Rockies pick pitcher with first pick

DENVER – The Colorado Rockies selected right-handed pitcher Casey Weathers out of Vanderbilt University with the eighth overall pick of the 2007 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft this afternoon.

"Casey has a power arm with a lot of upside," Rockies Vice President of Scouting Bill Schmidt said.

"He has a fresh arm and we are certainly looking forward to bringing him into our system."

Weathers, who turns 22 years old on Sunday, went 12-2 with a 2.37 ERA (49.1 ip, 13 er) over 31 relief appearances for the Commodores in his senior season this year.

He recorded a team-high 7 saves for Vanderbilt, a squad that was the top-ranked collegiate team in the country for much of the season.

Weathers issued just 21 walks against 75 strikeouts as opposing batters hit just .154 (25-for-162). Vanderbilt was knocked out of the NCAA Regional with a 10-inning loss on Monday vs. Michigan.

He was the second Vanderbilt player selected among the first eight picks in this year's draft, as teammate David Price was the first overall pick in the draft by Tampa Bay.

The 6'1", 200-pound Weathers was a late addition to a Team USA that went 8-0 and took the gold medal at the FISU World Championships in Havana, Cuba in August.

He was also named Alaska Summer League Closer of the Year, going 1-0, 0.84 (21.1 ip, 2 era) for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots.

He was ranked as the 4th-best prospect in the Alaska Summer League by Baseball America.

Weathers transferred to Vanderbilt after spending his first two collegiate seasons at Sacramento City College.

He was an outfielder during his freshman year in junior college. Weathers attended Laguna Creek High School in Elk Grove, Calif., which is located south of Sacramento, where he was named all-city and all-league.

Drafted by Detroit in the 25th round of last year's draft, Weathers elected to return for his senior year, and he is a finalist for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award.

It was the sixth time in the 16 drafts in franchise history for the Rockies to select eighth or lower, the third consecutive year to do so.

This marks the second consecutive year that Colorado has taken a pitcher with its first overall selection, the sixth time to take a college player with the first pick.

The other college pitchers taken by the Rockies as first picks: John Burke (1992), Jeff Francis (2002), and Greg Reynolds (2006). Colorado has now taken a pitcher as its first pick 11 times in 16 drafts.

(Copyright 2007 Colorado Rockies. All Rights Reserved)