Rockies stock up on arms on Day 2 of Draft

July 12th, 2021

After picking outfielder Benny Montgomery on Day 1, the Rockies continued to replenish their pipeline on Day 2 by making 10 more selections in Rounds 2-10.

Here's a closer look at each of their Day 2 picks:

Round 2, 44th overall: Jaden Hill, RHP, LSU

Notable Skill: Hill featured a power fastball that touched the upper 90s and peaked as high as 99 mph in his starts, as well as a mid-80s changeup, during his collegiate career at LSU. He had a rough start to the 2021 season, posting a 6.67 ERA in 29 2/3 innings across his seven starts for the Tigers before his season was cut short after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April. The biggest challenge will be improving command of his stuff and proving it over a full season after being limited to 13 total appearances (51 2/3 innings) in his three years with LSU.

Fun Fact: Hill, who is listed at 6-foot-4, was a three-star recruit as a quarterback coming out of high school and had offers from mid-level college football programs.

Quotable: "He's a very talented kid. He had a tough year with the Tommy John surgery. We feel he could bounce back in time, and has all the ability to be, really, an impact pitcher, hopefully at the Major League level.” -- Rockies interim general manager Bill Schmidt

Competitive Balance Round B, 68th overall: Joe Rock, LHP, Ohio University

Notable Skill: The biggest intangible for Rock is his size. With a 6-foot-6 frame, the righty possesses a fastball that has sat from 93-96 mph and a slider that ranged from 82-85 mph. His fastball, however, dipped to the low 90s in the spring. Rock had an impressive 2021 season, posting a 2.33 ERA in 88 2/3 innings for the Bobcats. He also cut down on walks, going from 37 over 59 innings in 2019 to walking just 27 in ‘21.

Fun Fact: Rock threw a seven-inning no-hitter against Morehead State during his second start of 2021. He also became the highest-drafted pitcher in Bobcats history, passing David Tobik, who was drafted in the third round of the 1974 MLB Draft.

Quotable: “He’s like a human cheat code. As a team, we know that whenever he’s on the mound, he’s going to give us his best. His delivery and the way the ball comes out of his hand -- something about it is just different. Whether it’s his fastball, his slider or even his changeup, it’s just different from all the other guys." -- Ohio catcher Mason Minzey told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Round 3, 79th overall: McCade Brown, RHP, Indiana

Notable Skill: Brown features a power fastball that has topped out at 97 mph, and a high-spin-rate curveball that sits around 80 mph, each of which he finally got to demonstrate in his first full season after being limited in 2019 and 2020. Brown was held back in his first two years after a back injury and the coronavirus pandemic limited his opportunities on the field, pitching just 6 2/3 innings prior to 2021. He was named Second Team All-Big 10 after putting up a 3.39 ERA in 61 innings for the Hoosiers.

Fun Fact: He pitched five innings of a combined no-hitter on April 10. It was the first no-hitter for Indiana since 1984.

Quotable: “I'll be honest, there was times early in the year where we had first-round grades on him. That didn't play out as the season went along ... [but] we think there's good upside with him.” -- Schmidt

Round 4, 109th overall: Hunter Goodman, C, Memphis

Notable Skill: The most attractive tool from Goodman is his above-average raw power. He hit a school record 21 homers in 2021 -- good enough for fourth among NCAA Division I hitters. Some scouts are concerned about how his power will adjust at higher levels due to his high leg kick and tendency to pull the ball, but he also had an improved walk rate this spring, going from 4% in his first two year to 12% this past season.

Fun Fact: He is the second position player to be drafted within the first four rounds out of the University of Memphis, joining Dave Anderson (1981, first round).

Quotable: "At times, it seems like he can hit home runs when he wants to. That is such a unique thing in our game." -- Memphis head coach Daron Schoenrock to ABC-affiliate WATN-TV

Round 5, 140th overall: Evan Justice, LHP, NC State

Notable Skill: Justice showed off his mid-90s fastball and mid-80s slider during this year’s College World Series in Omaha. He got off to a rough start in 2021 when he began the season as a starter, but turned things around after a shift to the bullpen. He had a 1.85 ERA in and 13 saves over 43 2/3 innings in his 20 appearances out of NC State's bullpen.

