Update: Rockies Look At Live Arm

June 9, 2009 | 9:51 am | 12  

The Rockies are looking at a power arm with the 11th selection in the first round of the annual draft on Tuesday. All indications are they will take a high school pitcher, but there is so much uncertainty they don’t know who will be there when it is their turn to pick.

Tuesday morning the talk was that right-handed Matt Hobgood of Norco, Ca., would be the selection, but this afternoon Baltimore, which has the fifth pick, emerged as a likely team to select Hobgood.

Several projected drafts have the Rockies selecting right-hander Mike Leake of Arizona State, but word is scouting director Bill Schmidt has several high school pitchers that he prefers.

The Rockies also have the 32nd and final pick in the first round, a pick they received from the Angels for the loss of free-agent closer Brian Fuentes.

Outfielder Tim Wheeler of Sacramento State has emerged as a possibility in that spot. The Rockies have talked about the power-hitting Wheeler with the No. 11 pick, but seem focused on pitching with their first pick.

The Rockies have not selected a high school pitcher in the first round since the 2000 misadventure with Matt Harrington, who turned down a $3.7 million signing bonus.

12 Comments »

  • David | June 9, 2009 | 10:23 am

    Hi Tracy,
    Nothing I’ve read has Hobgood ranked that high; why are the Rockies bucking conventional wisdom? It would seem White or Leake would be a safer pick. Is this a cost savings move (assuming they make the pick)?
    The Twins seems to go against the grain frequently and succeed, the Rockies don’t exactly have a stellar track record with their first round picks.
    Great work as always!

  • Tracy Ringolsby | June 9, 2009 | 10:58 am

    White most likely will be gone. Leake is, as you put it, a safe pick, but not expected to be an impact.
    David, I would say rockies have done all right with first round picks. A lot of focus is placed on the Reynolds draft, and you will always wonder had he stayed healthy how he might have done. He was very highly rated out of college, and in fact, in face-to-face matchups outpitched Lincecum and Morrow.
    But I don’t know if you could say they have done poorly with the likes of Fredreich, Stewart, Francis and even Weathers. Weathers was most likely going to be in the big leagues at some point this year but suffered the elbow injury that required surgery. The irony is Weather was a fresh arm without violent mechanics.

  • Mark | June 9, 2009 | 11:02 am

    David,

    I diseagree with your comment about the Rockies not having a good track record with the first round picks.

    Francis was a first round pick and has had a nice career.

    Tulo despite his struggles is still an above average SS with room to improve

    Nelson has had good seasons in the minors and could be a starting 2b one day

    Stewart Leads this team in homeruns

    Last years pick, Friedrick as been tearing up the minors this year.

    Reynolds has been injured and wasn’t a great pick at number 2 overall, but still will be a number 3 starter someday

    Weathers will be this teams closer next season as soon as he is healthy.

    Oh and Todd Helton, he was a first rounder too.

  • Mark | June 9, 2009 | 11:17 am

    Tracy,

    I don’t like the idea of taking a relief pitcher in the first round, but your right, Weathers would’ve been ok.

    Reynolds I think will be fine once he gets healthy. Reports say his sinker is like Cooks, am i wrong on that?

  • David | June 9, 2009 | 11:31 am

    Mark / Tracy,
    It’s so good to debate Rockies baseball with people!
    I will give you Francis/Tulo/Stewart/Helton/Friedrich and I’ll throw Jennings in there.
    ——————–
    I just went pick by pick through the years and you are both right, the Rockies have done better than my gut tells me. They have made some bad choices notabaly 2006/2007. I guess what bugs me is that I would like to see the Rockies be willing to break slot to sign the best possible player. They seemed to be focused on guys that will move fast and won’t break the bank. Personally I’d rather seem them keep payroll down to spend in the draft and sign guys like Kentrail Davis.

    2008 – Friedrich (good pick, especially for the late pick)
    2007 – Weathers is a good relief pitcher but is a real stretch at #8 when Parker/Bumgarner/Aumont/Heyward/Porcello were all available. I know I have the luxury of hindsight, but even at the time of the draft all of those were thought to be superior picks.
    2006 – Reynolds was a bad pick. He is Jason Young part two. Nice pitchers, but not worth a #2 pick especially when Longoria was there.
    2005 – Tulo
    2004 – Nelson. I’m running out of patience with Nelson, but he was highly thought of at the time
    2003 – Stewart
    2002 – Francis
    2000 – Harrington. Sad story, never signed anywhere.
    1999 – Jennings
    1998 – Roney – Bad Pick
    1997 – Mangum – Bad Pick
    1996 – Westbrook – Proved to be a good player down the road
    1995 – Todd
    1994 – Million – Tragic Story
    1993 – Jamey Wright… Oh what could’ve/should’ve been
    1992 – John Burke

  • Mark | June 9, 2009 | 12:03 pm

    David,

    No arguments about Reynolds or Weathers, I’m not a fan of those picks either.

    Hobgood has comparisons to Broxton and Goose Gossage, only he would be a starter much like Goose was in the beginning of his career. Throws in the mid nineties with a good Curve. His delivery is clean and he has his stuff through the 5th and 6th innings. I think he is a good pick.

