GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Thursday marked day one of the 2014 MLB Draft, giving teams a chance to add some of the best up and coming talent to their organization. This year, Colorado selected left-handed pitcher Kyle Freeland with the No. 8 overall pick.
Over the last two years Grand Junction has gotten an up-close look at a couple of the Colorado Rockies first round draft picks who have become two of the most talked about pitching prospects.
In 2012 pitcher Eddie Butler started his career with the Grand Junction Rockies. Two years later he's just one day away from making his major-league debut, jumping from Double-A Tulsa to the big stage at Coors Field Friday night.
Last season Grand Junction had Jon Gray start here before moving up a couple levels by the season's end. Now Gray is on the outskirts of the big leagues likely to make his jump this season.
Then on Thursday the Colorado Rockies added another pitcher with their first pick, Colorado native Kyle Freeland. Freeland, originally of Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver, has been putting in time at DI Evansville University.
As a high schooler, he set the Colorado Prep record in 2011 with 145 strikeouts and was even drafted in the 35th round, but the wait proved well worth it for him.
Now the 6-foot-4 junior is coming off a stellar year with the Purple Aces. This past season he went 10-2 while posting a 1.90 ERA and recording 128 strikeouts to just 13 walks. Overall he's viewed as the third best left-handed pitching prospect. Whether or not he'll make his start in Grand Junction, only time will tell.
The Rockies also selected Forrest Wall, a second baseman out of high school, and Ryan Castellani, a right-handed pitcher also out of high school. The draft wraps up Saturday.