Rockies Readying for Upcoming MLB Draft

With less than a week remaining until the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft, teams are honing in on players to select and fill their farm system.  Several of the picks in each year’s draft are placed on the Tri-City Dust Devils’ roster as well as other teams throughout the Rockies’ system.

In our first blog looking at this year’s draft many of the mock drafts on the internet had the Rockies taking middle infielders. Owner of the 10th selection in the first round, it looks like Colorado will take the best player available, rather than draft for need. At 19-29 so far this season, the Rockies have hit the ball okay, with the seventh highest batting average in the National League. It is on the mound where the Rockies have struggled, garnering the highest earned run average in the NL. However, each of these numbers may be slightly inflated due to the team playing half of their games at hitter-friendly Coors Field.

Picking from the tricky position of 10th in the draft, it is somewhat surprising that throughout various mock drafts only rarely does any expert foresee the club taking a pitcher. But the Rockies haven’t had a pick this high in the draft since 2007, when they took right-handed pitcher Casey Weathers with the eighth overall pick. Weathers spent time with the Dust Devils 2010. Colorado has also selected a pitcher with five of their last seven first round picks dating back to 2006, so they could be happy with their minor league haul of pitching for now and be looking for bats to help round out their lineup.

Representing the Rockies at the upcoming draft will be former third baseman and utility man Garrett Atkins. Atkins played seven seasons with the Rockies, hitting 98 homers. Although he’s only 32 years old, Atkins has not played in MLB since 2010. The draft starts with the first round taking place on Monday June 4th at 4 p.m. PT in Secaucus, N.J. That’s followed by rounds 2-15 on Tuesday June 5th beginning at 9 a.m. and rounds 16-40 on Wednesday June 6th at 9 a.m.

Here’s the latest group of guys to be linked with the 10th selection in the upcoming draft:

–           Courtney Hawkinks – OF HS(TX)

Hawkins is a 6-foot-2, 210-pound right-handed outfielder from Corpus Christi, Texas where he was named on the All-Region First-Team this season. According to Keith Law “Assuming [Albert] Almora and [Carlos] Correa are gone (which is likely), the Rockies are on Hawkins, David Dahl and Gavin Cecchini. Hawkins has one of the quickest bats in the draft and plenty of power.”

We also mentioned Dahl in our first blog of the season as Colorado looks to fill an outfield that, since the departure of Matt Holiday and apart from Carlos Gonzalez, hasn’t found a youthful bat to add depth to the lineup or defense.

The scouting report on Hawkins from “Baseball Prospect Nation” reads as follows:

“One of the more improved high school players in this year’s draft class. He has improved steadily over the last two years. Through 29 games this spring, Hawkins was hitting .452 with ten home runs and 16 stolen bases. He is also an accomplished pitcher, posting a 0.83 ERA in eight games with 44 strikeouts in just 25.1 innings. Hawkins is committed to the University of Texas. Extremely raw all around. Has plenty of power projection but has to hit for it to matter. Quieter pre-pitch mechanics will help hitting ability and could help make him more of a .250-.260 hitter long term. Unlikely to ever work counts consistently. Aggressive mentality and preference for big power will always hamper his raw hitting. Power could make up lack of secondary offensive skills if he can make enough contact. Power needs to play to profile in RF. Unlikely to have defensive ability for CF, putting more pressure on the bat.”

–          Stephen Piscotty – 3B Stanford

At 6-foot-3 and 215-pounds, Piscotty represents the potential infield partner Rockies’ fans have been waiting for. However, drafting a corner-infielder in the first round may be unlikely, with third baseman Nolan Arenado being groomed for the spot next to Troy Tulowitzki currently. Arenado was drafted in the second round of the 2009 draft by the Rockies and is currently ranked as the Rockies’ number one prospect while playing for the double-A Tulsa Drillers.

This season for the Stanford Cardinal Piscotty is batting .319 with five home runs and a team-high 54 runs batted in. According to Jonathan Mayo  of MLB.com: “The Rockies are likely still looking at a number of options, from high school hitters like Hawkins, Dahl and Gavin Cecchini to college arms like Michael Wacha. They also could go the college-bat route, deciding between the power of Clemson’s Richie Shaffer or the pure hit-abilitiy of Piscotty.”

After the draft the Dust Devils’ roster will begin to take shape, with team workouts beginning on Friday June 8th.

The Dust Devils open the 2012 season on Friday June 15th at 7:15 p.m. against the Everett AquaSox at Gesa Stadium. Opening night festivities include postgame fireworks presented by Connell Oil, 2012 magnet schedule giveaway presented by Pizza Hut and $1 Family Feast Night courtesy of Lamb Weston. Family Feast Night happens every Friday and has great concession deals with 12-ounce Coke products, french fries, ice cream sandwiches and hot dogs on sale for just one dollar.

Individual game tickets for Opening Night and the rest of the season are on sale Friday June 1st and can be ordered by phone, online at http://www.dustdevilsbaseball.com, at the stadium box office, or at all TicketsWest locations.

Ticket packages are on sale now and start at just $49, with full-season tickets available for as low as $259. Special ticket rates are available for groups of 20 or more. Season tickets, mini-plans, and group tickets can be purchased by contacting the Dust Devils front office at (509) 544-8789 or at the Gesa Stadium box office.

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