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Rockies prioritize pitching on Draft Day 2

MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- The Rockies began the second day of the MLB Draft by selecting starting pitchers in rounds 3-5.

They went with Furman University right-hander Will Gaddis in the third round on Tuesday, followed by St. Johns River (Fla.) State College right-hander Pearson McMahan in the fourth, and University of Texas lefty Nick Kennedy in the fifth. The run on pitching was snapped with the selection of University of Arkansas left-handed-hitting first baseman Chad Spanberger in the sixth.

DENVER -- The Rockies began the second day of the MLB Draft by selecting starting pitchers in rounds 3-5.

They went with Furman University right-hander Will Gaddis in the third round on Tuesday, followed by St. Johns River (Fla.) State College right-hander Pearson McMahan in the fourth, and University of Texas lefty Nick Kennedy in the fifth. The run on pitching was snapped with the selection of University of Arkansas left-handed-hitting first baseman Chad Spanberger in the sixth.

:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::

Interestingly, after taking infielder Ryan Vilade of Stillwater (Okla.) High School with their first pick in the second round and going to the collegiate ranks for University of Virginia relief pitcher Tommy Doyle with their second pick in Competitive Balance Round B, the Rockies took all college players Tuesday. McMahan was at a two-year school.

Part of it was financial. With no first-round pick because of the signing of free-agent outfielder first baseman Ian Desmond for five years and $70 million, the Rockies' bonus pool for the top 10 rounds was $4,615,700 -- third lowest of any team. That left them less flexible to take a college player in an early round and pay below the slotted value, then pay more for high school players drafted subsequently.

"Not that we shied away from high school kids but sometimes as you get deeper into the Draft the signability factor plays a part," Rockies vice president of scouting Bill Schmidt said. "They have the college option.

"But we liked what we got. We got a junior college kid in there along with the college guys."

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

Here is a look at the Rockies' Day 2 picks:

Round 3 (86th overall): RHP Will Gaddis, Furman University
A first-team All-Southern Conference selection, Gaddis went 9-3 with a 1.89 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 105 innings as a junior.

Last summer in the Cape Cod League, Gaddis saw an uptick in fastball velocity and went 2-1 with a 1.37 ERA, 24 strikeouts and five walks in 26 1/3 innings. Pitching for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, Gaddis earned the collegiate wood-bat league's pitcher of the week honors on July 5 after throwing eight scoreless innings against the Bourne Braves.

Video: 2017 Draft: Rockies draft RHP Will Gaddis No. 86

The Yankees selected Gaddis out of Brentwood (Tenn.) High School in the 36th round in 2014. He went 3-6 with a 5.40 ERA in 15 appearances as a Furman freshman. The following year, he developed a knuckle-curve and went 10-3 with a 3.45 ERA, was 7-1 in conference play and won eight of his final 10 starts.

Round 4 (116th pick): RHP Pearson McMahan, St. Johns River State College
At 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, McMahan is ahead of the game with a fastball-changeup combination because he pitches with consistent arm speed. The deception allowed him to pile up 11.23 strikeouts per nine innings in 2017 as a sophomore. He went 6-2 in 17 appearances (13 starts) over 75 1/3 innings and had a save.

McMahan, who has committed to the University of Florida, has long been on scouts' radar. The Pirates selected him in the 19th round in 2016.

Round 5 (146th pick): LHP Nick Kennedy, University of Texas
Kennedy, a Tampa, Fla., native, has had a meteoric rise over the last year. He appeared in just 17 games (16 innings) as a freshman, then went 8-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 53 2/3 innings as a sophomore in 2017. The improvement earned him designation as a semifinalist for the Gregg Olson Award for collegiate breakout player of the year.

Kennedy's father, Dave Kennedy, is the strength and conditioning coach for the National Football League's Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Rockies have gone to the Longhorn well for pitching often in recent years: Ty Culberth in the eighth round last year and Parker French in the fifth round in 2015.

Round 6 (176th pick): 1B Chad Spanberger, University of Arkansas
Spanberger finished ninth in the nation and second in the Southeastern Conference with 20 home runs in 2017, and hit .305 overall with 13 doubles, one triple and 67 RBIs.

The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder from Granite City, Ill., recently hit .421 in the SEC Tournament to earn MVP honors. Spanberger converted from right field to first base.

Round 7 (206th pick): LHP Lucas Gilbreath, University of Minnesota
Gilbreath, a Westminster, Colo., native who went to Legacy High in Broomfield, could eventually be completing a long route to Coors Field.

The Rockies took him in the 36th round out of high school in 2014. He also participated in the Rockies Scout Team program.

Gilbreath opted for collegiate ball and went 9-7 with a 3.04 ERA in 48 appearances, including 15 starts, for the Golden Gophers. This year as a junior he was 5-2 with a 2.66 ERA in 14 starts, and had 92 strikeouts against 32 walks in 81 1/3 innings.

Round 8 (236th pick): 2B Bret Boswell, University of Texas
Boswell, who switched from shortstop to second base as a junior in 2017, is a left-handed hitter who hit .273 with a .384 on-base percentage and tallied seven home runs, 13 doubles and 33 RBIs.

Boswell, who made just two errors for a solid defensive club, has earned a bachelor's degree in sport management and a minor in business.

Round 9 (266th pick): 1B Sean Bouchard, UCLA
Bouchard displayed positional versatility -- a trait the Rockies value -- during his collegiate career. He saw time at third base and second base before settling at first for the final 100 games, including starts in 57 games in 2017.

As a junior in 2017, Bouchard, a San Diego native, hit .306 with a team-high 39 runs, 43 RBIs, nine home runs, 16 doubles and two triples.

Round 10 (296th overall): C Austin Bernard, Pepperdine
A switch-hitting junior catcher, Bernard threw out half of the 16 runners who attempted to steal against him. He also batted .234. He missed the final two months of the season with a broken hand.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.

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