Colorado Rockies 2023 MLB Draft Review


See Also: 2023 MLB Draft Database

Draft Theme: College Pitching.

One of the most difficult things in baseball seems to be creating and sustaining a pitching staff while calling Coors Field home. That’s always a challenge for the Rockies, and it makes sense for the team to heavily target arms in the draft because of that. The team did just that, with RHP Chase Dollander at pick No. 9, LHP Sean Sullivan in the second and five more college arms in the top 10 rounds alone. Thirteen of the team’s 21 picks overall were college pitchers. 

Most Interesting Day 2 Pick: RHP Cade Denton, 6th round

Denton is a lean, low-slot righthander with a 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame. He’s been a full-time reliever for Oral Roberts throughout his college career, and excelled in 2022—with a 0.41 ERA over 43.2 innings—and had another strong year in 2023, when he was named the Stopper of the Year. He posted a 1.83 ERA over 35 appearances and 64 innings, with a 34.1% strikeout rate and 6% walk rate. He has an east-west pitch profile that pairs nicely with his sidearm slot, and creates a bit of deception with a crossfire lower half as well. Denton throws a heavy-running fastball in the 93-94 mph range and the pitch has been up to 99 with significant horizontal movement towards righthanded hitters. He also throws a slider in the low 80s that generated a 45% miss rate this spring, and has occasionally mixed in an upper-80s changeup—but almost always goes to the fastball/slider combo. Denton has always been an above-average strike thrower and his pitch mix keeps balls in the park, with a home run/fly ball rate below 3% in back-to-back seasons and a 53% groundball rate this spring.

Most Interesting Day 3 Pick: LHP Bryson Hammer, 12th round

Hammer’s college career has been a bit of a winding path, but after a redshirt season at Clemson in 2021 and a standout spring with Catawba (N.C.) JC in 2022, when he struck out 116 batters in 66 innings, he has pitched himself into a potential top-five round talent. Now with Dallas Baptist, Hammer is a 6-foot-1, 186-pound lefthander with a solid three-pitch mix. Hammer posted a 5.16 ERA in 45.1 innings in 2023, with a 23.4% strikeout rate and 14.6% walk rate. He sits with a 92-93 mph fastball that has been up to 96, but he throws the pitch less than 50% of the time for a reason, as an 80 mph curveball and mid-80s changeup have been significantly more effective for him. The changeup is his most-used secondary and his best bat-misser, a pitch he throws with great arm speed and that features lots of arm-side fading action. His low-80s power curve features hard downward bite and impressive depth. Hammer has always struggled with control and his hooking arm action and aggressive wrist wrap could hinder his timing, but there’s plenty of pure stuff from the left side to work with here, even if it’s a likely reliever profile in pro ball.

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