Rockies select '07 hero Atkins as Draft rep
Longtime scout Garlatti also tabbed to announce picks
DENVER -- Former Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins, whose late-season improbable inside-the-park home run was one of the high moments in the club's 2007 run to the World Series, will serve as a representative for the club at the annual First-Year Player Draft June 4-6.Each team will have at least one representative with significant history with the club during the MLB Network telecast. Atkins, who played with the club from 2003-09 and whose 776 games played are sixth-most in Rockies history, will be joined at the telecast by longtime scout and former Rutgers University assistant baseball coach Mike Garlatti, who is the area scouting supervisor for much of the Eastern Seaboard and the cross-checker for Canada. Commissioner Bud Selig will announce every team's first-round pick. The Rockies choose 10th overall. Atkins and Garlatti will be sitting at Colorado's Draft table and will phone in each pick. The Rockies also have a compensatory pick at No. 46, awarded when infielder Mark Ellis signed with the Dodgers. Club representatives will be introduced before going to the podium to announce the pick. The annual First-Year Player Draft will begin with the first round and Comp Round A on Monday, June 4, at 5 p.m. MT. The first night of the event will be broadcast live on MLB Network and streamed live on MLB.com. Rounds 2-40 will also be streamed live on MLB.com on June 5-6.
MLB.com's coverage, sponsored by CenturyLink, will include Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list, Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player, and Draft Caster. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft. Atkins was a fifth-round pick in 2000 out of UCLA, finished fourth in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2005 and 15th in NL Most Valuable Player voting in '06, when he hit .329 with 29 home runs and 120 RBIs.A smooth swing and occasional power were Atkins' calling cards. Speed wasn't. However, on Sept. 23, 2007, Atkins hit a line drive into left-center field at Petco Park. Padres center fielder Mike Cameron slid for it and was inured when left fielder Milton Bradley, also going for the ball, stepped on his right hand. Atkins circled the bases. The stunned Rockies, in the midst of a 14-of-15 run that put them in the playoffs and 21-of-22 stretch that put them in the World Series (where they were swept by the Red Sox), knew it was a special time. Atkins hit all but one of his 99 career homers with the Rockies. His last Major League action was 44 games with the Orioles in 2010. His last organized baseball action was Spring Training with the Pirates, who are led by former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, last season. Atkins ranks fifth in Rockies history in at-bats (2,788), and entered this season seventh in hits (805) and seventh in doubles (162). Garlatti has scouted for the Rockies throughout their history. He also works with young players as owner of Baseball Warehouse, an instruction academy in Highland Park, N.J., and founded the Union-Middlesex Autism Awareness Challenge, a major high school event in North New Brunswick, N.J. Garlatti is the father of a child on the autism spectrum, and he promotes the tournament to increase autism awareness.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.