Feeling The Draft: Top Rated Rockies Selections
For all the time and effort scouting staffs put into prepare for Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft, it frequently comes down to good fortune.
The Rockies selected Todd Helton with the eighth-pick overall in the first round of the 1995 draft. And there was a bit of debate because original scouting director Pat Daugherty never had then-general manager Bob Gebhard watch Helton play.
Daugherty didn't see any reason for Gebhard to make the trip.
It was well known that the Oakland A's, who had the fifth selection overall, were set to take Helton. Word was they even had a deal in place.
Moments before the late Dick Bogard, scouting director for the A's, was to announce the team's selection in a conference call, then A's general manager Sandy Alderson informed him that he was to select right-handed pitcher Ariel Prieto, a Cuban defector who was pitching for an independent league team in Palm Springs, Ca.
Alderson was adamant that the A's needed pitching, and needed it in a hurry, and over the protest of the organization's scouts, at least one of whom quit over the incident, the A's took Prieto.
That, however, wasn't the Rockies only good fortune in landing Helton. Three years earlier, when Helton came out of high school, he was a second-round selection of the San Diego Padres. Helton and the area scout agreed to a deal, but when scouting director Reggie Waller showed up to sign Helton, the contract called for a lesser sum.
Waller blamed it on his secretary, and challenged Helton to a foot race for the difference. Helton declined, told Waller to leave, and instead of becoming a Padre, Helton went to Tennessee, where in addition to being a relief pitcher/center fielder, he was the quarterback in between Heath Shuler and Peyton Manning.
The Rockies were the beneficiary. Helton not only signed with Colorado -- for less than what he would have received from the A's -- but he became the face of the franchise, spending his entire career with the Rockies.
He has the highest career WAR of any draft choice in franchise history. WAR can be a little misguided in light of the fact the length of a player's career can inflate the WAR, but whatever numbers that are used in evaluating Helton, he's at the top of the list among Rockies players.
Dexter Fowler was a bonus for current scouting director Bill Schmidt. He selected Fowler in the 14th round of the 2004 draft. Fowler, however, was committed to play baseball for Miami. The budget didn't have the money to lure Fowler to pro ball.
Then, in the first week of August that year, the Rockies dealt Larry Walker to the Cardinals, saving roughly $2 million in salary, and Schmidt was given $1 million, which enabled him to provide a bonus that convinced Fowler to sign a pro contract instead of attending Miami.
With this year's draft being held Monday through Wednesday, take a look at drafts past.
TOP CAREER WAR FOR ROCKIES DRAFT CHOICES
|Player, pos||Round, year||School||WAR|
|Todd Helton, 1B||1st round, 1995||University of Tennessee||61.2|
|Matt Holliday, OF||7th round, 1998||Stillwater (Ok) HS||44.7|
|Troy Tulowitzki, SS||1st round, 2005||Long Beach State University||44.1|
|Nolan Arenado, 3B||2nd round, 2009||El Toro HS (Lake Forest, Ca.)||29.8|
|Craig Counsell, 2B||11th round, 1992||University of Notre Dame||22.4|
|Chone Figgins, 2b||4th round, 1997||Brandon (Fl) HS||22.2|
|Dexter Fowler, OF||14th round, 2004||Milton (Ga.) HS||18.3|
|Juan Pierre, OF||13th round, 1998||University South Alabama||17.1|
|Chris Iannetta, C||4th round, 2004||University of North Carolina||16.1|
|Aaron Cook, RHP||2nd round, 1997||Hamilton (Oh) HS||15.7|
|Clint Barmes, SS||10th round, 2001||Indiana State University||15.6|
|Charlie Blackmon, OF||2nd round, 2008||Georiga Tech||15.4|
ROCKIES 1ST ROUND DRAFT CHOICES
*Compensation Picks 46. Eddie Butler (Rockies-1s) - Supplemental Pick for loss of Free Agent Mark Ellis 45. Trevor Story (Rockies-1s) - Supplemental Pick for loss of Free Agent Octavio Dotel 47. Peter Tago (Rockies-1s) - Supplemental Pick for loss of Free Agent Jason Marquis Tim Wheeler (Rockies-1) - From Angels, compensation for Free Agent Brian Fuentes 34. Rex Brothers (Rockies-1s) - Supplemental Pick for loss of Free Agent Brian Fuentes 32. Chaz Roe (Rockies-1s) - Supplemental Pick for loss of Free Agent Vinny Castilla Jayson Nix (Rockies-1s) - Supplemental pick for failure to sign 2000 No. 1 Matt Harrington Matt Roney (Rockies-1) - From Braves, compensation for Free Agent Andres Galarraga 36. Choo Freeman (Rockies-1s) - Supplemental Pick loss of Free Agent Andres Galarraga 40. Jeff Winchester (Rockies-1s) - Supplemental Pick for loss of Free Agent Walt Weiss
Top Players by Position
|2B||Craig Counsell||22.4||2B||Clint Barmes|
|CF||Dexter Fowler||17.1||CF||Charlie Blackmon|
|SP||Aaron Cook||15.7||SP||Kyle Freeland|