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Rockies try to unearth Draft's late gems

Rockies try to unearth Draft's late gems

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DENVER -- Right fielder Brad Hawpe leads the Rockies in hitting with a .335 average. Not that anyone asks these days, but he was taken in the 11th round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft out of LSU.

Second baseman Clint Barmes is batting .291 and has made himself a regular member of the lineup. He was selected out of Indiana State right before Hawpe in 2000, in the 10th round.

In other words, even though the hype over the top picks came and went Tuesday evening, the Rockies' selection in the MLB First-Year Player Draft are still worth following.

If the Draft were structured the way it is today, Rockies regular catcher Chris Iannetta -- who returned to the club Tuesday after missing two weeks with a hamstring injury -- might have been a second-day pick. The Rockies selected him in the fourth round in 2004.

Of course, it's not where a player comes from but where he finishes. And some have climbed the ladder quickly. Iannetta played at Class A Asheville the summer he was drafted. He was in the Majors by the end of his second full pro season, roughly two years after he was selected out of the University of North Carolina.

There's always a shot that a first-day player goes on the second day this year.

In 2004, no one was calling outfielder Dexter Fowler a 14th-round pick. But that's where the Rockies were able to select him. Fowler had signed with the University of Miami, and it turned out teams were afraid he'd turn down their bonuses and go to school. But the Rockies were convinced he wanted to go pro. When they traded former All-Star outfielder Larry Walker to the Cardinals before that season was done, they had the $925,000 they needed to sign Fowler.

After 111 picks on Day 1 -- including Round 1, Compensation Round A, Round 2, Round 3 and Compensation Round B -- and Rounds 4-30 on Day 2, the Draft will resume with exclusive coverage on MLB.com with Round 31 at 9:30 a.m. MST on Thursday.

MLB.com's coverage will include a live pick-by-pick audio stream, expert commentary and the exclusive Draft Tracker, a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player, featuring statistics, scouting reports and video highlights.

Fans will not only be able to follow along every minute of the way online, but they'll be able to interact directly with Draft-eligible players and MLB.com Draft experts, among others.

The Draft Tracker will also feature the addition of Twitter, and the participation of "tweeters" such as MLB.com Draft expert @JonathanMayoB3, who will also be serving as on-air talent for all three days of the Draft; and reporter @LisaWinstonMLB, who will be writing the up-to-the-minute coverage for MLB.com.

In addition, MLB.com has created a Twitter account devoted to the Draft, where you can stay updated on every piece of info as it becomes available (@MLBDraft).

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["first-year_player_draft" ] }
{"content":["first-year_player_draft" ] }
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