Rockies 2020 MLB Draft Preview: Can Colorado Replenish A Thin System?
Unlike the NBA or NFL drafts, MLB teams do not draft for immediate need. There’s good reason for that, as even the most MLB-ready draft prospects usually take two seasons to get fully established in the majors. But as we ready for the 2020 MLB draft, it is useful to look at where teams are deep and where they are thin at the MLB and minor league level.
Also of note:
2020 MLB Draft Prospect Rankings | Updated 2020 Mock Draft | Baseball America's Draft Database
2019 RECORD: 71-91
STATE OF THE SYSTEM: The Rockies have one of the most impressive groups of homegrown talent in the majors with Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon, Jon Gray, David Dahl, Kyle Freeland and Ryan McMahon. The system is understandably thin after graduating so many impact players, but the pipeline isn’t entirely empty: Garrett Hampson, Brendan Rodgers, Peter Lambert and Sam Hilliard all debuted within the last two seasons.
BEST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: SS Trevor Story (first round supplemental, 2011). Story blossomed into one of baseball’s best shortstops after being selected 45th overall in 2011 out of a Dallas-area high school. He’s a two-time all-star and Silver Slugger award winner, was a Gold Glove finalist last year and is on the verge of passing Matt Holliday for 10th on the Rockies all-time home run list, all by 27 years old.
WORST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: RHP Riley Pint (first round, 2016). Pint’s 6-foot-5 frame and 100-plus mph fastball made him the fourth overall pick of the 2016 draft, but he’s simply never been able to throw strikes. He has 124 walks, 55 wild pitches and 20 hit batters in 156 career innings. Overall he is 3-20, 5.71 in four seasons and has yet to advance past low Class A.
DEEPEST POSITION(S): First base and relief pitcher. The Rockies drafted well-regarded first basemen Grant Lavigne and Michael Toglia in consecutive years, while Tyler Nevin has moved to first base and Colton Welker projects to move there in the eyes of many scouts. The Rockies also have a number of interesting pitchers who project well in the bullpen, topped by current starter Ryan Castellani and promising relievers Tommy Doyle, Ben Bowden and Jacob Wallace.
WEAKEST POSITION(S): Outfield. Hilliard impressed in his big league debut last year, but beyond him there are few outfielders of note in the Rockies system. Ryan Vilade’s move to the outfield somewhat improves the group’s outlook and Brenton Doyle had a strong pro debut last year, but both are far away and not sure things. The Rockies don’t need immediate help with Blackmon, Dahl, Hilliard, Hampson and Raimel Tapia all in the big league mix, so they have time to add more outfielders to their system and let them develop.
DRAFT TRENDS: The Rockies have had 11 first-day draft picks since 2016. They’ve used every one on a pitcher, first baseman or third baseman.