06/09/10 1:32 AM ET
Rockies load up on college players on Day 2
By Joey Nowak / MLB.com
The Rockies feasted on experienced ballplayers in the first two days of the Draft, choosing 10 of their first 11 players from college programs.
"It makes a world of difference going out of college than high school," said Josh Rutledge, the Rockies' third-round pick out of Alabama. "I'm definitely way more mature, I've seen different arms from a hitting standpoint and I'm so much better defensively. It gives you a leg up on some of the younger guys."
Some players come from small colleges (Brett Tanos, 10th round, Santa Ana College) while others are playing in the NCAA Super Regionals for national powerhouses (Kyle Parker, first round, Clemson).
Regardless, those players say the years of experience against elite pitching, under veteran coaches and in front of large crowds is invaluable when drafted by a big league organization.
"It definitely helps," said Russell Wilson, Colorado's fourth-round pick who has played in front of large crowds at North Carolina State as quarterback on the football team, as well as on the diamond. "I was pretty mature out of high school, but I got a little bit stronger and a little bit faster."
Rutledge also said the players have an advantage, having played summer ball away from home, experiencing the life of a ballplayer living out of a suitcase. The Rockies' second-round pick, Texas Tech closer Chad Bettis, experienced that when traveling with Team USA last summer.
"It was a stepping stone to where I wanted to further my career with pro ball," Bettis said. "To get there, I think Team USA helped me a lot."
Then, there was one pick Tuesday that rewarded a prior Draft choice after another year of school while keeping it in the family. After being taken in the 49th round in 2009, Rockies manager Jim Tracy's son, Mark, was selected in the 22nd round by Colorado.
"I'm very proud of him," the big league skipper said before Tuesday's game. "He was drafted last year and very late and went back to school. At no point did he want to be viewed as a charity case. He's got a wonderful body. It's worth taking a chance to see where it can go."
Round 2, Chad Bettis, RHP, Texas Tech: Bettis, who has topped out at 98 mph on his fastball, calls himself a "flex pitcher," willing to throw in any role for the Rockies. His experience as closer for Team USA and a big arm with a power slider could help him move to the big leagues quickly.
Round 3, Josh Rutledge, SS, Alabama: Many reports indicate the shortstop, playing in the NCAA Super Regionals for the Crimson Tide, has the tools to remain at shortstop. He's an above-average fielder with the numbers at the plate to get it done.
Round 4, Russell Wilson, 2B, North Carolina State: The question on Wilson, an intense competitor, is his commitment to basketball and football. He pledged Tuesday to wanting to win an ACC title with the Wolfpack on the gridiron this fall but also said he plans to discuss baseball plans with the Rockies this summer.
Round 5, Joshua Slaats, RHP, Hawaii: Slaats is a big-bodied (6-foot-5, 225 pounds) right-hander who caught the attention of scouts in the Cape Cod League last summer pitching against quality competition.
Round 6, Jared Simon, LF, University of Tampa: A first-team all-Sunshine State Conference selection, Simon finished the year with a .361 batting average, a team-high 12 homers and team-high 66 RBIs.
Round 7, Kraig Sitton, LHP, Oregon State: Sitton, selected in the 17th round by the Red Sox in 2009, went 1-2 with a 3.89 ERA in his redshirt junior season with the Beavers. He had 30 strikeouts in 37 innings of work.
Round 8, McKenzie Dickerson, CF, Meridian (Miss.) Community College: The switch-hitting junior college prospect was selected by the Rockies in the 29th round of the First-Year Player Draft last year.
Round 9, Geoffrey Parker, RHP, Florida State: The hefty right-hander has appeared in 28 games for the Seminoles, who are playing in the school's 10th NCAA Super Regional this week.
Round 10, Brett Tanos, 3B, Santa Ana (Calif.) College: Tanos hit .313 with a .638 slugging percentage and 29 RBIs this season at Santa Ana.
Round 11, Juan Rosado, 1B, Barbe (La.) High School: The second player from his high school team this season taken in this year's Draft.
Round 12, Matthew Crocker, LHP, Texas-San Antonio: The lefty had a 2-3 record with a 5.17 ERA in eight appearances this season.
Round 13, Joshua Mueller, RHP, Eastern Illinois: He was named a second-team ABCA All-Mideast Region as a sophomore in 2009.
Round 14, John Reid, RHP, St. Mary's (Calif.): He went 0-1 with a 0.71 ERA in 12 2/3 innings for the Gaels this season.
Round 15, William Swanner, C, La Costa (Calif.) Canyon High School: He has a bat that is projected for average and power and has strong skills behind the plate.
Round 16, Jayson Langfels, 3B, Eastern Kentucky: A two-time first-team Ohio Valley Conference selection, Langfels hit .353 this year with 52 RBIs and 16 homers.
Round 17, Ryan Casteel, C, Cleveland State Community College: He tallied 65 hits, 14 homers and 58 RBIs in the 2010 campaign.
Round 18, Juan Perez, RHP, Bethune Cookman (Fla.) College: He notched 10 saves in 23 appearances (5.40 ERA) for the conference champs this season.
Round 19, Ryan Eades, RHP, Northshore (La.) High School: Drafted as a pitcher, he was batting .400 with 39 RBIs and six homers for the defending 5A state champions.
Round 20, Blake McDade, 1B, Middle Tennessee State: He was a force at the plate for the Blue Raiders this season with a .399 average, 47 RBIs and 63 runs scored.
Round 21, Chris Giovinazzo, OF, UCLA: He was batting .279 with 31 hits and 26 runs this season for the Bruins, who have advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals.
Round 22, Mark Tracy, C, Duquesne: Tracy, who was selected in the 49th round by the Rockies last season, is the son of Colorado manager Jim Tracy.
Round 23, Bruce Kern, RHP, St. John's (NY): He went 7-5 with a 6.23 ERA in 17 appearances this year with 75 strikeouts.
Round 24, Christian Bergman, RHP, University of California-Irvine: He tied for the team lead in wins with nine this season and finished with a 3.72 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 101 2/3 innings.
Round 25, Kenneth Roberts, LHP, Middle Tennessee State: As a junior in 2009, he posted a 11-1 record with a 3.04 ERA. He went 4-6 in 15 appearances this season, including a team-high 55 strikeouts.
Round 26, Jacob Tanis, 3B, Mercer: He posted a .388 batting average for the Bears while leading the team with 104 hits and 22 homers.
Round 27, Blake Keitzman, LHP, Western Oregon: He led the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with eight complete games in 12 starts and struck out 76 batters in 75 innings.
Round 28, Joseph Rizzotti, RHP, James Martin Senior (Texas) High School: He hit .438 in the 2009-10 campaign.
Round 29, Marco Gonzales, LHP, Rocky Mountain (Colo.) High School: Gonzales has played on four straight 5A state championship teams for Rocky Mountain High School.
Round 30, Jeffrey Ames, RHP, Lower Columbia (Wash.) College: Ames helped lead the Red Devils to the program's 10th NWAACC championship this week.
Joey Nowak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.