Rockies June Draft Impacts Pioneer League: 4 of Top 20 Prospects
For a full report on the Pioneer League Top 20 go to: https://www.baseballamerica.com/rankings/pioneer-league-top-20-prospects/
Rockies scouting director Bill Schmidt doesn’t look for attention.
“We’ll see in five years,” is his reaction when asked about how good a draft was.
Well, others aren’t waiting on the Rockies 2018 draft.
Four players signed out of that draft made Baseball America’s Pioneer League Top 20 list, including No. 1 ranked Grant Lavigne, a supplemental pick between the first and second round. Lavgine is looking to be the first high school player from New Hampshire to be drafted, signed and make it to the big leagues. The managers in the Pioneer League are certainly believers after watching him hit .350 in his professional debut. The most impressive stat considering his experience and age is that he drew 45 walks but struck out only 40 times.
“He has an advanced approach for what he’s trying to do,” Grand Junction manager Jake Opitz told Baseball America. “He’s not trying to do too much a lot of times. For a young kid able to use the whole field, that’s an impressive feat.”
In addition to Lavigne, left-handed pitcher Ryan Rolison, the No. 1 pick out of the University of Mississippi, was ranked the No. 3 prospect; right-handed pitcher Ryan Feltner, a fourth-round draft out of Ohio State, was ranked No. 6, and outfielder Niko Decolati, a sixth-round draft out of Loyola Marymount, was ranked No. 15.
Rolison never threw more than 60 pitches at Grand Junction after working 90 innings at Mississippi. He was 0-1 but had a 1.86 ERA and struck out 34 batters in 29 innings. He has plus command of three pitches.
“He’s definitely a special arm,” Opitz said. “The more experience he gets and the more time he has to develop, he’s going to be special.”
Feltner earned 16 saves, compiling a 0.88 ERA, and struck out 39 batters while issuing only four walks.
“His demeanor is what’s going to separate him. He’s a guy who gets on the mound and he carries himself like a first-rounder,” Opitz said.
Decolati made the transition from shortstop to the outfield, and made an impression with his bat in the Pioneer League. He hit .327 with 11 home runs, 56 RBI and 17 stolen bases.
"He's close to being one of the better outfielders that you're going to see," said Opitz. "Once he puts it all together he's a special one."