NEW YORK — The Colorado Rockies just made their first big splash of the year.
With the MLB season on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, fans of the team have waited patiently for something to cheer about. Wednesday night brought that chance.
With the 9th pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, the Rockies selected Zac Veen, an outfielder from Spruce Creek High School in Florida. The team tweeted, "We got our guy" after many scouts were surprised Veen fell to No. 9 overall.
In a lengthy profile posted on MLB.com on May 29, Veen was described as "the top high school player in the 2020 Draft, a five-tool beast who has scouts drooling over the projectability of his 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame."
The possibilities of what Veen can do at hitter-friendly Coors Field seem endless.
"I know they do a good job developing hitters and the ball flies there. Hopefully I'll be there in a couple years and win a World Series," Veen said on MLB Network shortly after being drafted.
In a shortened 2020 high school season, Veen batted .500 in 11 games, while hitting three home runs, scoring 15 times and stealing 17 bases. He credits his work adding strength the last couple of years as the reason for an increase in production.
"I went from being 160 pounds to 205 in two years. I guess that would be a good reason I have the power I do now. I've never really tried to hit for power, I've just tried to hit the barrel and I think my power is just going to continue to get there the more I grow in my body," Veen told local media on a conference call Wednesday night.
Veen is currently committed to the University of Florida, but now has the option to collect a huge signing bonus and turn pro.
"I think that's the question that's going to get answered a little bit later," he said when asked about the looming decision. "I love the Rockies organization and I'm happy they decided to give me an opportunity and I think all that will handle itself."
In terms of Veen's supposed "fall" on draft boards to Colorado, the front office noted they were ready for anything.
"Being involved in the draft you prepare for any scenario that might come your way. Nothing ever surprises me now, doing this so long. You just have got to be prepared to react to what happens," Rockies VP of Scouting Bill Schmidt said on a conference call Wednesday night. "As far as what some publications might have had, we were still prepared for him to come our way."
Later in the evening with the No. 35 overall pick in the "Competitive Balance Round A" portion of the draft, Colorado selected Drew Romo, a catcher from The Woodlands High School in Texas.
The 2nd-5th rounds of this year's shortened draft are scheduled to take place on Thursday afternoon and evening.