Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer
The list of baseball players with Colorado ties to have ever been drafted in the first round of the Major League Baseball first-year draft is pretty short and sweet.
While Cole Winn is being touted nationally as a product of Orange Lutheran High School in California — where he played his senior prep season — the Centennial State can call the 15th overall selection in this year’s draft one of their own with confidence.
Winn, who was drafted by the Texas Rangers on Monday night, is a Longmont native and played three years for Silver Creek High before making a move to California to face some of the toughest competition in the nation.
He was the 2017 Colorado Gatorade player of the year, the BoCoPreps.com player of the year and had a two-year run of dominance as a Raptor that was hardly matched by anyone.
This past spring, he was awarded the California Gatorade player of the year, and his talents allowed him to rise quickly on MLB draft boards.
After being picked by the Rangers, Winn told the MLB Network that the move to California was beneficial to his draft status. They noted that he was the starting pitcher for Orange Lutheran’s opening game of the prestigious National High School Invitational (they would go on to win it), and that’s when Winn said he knew the move made sense.
“(The move) was huge. My dad came to me and just wondered if I was OK with me moving to California for my senior year and it was definitely something I was open for, ready for,” Winn said in the interview.
“After the first pitch in North Carolina, all the guys were pretty excited, the dugout was awesome. To be in North Carolina with the defending champions and to have that experience under my belt was awesome. That’s what got everything going.”
Prior to that, though, Winn was incredible for Silver Creek. In three seasons, he went 18-3 with a 2.19 earned-run average and compiled 192 strikeouts in 118.1 innings. His junior year saw him walk just nine batters while striking out 95.
It’s the off-speed stuff that has people talking, however. Winn’s slider and curveball are noted as plus pitches, and his changeup is a work in progress.
“Definitely a changeup,” Winn said of a pitch he’d like to develop further. “If I can throw a fourth pitch for a strike and just have that, it will be pretty key for me.”
Twenty-nine Colorado products have been drafted in the first round — many of whom were first-rounders after playing significant time in college. Cherry Creek’s Darnell McDonald (1997) was the last prep Colorado player drafted in the first round.