Family ties play role in some draft selections by Rockies on final day

The final day of the Major League Baseball draft Saturday had a family feel for the Colorado Rockies.

The skipper’s son.

Brothers’ brother.

The Rockies selected Regis Jesuit High School graduate Brody Weiss, the son of manager Walt Weiss, in the 22nd round.

The all-state shortstop has committed to play at UC-Santa Barbara. If he decides to go to school, he will not be eligible to re-enter the draft until after his junior year.

The Rockies 24th-round pick, Hunter Brothers, like his brother, Rex, pitched at Lipscomb (Tenn.) University. He bounced back and forth between the starting rotation and the bullpen.

He went 3-5 with a 6.39 ERA this season as a redshirt sophmore at Lipscomb. He pitched in 15 games, with seven starts, striking out 43 and walking 34.

Ronnie Gideon, the son of Ron Gideon, a field director for the Rockies, was drafted in the 35th round. The third baseman from Hallsville, Texas, has committed to Texas A&M.

Not only family members were taken on Saturday by the Rockies, but teammates of earlier draft picks.

First-round pick Jonathan Gray’s teammate at Oklahoma, left-handed reliever Billy Waltrip, was the club’s 12th-round selection.

Dylan Stamey, a right-handed reliever, was taken in the 14th round. Stamey is the teammate of fourth-round pick Jordan Patterson at South Alabama.

Michael Benjamin, who was drafted by the Rockies out of high school three years ago, was the club’s 13th-round pick out of Arizona State. The third baseman was the only player in the top four in the Pac-12 in batting average, slugging percentage, runs, hit and home runs.

Of local interest, Clay Miller, who led Bayfield into the Class 3A playoffs, was selected in the 35th round by Kansas City.

Miller has committed to play at Colorado Mesa University next season. He could opt to sign with Kansas City or fulfill his commitment to the Mavericks and be eligible for the draft again after his junior year.

Miller, a 6-foot left-handed pitcher, was 10-0 and had a 0.59 ERA this season for the Wolverines. He struck out 137 batters and walked only 11, throwing a perfect game this season, along with a five-inning no-hitter in the district title game. He also hit .578 with 63 RBI and 10 home runs.

CMU coach Chris Hanks said he talked to Miller after he was drafted Saturday.

“He told me ‘Unless they offer me a ridiculous amount of money, which they probably won’t, I’ll be coming to Mesa,’ ‘’ Hanks said Saturday night. “Back in the fall he had offers to Tennessee, Mississippi State, Long Beach State, some SEC schools, and he passed on them and stayed with us, which is nice.”

Hanks said if all goes as planned, Miller will figure into the rotation next spring.

“We have plans for him to possibly be a freshman starter in our rotation if he comes,” Hanks said. “That’s what we’re going to push for. We’re certainly looking forward to having him.”

Hanks thinks the lefty’s draft stock would rise if he pitches in college and continues to develop.

“But you never know if a kid is going to think this is going to be his only opportunity (to be drafted),” Hanks said.

It was not a stellar draft for players who were in the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series, with only a handful drafted.

John Costa, a right-handed pitcher from Palm Beach State (Fla.) College, was drafted by Washington in the 13th round. Costa was not on the Panthers’ tournament roster, appearing in only three games this season.

Pitcher Tyler Brosius of Walters State (Tenn.) Community College, was drafted by Atlanta in the 21st round.

Connor Goedert, Neosho County (Kan.) Community College’s freshman third baseman, was selected by Pittsburgh in the 34th round.

Navarro (Texas) College pitcher Lukas Schiraldi was the final pick of the 35th round, taken by the Washington Nationals.

Trevor Sprowl of Shelton State (Ala.) Community College, the son of Shelton State coach Bobby Sprowl, was drafted by Atlanta with the 1,003rd pick, in the 33rd round. Sprowl played in the 2012 JUCO World Series.

Center fielder Alex Greer, who was on Iowa Western Community College’s 2012 national championship team, was drafted by Cincinnati in the 29th round.

Regis University left-handed pitcher Steven Brault was drafted by Baltimore in the 11th round. He’s a junior and could opt to return to Regis for his senior season and go back into the draft next year.

After players sign, the Rockies will make minor league assignments for this summer, including which players will be in Grand Junction.

Training camp begins June 14 at Suplizio Field, with the GJ Rockies’ home opener June 20. Returning players who have been at extended spring training in Scottsdale, Ariz., will start arriving in Grand Junction early this week.

The roster on the GJ Rockies’ website will not be updated until the club makes its rosters official.


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