RHP Wallace tops college-heavy Day 2 for Rox

June 4th, 2019

DENVER -- On Day 2 of the 2019 MLB Draft, the Rockies went heavy on big right-handed pitchers. Colorado also selected a pair of outfielders and a second baseman, and all eight picks were collegiate players.

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 on MLB.com beginning at 10 a.m. MT.

“We feel good about the last two days,” said Rockies vice president of scouting Bill Schmidt. “Today was predominantly arms, as it worked out, as it’s our philosophy to take what’s best available on the Draft board.”

Here’s a look at the Rockies’ eight selections Tuesday:

Third round, 100th overall: Jacob Wallace, RHP, age 20, University of Connecticut

Wallace, ranked No. 116 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 200 Draft prospects list, became one of the best relievers in UConn history as he helped the school reach the NCAA Regional Final, where the Huskies lost to Oklahoma State. In the victory over Oklahoma State that sent UConn to that Final, the right-hander struck out seven consecutive batters on 41 pitches.

Wallace is 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, with a fastball that touches 98 mph and a slider that will get even better when he learns to get on top of it consistently in his delivery.

He grew up just one town over from Tewksbury, Mass., where current Rockies reliever Scott Oberg is from. The Rockies selected Oberg out of UConn back in 2012, and the two have met on multiple occasions. Wallace joins PJ Poulin in the Rockies' organization, a left-hander Colorado drafted out of UConn in the 11th round last year.

“Clearly the Rockies have a little extra love for the UConn closers,” Wallace said. “I wasn’t surprised that they picked me because of that history. The fact that they picked me shows they have trust in me to one day pitch at Coors Field.”

Fourth round, 129th overall: Brenton Doyle, OF, age 21, Shepherd University

Doyle features a power-speed combination that serves him well both at the plate and in the outfield. With Division 2 Shepherd, he hit well throughout his career, but will need to prove that can continue against higher-quality pitching. He made strides toward that end while playing in the Coastal Plain league, slashing .313/.366/.443 with three homers and 15 steals in 44 games.

"With better training facilities than in Division II now that I'm headed into the Rockies organization, I think I'll be even better on the field," Doyle said.

“He’s a big, physical, athletic corner outfielder,” Schmidt said. “He can run and throw, and he’s got raw power. There’s work to be done, but I think he has tremendous upside.”

Fifth round, 159th overall: Will Ethridge, RHP, age 21, Ole Miss

Ethridge, ranked No. 136 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 200 list, induces ground balls and awkward swings with his sinking fastball, a trait that would theoretically play well in the altitude of Denver. He retired 20 straight vs. Jacksonville State in a recent NCAA Oxford Regional game, and along with a 95 mph fastball, has a slider and changeup.

Growing up in Atlanta, one of his favorite players was Jeff Francoeur, who attended the same high school as Ethridge, Parkview High School in Liburn, Ga. Ethridge met with Francoeur prior to the Draft, getting advice on transitioning to the next stage of his baseball life.

“I’m excited to be a Rockie now,” Ethridge said. “I’m excited to go and hopefully play with some former teammates like Ryan Rolison (drafted 22nd overall by Colorado last year). I think my stuff would play well [at Coors Field]. I’m able to keep the ball down in the zone, and to have infielders like Nolan Arenado later on, it’s gonna help out a lot.”

Sixth round, 189th overall: Gavin Hollowell, RHP, age 22, St. John’s

At 6-foot-7 and 215 pounds, Hollowell falls right in line with Colorado’s penchant for drafting big right-handers who throw hard. In addition to his four-seam fastball, he has a slider, curveball and changeup.

Rockies bullpen catcher Kyle Cunningham is a former teammate of Hollowell’s; when Hollowell was a freshman at St. John’s, Cunningham was a senior and eventually was drafted by the Rockies.

“It just means so much to me that the Rockies see something in me that I’ve worked my whole life for,” Hollowell said.

Seventh round, 219th overall: Jared Horn, RHP, age 20, California

Horn has overcome devastating tragedy to reach the ranks of professional baseball. His father, younger brother, cousin and uncle were killed in a car accident caused by a drunk driver in November 2017. Horn, who was driving at the time, was hospitalized with serious injuries.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound right-hander has a 95 mph fastball and helped Cal reach the NCAA Regionals after posting a 2.06 ERA with 62 strikeouts during the regular season despite missing the first month due to an appendectomy. He was previously drafted out of high school by the Brewers in the 20th round of the ‘16 Draft.

Eighth round, 249th overall: Jacob Kostyshock, RHP, age 21, Arkansas

Kostyshock is another big right-hander, listed at 6-foot-5, 185 pounds. Ranked No. 184 by MLB Pipeline on its Top 200 list, he turned his collegiate career around from his sophomore to junior year by adding velocity to his fastball that has him touching 98 mph out of the bullpen.

Kostyshock helped Arkansas reach the NCAA Super Regional round by closing out TCU in the Fayetteville Regional on Monday night, getting a groundout to end the eighth inning and striking out the side in the ninth.

Ninth round, 279th overall: Isaac Collins, 2B, age 22, Creighton

Collins, normally a second baseman, played right field for Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod League in 2018 and made a spectacular catch to rob a potential go-ahead home run in the title game. The play was ranked No. 1 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 the following day.

His .308 batting average and 27 runs scored during that summer didn’t go unnoticed, and most of that production came after he moved to the leadoff spot and started hitting, which got him more and more playing time.

10th round, 309th overall: Jack Yalowitz, OF, age 22, University of Illinois

Yalowitz had a breakout sophomore season for Illinois but struggled as a junior. His bounce-back senior campaign included career highs in batting average (.335), home runs (12) and RBIs (44), as he helped lead Illinois back to the NCAA baseball tournament after missing it the year before.

In a late-April game at Nebraska, Yalowitz’s equipment bag never made it with him on the plane, apparently misrouted. He had to borrow a uniform, use a coach’s belt and a teammate’s bat and glove. It didn’t change his results, however, as he went 2-for-4 with a single and a double in a 9-1 Illini victory.