Draft Preview - Colorado Rockies

Here is the eighth part in my series, this time focusing on the Colorado Rockies and their scouting director Bill Schmidt.

Owner: Charlie Monfort, bought club in 1992
General Manager: Dan O'Dowd, first season was 2000
Scouting Director: Bill Schmidt, first draft was 2000

Looking Back

2000 Draft: Unknown Budget

1. Matt Harrington, RHP, Palmdale HS (CA), #7 overall: This was the beginning of the Matt Harrington saga.  Harrington was easily the best available pitcher in the draft, but fell to #7 due to signability, and he ended up not signing and playing Indy ball.  We all know the rest of the story.  Huge mistake.  Following players selected: Matt Wheatland, Mark Phillips, Joe Torres.  DID NOT SIGN.
2. Jason Young, RHP, Stanford, #47 overall: Young was a first round talent, but had some issues with being overworked while at Stanford.  As a result, he fell to the Rockies here in the second.  This was a great pick.  Following players selected: Chad Petty, Xavier Nady, Jared Abruzzo.  Signing bonus: $2.75 million.
3. Chris Buglovsky, RHP, College of New Jersey, #77 overall: Buglovsky was a kid that exploded while at college, flying up draft charts late.  This was right where he was expected to go, making this a solid pick.  Following players selected: Nook Logan, Omar Falcon, Tommy Murphy.  Signing bonus: Unknown.
4. Cory Vance, LHP, Georgia Tech, #107 overall: Vance was projected to go in the second to third round range, making this another solid pick for value.  He had a solid fastball with an above-average curve.  Following players selected: Mark Woodyard, Mewelde Moore (yes, the football player), Charlie Thames.  Signing bonus: Unknown.
5. Garrett Atkins, 3B, UCLA, #137 overall: The best Major Leaguer of the bunch, Atkins was projected to go somewhere in the fourth or fifth round, making this just about right.  He had been a 10th round pick out of high school, so he was far from unknown.  Following players selected: Robert Durham, Jon Huber, Bobby Jenks.  Signing bonus: Unknown.
Other Notable Selections: RHP Scott Dohmann (6th), UL Lafayette; SS Clint Barmes (10th), Indiana State; OF Brad Hawpe (11th), LSU; RHP Sean Green (12th), Louisville; RHP Justin Huisman (15th), Ole Miss; RHP Darren Clarke (35th), South Florida CC, draft and follow


2001 Draft: Unknown Budget

1. Jayson Nix, SS, Midland HS (TX), #44 overall: Nix was expected to go somewhere in the second round, maybe as low as the third, and this was a mild surprise of a pick.  He had some pop, but was also seen as a character pick.  Following players selected: Scott Tyler, Andy Sisco, Jon Switzer.  Signing bonus: $925,000.
2. Trey Taylor, LHP, Mansfield HS (TX), #75 overall: Another mistake, Taylor went unsigned after dropping this far due to signability issues.  He was considered a borderline first round talent, but the bottom line is that you need to pick players you can sign.  Following players selected: Corey Ragsdale, Jose Morales, Ryan Theriot.  DID NOT SIGN.
3. Jason Frome, OF, Indiana State, #94 overall: Frome was projected to be a fourth or fifth rounder, so this wasn't a horrible overdraft.  He had good tools for a college kid, but had some past injury history.  Following players selected: Chase Wright, Alan Moye, Nick Moran.  Signing bonus: $420,000.
4. Jay Mitchell, RHP, LaGrange HS (GA), #124 overall: Mitchell was a star prep basketball player, and at 6'7'', scouts dreamed about his projection.  This was about where he was expected to go, if not a tad higher.  Following players selected: Aaron Rifkin, Steve Kelly, Travis Foley.  Signing bonus: $260,000.
5. Gerrit Simpson, RHP, Texas, #154 overall: Simpson had been drafted twice out of Connors State JC before joining the Longhorns, making him a well-known draft commodity.  This was about where he was expected to go.  Following players selected: Jeff Christensen, Daylan Childress, Marcos Mendoza.  Signing bonus: $175,000.
Other Notable Selections: OF Cory Sullivan (7th), Wake Forest, $37,500 bonus


