Colorado Rockies 2021 MLB Draft Report Card
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Best Pure Hitter: Outfielder Benny Montgomery (1) was one of the most toolsy players in the 2021 draft class, but his explosive bat speed gives him a chance to turn into a good hitter as well. He performed well in his pro debut, hitting .340/.404/.383 with five walks and nine strikeouts in 14 games in the Arizona Complex League. Montgomery’s swing had plenty of moving parts as an amatuer, but he made strides cleaning that up this spring.
Best Power Hitter: Catcher Hunter Goodman (4) ranked No. 3 in the 2021 college class for best power. It’s easily plus raw power that comes from a strong, physical frame and aggressive swing. He hit 21 home runs in 56 games with Memphis this spring. During his pro debut in the ACL, Goodman hit a pair of homers and seven doubles in 22 games.
Fastest Runner: Outfielder Braiden Ward (16) was eligible for both the 2020 and 2021 drafts and he ranked as the best collegiate runner in each class. He’s a true top-of-the-scale runner and his speed plays in center field (where he’s a plus defender) and on the bases. Ward went 89-for-104 (85.6%) in stolen base attempts during his collegiate career with Washington and should put plenty of pressure on opposing infields and batteries.
Best Defensive Player: As a plus defender in center field, Ward should get a mention here but Colorado is also high on shortstop Nic Kent (11). He’s a quick mover in the middle of the diamond but some scouts saw him as more of a long-term second baseman thanks to his arm strength prior to the draft.
Best Fastball: The Rockies drafted plenty of arms who can get into the mid- and upper-90s with their fastballs including: righthanders McCade Brown (3), Bryce McGowan (18) and Luke Taggart (NDFA) as well as lefthanders Joe Rock (2s) and Evan Justice (5).
Best Secondary Pitch: Rock has a sweeping breaking ball in the low 80s that is tough on both righties and lefties thanks to a tall, 6-foot-6 frame, long levers and a low, three-quarters arm slot. The pitch is an above-average or plus offering, while Brown showed a spike-grip curveball with good depth that looks like a swing-and-miss offering.
Best Pro Debut: Montgomery hitting to the extent that he did is encouraging when his hit tool was the biggest question on his scout card. Sure, it was a small sample, but he hit for a high average and controlled the zone at a solid rate (9.6 BB%, 17.3 K%) as an 18-year-old in the ACL. He also tallied five stolen bases in six attempts for good measure.
Best Athlete: Montgomery is a standout athlete who combines speed and power with a projectable 6-foot-4, 195-pound frame. He’s a 70-grade runner who topped the prep class in the speed category and he can put on a show with plus raw power now, which should only continue to improve as he adds strength and physicality to his frame. Montgomery glides across the outfield with long strides and has a chance to be an impact player in a number of ways given his toolset and standout athleticism.
Most Intriguing Background: Righthander Jaden Hill (2) entered the 2021 draft season as a potential top 10 pick, but he struggled when healthy and had Tommy John surgery, which pushed him to the second round where the Rockies could have sneaky good value. Hill’s fastball/changeup/slider pitch mix was one of the loudest in the class when at his best and he’s a natural strike thrower as well. Those traits, plus Hill’s background as a high school football quarterback with collegiate interest makes him a solid pick for this category.
Closest To The Majors: With Montgomery a high school player from the northeast and Hill coming off of injury, this one goes to Rock, who split his time as a starter and reliever during his debut in the ACL. He posted a 1.13 ERA in eight innings, with 11 strikeouts and just one walk.
Best Late-Round Pick (Or NDFA): Taggart signed after the draft and threw three innings of relief for the Rockies’ ACL club. While it was a very brief debut, he did strike out six and didn’t allow a walk or a hit. Taggart posted a 4.30 ERA in 37.2 innings mostly out of the bullpen for Oklahoma this spring, mostly working with a fastball/slider but also mixing in a mid-80s changeup at times.
The One Who Got Away: The Rockies signed 20 of their 21 draft picks this year. Righthander Elijah Trest (19) was the lone player they couldn’t agree to a deal with. Trest threw a low-90s fastball and showed an above-average slider at times as a reliever with Arkansas—where he’ll head back for the 2022 collegiate season.