Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Colorado Rockies
news

Rockies News

Rockies pick 2 infielders, RHP on Day 1 of Draft

@harding_at_mlb
June 4, 2019

CHICAGO -- The Rockies have long coveted UCLA switch-hitting first baseman Michael Toglia, and they now have him in their system after selecting him with the 23rd overall pick in the first round of the MLB Draft on Monday. Toglia is a player the Rockies know well, as they selected

CHICAGO -- The Rockies have long coveted UCLA switch-hitting first baseman Michael Toglia, and they now have him in their system after selecting him with the 23rd overall pick in the first round of the MLB Draft on Monday.

Toglia is a player the Rockies know well, as they selected him in 2016 out of Gig Harbor (Wash.) High School. Then Toglia, who at 20 is one of the younger junior-eligible prospects, became a solid collegiate first baseman with potential versatility. He has shown power in college ball for a Bruins team that qualified for NCAA Super Regional play this year and in the Cape Cod League, a summer wood-bat circuit where he was voted his team’s most valuable player last season.

Draft Tracker: Complete pick-by-pick coverage

“We’ve seen the growth and maturity as a staff over the last three years,” Rockies vice president Bill Schmidt said. “We’ve watched him in the Cape Cod League the last two summers, so not only the physical development of his tools that have become skills, but also the physical maturity and the mental maturity that he developed over the last three years we thought warranted him being selected where he was.”

Listed at 6-foot-5, 226 pounds, Toglia was one of three players the Rockies selected on Day 1. They took University of Georgia third baseman Aaron Schunk in the second round with the No. 62 overall pick, and University of Michigan right-handed pitcher Karl Kauffmann in Competitive Balance Round B, 77th overall.

Toglia is the first position player the Rockies have taken with their first pick in the Draft since middle infielder Brendan Rodgers, who the team chose third overall in 2015. Toglia is the first first baseman -- and first collegiate position player -- selected with the Rockies’ top pick since the only player in club history to have his number retired, Tennessee’s Todd Helton in 1995.

"I think it's really special [that the Rockies drafted me twice]," Toglia said. "I'm really thankful they took another chance on me. ... It's actually ironic, because I played for the Rockies on my Little League team, too. Life kind of goes full circle like that. ... They called it 'the Major Leagues' and they would do a draft, too.

"So it's really funny I got literally drafted by the Rockies when I was 10 years old. And who knew that was going to foreshadow something as cool and as big as this down the road?"

Toglia, who said he plans on signing after UCLA either wins the College World Series or is eliminated from the NCAA baseball tournament, also has enough athletic ability that the Rockies can at least consider adding the outfield to his tool set.

“He’s a good athlete and he’s a big kid who moves very well for the size of human being that he is,” said Colorado general manager Jeff Bridich.

Toglia also is a switch-hitter, something that is scarce in the Rockies’ system and nonexistent both at the Major League level and among the team’s Top 30 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline. He said he looks forward to visiting Coors Field for the first time and aspires to do big things with the Rockies.

"I want to win," he said. "I want to show that I'm a winner and I want to bring that to each level [of the Minors] and move up and get to Coors Field as fast as I can, and bring a championship home. That's what I want to do."

Toglia was drafted moments before the start of UCLA’s 6-3 victory over Loyola Marymount to win the Los Angeles Regional in the NCAA baseball tournament. Toglia entered that game batting .319 with a 1.025 OPS, with a team-high 16 home runs and 60 RBIs.

In 2017, on the heels of a Freshman All-America honor from Collegiate Baseball, Toglia played in the Cape for Cotuit and batted .248 with seven home runs, six doubles and 27 RBIs. Toglia returned to Cotuit last summer and, after hitting .220 with eight homers in 38 regular-season games, he earned team most valuable player honors on the strength of a .429 batting average in the playoffs.

Second-round pick Schunk hit .342 with 13 home runs, 52 RBIs and 131 total bases as a junior this season. He turns 22 on July 24 and also served as the Bulldogs’ closer but was drafted as a position player. The Rockies see him as an offensive corner infielder.

Kauffmann, also a junior, is 9-6 with a 2.62 ERA in 17 games (16 starts) for Michigan, which beat Creighton on Monday to advance to NCAA Super Regional play. Kauffman, who turns 22 on Aug. 15, has 93 strikeouts, 28 walks and a .218 batting average against in 106 1/3 innings this season. Schmidt said Kauffmann’s three-pitch mix and the strike zone command he showed this year give him a chance to become a Major League starter.

The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 10:30 a.m. MT, with exclusive coverage beginning at 11 a.m. MT. Go to MLB.com/Draft for complete coverage, including every pick on Draft Tracker, coverage and analysis from MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft and @MLBDraftTracker on Twitter.

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.