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What you need to know about the Rockies 2017 draft class

Jake Shapiro Avatar
June 15, 2017


The 2017 MLB Draft took place from Monday to Wednesday and this is what you need to know about the Colorado Rockies selections.

The Rockies did not have a first round pick as they forfeited by signing Ian Desmond, who was given a qualifying offer from the Rangers. The Rockies would’ve had pick No. 11 and needed to be within the top 10 have forfeited their second rounder instead of first. This will be the last year teams forfeit first rounders for qualified players as that several year rule was taken out in baseball’s new CBA (collective bargaining agreement.)

Pick 48 (Round Two)

Colorado picked Ryan Vilade from Stillwater High School in Oklahoma. Vilade is committed to Oklahoma State where his dad is on the coaching staff and has been for the past year after joining the Cowboys from the Rangers organization in 2016. He became the first prep school position player from Oklahoma drafted in the top two rounds since the Cardinals made Pete Kozma a first-rounder in 2007. He was the three hole hitter and one of the top bats on the U.S. national 18-and-under team that took home a gold medal at the Pan American Championships in October. The 6-2, 190-pound, 18-year-old won Gatorade’s state player of the year award this spring and won the home run derby at the Under Armour All-America Game in August.

Vilade played his senior year at Matt Holliday’s old high school.

“We feel good about his ability to hit for average,” Rockies scouting director Bill Schmidt said. “Now, more than anything, he’s more of a line drive hitter.

“His dad worked in the Rangers system at one time. He’s grown up around the game. He’s a baseball player.”

Signing him could be an issue, he’s slotted at $1.4M and the Rockies drafted a bunch of college players after him so they probably could go over-slot if they have to.

Fangraphs gives him a future value of 45 which means they project him to be just below the average MLB regular.

They also give him a 20/45 hit tool, 30/55 game power, 55/60 raw power, 45/40 speed tool, 40/50 fielding tool and a 55/55 arm.

Pick 70 (Competitive Balance Round B)

Colorado picked Tommy Doyle from Virginia. The 6-6, 225-pound right-hander started seven contests his sophomore season for the Cavaliers but spent most of his time in the bullpen even seeing some innings during their march to the College World Series title in 2015.

MLB.com says, “Doyle has the chance to have an excellent power fastball-breaking ball combination, with decent arm action, a strong frame, and a solid delivery. He’s been clocked up to 97 mph at times this spring and can back it up with an 82-83 mph slider. He flips in a below-average curveball and might be better suited focusing on just the slider at the next level. He does have a changeup, but he doesn’t throw it often and it’s a below-average “show me” kind of pitch rather than a viable weapon. Command has been an issue in the past, though his walk rate has improved this spring.”

“He’s a big-bodied kid with arm strength,” Schmidt said. “He’d started in the past. They used him as a closer. We’ll see where it goes.”

Pick 86 (Round Three)

Colorado picked Will Gaddis from Furman University. A 6-2, 185-pound right-hander that was selected in the late rounds by the Yankees out go high school. He won Southern Conference pitcher of the year honors as a sophomore and played very solid in the Cape Cod League.

MLB.com writes, “while his stuff hasn’t been as sharp during his junior season, he still has one of the higher floors as a starter among college pitchers and is a lock to become the first Paladin ever drafted in the first five rounds. Gaddis reached 96 mph with nasty sink on his fastball during fall ball, but he has pitched more at 88-92 and topped out at 94 with a less heavy heater this spring. He has full trust in his changeup, which shows signs of becoming a plus pitch but has graded more as an average offering in 2017. The same is true of his curveball and cutter, which flashed solid more often in the past. While he isn’t especially big, Gaddis has gotten stronger during three years of college. He has no issues repeating his delivery and pounding the strike zone. Scouts also love his competitive demeanor and he has all the ingredients to become an effective No. 4 starter.”

Rounds 4-10

Pick 116: Rockies select Pearson McMahan from St. Johns River State College. Another right-handed starter, with a left-handed bat, at 6-2, 190-pounds. He was selected last year by the Pirates in the 19th round but returned to college where he posted a 2.76 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 42.1 innings as a long reliever.

