DENVER -- Brad Hawpe was nowhere near the top of the 2000 MLB First-Year Player Draft, but his story helps illustrate the importance of the process.
The Rockies didn't select Hawpe until the 11th round, out of LSU, but through hard work he made himself a big name when it counted. Hawpe played for the Rockies from 2000-10, was a key member of the 2007 team that went to the World Series and appeared in the 2009 All-Star Game.
Now Hawpe will participate in the glamour portion of the Draft.
Hawpe and Walker Monfort, the Rockies' director of corporate sales, will represent the club on the floor of Studio 42 at MLB Network in Secaucus, N.J., on June 5 for the first night of the three-day First-Year Player Draft.
The 2014 Draft will take place June 5-7, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday, June 5, at 4 p.m. MT. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 5 p.m., with the top 74 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of the second and third days will begin with a live Draft show at 10:30 p.m. MT on June 6.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Each team will be represented by a successful figure in that team's history. The list includes Hall of Famers Andre Dawson, Fergie Jenkins, Tony Perez and Tommy Lasorda, along with four Cy Young Award winners, two Most Valuable Player Award winners and 29 former All-Stars.
But the lifeblood of the Draft is players like Hawpe, who won't be posing for the cameras and receiving the fanfare. Heck, even the 11th-rounders now receive more attention than Hawpe.
"There was quite a difference when I got drafted, finding out on a slow Internet signal," Hawpe said from a ranch that he and several of his old teammates own in the Fort Worth, Texas, area. "I didn't know until after practice. I was at LSU getting ready for the College World Series. As a baseball player, you focus on what's in front of you.
"When I finally called it up, it said '11th round, Brad Hawpe, Louisiana State University, left-handed pitcher.'"
Of course, the Rockies knew Hawpe was a hitter. Truth be told, few players drafted as late as Hawpe make it. But Hawpe had the attitude that many of the high-round picks who will be celebrated in this year's Draft should adopt.
"At the top of the Draft, you get noticed more and get more signing bonus money, but whether you go in the first round, the 11th round or the 50th round, what matters is that you take advantage of that opportunity," Hawpe said. "I've always said the Minor Leagues are not about making guys better. It's about weeding guys out. It's seeing who has the mental toughness, physical toughness and health. You've got to go through four or five levels, and it's tough. But it's a weeding-out process.
"That's the difference between baseball and a sport like football. In football, you draft a guy and he's in The Show. Baseball is a long process and you have to battle."
In fact, the lesser-publicized picks made the 2000 Draft special. Top Rockies pick Matt Harrington, a high school left-handed pitcher, never signed after a protracted and bitter negotiation. Second-round pick Jason Young, from Stanford, made it to the Majors, but injuries snuffed out his career before it could gain momentum.
However, fifth-round pick Garrett Atkins was the starter at third base for playoff Rockies teams in 2007 and 2009. The 10th-round pick, Clint Barmes, was the starting second baseman on the 2009 team and is still active with the Pirates.
Hawpe never fully recovered from injuries he incurred late in his time with the Rockies and an arm injury he had while with the Padres in 2011. After missing 2012, he appeared in 17 games with the Angels before being released. Although he said he has had interesting discussions with clubs about off-the-field opportunities, Hawpe is enjoying fatherhood, ranching and retirement from the game.
"I love baseball but the thing that killed me was being away from my family," he said. "Now I can go to my daughter's softball games and her dances. I can take my son to karate and to his baseball. I can put them to bed at night. I'm a dad now.
"Maybe I'd like to get back into the game at some point, but I'm a partner in a baseball academy. We have 500, 600 kids come through here. I get to show up, teach them some things, then go home. I love giving back to baseball. It's what the older players taught me, that you should give the younger players your time."
This year, the Rockies' first pick will be eighth overall. They also choose 35th as part of Competitive Balance Round A (as part of the 2012-16 Basic Agreement between MLB and the MLB Players Association, the Competitive Balance Rounds give clubs with the lowest revenues and in the smallest markets the opportunity to obtain additional Draft picks through a lottery, which was held last July), 48th in the second round and 82nd in the third.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb.