Diverse Draft class headlined by Anderson

Diverse Draft class headlined by Anderson

Diverse Draft class headlined by Anderson
From their first-round choice of University of Oregon left-handed pitcher Tyler Anderson to the 50th-round selection of high school outfielder Heath Holder, the Rockies targeted a wide scope of talent during the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.

Colorado's Draft class was headed by Anderson, who finished his junior season with the Ducks by becoming the school's all-time leader in career strikeouts (285). The southpaw was the fourth left-handed pitcher the Rockies have selected in either the first round or supplemental first round since 2008.

Anderson was 8-3 with a 2.17 ERA in 2011, and is tied for third all-time at Oregon with 17 career wins. Rockies vice president of scouting Bill Schmidt said the 6-foot-4, 215-pound lefty's athleticism, competitiveness and character "all fit what we're looking for."

Anderson, who has drawn comparisons to Rockies 2002 first-round selection Jeff Francis, wasn't highly recruited coming out of Spring Valley High School in Las Vegas, but under the tutelage of Oregon pitching coach Andrew Checketts, the lefty has matured his game and expanded his repertoire.

"I think the college experience definitely helped me polish [my game]," said Anderson, whose spectrum of pitches includes two- and four-seam fastballs, a slider, a curveball and a changeup. "Coach Checketts is a great pitching coach here, and he's just really good at developing players."

Draft Central

Though he hasn't displayed an overpowering fastball -- the pitch sits between 90 and 92 mph -- Anderson's solid control of his secondary pitches helped him set the school record for strikeouts in a season (114), and in a game (14).

"[Checketts] helped me learn to control and command four different pitches that I can use for strikes and throw for strikes at any time," Anderson said. "I think in my instance, I get a lot of guys guessing on if it's going to be a fastball, curveball, slider or changeup."

With another year of college eligibility left, Anderson said signing with the Rockies is "still all up in the air."

"There's a lot that goes on there, and I'm excited to see how that process unfolds this summer," he said. After taking Anderson, the Rockies used their selections early in the Draft to stock up on position players. Colorado selected Irving (Texas) High School shortstop Trevor Story with their supplemental first-round choice -- No. 45 overall -- a player Schmidt said "has the potential to develop some offensive skills."

Day 2 of the Draft for the Rockies was highlighted by the second-round selection of Carl Thomore, a tough-nosed outfielder out of East Brunswick (New Jersey) High School, who projects as a potential five-tool player. Thomore hit nearly .500 during his senior season.

The Rockies also added to their depth at backstop by taking Bethune-Cookman University catcher Peter O'Brien in the third round, a projected power hitter who clubbed 14 home runs with 69 RBIs in '11.

Colorado also picked up a trio of power-hitting first basemen on Day 2, including the seventh-round selection of North Carolina State's Harold Riggins, who hit 11 home runs over the final 34 games of his sophomore season in 2010. The Rockies grabbed Jordan Ribera in the 21st round, the Fresno State first baseman who hit an NCAA-best 27 home runs in 2010, and was a contributing member to the Bulldogs' 2008 national championship team.

The Rockies also struck a balance, though, using 17 of their 31 selections on pitchers, with all but one coming from the college ranks.

Right-handers Chris Jensen (University of San Diego), Thomas Stripling (Texas A&M) and Benjamin Hughes (St. Olaf) were the first three right-handed pitchers the Rockies selected after Anderson, and each has proven capable of producing high strikeout totals.

Nick Kosmider is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.