06/07/11 11:30 PM EST
Rockies turn to position players on Day 2
By Nick Kosmider / MLB.com
The Rockies began the second day of the Draft by selecting East Brunswick (New Jersey) High School outfielder Carl Thomore with their second-round choice, a player Colorado likes as much for his resiliency as his physical tools.Thomore has already dealt with a great deal of adversity in his young career. During a summer showcase game in Georgia last July, he suffered a catastrophic ankle injury when he slid into third base. The injury was so severe that Thomore thought his baseball-playing days may be over. Instead, Thomore became even stronger and projected during his senior season as someone who could be a legitimate five-tool player. "It's a great organization, and we're just thrilled for my son," Thomore's father, Ken, said in a telephone interview. "He's had some things thrown at him, but he's just fought through it. I'm proud of him. That's a true statement." The Rockies used their third-round pick on catcher Peter O'Brien of Bethune-Cookman University, a backstop who can hit for power and was regarded as a potential first-round pick entering 2011 after playing well with Team USA the previous summer. The Rockies targeted high school players more frequently than they did in 2010, when 11 of their first 12 picks were from the college ranks. Prep players comprised three of the Rockies' first five picks in this season's Draft, including fourth-round pick Dillon Thomas, a smooth-swinging lefty outfielder from Westbury Christian High School in Texas. Colorado added infield depth with its fifth-round selection, taking Texas Christian University shortstop Taylor Featherston, a talented infielder who was key member of the Horned Frogs' 2010 College World Series team. While position players were the target for Colorado in the early rounds, it certainly didn't miss the opportunity to load up on arms. The Rockies selected a college pitcher with all but one pick from rounds six through 12. Right-handed pitchers Thomas Stripling (Texas A&M) and Benjamin Hughes (St. Olaf College), drafted in the ninth and 10th rounds, respectively, are each hard throwers who have demonstrated the ability to tally high strikeout totals at the college level. Here are the Rockies' picks from Day 2: Round 2, Carl Thomore, RF, East Brunswick (N.J.) HS: Thomore hit .493 with three home runs and 22 RBIs during his senior season. He also displayed great speed, swiping 25 bases. Thomore has drawn comparisons to Mike Trout, the first-round selection of the Angels in the 2009. Round 3, Peter O'Brien, C, Bethune-Cookman University: A third-team All-American during his sophomore season in 2010, O'Brien has the ability to hit for power. He hit 14 home runs and drove in 69 runs in '11. O'Brien helped lead Bethune-Cookman to the NCAA Regionals this season, where it was eliminated by the University of Central Florida. Scouts would like to see O'Brien hit for better average -- he hit .304 during his junior season -- and improve his footwork. Round 4, Dillon Thomas, OF, Westbury Christian (Texas) HS: Thomas hit .464 with eight home runs and 35 RBIs during his senior season. A Texas A&M signee, Thomas also hit eight triples. The left-handed-swinging outfielder has also played first base. Round 5, Taylor Featherston, SS, Texas Christian University: Featherston improved his stock in 2010 when he was a key cog in the Horned Frogs' deep run in the College World Series. The shortstop, who could also play second base, hit .335 with three home runs and 42 RBIs this season. The 21-year-old will need to improve his defense, as he committed 27 errors in 2011. Round 6, Chris Jensen, RHP, University of San Diego:: The Gilbert, Ariz., native was 3-7 with a 3.95 ERA during his junior season in 2011. Twelve of his 18 appearances were starts. He led his team with 73 strikeouts. Round 7, Harold Riggins, 1B, North Carolina State: A sports management major, Riggins was originally drafted in the 35th round by the White Sox in 2008. During the final 34 games of his sophomore year in 2010, Riggins hit .370 with 11 home runs and 36 RBIs. Round 8, Roberto Padilla, LHP, San Jose State: The 6-foot-3, 201-pound hurler was the second southpaw selected by the Rockies. Padilla spent two seasons at Ohlone College, where he was a first-team All-Northern California performer. In his lone season at SJSU, Padilla was 9-6 with a 3.19 ERA. Round 9, Thomas Stripling, RHP, Texas A&M: Stripling displayed athleticism while playing basketball and football at Carroll (Texas) High School. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder didn't pitch until his senior season in high school. In his junior season at Texas A&M, Stripling is 13-2 with 2.30 ERA. He has whiffed 99 against just 16 walks. The Aggies are playing in the NCAA Super Regionals this week. Round 10, Benjamin Hughes, RHP, St. Olaf College: Hughes finished 7-1 with a 2.50 ERA. He struck out 83 batters in just 57 2/3 innings, while walking 19. The righty was named the 2011 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference pitcher of the year. Round 11, Alex Gillingham, RHP, Loyola Marymount University: After struggling to find his way on the mound during his first two seasons at LMU, Gillingham turned in a stellar junior campaign. He finished 8-4 with a 2.49 ERA in 14 starts. The righty struck out 78 batters in 112 innings, but he showed inconsistency at times, walking 24 and hitting 10 batters. Round 12, David Schuknecht, C, Palm Desert (Calif.) High School: Schuknecht impressed at the plate and behind during his senior season. He hit .411 with three home runs and 25 RBIs, while sporting a .990 fielding percentage, committing just two errors. The left-handed-hitting Schuknecht is a University of Arizona commit. Round 13, Kyle Roliard, LHP, Louisiana Tech: After sporting an ERA over 11 during his first two seasons as a reliever, Roliard showed marked improvement as a junior. The southpaw allowed 21 earned runs in 35 1/3 innings (5.35 ERA). He struck out 40 against 14 walks. The Houston native was also a