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The Coors Effect


June 7, 2010 5:55 PM

Rockies draft preview

The MLB amateur draft starts in a little more than an hour.  The Rockies have the 26th overall pick in the draft, and will pick 25th in every round after that.  (The Texas Rangers receive a compensation pick in the first round for their failure to sign 2009 first-rounder Matt Purke; that pushes the Rockies back a spot in the first round but not in subsequent rounds.)

Most mock drafts have the Rockies selecting a pitcher in the first round.  This seems to be based largely on the Rockies' last four drafts, in which they have selected a pitcher with their first pick.  But, personally, I think such a selection would not be a good idea: while pitching seems to be the strength of this draft (aside: doesn't pitching seem to be the strength in every draft these days?), the Rockies have a farm system right now that's strong on pitchers and weak on hitters.  If you still want to count Jhoulys Chacin as a prospect, the Rockies' top three prospects at the present time are pitchers (Chacin, Christian Friedrich, and Tyler Matzek.)  And the Rockies have other solid pitching prospects.  Close to the majors, there's Esmil Rogers.  Rex Brothers is a pretty good relief prospect.  Casey Weathers, if he's ever healthy, is a solid relief prospect.  Juan Nicasio and Ethan Hollingsworth are interesting prospects.

On the hitting side of the equation -- there are prospects, but a lot of them have question marks.  Nolan Arenado might be the Rockies' best hitting prospect, and he's a long way from the major leagues.  Wilin Rosario is a solid catching prospect, but his plate discipline might hold him back.  2009 first-round pick Tim Wheeler hasn't progressed as expected, though he's still a solid prospect.  And many toolsy hitting prospects in the system have disappointed to various degrees.  It's not to say that the Rockies don't have any hitting prospects, but the depth isn't nearly as good as the Rockies have in pitching prospects.

So, is what the Rockies need another pitching prospect?  Not really.  Yes, pitchers get hurt, and can be ruined by injuries (see: Chin-hui Tsao.)  But I think the Rockies have the depth to overcome that.  On the other hand, can the Rockies really count on many hitters in the system right now developing into major leaguers?  Most likely, a couple of them will develop, but I just can't see it.  The Rockies system really lacks an impact bat, and the team should be looking for that in the draft.

Is this what they should do?  Yes.  Is this what I think they'll do?  Not really.  It's impossible to read what Rockies brass is thinking right now, but apparently a lot of people think the Rockies need another college pitcher in the system.

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