2018 and Inaugural Colorado Rockies Shadow Draft

I have amassed enough analytics and scouting info this May/June to take a reasonable stab at a shadow draft. Having served as the Rockies in the Community Mock Draft I will stick with them here. In a curious twist I will often shadow select/sign players who will cut their professional teeth outside of the experimental baseball laboratories of Grand Junction, Lancaster, Albuquerque, and (every now and then) Denver under the assumption that they would be playing at those venues. As a result I wound up prioritizing control and batted ball profiles of pitchers more than I otherwise would, while plate discipline and defense garnered more attention for position players.


Basic Rules of Engagement

I can select any draft-eligible player who has yet to be picked at each draft slot. Collegiate seniors taken in real-world Days 1/2 get the same percentage of Day 1/Day 2 slot that they got in real life. Collegiate seniors taken on real-world Day 3 after Round 15 can be brought up to shadow Day 2 and signed for a bonus under $10,000. All other shadow Day 1/2 selections get the maximum of: 1) their real-life bonus, or 2) the average of their real-life bonus and the shadow slot value. As such, each shadow Day 1/2 selection gets the bonus they got in real life or, more typically, a larger one. The sum of all Day 1/2 shadow bonuses (and any Day 3 bonus overages beyond $125K per player maximum) cannot exceed 1.05 times the sum of the Day 1/2 slot values, else pick forfeiting for the next year's draft creeps into play.


Shadow Selections

Rounds 1-10


Schnell: Hittery L/R Prep OF who projects to sport above-average power, above-average speed (in his pre-free-agency years), and above-average RF defensive abilities seems like a nice multi-dimensional fit for Rockies MiLB/MLB baseball.

White: Stands to be a dynamite K artist from the get-go of his (real-world) AZL debut owin' to a very advanced 3-pitch offspeed repertoire highlighted by an excellent slider (that would also play in his shadow-world higher-altitude home ballparks); also shows aptitude for moving fastballs effectively around the strike zone on demand.

Kloffenstein: Fastball movement specialist with a semi-advanced offspeed repertoire; the GB-skewed fastballing weak contact profile fits in nicely with semi-recent Blue Jays draftees (T.J. Zeuch, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez) and also projects favorably for prospective shadow Rockies MiLB/MLB action. Once we explained the financial/customs/language/systems-of-weights-and-measures/etc. inconveniences of playing baseball in Canada, Kloff was more than happy accepting the same bonus that the Jays had offered. We even went so far as to grant him 5 personal days for the rest of this season should he make it up from Grand Junction to Boise before the Hawks make their Aug 23-27 trip across the border to Vancouver. And we pointed out that as an NL West franchise, he'd only have to travel to Toronto about once every 6 years as a Rockies MLBer. He'd be nearly Canada-free with us! The only downside we see here is that Adam prefers "Kloff-in-STEEN" to "Kloff-in-STINE" and we'll touch on that again later.

Vavra: A keeper LHB who added elite contact ability and some all-fields power to his holdover LD ability (higher batted ball exit velocity); should have plenty of glove for 2B, if not perhaps 3B, if SS proves too much of a challenge at the highest rungs of the MiLB ladder.

Scott: The reillocity community mock 4th-round senior southpaw makes perfect sense here given the aggressive early spending and an elite CTL/K/GB/OppoOFFB-skewed '18 FaBIO profile; while Adam won't rank better as an MLBer than his golfing namesake did as a PGA Tour competitor, he should perform better than his acting namesake did in "Step Brothers".

For those scoring at home, the top 5 shadow picks amount to the reillocity Community Mock Draft selections with SS Tyler Frank (2.56 TB) and LHSP Steven Gingery (4.123 STL) swapped out for Schnell and Vavra.


Hogan: Augmented a plus plus CTL/K game with a nearly plus plus batted ball profile that had telltale hints of multidirectional fastball movement skills (some GB, some IFFB, few LD); as much as I love the FaBIO profile, I have yet to 100% lock in on that he's Miller Hogan rather than Hogan Miller.

Brennan: Extreme CTL/GB RHSP and near-plus '18 K getter who probably just needs to be roughly average at the K to emerge as a viable MLB mid-to-back-of-rotation SP candidate.

Cropley: 2-year D1 senior ($-saving) catcher who sports an above-average plate-discipline/hit/receive/field-general profile.

Snyder: Our underslot master plan hit a snag here when our lined-up target informed us that he had landed a $125K offer from another unnamed club since we last spoke. We explained that we could not beat that number in this round given how our earlier extended bonus offers added up, but that we would be back in touch as the next round got underway if he remained unpicked. With little time to line up a more coveted underslot target, we dialed far down our draft board in search of a senior who had no chance of getting a $10K bonus and agreed on a $7.5K bonus with the L/L 6'5" 235-pound Wright State 1B who is more slugger than hitter with fringe-average plate discipline and a reliable mitt.