wide receiver in high school. Round 14, Brian Humphries, CF, Pepperdine University: Humphries saw improvement from his sophomore to junior seasons after spending the summer in between in the Cape Cod League. Humphries hit .288 with three home runs and 28 RBIs as a junior while patrolling center field for the Waves. His uncle, Mark Malone, was an NFL quarterback. Round 15, Tim Smalling, SS, Virginia Tech: At 6-foot-3, 207 pounds, Smalling has a build similar to that of Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. The 23-year-old spent his first two seasons with Arkansas before transferring to Virginia Tech. A 14th-round pick of the Nationals in 2010, Smalling hit .331 with 16 home runs and 79 RBIs during his two seasons with the Hokies. Round 16, Preston Tucker, 1B, University of Florida: It has been a good week for lefty-hitting Tucker. On Sunday, Tucker sent the Gators to the NCAA Super Regionals with a five-RBI performance in Florida's 11-4 win over Miami. The power-hitting first baseman has belted 13 home runs with 65 RBIs this season while hitting .319. Round 17, William Rankin, RHP, Southern Polytechnic State University (Ala.): Rankin finished 9-2 with a 1.94 ERA. His nine wins are 24th among Division I schools, and his ERA is 28th. Round 18, Benjamin Alsup, RHP, Louisiana State: Alsup was a member of coach Paul Mainieri's first recruiting class at LSU, and has been a valuable member of the staff for the Tigers the past two seasons. He was 6-5 with a 4.66 ERA as a senior, starting 12 of the 14 games he appeared in. Working mainly as a reliever in his junior season, Alsup posted a 5-1 record with a 3.88 ERA. Round 19, Jesse Meaux, RHP, University of California, Santa Barbara: After being selected in the 44th round by the Phillies last year, Meaux returned to the Gauchos for his senior season and compiled a 3-5 record with a 3.70 ERA in 10 starts. Round 20, Daniel Winkler, RHP, University of Central Florida: Winkler has played one season for Central Florida after transferring from Parkland College, where he helped lead the team to a National Junior College Athletic Association national title as a freshman. In 2011, Winkler was 3-4 with a 4.70 ERA. He struck out 92 batters against 24 walked in 82 1/3 innings. Round 21, Jordan Ribera, 1B, Fresno State: At 5-foot-11, 230 pounds, Ribera is built more like a catcher than a first baseman. He has displayed great power, leading the country with 27 home runs during his junior season in 2010. He helped lead the Bulldogs to a national title as a freshman in '08, when he hit home runs against Georgia and Rice in the College World Series. Round 22, Logan Mahon, LHP, Southeast Missouri State: The 6-foot-2 southpaw spent his first two collegiate seasons at Kaskaskia (Ill.) College. After starting during his first season at Southeast Missouri, Mahon worked as a reliever in 2011, due in part to elbow problems he developed during the fall. Round 23, Brook Hart, LHP, Yale University: It was only a matter of time before the Rockies selected their quarterback. Hart was a part-time starter at signal-caller for the Yale football team before turning his attention to the mound. He posted a 2.23 ERA in nine starts in 2011, earning All-Ivy League honorable mention. Round 24, Connor McKay, OF, Regis Jesuit (Colo.) High School: The first local product taken by the Rockies in this year's Draft, McKay has an athletic build at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds. McKay also played receiver for the school's football team and suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during the state championship game on Dec. 4, which forced him to miss much of his senior baseball season. He is a University of Kansas commit. Round 25, Patrick Johnson, RHP, University of North Carolina: Johnson elevated his Draft status with a stellar senior season for the Tar Heels. He has compiled a 12-1 record with a 2.36 ERA, while striking out 113 against 29 walks in 99 1/3 innings. Johnson will be back in action this weekend when Tar Heels host Stanford in a NCAA Super Regionals series. Round 26, Michael Wolford, RHP, University of California, Riverside: After logging just 47 innings during his first three years at UCR, Wolford elevated his game during his senior season. He posted a 2-0 record with 2.35 ERA in 22 relief appearances. The righty struck out 26 while walking five in 30 2/3 innings. Round 27, Matthew Argyropoulos, 3B, Washington State: Argyropoulos batted .283 with 17 extra-base hits and 28 RBIs during his senior season with the Cougars. He was a first-team all-state performer in basketball and baseball during his senior year at Mark Morris High School in Washington. His mother, Jennifer, played volleyball and basketball at Lower Columbia College. Round 28, Joshua Correa, RF, Eloisa Pascual (Puerto Rico) High School: Correa has shown ability to become a five-tool player. He has great speed, logging a 6.53-second mark in the 60 yard dash. Correa, 18, is the son of former Major League pitcher Edwin Correa, who played a combined three seasons with the Rangers and White Sox. Round 29, Matthew Dermody, LHP, University of Iowa: A draft-eligible sophomore, Dermody was 4-6 with a 4.15 ERA in 14 starts for the Hawkeyes in 2011. He was the first pitcher in Iowa high school history to strike out all 18 batters in a six-inning perfect game. He also played tennis and basketball at Norwalk High School. Round 30, John Curtiss, RHP, Carroll (Texas) High School: Curtiss, a 6-foot-4 righty has displayed a strong fastball, which has been clocked at 93 mph. His changeup is still developing, but Curtiss has a high-ceiling as a potential power pitcher, whose velocity will increase as he adds weight to his 190-pound frame. Live coverage of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft resumes at 10 a.m. MT Wednesday on MLB.com, where fans will receive exclusive coverage of Day 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player. You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Nick Kosmider is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.