Fun Fact: His 13 saves were the third-most in a single season in school history and ranked second in the ACC (fourth in the NCAA) in 2021.

Quotable: “The No. 1 thing for me on his scouting report is his confidence, his belief and his toughness. He wants the ball in those tough spots and he’s not afraid of the bright lights. He’s at his best when it means the most.” -- NC State pitching coach Clint Chrysler to the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Round 6, 170th overall: Braxton Fulford, C, Texas Tech

Notable Skill: Fulford’s most promising trait is his defense, but he will look to improve on his abilities with the bat after hitting .264 in 178 at-bats in 2021. That was a dip from his last full season in 2019, when he hit .298 in 191 at-bats for the Red Raiders. Although his batting average took a dip in ‘21, he posted a .985 OPS.

Fun Fact: He was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team and was one of 16 catchers to be named a semifinalist for the 2021 Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award.

Quotable: “We think he's a very intelligent kid. I think he scored a 34 on this ACT. Very athletic. ... He had a good year, offensively. We think he's got a chance to be a productive player in our system, and hopefully, help us at the Major League level someday. Very sharp, bright kid.” -- Schmidt

Round 7, 200th overall: Evan Shawver, LHP, Cincinnati

Notable Skill: Shawver has a low 90s fastball, though he's run it up as fast as 96 mph, to go along with a plus slider and a changeup that has been effective in retiring right-handed hitters. He was delayed by an injury in 2021, but he made up for it with a strong showing in the Cape Cod League, striking out 22 batters across 12 innings. He had a 2.72 ERA in 46 1/3 innings for the Bearcats in ‘21.

Fun Fact: Shawver holds the Amherst (Ohio) High School record for strikeouts with 316.

Quotable: "I’ve said this before: He’s the best high school pitcher I’ve ever seen. He wasn’t a big intimating guy in high school, but he got on the mound and knew how to pitch. He was able to work all four corners of the plate, and it was almost unfair, at times, how much better he was.” -- Amherst High School baseball coach Matt Rositano to The Morning Journal

Round 8, 230th overall: Robby Martin Jr., OF, Florida State

Notable Skill: Martin has a knack for driving in runs, driving in 119 in his 134 games across three seasons with the Seminoles. A notable development was his improved power numbers, as he hit a career-high 11 homers in 2021. Defensively, he has a slightly above-average arm according to scouts, and his speed may limit him to playing the corner outfield spots.

Fun Fact: He earned 2021 Third Team SEC honors and he was on the 2021 Golden Spikes Award watch list.

Quotable: "[He's] a left-handed corner outfielder. We liked the toolset and we think he has a chance to develop." -- Schmidt

Round 9, 260th overall: Cullen Kafka, RHP, Oregon

Notable Skill: Kafka relied heavily on a sinker-slider combination while at Oregon. He has a fastball that sits in the low 90s -- but has reached 95 mph -- with plenty of sink, which led to a lot of ground-ball outs. His best strikeout pitch is his low-80s slider. Improving his command will be a key part of his development.

Round 10, 290th overall: Zach Kokoska, OF, Kansas State

Notable Skill: An outfielder with solid raw power and speed, Kokoska slashed .348/.430/.595 across 457 at-bats at Kansas State. He posted on-base percentages above .400 in each of his three seasons and slugged a career-best .675 in 2021, while also stealing nine bases.

Fun Fact: Kokoska had a season-long 41-game on-base streak from February 20-May 8, which was the second-longest on-base streak by a Kansas State player in the Big 12 era.

Quotable: "He’s shown patience at the plate and he is seeing the ball really well right now. After a little bit of a slow start at the beginning of the year, he’s really stepped up for us when we’ve needed it. We know what he’s capable of, we’ve seen it, so it was only a matter of time before his bat came to life.” -- Kansas State head coach Pete Hughes to The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review