Reynolds: The double-redshirt junior who we had planned to bonus the round before for $30K as a virtual senior ultimately agreed to a $136K bonus in this spot, and we were able to reach that number after we had pinned down another senior with limited Day 2 interest for a $6K bonus in the next round; the powerful lefty slugger would be a sight to see at higher elevations; Reynolds' rap as a pro would stand to be the K.

Stout: Elite K artist who has also stifled power for just about the entirety of his NCAA career; Stout may not be stout in stature but his killer FaBIO profile sure is.

We check in here $215K $91K shy of incurring draft pick forfeiture penalties, and that has us out of the financial picture for more coveted high schoolers and draft-eligible collegiate sophomores as Day 3 gets started.

Better Day 2 NCAA fits for the shadow Rockies who could not be landed owing to the 3-premium-preppers opener include: Gingery (some present uncertainty regarding his elbow status and signability), Tulane OF Grant Witherspoon (4-120 TB), UNC Greensboro OF Andrew Moritz (6-172 ATL), Illinois-Chicago RHP Charlie Cerny (7-203 OAK), South Alabama 2B/3B Brendan "Bunchy" Donovan (7-213 STL), George Mason RHP Zach Mort (8-248 CHC), Georgia Southern RHP Brian Eichhorn (9-283 CLE).


Rounds 11-20

Ogren: Beat out Niagara 2B/SS Greg Cullen (15-442 ATL) for an early Day 3 selection owing to a comparable batting profile and a more versatile and reliable defensive profile.

Casanova: The D1 debut has him projecting as a better receiver and thrower than public-domain scouting reports portend; LHB who should hit with doubles power and near-average contact ability; there seems more to like than love about this particular Casanova.

Marman: Well on his way toward being a top '18 D1 FaBIO SP before an elbow injury prompted surgery (likely UCL-unrelated); surname alone made him a logical Marlin, Miami.

Tribucher: Extreme BB/K/GB LHRP who may have enough fastball sink/run to take on most comers despite profiling better vs LHB; "Kloff-in-STEEN" and Tribucher in the same shadow draft class have me wanting to pop in my old "Young Frankenstein" DVD.

Foyle: Three consecutive good-to-better offensive performance profiles as a D1 switch-hitter bodes well for the pending transition of Foyle away from aluminum (wink, wink); might not be confined to LF as a pro.


Craft: A spring '18 breakout for the 6'8" RHRP looks legitimate owing to mid-90s four-seamer velocity and an improved offspeed repertoire; Craft sets up as a probable plus performer moving forward given how well Yankees armhands develop and rate on the FaBIO scales; his power trumped the strong movement/deception-fueled '18 CTL/K/GB profile of Kent State redshirt sophomore RHRP Austin Havekost (17-506 TOR).

Berberet: Already-signed ($80K-bonused) juco sophomore wields a louder bat with contact and third base defense being the prospective question marks.

Lackey: Redshirt soph posted beyond half plus K ability and a nearly plus plus GB-skewed batted ball profile in his 1st full collegiate season as a SP; altogether, Shelby projects to have more than he lacks.

Conn: Lost true freshman Middle Tennessee State season to Tommy John surgery before returning as a 2-way '17 redshirt; transferred closer to home for '18 (caught the one-class-lower Jesus Luzardo at Stoneman Douglas HS) and flashed much better CTL as a D2er; Conn's pros in the CTL, K, and GB dimensions make him a better bet to thrive in the Astros' trademark tandem pitcher development system next spring/summer.

Eaton: Everyday super-utility 3B/2B/SS/RHRP/3rd-C returned to action in '18 after an AWOL '17 and posted a strong diversified offensive profile; the Royals plan to develop the versatile Eaton as a backstop for the near-term.

None of the 10 selections to begin Day 3 will require much in the way of a bonus exceeding the $125 K slot maximum.


Rounds 21-30

Vega: Posted plus plus to triple plus FaBIO Overall Ratings in his only two non-JC seasons at Southeast Missouri State (paraphrasing... Vega pulled a "Lucchesi").

Senger: Accurate thrower with improving receiving fundamentals whose doubles-powered hitting ability and contact skills shot upward after a poor sophomore campaign; put some early money down now on reillocity mock/shadow-drafting another Senger next June.

Dixon: Very recent CF/2B experience fills two shadow draft class positional need areas to go along with a potentially above-average walk/spray-hit/run profile; in an alternate universe, I can't help but imagine a Sam Ford playing baseball at Troy.

