A place where Colorado Rockies baseball card collectors (all 3 of us) can waste some time reading about our favorite sport. The Rockies and their cards will be the primary focus, but I like to go off on tangents as well so anything and everything baseball related may be covered here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Re-Drafting the Rockies - Part 1 (1992-1994)

Throughout the history of the Colorado Rockies, several big personnel mistakes have been made such as the Darryl Kile/Mike Hampton/Denny Neagle signings, the trading away of Jake Westbrook and Chone Figgins for scraps, and the endless loyalty to below average General Manager Dan O’Dowd.  However, the mistakes that stick out more than any for this franchise and many others are the major flubs made on draft day.

I am going to begin a 7 part series in which I “re-draft” the Rockies.  I will go back and decide whether the Rockies selection was good or not and then decide who the Rockies should have selected instead.  My one caveat is that the updated selection must have been drafted within the next 10 picks after the Rockies own selection.  This means I am not going to say that a 35th round pick should have been the Rockies 1st rounder because that would not have happened, but pick #25 going at slot #15 COULD have happened.  I will be reviewing 3 picks per year, no matter the round and I will be drafting in a vacuum, meaning I will take the best available player no matter the positional need or positional abundance.  Join me to see whether we have a NEW PICK or a STICK.


Pick #27 John Burke

 #35 Johnny Damon

How great would it have been had Johnny Damon been the first pick of the Rockies franchise?  Actual pick John Burke did make the majors, but didn't do much in 2 years in the Rockies bullpen.  We all know what happened with Damon, but I prefer to think of him in his Kansas City days before I really disliked him.

Close choices to make the majors - #28 Charles Johnson (future Rockie), #29 Jeff Schmidt

Pick #65 Mark Thompson


Mark Thompson was one of the reasons that I started following the Rockies to begin with.  As some of you know, I am from Kentucky.  Mark Thompson was a star pitcher for the University of Kentucky before being drafted by the Rockies.  He wasn't a great player in the majors, ut he did stick around for a few years unlike many of his fellow draftees.  Chosen at pick #55 by the Padres was future Rockie Todd Helton.  Happily he chose to go to college and was selected by a real team three years later.

Close choices to make the majors - #69 Chris Holt, #70 Jon Nunnally, #71 Everett Stull, #74 Brian Powell

Pick #95 Roger Bailey


Much like Burke and Thompson, Roger Bailey was also a pitcher that hung around the majors for a handful of years.  In Bailey's case, it was 3 years with the Rockies.  His final 1997 season was actually pretty good with a .500 record and an ERA around 4.00, but an unfortunate injury ended his major league career.  He attempted a comeback in the minors, but never rejoined the majors.

Close choices to make the majors - #98 Matt Williams, #101 Eric Owens, #102 Mike Buddie


Pick #28 Jamey Wright


Jamey Wright is one of those guys that have hung around forever.  He actually pitched in this year's playoffs with Tampa Bay.  He pitched okay in two separate stints as a starter in Colorado.  More recently he has become a well-traveled relief pitcher having pitched having pitched with 10 different teams since he joined the majors in 1996.  There were quite a few major league players drafted after Wright, but none with his resume in the big leagues.

Close choices to make the majors - #29 Kevin Orie, #30 Mike Bell, #32 Pat Watkins (future Rockie), #34 Jermaine Allensworth, #35 Todd Dunn, #36 Willie Adams

 Pick #70 Bryan Rekar


The Rockies drafted Rekar and he proceeded to make the majors for a couple of years, but never really made a huge impact with the Rockies.  He did remain a starter for a few years with the Devil Rays after being chosen in the expansion draft.  This is another example of Rekar being the best of a lousy lot.  He wasn't great, but was better than the surrounding picks.

Close choices to make the majors - #75 Matt Perisho, #79 Ryan McGuire, #80 Mike Welch

Pick #100 Joel Moore


Now we come to the first (but unfortunately not last) high Rockie draft pick to NOT make the big leagues.  Moore actually had a really good start to his minor league career, good enough to warrant his inclusion in the Bowman set which was much pickier about player selection in the 1990s.  He was 14-6 in AA in 1995, but arm troubles did him in and he peaked at AAA in 1997 and 1998.  Billy Koch was a very good closer for a few years before his head and his massive ego did him in.  Seriously, go read the Wikipedia entry on this guy.  It is very entertaining.