2002 Draft: Unknown Budget

1. Jeff Francis, LHP, U. of British Columbia, #9 overall: Francis was projected to go in the middle of the first round after dominating all comers as a Canadian collegiate.  At 6'5'', 200 lbs., he was of prototypical projectable pitching size.  Following players selected: Drew Meyer, Jeremy Hermida, Joe Saunders.  Signing bonus: $1.85 million.
2. Micah Owings, RHP, Gainesville HS (FL), #50 overall: Owings was another bad pick, as he also fell this far due to signability issues, and he ultimately did not sign.  He was both a prospect as a hitter and pitcher.  Following players selected: Zach Hammes, Robert Andino, Kevin Jepsen.  DID NOT SIGN.
3. Ben Crockett, RHP, Harvard, #81 overall: Crockett was expected to go somewhere in this range, though he was a college senior with questions about his ceiling.  Dominating the Ivy League isn't exactly a huge accomplishment.  Following players selected: Jason Cooper, Trevor Hutchinson, Kyle Pawelczyk.  Signing bonus: $345,000.
4. Jeff Baker, 3B, Clemson, #111 overall: A Scott Boras client, Baker was expected to go in the early first round before slipping due to his bonus demands.  He showed serious power in college, and there were a few comparisons to Mark Teixeira.  Following players selected: Rich Hill, Josh Johnson, Jordan Renz.  Signing bonus: $2 million, Major League contract.
5. Neil Wilson, C, Vero Beach HS (FL), #141 overall: This was an overdraft by a couple rounds, but Wilson was a riser late.  He had played behind a draft prospect the previous year, meaning he was fairly new to catching.  Following players selected: Doug Johnson, Nick Hundley, Javier Rodriguez.  Signing bonus: Unknown.
Other Notable Selections: OF Sean Barker (6th), LSU; OF Ryan Spilborghs (7th); OF Jeff Salazar (8th), Oklahoma State; 1B Ryan Shealy (11th), Florida; RHP Mike Esposito (12th), Arizona State


2003 Draft: $4.0 Million Budget

1. Ian Stewart, 3B, La Quinta HS (CA), #10 overall: Stewart was projected to go somewhere in this area based on the projection of his bat.  Some scouts thought he would be hitting upwards of 30 homers a year.  Following players selected: Michael Aubrey, Lastings Milledge, Aaron Hill.  Signing bonus: $1.95 million.
2. Scott Beerer, RHP, Texas A&M, #47 overall: This was a huge overdraft, as Beerer was projected somewhere in the neighborhood of the fifth round.  A college reliever and outfielder, Beerer was a safe pick.  Following players selected: Javier Herrera, Abe Alvarez, Josh Banks.  Signing bonus: $725,000.
3. Aaron Marsden, LHP, Nebraska, #77 overall: Overdrafted by a round or two, Marsden's pick was much more defensible than the selection of Beerer.  Marsden was a towering 6'6'' lefty with a plus slider.  Following players selected: Ryan Garko, Jake Stevens, Shaun Marcum.  Signing bonus: $462,500.
4. Rick Guarno, C, Arkansas-Little Rock, #107 overall: Guarno was overdrafted by a few rounds here, but he was rising up boards all year as a transfer from UMBC.  He had solid defense and gap power.  Following players selected: Ben Harrison, Shane Hawk, Kurt Isenberg.  Signing bonus: $315,000.
5. Christian Colonel, SS, Texas Tech, #137 overall: Another overdraft, Colonel was expected to go somewhere a few rounds later than the fifth.  He had nice size at 6'3'', 216 lbs., but his bat was questionable.  Following players selected: Juan Valdes, Corey Coles, Justin James.  Signing bonus: $200,000.
Other Notable Selections: RHP Ryan Mattheus (19th), Sacramento CC; 2B Eric Young (30th), Piscataway HS (NJ), draft and follow


