The 2013 MLB draft starts with the first and second rounds on Thursday, June 6. Following an abysmal 2012 season, the Colorado Rockies have the third overall pick in the draft, after the Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs pick first and second respectively.
While there is nothing currently set in stone, most mock drafts see the Astros and Cubs drafting Jonathan Gray and Mark Appel with the first two picks. Both are tall right-handed pitchers who many are projecting will one day be aces for their major league clubs. The two pitchers are widely considered to be the two top prospects, pitching or otherwise, in the draft. So where does this leave the Rockies?
Enter University of San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant. Bryant was originally taken out of high school in the 18th round of the 2010 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, but he passed on the Jays to attend USD. It turned out to be the right decision for Bryant, who has had a prolific career for the Toreros. His junior season this year has been his finest; Bryant has 31 home runs so far this year, which not only is by far the most in the country, it’s more than the team total for 226 of the 296 division I baseball schools.
There are some scouts who have said that Bryant has a chance to be a “once-in-a-generation” type of talent, and there are some who believe that the Astros may decide to make him the first selection of the entire draft. There is little doubt that if Bryant is still on the board when it’s the Rockies turn to pick, they will snatch him up without hesitation.
Rockies fans may not love the idea of selecting a hitter instead of some much-needed pitching help, especially because Bryant plays third base, the same position as recent call-up and top prospect Nolan Arenado. But if Bryant develops into the type of hitter that many scouts expect him to be, he would be more than capable of sliding across the diamond to first base. The Rockies are still searching for a long-term replacement for Todd Helton, and Bryant has the potential to be just as good as Helton was in his prime, maybe even better. While there is no disputing that the Rockies do need to bring in some pitching talent in this year’s draft, selecting Bryant with the third pick would be a slam-dunk of a pick that would almost certainly improve the Rockies already potent offense in the not-too-distant future.