Close choices to make the majors - #102 Nate Bland, #103 Andrew Lorraine, #106 Jay Canizaro


Pick #7 Doug Million


This is one of the more tragic picks in Rockies history.  For those of you that don't know the story, Doug Million passed away at age 21 from an asthma attack.  He was well on his way to the big leagues at the time.  Who knows how his career would have turned out?  He may have been even better than Nomar, but I can only go on the actual data.  So for this pick I am going to choose the 1998 AL Rookie of the Year.  Although that would probably cost him his cherry ESPN gig because he wouldn't have played for the Sawx and therefore ESPN wouldn't have ever noticed him.

Close choices to make the majors - #8 Todd Walker (future Rockie), #9 C.J. Nitkowski, #10 Jaret Wright, #13 Paul Konerko, #14 Jason Varitek, #17 Ramon Castro

Pick #126 John Slamka


The Rockies lost their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round picks due to free agent signings (which I will delve into below), so their second choice in 1994 was 5th round selection John Slamka.  Of the 9 Rockies selections that I am discussing today, Slamka is probably the least successful.  After four years in the Rockies organization, the highest Slamka was able to climb was low A Asheville.  He was out of baseball by 1997.  Byrdak was not exactly a huge success, but after being out of baseball in 2003 he made a comeback and continues to be a successful reliever in the majors.  The best career from that round was that of #140 Javier Vazquez, but he was selected more than 10 choices after the Rockies pick.

Close choices to make the majors - #131 Brian Barkley

Pick #154 Luther Hackman

#161 Joe Mays

Like John Burke earlier, Luther Hackman is another Rockies selection that made the majors but is being replaced.  Hackman only pitched in 5 games for the 1999 Rockies and allowed a lot of runs.   He hung around the majors for four more years with both the Cardinals and Padres.  Joe Mays was the epitome of the "career year" pitcher.  If you take away his 2001 season, Mays was a career 38-57 pitcher with an ERA well over 5.00.  However in 2001 he was 17-13 with a 3.16 ERA and made the All Star team.  That season alone makes him the proper choice for this pick.

Close choices to make the majors - #160 Eric DuBose

I am normally not going to include picks lost due to free agent compensation, but 1994 was kind of a weird year in that regard due to the Rockies losing three picks.  The second rounder went to the White Sox for Ellis Burks.  The third rounder went to the Marlins for Walt Weiss, while the fourth rounder went to the Mets for Howard Johnson.  I am just going to see who the Rockies could have had without those free agent signings.

2nd round - #50 Jed Hansen
3rd round - #71 A.J. Pierzynski
4th round - #101 Danny Graves

Only one of the players actually selected with the real Rockies picks made the majors, #70 Brian Meadows selected by the Marlins.  Despite the pedigree of Pierzynski, I am extremely happy that the Rockies signed those free agents. 

Number of picks to make the majors 
This week - 6/9 = 67%
Total -         6/9 = 67%

Number of STICK picks 
This week - 4/9 = 44%
Total         - 4/9 = 44%

Thanx for reading.


Dennis said...

Cool series! I'm definitely looking forward to more of these. And I may have to do the same for the Tigers at some point.

Nick said...

Great theme! You've inspired me to go back and check how the '92 Expansion Draft worked out for the Rockies and Marlins. Can't wait to see the rest of these posts!

Ryan H said...

Great Ideas for posts. I might have to steal your idea and do the same for the Orioles if I wasn't so lazy and had more time to put some coherent posts together.

While Nomar would couldn't have gone wrong with the Nomar switch, I might have gone with Konerko since he was a drafted as a catcher. Who knows if the Rockies would have kept him behind the plate instead of moving him to 1st. Not like the Rockies have a great history of developing catchers which I'm sure you'll touch on in future posts.