2004 Draft: $4.0 Million Budget

1. Chris Nelson, SS, Redan HS (GA), #9 overall: Nelson was one of the top preps in the class, though Matt Bush went #1 overall.  He had a solid line drive stroke and arm, but had Tommy John surgery the previous fall.  This pick was widely applauded.  Following players selected: Thomas Diamond, Neil Walker, Jered Weaver.  Signing bonus: $2.15 million.
2. Seth Smith, OF, Ole Miss, #50 overall: Smith was a football player at Ole Miss, Eli Manning's backup specifically, and scouts thought he'd turn into a star when dropping the sport.  He had a rough package for a college player, but was expected to go in this range.  Following players selected: KC Herren, Brian Bixler, Wes Whisler.  Signing bonus: $690,000.
3. Steven Register, RHP, Auburn, #80 overall: Register pitched mainly in relief in college, and was one of the better relievers available.  He had a small stature, but was expected to go somewhere in the third round range.  Following players selected: Michael Schlact, Eddie Prasch, Adam Lind.  Signing bonus: $450,000.
4. Chris Iannetta, C, North Carolina, #110 overall: Iannetta had risen up boards during the Spring of 2004, mainly due to his hitting.  He was a solid hitter with decent catching skills, and this was a solid pick.  Following players selected: Brandon Boggs, Joe Bauserman, Patrick White.  Signing bonus: $305,000.
5. Matt Macri, 3B, Notre Dame, #140 overall: Macri was an impressive prep player, but went to Notre Dame.  He was a disappointing package, and this was an overdraft by a couple rounds with raw power in mind.  Following players selected: Mike Nickeas, Kyle Bloom, Luis Rivera.  Signing bonus: $205,000.
Other Notable Selections: 1B Joe Koshansky (6th), Virginia, $40K bonus; RHP Jim Miller (8th), UL-Monroe, $12K bonus; RHP David Patton (12th), Green River CC (WA); OF Matt Miller (13th), Texas State; OF Dexter Fowler (14th), Milton HS (GA), $925K bonus (overslot); LHP Josh Newman (19th), Ohio State


2005 Draft: $6.0 Million Budget

1. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Long Beach State, #7 overall: Tulowitzki was almost a top five pick, and he compared favorably to any college hitter in the entire class.  He was considered a safe pick, probably worth a large investment.  Following players selected: Wade Townsend, Mike Pelfrey, Cameron Maybin.  Signing bonus: $2.3 million.
2. Chaz Roe, RHP, Lafayette HS (LA), #32 overall: Roe was a fast riser up boards during the Spring of his senior year.  He was expected to go somewhere in the supplemental first round, and the Rockies made that come true with the second pick of the round.  Following players selected: John Drennen, Ryan Tucker, Cesar Ramos.  Signing bonus: $1.025 million.
3. Daniel Carte, OF, Winthrop, #52 overall: Carte was considered one of the safest picks in the 2005 draft, as his strong Cape Cod performance showed his ability with wood bats.  He had battled an oblique strain, but was expected to go in the second round.  Following players selected: Craig Italiano, Paul Kelly, Zach Simons.  Signing bonus: $670,000.
4. Zach Simons, RHP, Everett CC (WA), #55 overall: Simons was a sophomore JUCO player that turned in a velocity spike virtually overnight.  He was overdrafted by a couple rounds here.  Following players selected: Chris Mason, Jon Egan, Ryan Mount.  Signing bonus: $635,000.
5. Kyle Hancock, RHP, Rowlett HS (TX), #87 overall: This is a strange story.  Hancock signed then changed his mind and retired after a long bus trip away from home.  He reappeared again this Spring.  This was an overdraft by a round or two.  Following players selected: Bryan Morris, Tommy Manzella, Chris Robinson.  Signing bonus: Forfeited.
Other Notable Selections: 2B Cory Wimberly (6th), Alcorn State, $145,000


2006 Draft: $6.2 Million Budget

1. Greg Reynolds, RHP, Stanford, #2 overall: Reynolds, contrary to popular opinion, was not a huge overdraft, as he actually had top five talent.  A tall pitcher at 6'7'', Reynolds was a successful college ace, and he was a legitimate first round pitcher.  Following players selected: Evan Longoria, Brad Lincoln, Brandon Morrow.  Signing bonus: $3.25 million.
2. David Christensen, OF, Douglas HS (FL), #46 overall: This was a bit of a reach, as Christensen was more of a fourth round talent.  His hit tool was really lacking, but Schmidt took a chance anyway.  Following players selected: Josh Butler, Mike Felix, Chris Tillman.  Signing bonus: $750,000.
3. Keith Weiser, LHP, Miami (Ohio), #78 overall: Another overdraft by a couple rounds, Weiser was your average college lefty draft prospect.  He owned an average fastball with a decent slider.  Following players selected: Nick Fuller, Shelby Ford, Tony Butler.  Signing bonus: $455,000.
4. Craig Baker, RHP, Cal State Northridge, #108 overall: This was about where Baker was expected to go.  He had struggled as a starter, but had moved into the bullpen late after an injury.  Following players selected: Alex Cobb, Jared Hughes, Ricky Orta.  Signing bonus: $265,000.
5. Helder Velazquez, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, #138 overall: Velazquez was projected to go a bit lower, but was Puerto Rico's best talent in the 2006 class.  He had a big arm with a decent-enough bat.  Following players selected: Shawn O'Malley, Pat Bresnehan, Nathan Adcock.  Signing bonus: $209,000.
Other Notable Selections: C Michael McKenry (7th), Middle Tennessee State, $135K bonus; RHP Brandon Hynick (8th), Birmingham-Southern, $90K bonus


