Thursday Farm Report: Rockies Take a Late Draft Gamble
The most intriguing part of the Rockies draft came in the final minutes. In the 38th round, the Rockies selected right-handed pitcher Kumar Rocker from North Oconee High School in Bogard, Ga., the 1,146th player selected in the three-day draft.
So what's so intriguing? Baseball America ranked Kumar the 13th best player available in the draft. Kumar, whose father Tracy Rocker was a defensive lineman at Auburn, earning the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy in 1988. He was a two-time All-American, who played two seasons with the Washington Redskins before getting into coach at the college and NFL level.
So why did the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Kumar Rocker slip in the baseball draft? Signability. He has indicated a strong commitment to Vanderbilt, which has a strong reputation for developing pitchers, including the likes of David Price, Mike Minor and rookies Tyler Beede of the Giants, and Walker Buehler of the Dodgers.
So why would the Rockies draft him? It's late in the draft. The final six to eight rounds with most teams are used on players with college commitments, but the teams will use a late draft in case an unexpected circumstance develops.
Rocker does have the tools, size, athletic bloodlines and a fastball that is consistently in the low to mid-90s, reaching 98 on occasion. He also has a smooth delivery.
In Wednesday's Games
AAA Albuquerque (30-29) lost 4-3 at Iowa. Antonio Senzatela (2.70), who had put a string of strong efforts together, came out of the game with two outs in the bottom of the first with groin tightness but is expected to make his next start. Four relievers worked 7 1/3 shutout innings in relief of Senzatela, including lefty Dave Holmberg working 4 1/3, but Iowa rallied in the ninth against D.J. Johnson (1-3, 5.81), who gave up a bases-loaded, two-run single.
AA Hartford (28-31) lost 6-1 at Erie. Nelson Molina hit his first home run of the year. Left=hander Evan Grills (0-1, 9.64) made his debut in the Rockies organization, giving up five runs in four innings. Grills was a 10th-round draft of the Astros in 2010, and signed with the Rockies prior to the 2017 season, which he spent recovering from Tommy John surgery.
High A Lancaster (28-31) won 6-4 against Rancho Cucamonga. Justin Lawrence earned a four-out save. Brandon Golden (5-3, 5.19) earned the win, allowing one run on six hits and a walk, striking out seven in six innings. Willie Abreu (.255) hit a two-run home run in the first, and Colton Welker (.307) hit his sixth home run in the fifth.
Low A Asheville (21-35) lost 7-1 against Rome. Garrett Schilling (3-2, 2.54) allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings and suffered the loss. Rome right-hander Huascar Ynoa pitched six shutout innings, giving him back-to-back starts of six shutout innings against Asheville.