IF Vilade pumped to join Rockies

For the first time in club history, the Grand Junction Rockies will not have the Colorado Rockies’ first-round draft pick on the roster, but that’s only because Colorado didn’t have a first-rounder.

There’s a good possibility, though, that the Rockies’ second-round pick, infielder Ryan Vilade (No. 48 overall) will end up starting his professional career at Suplizio Field.

“They said they’ll give me a call when it dies down,” Vilade said Monday night during a conference call when asked about his first stop in professional baseball.

The top draft picks usually fly to Denver to sign their contract, meet the big-league staff and players, and then head over the Rocky Mountains to Grand Junction. “Hopefully I’ll make it to a game (in Denver). We’ll see what they tell me but I’m excited to be a Rockie. It’s gonna be fun.”

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound shortstop from Stillwater High School (Oklahoma) is projected to play third base in the pros, but Bill Schmidt, the Rockies’ vice president of scouting, said Vilade will start out as a middle infielder.

“He’s a good-sized kid. They list him as a third baseman but he played predominantly at shortstop,” Schmidt said. “We think he has the ability to improve his running speed over the winter and play in the middle of the diamond but he’s a big-sized kid, where the body goes, because he has the ability to fill out and get stronger, he could eventually go to the corner. He’s an athletic kid.

“As far as his power, we scouted a lot of events in the last 12 months, we followed him with Team USA and he hit right in the middle of their order. We feel he has a chance to hit for power.”

When you ask Vilade, he’ll tell you he’s a shortstop.

“I call myself a shortstop; that’s the position I’ve been playing my whole life,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’d definitely say I’m a shortstop.”

Schmidt said Vilade can be a player who hits for average and power, and right now he’s a solid line-drive gap hitter.

Vilade has signed with Oklahoma State, where his father, James, is an assistant coach. The family moved to Stillwater from Frisco, Texas, before Ryan’s senior year when his father, a former assistant in the Texas Rangers’ organization, was hired by the Cowboys.

“The kid’s grown up around the game,” Schmidt said. “He’s a baseball player.”

As far as telling his dad he won’t be suiting up for him next season, well…

“My goal is to play in the big leagues. This is a great start to my career,” he said. “He wants me to do what I want to and be happy. I don’t think there will be any harm or anger at me. Now I’m a Colorado Rockie and I can’t wait to start my career.”

In the Compensation B round, the Rockies drafted right-handed pitcher Tommy Doyle from the University of Virginia.

Other than seven starts as a sophomore, Doyle, who 6-6, 235-pound junior, has pitched out of the bullpen his entire college career. He pitched in the College World Series in 2015, when the Cavaliers won the national championship. He occasionally throws a change-up and curve, but relied on his fastball-slider combination out of the bullpen.

Doyle’s fastball was clocked up to 97 mph this spring and he has a solid low-80s slider. Doyle recorded 14 saves in 2017, which tied for second in the ACC and ninth in Division I. He went 3-1 with a 1.87 ERA this season with 38 strikeouts and 10 walks in 33 2/3 innings.

“This summer we’ll keep him in the bullpen,” Schmidt said, adding that if the staff feels Doyle could become a starter, he would start that process in the instructional league after this season.

“He’s a big-body guy with arm strength,” Schmidt said.

Draft notes: Reynaldo Rivera, who helped Chipola College (Florida) win the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series earlier this month, was drafted by Detroit in the second round. The big first baseman was the 57th overall selection, moving up nearly 100 spots from his projected spot. … David Peterson, who graduated from Regis Jesuit in 2014, was taken 20th overall by the New York Mets. Peterson is a left-handed pitcher at the University of Oregon. He’s the highest Regis graduate ever selected — the Rockies’ Max George was the 173rd pick in 2014, starting his career in Grand Junction.

Rodgers on a tear: Former Grand Junction Rockies shortstop Brendan Rodgers is the California League (Class A Advanced) player of the week for the third time this season. Rodgers hit .448 (13 for 29) with three doubles, three home runs, six RBI and scored 10 runs in a six-game span last week.

The 2015 first-round draft pick is on a 20-game hitting streak, the longest in the California League this season.


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