Colorado high school players were shutout in MLB's First-Year Player Draft this week for the first time since 1984, and only the second time since the draft was created in 1965. However, nine players who attended Colorado high schools before playing baseball at the college level were selected, along with Nick Ready of Air Force and Beau Brieske of Colorado State-Pueblo, who attended high school in Texas and Arizona, respectively.
Among the high school players bypassed in the draft was right-handed pitcher Riley Cornelio of Pine Creek High School, the Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year and No. 86 prospect in the draft, according to Baseball America. Cornelio, however, had a scholarship offer to TCU, and was being advised by a member of the Scott Boras Agency, which led teams to shy away.
Colorado high school players have a reputation in scouting circles for preferring college as opposed to signing out of high school.
Catcher Maverick Handley, a Mullen alum who attended Stanford, was the highest drafted product of Colorado high schools, going in the sixth round to Baltimore. The Rockies selected outfielder Alex Achtermann, a Cherokee Trail product who attended Pittsburg State, in the 30th round with anticipation he will sign a contract.
One of the more interesting drafts with Colorado ties is catcher Nick Ready, a 23rd-round draft choice of the Marlins out of the Air Force Academy. The native of Dallas is the son of Randy Read, who played 13 years in the major leagues. Ready has applied to the Academy to serve under the World Class Athlete Program, which allows qualified athletes to serve on active duty with the assignment of training for a possible spot on an Olympic team.
Ready could serve in that capacity through June 2020 when the United States Olympic Baseball team is selcted for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.
-- Handley was selected the Pac-12 co-defensive player of the year. He threw out 13 of 19 runners attempting to steal. He hit .293 with five home runs and 24 RBI.
-- Cotton, the 2018 Western Athlietc Conference Player of the Year, is known for his speed. He hit .342 for the Lopes. He was a 38th round pick of the Rockies in 2016 when he came out of high school
-- Givin was an All-Big East selection. He started 201 of 203 games in which he appeared in four years at Xavier. As a senior, he hit .306 with four triples, 11 doubles and seven home runs.
-- Bell was the All-Sun Belt Conference third baseman after a season in which he set a school record with 21 home runs. He had a .333 average, 61 RBI and 38 extra base hits. He also saw time at second base and shortstop.
-- Strunc attended Washington State his first two years in college and then transfered to Creighton for his junior and senior seasons. He is a plus defensive shortstop who hit .285 with 20 doubles, 2 home runs and 31 RBI as a senior.
-- Achtermann said he will join Grand Junction on Saturday. He initially was redshirted for a year at Garden City CC, and then transfered to Nebraska Western CC for two years. He spent his junior year at Kearney, which then dropped its program, prompting Achtermann to transfer to Pittsburg State, where he was an All-MIAA selection after going 7-5 with a 3.51 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 89 2/3 innings.
-- King started three games as a senior, and pitched in relief in 20 games, allowing more than one run only once in his final 16 appearances. He had a 3.44 ERA with 50 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings.
-- Kehe hit .431 as a red-shirt junior at Mines with 18 home runs and 58 RBI, and was 26-for-31 in stolen bases, earning Division II All-American honors.
-- Eissler has been used as a starter and reliever in his three years at TCU. In 55 appearances, eight starts, he has 146 striekouts in 127 2/3 innings.
-- Brieske was 7-5 with a 5.42 ERA at Pueblo, striking out 116 batters in 79 2/3 innings. He was an All-RMAC selection.
-- Ready had an impact career at Air Force, but after hitting .341 with 20 home runs and 74 RBI as a junior, he hit .297 with 13 home runs and 44 RBI his senior season.