.413/.513.

THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: The Rockies knew they weren’t going to sign RHP Kumar Rocker (38) in the 38th round of the draft, as the physical pitcher could have easily gone in the first round. Rocker will take his three-pitch repertoire of plus offerings to Vanderbilt where he’ll impact the pitch staff as a freshman next spring.

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