DENVER -- The Rockies selected hard-throwing right-hander Robert Tyler from the University of Georgia with the 38th overall pick, in the Lottery A round of the 2016 Draft on Thursday.
Tyler, who turns 22 on June 18 and is listed at 6-foot-4 and 226 pounds, went 3-5 with a 4.10 ERA in 14 starts with 89 strikeouts in 74 2/3 innings in 2016, and had 182 strikeouts in 179 innings in a three-season career.
Ranked the No. 25 prospect by MLB.com, Tyler sat in the 92-95 mph range and has been clocked at 100 mph. However, Tyler has displayed a strong changeup. His curveball is considered a work in progress, but at times it can dazzle. It's not clear if his future is as a starter or a reliever, but he will enter pro ball as a starter.
"We'll look at his innings and where he's at," Rockies scouting director Bill Schmidt said. "Being a starter, he made all his starts this year and probably won't change his role this summer. It'll probably be to keep him healthy, get him through the summer and get him to instructional league."
The Rockies selected Overland Park (Kan.) St. Thomas Aquinas High School right-hander Riley Pint in the first round, with the fourth overall pick. With the 45th pick, Colorado took left-hander Ben Bowden from Vanderbilt University. Schmidt said the Rockies didn't single out pitchers for the first day; they just adhered to the way players were ranked on their Draft board.
It just so happens that youngsters are throwing hard.
"I don't know if anybody knows what's going on with the arm strength, but it's out there," Schmidt said. "It's evident. Kids throw harder than they did five years ago, 10 years ago. It's also evident there's a lot more injuries, which is a byproduct. I don't know if anybody can tell you the answer. Why are people bigger today than they were 20 years ago?"
Tyler is the first Bulldogs pitcher to be taken in the first round since the Mariners selected right-hander Josh Fields in 2008, 20th overall. Fields now pitches in the Astros' organization.
Tyler has had some outstanding performances. For example, in a span of four April starts, he finished one out shy of a no-hitter against Alabama and outpitched Florida left-hander A.J. Puk, who went sixth overall to the Athletics on Thursday.
The Draft continues on Friday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 10:30 a.m. MT, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 11 a.m. MT.