Colorado Rockies: A Decade Of Hits And Misses In The 1st Round

by Brendan Panikkar | Posted on Tuesday, August 27th, 2013
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Troy Tulowitzki

Troy Tulowitzki has been the heart and soul of the Rockies since his 2007 arrival to the big leagues

The Colorado Rockies enjoyed success in the mid to late 2000`s which included a World Series appearance in 2007 albeit a losing effort to the Boston Red Sox. The last time the Rockies were in the playoffs was 2009 and ever since then it has gone downhill for the Rockies, and with a lot of failed draft choices the past 10 seasons, the return to Rocktober still could be a while.

2013: Jonathan Gray, RHP University of Oklahoma (3rd overall)

Gray was the first round pick this past draft and he is already the top ranked prospect in the Rockies organization. He has generated a lot of hype around the Rockies front office because of his ability top pump his fastball above 100 MPH and he compliments that with other great off-speed pitches such as his slider, which is considered his best off-speed pitch. He is an imposing figure on the mound standing at 6`4 and he uses his size to generate his velocity. There is reason to be excited about Gray and the Rockies are hoping Gray will be there ace for plenty of seasons to come when his time in the majors starts.

2012: David Dahl, OF Oak Mountain High School (10th overall)

Dahl can do it all. He has excellent speed which allows for him to track down balls other outfielders cannot and his arm is powerful. He also has a pretty good bat too, which was evident when he was MVP of the Pioneer League. Dahl can steal bases, get on base in a variety of different ways, including his ability to hit for extra bases. Power is something that could develop down the road but as of right now, it looks like his main impact with the bat will be with a high batting average as his bat speed will help him catch up with major league pitching.

2011: Tyler Anderson, LHP University of Oregon (20th overall)

Anderson throws four pitches, something he did not do at the beginning of his baseball career, and when he begins to master his 4 pitches and throw them effectively for strikes, he will move up the Rockies system quickly. His fastball isn`t anything to ride on home about but Anderson is a quick worker and has the ability to get ahead of hitters easily as he works his fastball to both sides of the plate effectively. The pitch everyone raves about with Anderson is his changeup, which is devastating for hitters. Anderson is currently 23 years old and the hope is he will move up the organization quickly from here on in.

2010: Kyle Parker, OF Clemson (26th overall)

Parker is a special athlete. He hit 20 home runs and threw for 20 touchdown passes in college and he is beginning to round into shape as a good minor league prospect who could crack the majors as soon as next season. His power is undeniable, as currently in AA Tulsa,  he has 23 home runs and 69 RBI. He also is hitting for a good average of .282. Parker should start to be put into conversation of potentially making the big leagues out of spring training next season as last season he finally started becoming a selective hitter, drawing more walks and striking out less. Parker is on the way and could be a name that starts to surface in the 2013 off-season.

2009: Tyler Matzek, LHP Capistrano Valley High School (11th overall)

Matzek is still only 22 years old and has time to turn his career around and strive for the Rockies rotation but the key for Matzek is locating his pitches and cutting down on his walks. Currently in 2013, he has struck out 89 batters but has walked 71 which is a concern and his 1.53 WHIP backs that up. However, he does have a fastball which he can run up to 95 MPH and his curveball needs polishing but has proven at times to be a very good one. Matzek has time to turn things around but before he does that, he needs to control his pitches better to cut down on the walks.

2008: Christian Friedrich, LHP Eastern Kentucky University, (25th overall)

Friedrich cracked the majors in 2012 but his stint in the majors has not been kind to him. He started 16 games in 2012 for Colorado and went 5-8 with an ugly 6.17 ERA allowing a whopping 102 hits in 84.2 innings. He is currently on the 60 day DL for the Rockies and he has not yet justified his first overall selection. He has trouble in 2011 and experienced velocity decreases and was totally out of whack with his mechanics but he improved enough in 2012 to garner a big league call up. Give it some more time for the guy who was supposed to rise to the big leagues quickly but at age 26, Friedrich hasn`t shown much promise.

2007: Casey Weathers, RHP Vanderbilt (8th overall)

Weathers might be the biggest disappointment for the Rockies. They drafted him in 2007 and he still has not made the majors leagues even after a trade to the Chicago Cubs in the trade for Tyler ColvinWeathers ERA has gone up in almost every season spent in the minors and is currently 28 years old. He never really was anything flashy and is a converted outfielder after being clocked at throwin 94 MPH. Maybe Weathers should have stayed an outfielder.

2006: Greg Reynolds, RHP Stanford (2nd overall)

Considering who was taken after Reynolds in the 2006 draft, he is easily the biggest disappointment for the Rockies  in their drafting the past 10 years. Reynolds did make the big leagues in 2008 but he never really took off as the 2nd overall pick he was. His career numbers currently sit at 5-9 with a 7.55 ERA so to say things haven`t worked out for Reynolds is an understatement. He was traded to the Rangers for Chad Tracy in 2012 but was let go later in 2012. He currently is in the Cincinnati Reds organization but was DFA’d after a rough start in July.

2005: Troy Tulowitzki, SS California State University (7th overall)

Troy Tulowitzki, perennial all-star, always a threat to hit for 30+ home runs and 100+ RBI when healthy, which has been trouble but he is still in the top 3 shortstops in the major leagues. Tulowitzki and fellow teammate Carlos Gonzalez form arguably one of the best 3/4 combinations in the majors. He was an integral part of the Rockies team that reached the World Series in 2007, just two seasons after he was drafted. The Rockies hit the jackpot with this pick.

2004: Chris Nelson, SS Redan High School (9th overall)

Nelson has shown some ability to play some good ball through his mainly frustrating seasons with the Rockies. In his best season he hit .301 in 111 games with Colorado but has recently turned into nothing more than a role player or utility guy off of the bench who can be a serviceable starter depending on team needs. Nelson went from the Rockies, to the New York Yankees, to the Los Angeles Angels all this season.

2003: Ian Stewart, 3B La Quinta High School (10th overall)

Stewart has been up and down his entire career but he has finally tapered off. Stewart made his major league debut in 2007 and was called up mainly because of his power threat at the hot corner. He has always had power and could strike some fear into pitchers but as the years went along, Stewart found himself hitting fewer and fewer home runs, and a lower and lower batting average. Stewart was traded to the Cubs in 2011 and never really did a whole lot in Chicago. He was then signed in 2013 as a minor league free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers but was released after hitting .174 in 27 games. Stewart is currently a free agent and his career seems to be dwindling.

BHC Pick of the Litter: Troy Tulowitzki

BHC Franchise Flop: Greg Reynolds

Analysis: The Rockies front office has stuck out with a lot of their draft picks over the years. The only one to have a major impact is Troy Tulowitzki, and if not for him, there sure is not a whole lot else to hang their hats on. Ian Stewart, Chris Nelson, Greg Reynolds, Casey Weathers, and Christian Friedrich have all seemed to be flops so the Rockies are hoping guys like Tyler Matzek, Kyle Parker, David Dahl, Tyler Anderson, and Jonathan Gray have some sort of impact in the majors. Other than Tulowitzki, the draft is not a strong point for Colorado.

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Brendan Panikkar
About the Author

Brendan Panikkar is a graduate of Brock University's Sport Management program. Currently, he is the Vice-President, Customer Service at North Aware. He loves all sports but baseball and football take precedent over hockey and basketball. Teams: Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Argonauts, San Francisco 49ers, Toronto Raptors

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