High school pitcher selected in second round

High school pitcher selected in second round

DENVER -- The Rockies' emphasis on ground-ball pitching led them to select high school right-handed pitcher Ryan Castellani with their second-round pick, 48th overall, Thursday on the first night of the MLB First-Year Player Draft.

Castellani, 6-4 and lanky from Brophy College Prep in Phoenix, was the Rockies' third selection. Evansville left-hander Kyle Freeland, a product of Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver, was the team's top pick, eighth overall. The Rockies took Orangewood (Florida) Christian High School second baseman Forrest Wall at 35th overall in Competitive Balance Round A.

The Draft continues Friday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com pregame show begins at 10:30 a.m. MT, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 11 a.m. MT.

Castellani, 18, is a veteran of baseball showcases who had a higher profile when he was younger than going into his senior high school season. MLB.com ranked him 131st on its list of Draft prospects.

Bill Schmidt, the Rockies' vice president of scouting, said Castellani has regained momentum recently. Castellani appeared in five games for Brophy as a senior and went 1-0 with a save and a 1.59 ERA.

Castellani, who has signed with Arizona State, was a Perfect Game third-team All-American and was first-team West Region.

"I think there's a little more velocity in there than he's shown," Schmidt said. "I'd say going from his sophomore to his junior year, he was one of the better-looking kids. Then it kind of plateaued a little bit, but as this spring came along he took a step forward.

"There's that potential to take another step. He's a good competitor and he does get ground balls. He's a strike-thrower. Those qualities work where we're at."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.