Pinto: Among FaBIO's most complete RHRP performers for 3 years running; a longshot wager on this Pinto maturing into a stable MLB bullpen workhorse could pay big dividends.

Hill: Amassed a beyond half plus CTL Rating, beyond half plus K Rating, and a nearly plus plus not-entirely-GB-fueled Batted Ball Rating in his '18 D1 debut; a similar overall profile to Lackey from earlier.


Toerner: Versatile defensive OF with a stronger all-around batting profile who should provide lots of organizational value at the least; Justin Toerner just has to grow a giant beard and dye it Redbirds red, right?

Chisolm: All-fields LHB power would be intriguing to watch in the Rockies' offense-friendly minor league affiliate climates; stronger-armed first sacker who has also toiled as a RHRP; nearly identical in physique to earlier L/L 1B pick Snyder (6'5", 230 pounds); a former Furman freshman turned juco sophomore.

Lockery: Senior LHB profiles somewhat similarly at the plate to the almost-taken-earlier-in-the-day Greg Cullen but with a more dependable glove that should allow for some shortstop duty.

Ausua: After rating nearly plus plus Overall per FaBIO as a '17 junior D1 debutant, Stout's staffmate saw his K Rating regress from plus to below conference-average in '18; Miguel must recapture his '17 K game and quickly to get a longer look as an MiLB SP.

Jacques: Low-armslot LOOGY prospect who should otherwise induce GB from RHB (think Marc Rzepczynski); expect few jimmy jacks off Joey Jacques.


Rounds 31-40

At this stage we are most looking at players who have a slimmer chance of signing, including those who could only sign if a Day 1 bonus were lowered considerably (and mutually) in response to a concern discovered in a physical.

Brundage: Athletic L/R harder-spray-hitting CF who made strides forward in contact and extra-base power in his second season; former GA prep SS (twice-drafted now) who may offer some prospective utility at 2B; could emerge as signable in this alternate shadow universe once all other bonuses were finalized.

Avans: A walk/bat/throw senior L/L outfielder (former two-way LHRP) who fills an organizational OF need.

Stowell: FaBIO ratings were generated on the D2 PacWest Conference owing to 12-348 (CHW) Isaiah Carranza's presence (who garnered some consideration at 11-336), and Stowell rated so well on several dimensions that he just has to be snatched up this late here.

Legumina: The unlikely sign sported an extremely strong CTL/K/IFFB/OppoOFFB-skewed profile as an '18 reliever after more often resembling a black-eyed P as a freshman starter (wink, wink, wink).

Wendzel: Very doubtful sign who has shown a better batting profile and good left-side-of-the-infield glove over his 2 NCAA campaigns; a team-leading 12 HBP proves that this Bear's no bailer.


Zimmerman: Suburban Denver prepper makes for a logical keeper despite an air-tight Air Force Academy commitment.

Hill: Arkansas prepper who we liked pre-draft and probably requires a bonus pushing $1M to forego Ole Miss; with this selection, the Rockies shadow draft class now has one mountain in the 6'8" Craft and two Hills (Why, oh why, did I take Kansas' Devin Foyle at 15-456 over Kansas State's Drew Mount who went 34 spots earlier at 16-469!?).

Rocker: Zero scenarios in which he signs here, but Rocker the Rockies selection seems too logical not to retain.

Burns: Samford's sidearm-to-submarine GB/K relief specialist soothes the Day 2 burns from missing out on the similar Robert Broom (Mercer, 10-313 CLE); Wyatt posted a 100 FaBIO Overall Rating in '18 - his 3rd plus plus (97) or better mark in 4 collegiate seasons - and pro-promisingly rated at 93 against opposite-handed batters after never topping 57 against them before; Burns has already landed a roster spot on the White Sox Pioneer League affiliate.

Denison: Senior redshirt bat-first player who patroled RF in '18 but probably slots best as a fringy LF/1B in pro ball; he does not appear to have signed with an independent or affiliated club as yet (assuming he has interest in such).

Burns edged out Morehead State senior RHP David Calderon, who was looking FaBIO-lous as a starter in the wake of 3 mostly terrible relief-skewed seasons only to be shutdown midseason and not being able to survive a lone return attempt a few weeks later. Calderon's primary fastball sits in the lower 90s and peaks at 95 per reports, and he should be academically eligible for a graduate 5th season if a medical redshirt cannot be attained - those outcomes seem more likely than a trip to independent/affiliated baseball for the moment. Athletic junior L/L CF Matt Munoz of Abilene Christian got a longer look in Round 40 after a very good D1 debut.


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