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Rox eyeing power bat, crafty arm in 2018 Draft

MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- The Rockies' price of the postseason -- a lower position in the 2018 MLB Draft -- is one Colorado is more than happy to pay. And they'll expect a solid player in the 22nd spot in the first round.

The Rockies relied on early picks to build a team that went to the postseason last year and is playing solid baseball early this year. Some difficult seasons allowed them to pick righty pitcher Jon Gray third overall in the 2013 Draft, lefty pitcher Kyle Freeland eighth in '14 and outfielder David Dahl 10th in '12.

DENVER -- The Rockies' price of the postseason -- a lower position in the 2018 MLB Draft -- is one Colorado is more than happy to pay. And they'll expect a solid player in the 22nd spot in the first round.

The Rockies relied on early picks to build a team that went to the postseason last year and is playing solid baseball early this year. Some difficult seasons allowed them to pick righty pitcher Jon Gray third overall in the 2013 Draft, lefty pitcher Kyle Freeland eighth in '14 and outfielder David Dahl 10th in '12.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

But to build successfully, the Rockies had to be solid outside the top 10. Lefty Tyler Anderson was 20th overall in 2011, and shortstop Trevor Story came as a compensatory first-rounder, 45th overall, for example. So the pick bears watching.

The 2018 Draft will take place today through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com today at 4 p.m. MT. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 10:30 p.m. MT. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at 10 a.m. MT.

Go to MLB.com/Draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, projected top picks from MLB Pipeline analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying.

Video: Mayo breaks down Top 200 Draft prospects

Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Rockies.

In about 50 words
The Rockies' initial pick has come below the 22nd slot seven times since they began participating in the Draft in 1992, including last year -- Stillwater (Okla.) High School infielder Ryan Vilade. (Under old Collective Bargaining Agreement rules, the Rockies lost the 11th pick when they signed Ian Desmond). Right-handed pitcher Jamey Wright, 28th overall in '93, had the most impact.

The scoop
Vice president of scouting Bill Schmidt has been running the Draft since 2000. Recent efforts under general manager Jeff Bridich have improved the depth of the starting pitching and outfield. The Rockies haven't felt so stocked that they can use their prospects in trades, and it would be nice to produce another star behind third baseman Nolan Arenado and center fielder Charlie Blackmon -- both second-rounders. But a solid system is in place, and the athletic ability around the diamond is improving. Expect the Rockies to hope for a power bat -- tough to get in this Draft and in that position -- or a pitcher who can miss bats.

First-round buzz
This is tough at the top of this year's Draft, much less with the 22nd pick. But according to Callis, the Rockies are spending quite a bit of time in Georgia. Callis predicted recently the club will nab righty pitcher Cole Wilcox of Ringgold (Ga.) Heritage High School, but also has interest in switch-hitting catcher Anthony Siegler of Cartersville, Ga.

Money matters
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $125,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.

Any team going up to five percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75-percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75-percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100-percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100-percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.

The Rockies have a pool of $7,633,900 to spend in the first 10 rounds, and their first-pick slot is valued at $2,912,300.

Shopping list
It's possible that the Rockies could bolster two spots where there is never enough -- pitching and catching. But the key for this team is positional versatility, so if a hole develops at the big league level, there are multiple choices. Speed and overall athletic ability are king.

Trend watch
The Rockies have prided themselves on avoiding trends and looking squarely at players and their individual value and ability. Even in the top of the Draft, where college players are often willing to sign for less than high schoolers, they have chosen the player they liked best.

Rising fast
In 2016, the Rockies zeroed in on right-handed-hitting infielder Garrett Hampson in the third round. Many of the preview ratings saw him as a possible utility infielder at the big league level. But Hampson's hitting eye and speed -- plus his above-average ability at second base and above-average fielding rangeat shortstop -- led to his being promoted recently to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Cinderella story
The Rockies have emphasized pure power in recent Drafts, but lefty Harrison Musgrave (eighth round, 2014) made a quick rise and is in the Rockies' bullpen. Entering Sunday, Musgrave had a 1.29 ERA in five appearances.

Video: Musgrave, Black on Musgrave's callup to Rockies

In The Show
Arenado and Story are part of the regular infield; Chris Iannetta (a 2004 fourth-round pick) is back after time with the Angels, Mariners and D-backs; Blackmon and Dahl are in the outfield, though Dahl is currently on the disabled list; and infielder Ryan McMahon has been up and down this season. The bullpen is the only place not homegrown -- lefty Musgrave is the club's only Draft pick.

Rockies' recent top picks
2013 -- Jon Gray, RHP, Rockies
2014 -- Kyle Freeland, RHP, Rockies
2015 -- Brendan Rodgers, INF, Double-A Hartford
2016 -- Riley Pint, RHP, Class A Asheville
2017 -- Ryan Vilade, INF, Class A Asheville

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

Colorado Rockies