3 situations for Rox to consider in MLB Draft

July 16th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Thomas Harding’s Rockies Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Let’s start by saying we can only guess which player the Rockies will choose with the 10th overall pick when the MLB Draft begins Sunday.

General manager Bill Schmidt, who has overseen every Rox Draft since 2000, certainly isn’t saying. The most educated prediction in the business goes to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo, who took his shot at the entire first round -- which also means the No. 31 and No. 38 selections for the Rockies -- in his latest mock Draft.

Mayo sees the Rockies nabbing Virginia Tech outfielder Gavin Cross at 10 with their first selection, although he sees a scenario where they take LSU third baseman Jacob Berry, whom he has going eighth overall to the Twins, as his backup choice. The other predictions are a pair of University of Tennessee products -- outfielder Jordan Beck at 31 and Tennessee righty pitcher Blake Tidwell at 38.

But here are situations to watch:

Can a top high school position player be available?
Five of the top nine picks in Mayo’s mock Draft are high school batters. Two high school batters are regulars for the club now -- third baseman Ryan McMahon (second round, 2013) and second baseman Brendan Rodgers (third overall, 2014). Going into the 2020 Draft, few had outfielder Zac Veen still being available at No. 9. The Rockies were at the ready to pick another high schooler, outfielder Benny Montgomery, at No. 8 last year.

Apple, tree
Three of Mayo’s Top 10 are sons of former Major League All-Stars -- outfielder Druw Jones, son of remarkable outfielder Andruw Jones; shortstop Jackson Holliday, who as a toddler used to slap plastic baseballs into the heads of Rockies media when his father, Matt Holliday, played for the club; and outfielder Justin Crawford, son of an outfield star, Carl Crawford. With Jones and Holliday in the running to be the top pick, only Crawford seems a Rockies possibility.

Where are the college pitchers?
The Rockies have three former collegiate pitchers (Kyle Freeland, Austin Gomber and Chad Kuhl), and the only high school-drafted pitcher in their bullpen is Robert Stephenson (Reds' first round, 2011). Righty Peter Lambert, selected out of high school in the second round in 2015, is on a long, difficult comeback from 2020 Tommy John surgery. So the Rockies have had better fortune taking collegiate pitchers.

Mayo’s prediction doesn’t have a college pitcher being taken until No. 15. But when the Rockies get to the picks at the end of the round, there could be a run on collegiate arms.