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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.