Rockies take Clemson OF with 26th pick in draft
AP Sports Writer
Vail, CO Colorado
DENVER – The Colorado Rockies are making a habit out of drafting college quarterbacks.
Then again, it’s a strategy that has worked out pretty well so far.
Colorado selected Clemson University outfielder and quarterback Kyle Parker with the 26th overall pick in the baseball draft Monday.
Todd Helton and Seth Smith also were former QBs taken by the Rockies, Helton playing at Tennessee and Smith serving as a backup to Eli Manning at Ole Miss.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Parker hit .358 with 20 homers and 63 RBIs this season. He also threw for 2,526 yards and 20 touchdowns in the fall, leading the Tigers to a win over Kentucky in the Music City Bowl.
In the process, Parker became the first player in NCAA history to throw for 20 touchdowns and hit 20 homers in the same school year.
“I thought (Parker) was our best guy available. No Doubt,” said Bill Schmidt, the vice president of scouting for the Rockies. “He’s played in front of big crowds in the ACC. That can only help here to be successful.”
The trick now is for the Rockies to sign Parker.
“He does have three more years of football, but we believe that he would like to get out and play,” Schmidt said.
The Rockies weren’t finished there as the team had a compensation pick for losing All-Star righty Jason Marquis to the Washington Nationals in the offseason.
With their 47th selection in the supplemental round, Colorado took right-handed pitcher Peter Tago, who went 10-3 with a 2.77 ERA for Dana Hills High School in Dana Point, Calif., as a senior this past season.
Schmidt said Tago has been clocked in the 91-to-93 mph range, but can sneak up to 96. He also compared the 6-3 hurler to Pedro Astacio, who pitched for the Rockies from 1997-2001.
“(Tago) is very projectable,” Schmidt said.
The pick of Parker marked the first time Colorado has taken a position player with its opening selection since choosing Troy Tulowitzki in 2005. Last season, Colorado took lefty Tyler Matzek, who’s currently pitching for the Single-A Asheville Tourists.
The draft begins Tuesday morning with the second round. The 50-round draft will conclude Wednesday.