First-Round Pick Wheeler Agrees

June 16, 2009 | 9:17 am | 4  

Outfielder Tim Wheeler –- the Colorado Rockies’ other first-round draft choice -– has agreed to terms and will begin his professional career with the Rockies short-season A affiliate at Tri-City. Wheeler was the 32nd player taken in the draft, the Rockies receiving the Angels first-round selection as compensation for the Angels signing free-agent Brian Fuentes.

Wheeler, 6-foot-4, 205, is a left-handed hitter who figures to play in left field although he did play center field at Sacramento State. Wheeler hit .385 with 18 home runs, 72 RBI and 15 stolen bases in the spring.

The Rockies used the 11th selection overall on left-handed pitcher Tyler Matzek from Capistrano Valley (Ca.) High School.

Negotiations with Matzek are expected to drag on with a resolution possibly not coming until the Aug. 17 deadline for players to sign.Matzek is committed to the University of Oregon.

The Rockies are optimistic of signing left-handed pitcher Rex Brothers of Lipscomb, who they selected 34th overall with a sandwich pick that also was compsensation for losing Fuentes. They, however, did not even have their first conversations with Brothers’ adviser until Tuesday afternoon.

The Rockies will not confirm the signing of Wheeler until he passes a physical.

The Rockies did announce the signing of 27 of the draft choices, including three of the top 10, and shortstop Jeffrey Squier, a 14th-round pick out of Mississippi Valley State who is from Sterling and attended Northeastern Junior College.

At least three of the signees will be with rookie-level Casper – left-handed pitcher Josh Hungerman, 17th-round, Cleveland State; left-handed pitcher David Born, 22nd-round, Long Beach State, and outfielder Dave DiNatale, 28th-round, Miami (Fla.).

In addition to Wheeler it is known that at least 10 other players the Rockies have signed will go to Tri-City, including outfielder Kent Matthews, a fourth-round pick out of Alabama, who led NCAA Division I with 28 home runs and was the SEC Player of the Year, and third baseman Joseph Sanders, a fifth-round draft choice out of Auburn.

Others with Tri-City include left-handed pitcher Thomas Musick, ninth-round, Houston; right-handed pitcher Charles Ruiz, 10th-round, Long Beach State; right-handed pitcher Richard Testa, 18th-round, Lamar; catcher William Tarleton, 20th-round, Elon; right-handed pitcher Rhett Ballard, 26th-round, Virginia Tech; right-handed pitcher Daniel Perkins, 27th-round, Delaware State; right-handed pitcher Eric Federico, 39th-round Cal State Stanislaus, and third baseman Matthew Sanders, 41st-round, Clemson.

Other draft picks the Rockies have signed include outfielder Avery Barnes, 11th round, Florida; third baseman Dominic Altobelli, 16th round, Illinois; outfielder Chandler Laurent, 21st round, Delgado (La.) College; second baeman Jose Rivera, 23rd round, Universidad Interamericana; right-handed pitcher Trevor Gibson, 25th round, San Jose State; catcher Bryce Massanari, 30th round, Georiga; right-handed pitcher Clint Tilford, 31st round, Kentucky; left-handed pithcer Steven Junker, 32nd round, Bellevue Univeristy; right-handed pitcher Coty Woods, 33rd round, Middle Tennessee State; catcher Brandon Whitby, 34th round, Prairie View A&M; right-handed pitcher Clinton McKinney, 48th round, Clemson, and outfielder Robert Hines, 50th round, Middle Tennessee State.

Additionally, the Rockies agreed to terms with shortstop Jeremiah Sammy, a non-drafted free agent out of Lamar University (Texas). Sammy, who will turn 22-years-old on July 13, hit .310 (66-for-213) with 15 doubles, 6 home runs and 33 RBI in 60 games (all starts) for the Lamar Cardinals. He also was successful in 14-of-15 stolen bases opportunities. A native of Markham, Ontario, Sammy was a two-year letterwinner at Lon Morris College in Jacksonville, Texas.

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4 Comments »

  • TJ in Phoenix | June 16, 2009 | 10:12 am

    Good news.

    Tracy, is it REALLY going to be a nightmare to sign Matzek? I saw the story you put up about him the day after he was picked, but how messy is this going to be?

    Once again, living out of state, love the site and come here daily for my Rockies fix, keep up the great work. Also, its nice to learn so much from the other posters, class acts and its nice to talk (or in this case READ) baseball without it sounding like a bunch or arguing 5 yr olds.

    Go Rockies and lets go for 12!

  • Greg Stanwood | June 16, 2009 | 10:38 am

    TJ,

    The negotiations are expected to be rough. Matzek has openly stated he wants “precedent setting money”. He has a good college deal waiting for him in Oregon, and they are really excited about them there. He basically wants to be bought out of college into the pros, otherwise he’ll be looking to head to university. I don’t get the impression that the Rockies will want to be signing him for Rick Porcello money; he’s going to have to lower his expectations, and he very well may, but either way, the Rox are probably going to have to spend more than they want.

    The result will depend both on how much Matzek is willing to drop his offer without conceding to college, and how much the Rockies FO is willing to spend. There is still a pretty decent chance that they come to ana agreement; the FO didn’t select Matzek expecting not to sign him, they know they’re going to look poor in the eyes of the fans and media if they fail. They’re going to try their best, but it may not be enough. It will last a good while, and I wouldn’t expect a decision until very close to the signing deadline in mid August.

  • Mike | June 16, 2009 | 11:52 am

    Greg’s point about the signing deadline (Aug 17) is a good one. There likely will be little news on this in June/July.

  • TJ in Phoenix | June 16, 2009 | 12:33 pm

    Thanks Guys.

    As an Arizona State alum (Go Devils-win it all in Omaha!) I’m a big fan of the college game and like to see players going that route (knowing that each player is different and it may not be their best option-just my humble preference). If memory serves, Oregon just resurrected their baseball program and I would be much happier if he ends up with the Rockies and not in the PAC-10.

    I just hope the Rockies make a good effort.