Insider Trading: Rockies Had an Edge in Preparing for the 2020 Amateur Draft

TheCowboy

Within a couple weeks after the first-year player draft, once the bulk of the signings of draft choices have been taken care of, Rockies scouting director Bill Schmidt and his staff will be back on the road, checking out the prospects for the next year’s draft.

“It’s an important part of what we do,” said Schmidt. “It gives us a head start on the next year’s draft. It allows us to get to know the kids and coaches. It’s not a vacation.”

Never has that post-draft summer work been as vital as this year, when the coronavirus basically shut down the country in mid-March, and turned scouting for the draft into phone calls, and video meetings.

This year the head start of last summer became a foundation for what transpired in the abbreviated five-round draft that was held on Wednesday and Thursday,

After using the ninth selection in the draft on Wednesday to draft high school outfielder Zac Veen in the opening moments of the draft, and high school catcher Drew Romo with the 35th pick in the Competitive Balance Round A, the Rockies wrapped up this year’s selection on Thursday with the selection of:

n Miami right-hander Chris McMahon in the second round. McMahon’s abbreviated junior year saw him go 3-0 with a 1.05 ERA in four starts for the Hurricanes, striking out 38 and walking five in 25 2/3 innings.

n Clemson left-hander Sam Weatherly in the third round. Weatherly was 2-0 with a 0.79 ERA in four starts, striking out 43 batters in in 22 2/3 innings in his debut in the Tigers rotation after working as a reliever his first two years in college.

n Castle Rock native Case Williams, a right-handed pitcher at Douglas County High School, who was rated the top right-handed pitcher in Colorado. Williams, who was on the Rockies Senior Scout Team last fall, was 14-2 with a 2.98 ERA and 134 strikeouts in his high school career, going 8-1 with a 1.81 ERA as a junior.

n And Michigan shortstop Jack Blomgren, a take-charge middle infielder who hit .286 in the abbreviated 15-game schedule. He was a second-team All-Big Ten selection in 2019 and was named to the NCAA College World Series All-tournament team in helping Michigan advance to the championship game.

Williams and Blomgren were not high on the draft projection boards, but members of the Rockies organization got to know them well.

Williams, who has a scholarship to Santa Clara, wasn’t on any of the media-created top prospect lists, but in addition to the fact he lives in Castle Rock, Rockies staff had first-hand exposure to him with the amateur team they run in the fall.

“Case was involved in our scout-team program that played in the fall with (senior director of scouting) Marc Gustafson and (assistant scouting director) Sterling Monfort and our coaches,” said Schmidt. “We saw the adjustments he made and got to him. That made us very comfortable.”

General manager Jeff Bridich said that exposure gave the Rockies an edge, pointing out the growth of Case in the last year made website scouting reports “a little bit outdated.”

Schmidt had an up-close-and-lengthy look at Blomgren a year ago when his son Andrew was a teammate of Blomgren at Michigan.

As a result, Schmidt saw a few more Wolverine games than normal, and the more he saw Michigan play the more impressed he was with Blomgren’s approach to the game.

“I saw him play in the Super regionals in Los Angeles, and sat in Omaha (during the College World Series) for two weeks,” said Schmidt. “I saw him in a three-game spring series in Arizona. The kids is a player. He dislocated a finger and wouldn’t come out of the game. He’s got that toughness edge.

“He’s going to play. He has that edge about him. You watch him and you see the competitor. He could be one of those guys who can fill in everywhere, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he became a hard-nosed second baseman. Don’t underestimate him.”

There is no underrating the 6-foot-2, 217-pound McMahon.

“He has that fastball in the mid-90s with deception with life, along with a slider and a changeup.

Schmidt sees Weatherly, 20, as a win-win. Clemson’s Friday night starter in the abbreviated spring season after two years working out of the bullpen, he struck out 106 batters in 72 1/3 college innings.

“He stepped into that starting role in a big way at Clemson, and he has the mentality and stuff to be a guy at the back end of the bullpen,” said Schmidt.

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