Pitching the main focus as Rox wrap up Draft

June 7th, 2018

DENVER -- Similar to past years, the Rockies focused heavily on arms in the 2018 MLB Draft, but position players did not go unnoticed.
After drafting Ryan Rolison, a left-hander from Ole Miss, with the 22nd overall pick in the first round, Grant Lavigne, from Bedford High School in New Hampshire was next off the board. Lavigne, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound first baseman, was the highest high school prospect drafted by Colorado. In the 40 rounds, as well as the compensatory round on Monday night, the Rockies selected 23 pitchers, 11 infielders, three catchers and four outfielders, with the hope of moving some players around the field.
Draft Tracker: Every Rockies pick
"The great thing is, they all start on equal footing," vice president of scouting Bill Schmidt said. "We'll get them all signed, and a lot of them are going to help us at the Major League level in Denver."
The Rockies finished Monday night drafting another SEC pitcher, Texas A&M righty Mitchell Kilkenny, but opened Tuesday drafting a position player -- Minnesota shortstop Terrin Vavra -- who brings versatility, a high baseball IQ and a pop in his swing to the organization. The club continued with two right-handers -- Ohio State's Ryan Feltner and UCLA's Jake Bird -- in the next two rounds. Colorado finished Rounds 3-10 with four college pitchers and four college position players.
:: 2018 Draft coverage ::
As the final day of the Draft quickly fired along, the Rockies gave more focus to position players, especially ones that can hit.
"It was based on our needs and the kids we've taken in the last couple of years," Schmidt said. "Ultimately we need to fill out the [Class A] Boise roster and the [Rookie-level] Grand Junction roster."
The Rockies are hoping to tap into the offensive power of players like Vavra, sixth-round pick Niko Decolati and 10th-rounder Cade Harris. Twelfth-round pick Kyle Datres, a junior third baseman from North Carolina, led the Tar Heels with a .343 batting average this season, and Schmidt said the Rockies liked his ability to play around the diamond.
"He plays with a lot of effort and energy," Schmidt said of Datres. "We think there's some hit ability there if given the chance to play at the Major League level some day."
As in past years, the Rockies' hope in developing catching depth also showed in this year's Draft. Washington's Willie MacIver, who played third base with the Huskies, was drafted as a catcher in the ninth round.
Ohio State's Jacob Barnwell was selected in the 22nd round, also as a catcher. He caught 18 runners stealing this season, keeping the running game in check for the Buckeyes. The final pick of the day, Saddleback Community College's Brett Auerbach, is a catcher as well.
College players dominated Rounds 3-32, until the Rockies drafted a slew of high school players to end the day. Some will opt to go to baseball powerhouses for college while the Rockies keep an eye on their development.
Right-hander Nick Pogue, drafted in the 33rd round, is committed to Florida, and the next two right-handers, Jake Moberg and Sean Mullen, are committed to UCLA. Rock Canyon High School's Cayden Zimmerman is committed to Air Force and left-hander Easton McMurray is committed to LSU. Right-hander Kumar Rocker and outfielder Isaiah Thomas are committed to Vanderbilt.