With their fifth-round pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, the Rockies selected right-handed pitcher Blake Shouse out of Middle Georgia College.
Shouse was a two-way player at Middle Georgia, typically beginning games at third base or shortstop before coming in to close. He allowed just three earned runs in 25 relief appearances in 2013 -- good for a team-low 1.07 ERA -- picking up 12 saves and recording 35 strikeouts in the process.
Playing on both sides of the ball had another benefit: It reduced wear and tear on his arm. As a sophomore, he tossed only 25.1 innings.
Shouse is still learning as a pitcher, but the 6-foot-2 right-hander has the tools to be an impact reliever down the road. A promising athlete, he could be Colorado's future closer or a shutdown arm out of the bullpen.
"He's got a fresh arm. He's got a high-velocity type arm, very quick arm action," said Marc Gustafson, the Rockies' senior director of scouting and operations.
"This is a young man [where] patience will be part of the routine for him, and the key part for Shouse will be ultimately getting his feet wet in the regular pitching routine."
The Rockies like him as a right-handed pitcher, but if he upholds his commitment to the University of Georgia, he would likely continue as a two-way player. Gustafson said the organization is confident that Shouse will choose the pros over the traditional college route.
"There's a lot of time and energy spent with the signability piece," Gustafson said. "We're confident and comfortable that all of the guys that you and I have been talking about, they're going to be in a Rocky uniform."
Shouse's fastball sits around 90 mph with hard-sinking action, and he regularly dials it up to 94 mph. He also throws a solid changeup and a curveball that has the potential to be a plus pitch.
Ian McCue is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.