Strike 1: The “Draft” part of the “Draft and Develop” philosophy being employed by the Colorado Rockies will fall under the microscope again in the middle of July. Colorado has the third overall pick in the first round of this year’s MLB Draft, with a chance to land one of several top college prospects to add to their stockpile of high draft picks already littering their minor league system.

The Rockies may very well get the chance to select the best pitcher in college baseball this season – Wake Forrest right-hander Chase Burns – or one of several talented position players, including West Virginia’s JJ Wetherholt, Georgia’s Charlie Condon or Travis Bazzana from Oregon State.

They may also get the chance to land the next Shohei Ohtani, should they choose to steer him that direction.

Florida’s Jac Caglianone is this year’s two-way uber talent, winner of the 2024 be an everyday John Olerud Award as the game’s best two-way player. He’s a left-handed power hitter/left-handed flame throwing pitcher who led the Gators to the College World Series. Caglianone has the raw tools to pitch and/or be an everyday player in the major leagues.

There is no consensus as to which of these players will go No. 1 overall. Could be any of them. Wetherholt is a talented infielder who at 5-feet-10 is small in stature, but big in production. Condon is the big slugger from the SEC, the Golden Spikes Award winner as the best player in college baseball this past season. Bazzana is another stud infielder with experience at the highest level of college ball and the chance to be on the fast track to the big leagues.

Somebody who is super talented and highly thought of is going to be available when the Rockies pick arrives.

Burns makes the most sense for Colorado of course. If the right-hander is there, the pitching-thirsty Rockies are likely to grab him, knowing that his college stats were spectacular: 10-1, 2.70 ERA and 191 strikeouts in 100 innings pitched, and that unlike most of the pitchers his age, has not (yet) undergone Tommy John elbow surgery. A big-time healthy pitching prospect would be a shock to Colorado’s farm system.

Still, Caglianone is the most intriguing prospect. As a pitcher, he lights up the radar gun but still has some command issues, according to scouting reports. (Note, this is where the “development” part of the plan would come into play.) Scouts think he could hit triple digits on the radar gun at some point, and was a key starter in Florida’s rotation the past two seasons. If he signs as a pitcher, he could also be fast-tracked to the show.

But as a power hitter, he might be even better. He hit a school record 35 homers this past season, becoming just the second D1 player ever to hit more than 30 homers in back-to-back seasons.

So the obvious question lingering out there: Would the Rockies, or any other team, allow him to do both, Ohtani-style?

“I have no idea,” answered Rockies manager Bud Black when he was asked about Caglianone being a two-way guy in MLB. “I don’t have enough info on him to answer that.”

Bud didn’t seem to be steadfast against it. Chances are the front office would be.

Scouting reports seem to suggest that Caglianone would enter professional baseball as a position player, but be given a look as a pitcher, too. It’s easy to believe that some team, perhaps Cleveland or Kansas City, would be willing to give the two-way thing a shot.

As for the Rockies, the good money is on Burns being the pick. Outside-the-box thinking is not really in fashion at 20th and Blake.