    Honestly If we get Hobgood, Tim Wheeler, and Rich Poythress, with our first three picks, I will call it a great day.

  • Tracy Ringolsby | June 9, 2009 | 12:31 pm

    In fairness, in discussing the Rockies drafts we should only go back to 2000 because that is when the current folks took control.
    Do remember Aumont is only a reliever and has background questions that have to be dealt with, whcih is why he slipped to where he did. Porcello was a special case, which is why he slipped to the Tigers, who gave him a four-year, big-league contract worth around $8 million.

    Here’s a report on the draft from Baseball America:
    Jim Callis’ Quick Take
    Righthander Casey Weathers (first round) may beat Vanderbilt teammate and No. 1 overall pick David Price to the majors. He’s a reliever with a power fastball-slider combo

    No disagreement that Weathers was a bit of a surprise to go as high as he did, but he was a legit first-rounder and he was a late bloomer because he had only been pitching for two years. Here is the pre-draft report on him:
    Scouting Report: Weathers was a light-hitting junior-college outfielder when he and a teammate climbed atop a mound one day after practice to see how hard they could throw. Weathers hit 92 mph, and his days in the outfield were over. He transferred to Vanderbilt and has flourished in the back of the bullpen for college baseball’s best team, routinely blowing 96-97 mph gas. He was summoned from the Alaska League last year and joined USA Baseball’s college national team’s bullpen. He establishes his fastball early in counts, will elevate it late in counts and pitches to both sides of the plate. His delivery is generally fine, though his arm action occasionally gets long, which prevents him from getting on top of his pitches and leads to erratic command and hanging sliders. His slider has touched 91, and when he stays through the pitch upon release, it has hard, three-quarter tilt with power. He’s been durable in his brief pitching career, and his two-pitch mix (he also has a changeup) could allow him to close in the majors

    Had he not been injured, and there was nothing about him that led people to think he would be injured, and had he been in the bullpen this year, as expected, I would think his stature would be held in a better light.

    I wouldn’t say Reynolds was Jason Young part two, and Longoria is a nightmare for the Rockies, but they made what I would say is a mistake and went for need, pitching, rather than best available talent. They had Atkins, Stewart and Baker and decided to take an arm they felt would be big-league ready quickly.

  • Mark | June 9, 2009 | 1:37 pm

    Tracy,

    If the Rockies take Hobgood are they looking at him as a starter or closer? Everything I seem to read indicates he’s going to be a starter but I’ve heard things about him being a BP arm as well.

  • Steve | June 9, 2009 | 2:39 pm

    Its actually 2nd round picks where the Rockies have faltered. They’ve always done alright on 1st rounders and snatching quality guys later in the draft……however the 2nd round has generally been a wasteland for The Rockies under the current administration. They haven’t been too successful with their supplemental 1st rounders either, but the sample size is too small.
    2000 – Jason Young
    2001 – Jayson Nix (supp 1st), Trey Taylor didn’t sign
    2002 – Micah Owings didn’t sign
    2003 – Scott Beerer
    2004 – Seth Smith
    2005 – Chaz Roe (supp 1st), Daniel Carte, Zach Simons
    2006 – David Christensen
    2007 – Brian Rike
    2008 – Charlie Blackmon

    Uggh…Basically Seth Smith and a few guys who have a ways to go if they make it.

    Over that time the Dodgers nabbed Joel Hanrahan, Jonathan Broxton and a few other guys still showing promise in the minors. The D-Backs have managed Brett Anderson and Chris Snyder. San Diego has managed Xavier Nady, Chase Headley. Heck even San Fran got Freddie Lewis (ok…bad example).

    You can make the argument that the 1997 pick of Aaron Cook has been the only successful 2nd round (or supplemental 1st) that the Rockies have had to date. Recognizing that Seth Smith and the recent guys are still proving themselves….and without knowing Ben Petrick’s medical problems.

    Still, the Rockies have picks 32, 34 and 50. Their past doesn’t give me hope they’ll make quality selections there.

  • Steve | June 9, 2009 | 2:55 pm

    The 3rd round isn’t any better…
    Aaron Weatherford, Lars Davis, Keith Weiser, Kyle Hancock, Steve Register, Aaron Mardsen, Ben Crockett, Jason Frome, Chris Buglovsky……nope. At least the previous administration managed to land Josh Bard and Shawn Chacon.

    To be fair, since 2000 the Dodgers, Padres and Giants have struck out in the 3rd round. However, the D-Backs have done very well with Micah Owings, Matt Chico, Garrett Mock and Scott Hariston

    From the the 4th round on, I regain confidence in the current administration to find some gems….they always do. For some reason they just can’t figure out the 1st supplemental, 2nd and 3rd rounds. David Christensen is the biggest symbol of this….a pick that was bashed at the time as someone that people didn’t think would go till the 4th/5th round. The Rockies passed up the likes of Chris Tillman, Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Justin Masterson, Jeff Locke and Kevin Mulvey in the 2nd round all of whom while likely make far more of an impact.

  • George | June 9, 2009 | 4:37 pm

    Hobgood just went to #5 to Baltimore. So I guess #11 may not have been too high!

  • George | June 9, 2009 | 5:06 pm

    Matzek. Slipped to #11, looks like a good pick from the reports. Is he signable?