Rockies sign 23rd overall Draft pick Toglia

Colorado signs seven additional picks; Valaika called up after Dunn DFA

June 19th, 2019

PHOENIX -- The Rockies have made significant progress signing their selections from the 2019 MLB Draft, and they can now add their first-round pick to the list.

On Tuesday, the club agreed to terms with UCLA first baseman Michael Toglia, who was selected with the No. 23 overall pick. The Rockies have signed seven of their first eight Draft picks, with Michigan right-hander Karl Kauffmann (Competitive Balance B Round, No. 77 overall) being the lone exception. Kauffmann is still playing for the Wolverines in the College World Series.

Toglia, 20, batted .314/.392/.624 with 17 home runs and 65 RBIs for UCLA this past season. He was an All-Pac-12 selection for the second consecutive year and became the first player selected as a first baseman by the Rockies in the first round since Todd Helton in 1995.

According to MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis, Toglia received a $2,725,000 signing bonus, just below the slot value for the No. 23 pick, which was $2,926,800.

The Rockies came to terms with seven additional Draft picks on Tuesday: right-hander Will Ethridge (fifth round), outfielder Trevor Boone (18th round), shortstop Turner Brown (19th round), outfielder Yorvis Torrealba (20th round), right-hander Fineas Del Bonta-Smith (22nd round), right-hander Keven Pimentel (28th round) and catcher Colin Simpson (29th round).

Colorado has signed 25 of its 41 Draft selections.

Dunn DFA’d, Valaika recalled
Left-hander was designated for assignment ahead of the Rockies’ series opener vs. the D-backs at Chase Field on Tuesday, while infielder was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Colorado carried an extra reliever and played with a three-man bench this past weekend against the Padres at Coors Field. Now, the Rockies return to carrying eight relievers and four bench players.

Dunn has struggled this season, posting a 7.13 ERA over 28 games. He went on the injured list with left AC joint inflammation earlier this month. In his only appearance after his return, the lefty gave up four runs on four hits in one-third of an inning in a loss to the Padres this past Friday.

“We felt as though this was the move to make right now,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Mike understood all elements of this decision.”

Since Dunn signed with Colorado prior to the 2017 season, he has a 5.93 ERA in 121 games. He was limited to 25 games last year due to surgery on the same left AC joint that has caused soreness in his shoulder this season.

“Overall, especially the last few years here, it’s been a little bit of a struggle physically for Mike,” Black said. “This year, came into spring feeling good, and then there’s been a couple instances where his shoulder just didn’t feel great.”

The Rockies have seven days to either trade Dunn or place him on irrevocable outright waivers. If he clears waivers, he could stay in the organization and be assigned to a Minor League affiliate.

Valaika went 2-for-29 with a double and four walks over 17 games in two earlier stints with the Rockies this season. He’s had more success for Albuquerque, where he has batted .339/.372/.661 with 16 homers and 39 RBIs in 44 games.

Freeland makes progress
After struggling in his first two starts since being optioned to Triple-A, left-hander had a solid outing for Albuquerque on Monday. The southpaw allowed two runs on five hits over six innings, striking out three, in a loss to New Orleans.

Freeland is 0-3 with a 7.56 ERA in three starts since getting sent to Triple-A on May 31. But his most recent outing showed encouraging signs as he looks to work his way back to the big leagues.

“He kept the ball down through the course of his outing, really made pitches down in the strike zone, both sides of the plate,” Black said. “Change of speed was much improved over the previous two starts, so that’s something that we’ve talked about and realized he needs to do.”

In 2018, Freeland went 17-7 with a 2.85 ERA while finishing fourth in National League Cy Young Award voting. But this season, he went 2-6 with a 7.13 ERA in 12 starts for Colorado before his demotion.