On Day 3 of the First-Year Player Draft, Colorado tabbed some position players who can slug with the best of them and some pitchers who can climb the ladder on the radar gun.
Those young athletes hope, in a matter of years, they'll be joining a pitching staff that ranks among the best in the National League or a lineup in a hitter-friendly ballpark.
"I have the ability of hitting for power," said Jordan Ballard, the Rockies' 33rd-round pick out of Virginia Military Institute. "I broke out this year with my power numbers and I knew that would help my Draft stats. That portion of my game is the highlight. I'm looking forward to going to the Rockies and driving in some runs."
The right fielder hit .313 for the Keydets this season while hammering a school-record 18 homers and scoring a team-high 58 runs as he was named to the All Big South Conference First Team.
Ballard, who called Wednesday "the day I've been waiting for for 20 years," was drafted along with Vanderbilt closer Russell Brewer (31st round), Arizona outfielder Steve Selsky (34th round) and prep standouts Jason Monda (32nd round, Capital High School in Washington) and Jimmie Koch (36th round, Sarasota High School in Florida).
"I try to go right after hitters," said Brewer, who said he routinely hits 93 mph on the radar gun and leads the Commodores in saves with six. "I use location to my advantage. I throw three pitches -- all of them for strikes -- and really challenge hitters."
Monda hit over .500 this season at Capital High School, while Koch helped pace the nationally ranked ballclub at Sarasota High School. Throw shortstop Logan Davis (38th round, Cactus Shadows High School in Arizona), the son of former NL Cy Young Award-winning closer Mark Davis, into the mix, and it's a power-packed class all the way through Round 50.
"I feel good about what we did. We'll let it play out," Rockies vice president of scouting Bill Schmidt said. "Today was just really a couple kids we needed to fill out some rosters on the short-season clubs, and the rest were a couple kids we're going to watch for the next couple months."
Selsky, who hit .370 this year for the Wildcats and notched a team-high .609 slugging percentage, said he hopes to make it to Coors Field, a welcomed transition from the expansive ballpark he's used to.
"I wont be playing in the biggest field in the nation," he said. "Arizona's field is 360 [feet] down the lines and 390 to the gaps with a 20-foot fence, so it's hard to show off power at that field. But I think power is going to play a big role in my career."
Ballard said he's received phone calls and texts on the same subject -- the opportunity to hit at Coors Field.
"A few of my friends who are really familiar with Coors Field are joking about playing in the thin air and the ball going further," Ballard said. "That's always a good thing to have. It's a very hitter-friendly ballpark, and hopefully, I'll be able to play in it someday."
Joey Nowak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less