Catching feels like destiny for Rockies pick Carrigg

July 11th, 2023

DENVER -- Cole Carrigg was 8 years old and mesmerized as he watched the TV at home in Turlock, Calif.

“I was watching Buster Posey play in the 2010 World Series,” Carrigg said.

Then came the request that led to a future that is just beginning. The Rockies drafted the switch-hitting Carrigg in the Competitive Balance B round (65th overall) out of San Diego State on Sunday and announced him as a catcher -- even though he didn’t catch for the Aztecs this season.

In three seasons at SDSU, Carrigg got 53 starts in center field, 24 at shortstop, 21 at third base, 17 at second, five at catcher, five in left field and two at designated hitter. 

The position profile shows the athletic ability that Carrigg displayed while batting .333 with seven homers, 34 doubles, 90 RBIs, 101 runs scored and 39 stolen bases this season -- and making all-Mountain West Conference as an infielder in 2022 and a center fielder in ‘23.

But when given the choice, Carrigg, 21, becomes the kid who asked his parents for catching gear once he watched Posey and the Giants win the first of their three every-other-year World Series titles.

His father, Mike Carrigg, was the right person to ask. Dad played at San Jose State and played two seasons of independent ball. Mike Carrigg’s Baseball Reference page shows he played every position but pitcher and catcher. Dad understood that while his son may have requested a purchase, the youngster needed to make an investment.

“He taught me that you’ve got to be willing to do the work that nobody else wants to do,” Cole Carrigg said. “You have to be tough. Either you have it or you don’t.

“Dad said, ‘If you’re doing it, you’re doing it right.’ He was teaching me to block at 9 years old.”

Carrigg has always been athletic. At Turlock High School, he played point guard on the basketball team because he could be trusted to guard the other team’s best player. He earned all-conference and league defensive player of the year honors in his junior year. So it made sense for San Diego State to play him where he was needed.

Carrigg also built offensive confidence when he hit .388 with a .935 OPS for San Diego State as a junior, then hit .329 with a .388 on-base percentage with a wood bat last summer against top prospects in the Cape Cod League.

After his standout 2023 at San Diego State, Carrigg displayed another key part of his game at last month’s MLB Draft Combine in Phoenix. He hit triple digits on throws from shortstop and the outfield. But he also showed off his catching tools.

“There’s athleticism -- there are some impact tools to his game,” Rockies general manager Bill Schmidt said.

Carrigg, listed at 6-3 and 200 pounds, hasn't caught extensively since high school. 

“We’re getting a premium athlete, so we’re not too concerned with him catching on with the catching piece,” said Rockies senior director of scouting operations Marc Gustafson, who added that Colorado liked him as a catcher in high school.

At the combine, Carrigg stated his position preference, whether in media interviews or face-to-face meetings with teams. Some teams debated him.

“They were telling me that they would let me go and see if I could catch, and some teams wanted me in center field or switching from center to short,” Carrigg said.

“This kid when we met him, he told us to our faces that he is a catcher,” Rockies vice president/assistant general manager of scouting Danny Montgomery said. “We’re going to talk to him, figure it out. If that’s where we feel he can develop -- be that ‘70 arm guy’ and be an efficient catcher -- that’s what he’ll do. But it’s going to be all-inclusive, not, ‘We think you’re this and that’s where you’re going to go.’”

Hearing his name called as a catcher was a dream for Carrigg.

“Definitely, there was some interest from the Rockies, but I wasn’t sure which position they’d throw me out as,” Carrigg said. “But they drafted me as a catcher, and it’s a pretty cool thing.”