DENVER -- The question many Rockies fans are asking is: Can the Rockies sign left-hander Tyler Matzek from Capistrano Valley (Calif.) High School, the No. 11 overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, to a contract? Jeff Matzek, Tyler's father, hinted at how the negotiations might play out.
"It's going to be a long negotiation, I have a feeling," Jeff Matzek told the Orange County Register. "If the Rockies are serious about what they're doing, they'll get a deal done."
According to both Baseball America and ESPN.com, they projected Matzek to go the Giants with the No. 6 pick. Matzek fell onto the Rockies' lap because of signability concerns and his preference to hit, which is why he has committed to the University of Oregon. Baseball America, citing multiple club sources, reported that Matzek wanted "precedent-setting money," which meant surpassing the record $7 million guarantee given to high schoolers Josh Beckett and Rick Porcello. Matzek will be represented by Greg Genske, the head agent of Newport Beach, Calif.-based Legacy Sports.
Matzek, 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, throws a 90-93 mph fastball with a short, hard-breaking slider as his best secondary pitch. In 2009, Matzek went 11-1 with a 0.96 ERA, including five shutouts, and 106 strikeouts in 86 innings. He also batted .408 with eight home runs and 32 RBIs.
If Matzek doesn't sign, the Rockies could make out all right if they can sign the last pick of the first round (No. 32 overall), center fielder Tim Wheeler from Cal State Sacramento, and Compensation Round A pick (No. 34 overall), left-hander Rex Brothers from Lipscomb University. According to Baseball America, the Rockies had considered Wheeler with the No. 11 pick and they had Brothers going No. 9 to the Tigers.
"I kind of thought that's where I might end," Wheeler said. "To be a first-round pick, if you told me that a couple of years ago, I would've told you that you were crazy.
"I want to sign. The chances are pretty good. Will it happen? I don't know, but we'll see."
In 2009, Wheeler hit .385 with 18 home runs and 72 RBIs and was named First-Team All-Western Athletic Conference for the second consecutive season. Brothers went 5-5 with a 3.26 ERA, including four complete games, and 132 strikeouts in 94 innings.
After selecting the best players available on Day 1 of the First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday, the Rockies changed course on Day 2 and nabbed 22 of 27 players from four-year schools. The remaining five picks went to players who attended two-year schools. Overall, the Rockies selected 35 players from four-year schools.
Of the 27 second-day picks, the Rockies stockpiled 13 pitchers, 10 of whom were starters. With their five picks in rounds six through 10, the Rockies selected four starters and a closer.
The Rockies also drafted three potential impact bats early in Day 2 in Alabama right fielder and Golden Spikes Award finalist Kent Matthes (.358, 28 home runs and 81 RBIs), Auburn third baseman Joseph Sanders (.320, 19 home runs and 55 RBIs) and Cal State Fullerton first baseman Jared Clark (.363, 12 home runs and 81 RBIs).
Rockies -- Top five selections
|11||LHP||Tyler Matzek||Capistrano Valley HS
|32||CF||Timothy Wheeler||Cal St Sacramento
|34||LHP||Rex Brothers||Lipscomb U
|59||3B||Nolan Arenado||El Toro HS
|90||1B||Benjamin Paulsen||Clemson U
|Complete Rockies Draft results >|
On the final day of the Draft on Thursday, the Rockies used nine of their 20 picks on prep players and had plenty of outfielders (six) and catchers (five) added to the organization's inventory. Outside of the 20 pitchers chosen by the Rockies in the three-day Draft, the next two positions the team selected the most were the 12 outfielders and eight catchers.
The Rockies also made three selections late in the Draft on players whose family members are employed by the organization.
Heath Holliday, a prep catcher out Bixby (Okla.) High School, was picked in the 45th round and he is the son of Dave Holliday, the Rockies special assistant to general manager Dan O'Dowd. In the 47th round, the Rockies selected first baseman Sterling Monfort out of Eaton (Colo.) High School. Sterling is the youngest son of Dick Monfort, vice chairman of the Rockies. In the 49th round, Mark Tracy from Duquesne University, son of interim manager Jim Tracy, was selected. Mark hit .250 in 2009, but led the Dukes with 14 home runs and 46 RBIs.
Two other notable Rockies pick are outfielder Tym Pearson from Thurston (Ore.) High School and second baseman Joseph Scott out of Cal State Fullerton.
Pearson, chosen in the 35th round, helped Thurston win the Class 5A baseball championship in 2009 but has signed with Portland State to play football.
Drafted in the 42nd round, Scott is currently hitting .313 and will be playing in the 2009 College World Series on Saturday for the Titans.