Giving a Colorado Rockies draft grade is always an interesting thing for a few different reasons. The most important is that whatever a player’s general projection might be, it immediately requires some mental judgment due to the organization’s various ballparks. Playing in Albuquerque and Denver is much different compared to many cities. However, that should not distract from what could be an important draft. It is the first since the team traded Nolan Arenado and watched Jeff Bridich leave. Let us review the selections and how they might fit into the franchise’s future.
The Rockies seemed connected to a handful of bats as the draft approached, but Benny Montgomery was the ultimate choice. This is a quality option for a franchise that needs talent in its farm system. Montgomery is very similar in some ways to 2020 draftee Zac Veen. Both are around 6’4″ and between 190-200 pounds. They also rate similarly in terms of power on MLB.com’s rankings, but they differ in some aspects as well. Montgomery’s ability to make contact is rated as vastly inferior to Veen’s. However, the 2021 selection has an outstanding defensive profile. He looks like an ideal fit as a future corner outfielder or even center fielder if his bat doesn’t hold him back. Montgomery should also be a future threat on the basepaths considering his speed.
Day 2 Selections
The second day of the draft included rounds 2-10 and Colorado focused heavily on pitching and catching. LSU’s Jaden Hill led the group despite hurting his elbow in April and throwing only 29 2/3 innings before needing Tommy John surgery. A history of injuries will make many nervous, but there is plenty of time before we need to worry about Hill’s long-term future that won’t start until 2022.
The rest of the day had some interesting top 100 draft prospects including Joe Rock and Hunter Goodman, as well as (but not top 100) McCade Brown and Robby Martin. Rock and Brown are both big 6’6″ pitchers who improved noticeably in 2021. Both are intriguing starting options given their frame and ability to throw multiple pitches. Goodman was a catcher for the University of Memphis and showed some pop in his bat with 21 home runs, but his swing could use some work along with his defense. A possible move back to the outfield where he began his college career might be a good fit. Martin wrapped his college career hitting .260/352/451 with 11 home runs at Florida State. He doesn’t have the same ceiling as Colorado’s other outfield prospects, but there is nothing wrong with an extra bat that can play the corners at Coors Field.
Intriguing Day 3 Picks
It’s always tough to evaluate the last day of the draft. It adds the most depth of any day, but the odds of anyone drafted on the final day making it to the majors are long. Rounds 11 through 20 were included on the final day and the most notable player is right-handed pitcher Bryce McGowan of UNC-Charlotte. The 49ers starter is the school’s highest-drafted pitcher since Brion Treadway way back in 2000. His velocity typically sits around 92-94 mph with good action. His 6’1″ frame might push him towards the bullpen despite his four-pitch repertoire. It’s hard to get excited about such a vanilla projection, but he was the only player that Colorado selected on day 3 in MLB’s top 250.
General Thoughts and Grade
It is hard to say whether or not Colorado did well in the 2021 draft. On the one hand, only two of their selections were in either MLB.com or Baseball America’s top 50. On the other, it’s a group that should fulfill a few organizational needs. Selecting five college pitchers on the second day should help provide what the Rockies need to survive at Coors Field. The same goes for adding six on day 3. The hope is that one can move through the system quickly and assist the major league team in the next several years. Adding a few outfield prospects is also encouraging given the home park’s outlandish dimensions.
This is not a class that will blow anyone away; the front office and scouting departments seemed to have a very specific goal in mind with this class. However, 12 fresh arms, two catchers, two infielders, and a handful of outfielders are key in boosting the team’s farm system. The next step will be signing them and determining where they fit into the Rockies’ future schemes.
Colorado Rockies Draft Grade: B
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