The Rockies’ Valleys

In the 2005 amateur draft the Rockies popped Long Beach State shortstop Troy Tulowitzki at seventh overall. In retrospect, this draft is absolutely loaded with talent upfront. Four of the top 10 selections are all-star level players, three others are above average contributors right now, and only Wade Townsend has no chance of being a useful major leaguer.

Tulowitzki is one of those all-star quality players. He’s posted at least five wins in the two seasons he’s stayed healthy throughout and Colorado was fortuitous enough to sign him to a team-friendly extension. It’s fair to say Colorado has to be happy with their choice and it also seems safe to call Tulowitzki the best player taken outside of the top five. Plain and simple: The Rockies nailed it.

A year later they selected Stanford’s Greg Reynolds – a tree of a man – with the second overall pick. In 2007 the Rockies would once more hold a top 10 pick and would select another college arm in the form of Vanderbilt closer Casey Weathers. The assumption with college players is that they will generally be ready for major league action quicker than their high school counterparts. That assumption is usually true. Unfortunately for the Rockies, Reynolds and Weather have combined to pitch in 14 games for the big league team, and have a combined 5.61 xFIP.

Weathers is still recovering from a blown elbow that kept him out for the entire 2009 season. Meanwhile, Reynolds will begin a rehab assignment on Saturday after only pitching in one game during the 2009 season thanks to a shoulder injury. The pair has contributed more in the way of insurance payments than on the field achievements.

Writing “What if …” articles centered on draft selections is ultimately cliché and fruitless. The knowledge of who the Rockies would have drafted and how those players would have developed is either unavailable or just unknown. The one thing that can be said is that Colorado seems pretty apt at developing their guys – just take a yonder at their lineup, after all – and while they could not have projected injuries, one does wonder just how much better the Rockies would be if they had wound up selecting someone else instead of at least one of Reynolds and Weathers.

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12 Responses to “The Rockies’ Valleys”

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  1. Shaggychild says:

    Who was still available at those picks that is, or is looking to be a major league player?

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    • Resolution says:

      Lincecum was when we took Reynolds, but I’m not sure if he’ll amount to much in the majors…

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    • Tyler says:

      Longoria and Lincecum

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    • Steve says:

      In the 2007 draft, the Rockies were considering taking Jason Heyward instead of Weathers.

      So yes, in a perfect world they could have ended up with Heyward, Tulo & Longoria.

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      • resolution says:

        Were we really looking at Heyward? I thought because he played in a smaller school in a crappier division in GA, he was relatively low key and thus the Braves’ little secret.

        No joke we’d be terrifying if we had Heyward (but the same could probably be said for a lot of teams)…

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  2. Rockymountainhigh says:

    “Writing ‘What if …’ articles centered on draft selections is ultimately cliché and fruitless.”

    But here ya’ go anyway!

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  3. Bryan says:

    The entire 14 games and 5.61 xFIP belongs to Reynolds; Weathers has yet to appear in a big league game.

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  4. The draft is a crapshoot. The odds of finding a good player even with a top 5 overall pick is under that of a coin flip, and just drops like a rock after that.

    That is why articles like this is a useless exercise unless you can compare their overall success over a long period of time against their expected value based on where they picked in the draft.

    Roughly, among those three picks, they on average would have come out with about one good player from those picks (actual odds are probably just a hair under, based on my study), so they came out OK, average.

    Even then, expectations is not reality, the reality is that when you flip that coin 8 times, sometimes you will come up tails every time while you called heads every time, and it would be perfectly within statistical expectations, though obviously, everyone will be calling for your head, as the GM.

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  5. JH says:

    In all fairness, both the Reynolds and Weathers picks were panned universally at the time. The Rockies were thought to be hard after Longoria and pulled a late switch to a guy who really didn’t have the stuff to justify a #2 overall selection, and taking a reliever with the #8 overall pick is virtually never a good move (it made sense for the Nationals to take Storen #10 overall last year, but needing a guy who will sign under slot because you’re picking the best amateur pitcher in the history of the draft with the #1 selection is pretty much the only situation where that makes sense).

    Those were bad picks on draft day, and they’ve proven to be absolutely brutal with the benefit of hindsight.

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  6. Jeff says:

    Sorry to nitpick, but writing that “it seems safe to call Tulowitzki the best player drafted out of the top 5”, seems a bit premature, as players who were high school picks such as Colby Rasmus, Cameron Maybin, Andrew McCutchen, and Jay Bruce all have yet to reach their peak.

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