|The Rockies selected Jonathan Gray from Oklahoma with their pick.|
The Colorado Rockies may have found it on Thursday. Their horrible season afforded them the rights to the 3rd overall draft pick. The Rockies selected University of Oklahoma right-handed starting pitcher Jonathan Gray.
With the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs picking ahead of the Rockies, the top top pitchers in the draft, Gray and Stanford standout Mark Appel figured to be gone, leaving the Rockies to select 3rd baseman/1st baseman Kris Bryant out of the University of San Diego.
However, after the Cubs pulled a bit of a shocker and selected Bryant, the Rockies got their chance to pick a top-of-the-line starter that could have an impact in the big league rotation by the end of the 2014 season.
The Rockies pick may end up proving to be a very good one. Appel, who was drafted by the Pirates in the 1st round of the 2012 draft, has big-time sign-ability issues. He is represented by Scott Boras, who is notorious for demanding money far higher than Major League Baseball typically uses for slot value.
Gray has Major League stuff already in his arsenal. He routinely hits 100 MPH on the radar gun, and he has the ability to take something off of his fastball and get significant run. The righty sports a 10-2 record with a 1.59 ERA. He has struck out 138 in 119 innings and walked just 22 batters.
While Bryant was the most predictable choice for the Rockies, Gray was projected by many scouts to go first overall. His stock may have slightly fallen when he tested positive for adderall, a drug used to medicate people with ADHD, something that Gray doesn't have.
A baseball draft, unlike other sports, is different because teams don't draft for immediate need. They typically draft the best player available, knowing that even the best prospects usually take a couple of years to develop, which could be enough time for the needs of an organization to change completely.
However, in this case, Gray may be closer to Major League ready than most draft picks. It wouldn't be a surprise to those who have seen him pitch for him to make his Major League debut in 2014, or possibly even sooner.
Having a guy in the organization who was thought by many to be at the top of his draft class is never a bad thing. If the Rockies can buck their trend of having trouble developing starting pitching talent, than they may have found a gem in Gray.
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