Rockies trying to make most of very different 2020 MLB draft

Held on Wednesday and Thursday, Major League Baseball’s design is radically different this year:

* Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the draft has been reduced from 40 to five.

* The cancellation of college and high school baseball seasons means that scouting departments are missing valuable performance data this year and have been unable to see how players have handled the pressure of NCAA Tournament.

* The bonus deferral is effective this year as part of the March 26 agreement between MLB and the MLB Players Association. Players will receive $ 100,000 of their signing bonus this year and then 50% of the balance in the following two years. That could mean that teams will lean more towards drafting college seniors who have less influence, and it could also mean that high school players go to college instead of signing with big league teams.

Despite this, Bill Schmidt, the Rockies vice president of scouting, says it will continue.

“Every year, shortly after the design, we begin to prepare for next year’s design,” said Schmidt, who has led the Rockies’ scouting division since 2000. “So we’ve seen a lot of these kids for a long time. We’ve studied them for over nine months. But our philosophy remains the same: we take the best player out there.”

The Rockies have six picks in total, including the ninth overall and the 35th overall in Competitive Balance Round A. Both selections will take place on Wednesday, with their remaining four picks coming Thursday.

Schmidt never hinted at who could select the Rockies, but said this year “there is real strength in the university’s pitching.”

The following are factors that shape the Rockies’ 2020 design:

Top players on the board

Several mock concepts have selected Colorado outfielder Heston Kjerstad from the University of Arkansas with the ninth overall choice. A left-handed pitcher from Louisville, Reid Detmers is also a strong possibility, as is Georgia-rightful Emerson Hancock, if he’s still on the board.

A longshot pick in the first round would be Patrick Bailey, the catcher of the state of North Carolina.

Team needs

The Rockies’ farming system is currently low with most observers. Indeed, Baseball America is on the rankings the Rockies 29 out of 30 teams. One major reason for this is that the Rockies have graduated a number of players from minors to majors in recent years, including left-wing Kyle Freeland, right-handed Peter Lambert, infielders Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampson and Brendan Rodgers, and outfielder Sam Hilliard.

The Rockies will hit their pitching, as always, but they can also use this year’s draft to save their shelves with outfielders for the future.

Trends

Colorado’s first squad was eight of Schmidt’s 19 years at the helm in high school, but last year, the Rockies only chose a high school player for the 31st round. The Rockies have made 11 first-day selections since 2016, and have used any choice on a pitcher, first baseman, or third baseman.

Recent top picks

2019: 1B Michael Toglia (23rd overall), UCLA. Spent 2019 in the short season Boise.
2018: LHP Ryan Rolison (22nd), Ole Miss. Finished season 2019 at high-A Lancaster.
2017INF Ryan Vilade (48th), Stillwater (Okla.) High School. Spent 2019 season at high-A Lancaster. He converts to the outfield.
2016: RHP Riley Pint (4th), Overland Park (Kan.) St. Thomas Aquinas High School. The 2019 season is completed in Asheville with a low A.
2015INF Brendan Rodgers (3rd), Lake Mary (Fla.) High School. Made his Major League debut in 2019, but underwent shoulder surgery that ended the season.

Concept info

Time: 5 pm Wednesday
TV: MLB network and ESPN
Streaming: MLB.com
Choices: 1-37 (round 1 and competitive balance round A)
The Rockies’ Choices: 9th (first round); 35th (Competitive Balance Round A), 46th (Second Round); 81st (third round); 110th (fourth round); 140 (fifth round).

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