2007 Draft: $3.7 Million Budget

1. Casey Weathers, RHP, Vanderbilt, #8 overall: This was a reach, as Weathers was expected to go in the back half of the first round.  However, the Rockies liked Weathers' chances to move fast through the minors.  Following players selected: Jarrod Parker, Madison Bumgarner, Phillippe Aumont.  Signing bonus: $1.8 million.
2. Brian Rike, OF, Louisiana Tech, #72 overall: An overdraft by a couple of rounds, Rike had a huge junior season.  He showed good power, but was hot and cold, and most considered just a safe college outfielder.  Following players selected: Barry Enright, Grant Desme, Denny Almonte.  Signing bonus: $450,000.
3. Lars Davis, C, Illinois, #102 overall: Davis was overdrafted by a round or two based on his athleticism behind the plate.  A Canadian transfer, Davis had shown some pop and had good size.  Following players selected: Reynaldo Navarro, Scott Carroll, Danny Carroll.  Signing bonus: $337,000.
4. Isaiah Froneberger, LHP, Forest Park HS (GA), #132 overall: Another overdraft, Froneberger was a small, 5'8'' lefty with an average fastball and plus curve.  Schmidt obviously liked his chances as a reliever.  Following players selected: Sean Morgan, Corey Kluber, Nolan Gallagher.  Signing bonus: $200,000.
5. Connor Graham, RHP, Miami (Ohio), #162 overall: Graham was projected to go as high as the second round, falling here for unknown reasons.  He had a projectable body at 6'6'', 223 lbs., but lacked consistency.  Following players selected: Tyrell Worthington, Chance Corgan, Joseph Dunigan.  Signing bonus: $143,000.
Other Notable Selections: RHP Cory Riordan (6th), Fordham, $120K bonus; RHP Parker Frazier (8th), Bishop Kelly HS (OK), $100K bonus; 3B Darin Holcomb (12th), Gonzaga


2008 Draft: $4.2 Million Budget

1. Christian Friedrich, LHP, Eastern Kentucky, #25 overall: The Rockies got extremely lucky when Friedrich fell to them near the end of the first round.  Considered a top fifteen talent, Friedrich was a solid college lefty with a plus curve.  Following players selected: Daniel Schlereth, Carlos Gutierrez, Gerrit Cole.  Signing bonus: $1.35 million.
2. Charlie Blackmon, OF, Georgia Tech, #72 overall: An overdraft by a couple rounds, Blackmon was an unrefined college senior with little experience as a hitter.  Still, he was toolsy and had upside.  Following players selected: Bryan Shaw, Tyler Chatwood, Scott Bittle.  Signing bonus: $563,000.
3. Aaron Weatherford, RHP, Mississippi State, #103 overall: Mainly a reliever in college, Weatherford used a smallish body to form a max-effort delivery.  This was a good pick, as Weatherford was thought to be a second round talent.  Following players selected: Kevin Eichhorn, Ryan Chaffee, David Adams.  Signing bonus: $350,000.
4. Ethan Hollingsworth, RHP, Western Michigan, #137 overall: Hollingsworth was expected to go a round earlier as a pitchability college starter.  He had little upside, but had a good slider with a decent pitch mix.  Following players selected: Ryne White, Buddy Boshiers, Corban Joseph.  Signing bonus: $215,000.
5. Chris Dominguez, 3B, Louisville, #167 overall: Another good value pick, Dominguez slid from being a possible third rounder due to his status as a draft-eligible sophomore.  He didn't sign, however, so this ended up being a bad pick.  Following players selected: Collin Cowgill, Khiry Cooper, Chris Smith.  DID NOT SIGN.
Other Notable Selections: OF Tyler Massey (14th), Baylor School (TN), $525K bonus (overslot); OF Delta Cleary (37th), Louisiana State-Eunice JC, $250K bonus (overslot)