Pick 146: Rockies select Nick Kennedy from Texas. A left-handed pitcher, right-handed batter at 5-11, 205 pounds. It was the third straight year that the Rockies has used a high pick on a Texas pitcher. Last year, the Rockies took Ty Culqreth and in 2015 they selected Parker French. They took another Longhorn as well which we’ll get to in a second. Kennedy was used as both a mid-week starter and a weekend reliever. He went 8-2 with a 3.02 ERA, nine of his 19 appearances were starts. Kennedy struck out 52 and surrendered only one home run in his 73.1 innings of work, but he issued 39 walks and was recently named a semifinalist for the Gregg Olson Award, which is given annually to college baseball’s breakout player of the year. He has two years of collegiate eligibility left, Kennedy will have until July 15 to decide if he’ll return to Texas or sign with the Rockies.

Pick 176: Rockies select Chad Spanberger from Arkansas. A 6-3, 235-pound right-handed throwing, left-handed hitting first baseman. H led Arkansas to a 45-19 record, leading Razorback players in hits (73), runs (54), home runs (20), RBI (67) and slugging percentage (.619). Spanberger was named also named SEC Tournament MVP.

Pick 206: Rockies select Lucas Gilbreath from Minnesota. The 6-1, 185-pound left-hander played high school ball at Legacy and is from Westminster. In his junior season for the Gophers this past year Gilbreath started 14 games and finished with a 5-2 record and a 2.66 ERA. He struck out 92 and walked 32 batters in 81.1 innings of work. The opposition hit just .184 off of him in 2017. He was named First Team All-Big Ten.

Pick 236: Rockies select Bret Boswell from Texas. The 6-0, 195-pound senior second baseman is a left-handed hitting slick fielding infielder started 59 of a possible 63 games at second base, making only two errors while helping Texas turn 65 double plays (fourth-highest total in the country). He hit .273 with 13 doubles and seven homers in 2017. Boswell added 33 RBI, second-most on the team, and finished with an .828 OPS for the Longhorns.

Pick 266: Rockies select Sean Bouchard from UCLA. The 6-3, 200-pound first baseman was ranked 170 on MLB.com’s big board. They write, “Bouchard had shown glimpses of impressive offensive tools, but he was using them more consistently this spring than he has at any previous time in his college career. Strong and physical, Bouchard has the kind of bat speed that leads to the power potential teams covet at an infield corner. He’s a better athlete than one might think, or that he’s shown, as he isn’t always as aggressive on the basepaths as one would like to see. UCLA has been playing Bouchard at first, partially because of an ankle injury suffered in the fall that slowed him. But there are scouts who think he has the hands and arm to man the hot corner, which would obviously increase his value.”

Pick 296: Rockies select Austin Bernard from Pepperdine. The 5-10, 195-pound switch-hitting catcher who PerfectGame.org said has, a “compact strong athletic build. Right handed hitter, moves into contact well, aggressive long swing with good present bat speed, looking to hit the ball hard, shows gap power, ball comes off the barrel well, hits confidently, tools to hit at the next level. 6.97 runner, good raw arm strength, charges the ball very well and can throw on the run, has body control and balance, soft enough hands, can probably play all three infield positions well with his tools. Nice all around player. Good student, verbal commitment to Pepperdine.”

Overall Thoughts:

The Rockies have only drafted three high schoolers through 37 rounds as I am writing this. One of them is Broomfield High School product James Notary. Because of this, it should make it pretty easy for the Rockies to sign their top pick, Vilade.

We continue to see a trend with the Rockies under Jeff Bridich both as the GM and as a key cog prior to that in the scouting department where they value big high school bats they can stick at third base. This dates back to Nolan Arenado and includes names like Ryan McMahon and Colton Welker.

Eight of the team’s first 15 picks were pitchers as they continue to get as many darts as they possibly can in hopes of them hitting a bullseye, a strategy that seems to have worked.

View all the picks here

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