With the 27th overall pick in the draft, the Rockies have selected right-handed pitcher Mike Nikorak out of Stroudsburg High School in Pennsylvania. Nikorak was projected to be picked in mid-to-late teens, with the Giants widely expected to be interested in him with the eighteenth overall selection, so he slid a little bit before being selected by Colorado.
Nikorak, who is committed to Alabama, is the first player ever drafted out of Stroudsburg, which is located about 100 miles north of Philadelphia. He was considered one of the best high school pitching prospects in the crop due to a strong performance at the Perfect Game National last summer, and is regarded as having a very high ceiling due to his 6-foot-5 frame. Nikorak was a quarterback in high school and is praised for his athleticism.
MLB.com ranked Nikorak as the fifteenth-overall prospect in the draft, praising his velocity (consistently 94-97 mph) and the movement on his fastball. Though command has been a bit of an issue over the past few months, Nikorak is expected to keep developing his curveball and changeup into above-average pitches and could rise to become a frontline starter in the big leagues.
For the Rockies, the addition of Nikorak comes with the hopes of a long-term pitching solution. Colorado chronically has trouble signing free agent pitchers due to Coors Field's reputation, so developing young pitchers like Nikorak and last year's top pick (Jonathan Gray) is vital to the Rockies' success.