Bill Schmidt, along with his boss Dan O'Dowd, is one of the longest-tenured scouting directors in the game.  The reason for this is a solid track record of drafting players that impact the Major League team in a short period of time.  He's usually gotten great draft value at any given slot, though he's been a little inconsistent.  Early on, he was running into trouble signing players at high slots, meaning him and his scouts weren't doing a good enough job figuring out what a given player might want to sign.  The Rockies are clearly on a budget, so this is an important factor in Schmidt's decision-making process.  I'd pretty much rank Schmidt somewhere in the top fifteen scouting directors in the game, but not really in the top ten or so.  He's a solid, but unspectacular, scouting head.  Looking at trends in his drafting, Schmidt's obviously become more conservative in recent years.  He's gone very college-heavy, with a few preps mixed in every once in awhile.  Isaiah Froneberger's the only early-round prep he's taken in the last two years, and that was a mistake.  I'm guessing Schmidt's a risk-averse person, and he'll continue to go with this recent trend.  Schmidt's prep picks have been borderline horrible, so it's probably best for the team that he continues on with his strength.  He finds solid college hitting and pitching across the board, and he's done well in late rounds with solid players.  His first draft was quite exceptional in that regard.  He's taken to going a little more risky in later rounds, and I wonder if that will pay off in the end.  Tyler Massey's a good talent, but I'm a bit surprised Schmidt went against what he's traditionally good at.  However, being college-heavy is not a sin, and Schmidt's as good as it gets at finding good college values.

Looking at team finances, one can easily tell that the Rockies' draft budget is usually fairly tight.  They won't be going overslot for first rounders, and it's rare that they do at any other spot.  Tyler Massey and Delta Cleary were two exceptions a year ago, but those signings were due to a failure to sign Chris Dominguez in the fifth round.  They're not a team that will stretch a budget to get that extra player, so look for more overslot signings only if they fail to sign an early round player.  This year the Rockies pick at #11, 32, 34, 59, 90, 121, and every 30 picks after that.  They obviously have more early round picks than usual, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a bump to somewhere around $5 million in their draft budget.  They're normally decent spenders in the Latin American market, so maybe that suffers a bit as a result.  Going with slot for those picks using last year's slots equals somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 million, so we could see an even bigger bump if they don't want to go under slot.  However, if they sign all those players, don't expect a single late overslot player in the Massey or Cleary mold.  They don't have the money for that.

Now, looking at the players the Rockies could target is a bit tough.  It's a down year for college bats, though I don't underestimate Bill Schmidt's talent in finding bats, even in a down market.  I'm pretty sure they're targeting a college arm with their first pick, and I have Mike Leake there for them in my current mock.  The second pick is tougher to gauge, but if Rich Poythress is there, like my current mock plays out, he's a virtual lock.  In the supplemental first round, names such as Joe Kelly, Ben Tootle, maybe Mike Minor and Kyle Heckathorn enter the equation.  There will be plenty of relievers to choose from, and I don't doubt they'll choose a reliever somewhere in the first day.  Alex Wilson is an easy connection if he's alright with signing for slot, and the second round could include ASU's Jason Kipnis, Loyola Marymount's Angelo Songco, or any one of numerous pitchers.  There's more college bats available as you go down, but the pitchers are the prize this year.  I wouldn't be shocked if a prep gets his name called early, but I'd be even less shocked if Schmidt dips into the JUCO ranks in early rounds.  Success with Delta Cleary might have opened that path.  All in all, expect the usual older draft prospects, but with a possible JUCO flavor if they're signable.

All bonus information came from BA, and writeups on draft status going into the draft were a mixture of BA and PG.  Go to their sites for draft coverage.  They're awesome.

What do you guys think?  What do the Rockies do?


Previous Draft Previews:

Tampa Bay Rays
Los Angeles Dodgers
Detroit Tigers
Philadelphia Phillies
Texas Rangers
Pittsburgh Pirates
Baltimore Orioles

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