Ryan Warner daydreamed a few weeks back on his upcoming prospects of being selected in the Major League Baseball first-year draft.
“I’m looking at somewhere between the third and fifth round, and it would be pretty cool to be picked by the Rockies,” Warner said. “Being a hometown kid, that would be awesome.”
Wake up, Ryan. The Rockies called. And they mean business.
With the 128th pick in the draft, Colorado on Tuesday selected the 6-foot-7 right-handed pitcher with its third-round supplemental pick, offering the 2012 Pine Creek graduate a $363,700 signing bonus to start his ascent to The Show and put off studies at N.C. State.
“I’m definitely going to sign for it,” Warner said. “I’m still kind of speechless. I’ve dreamed of playing in the majors since I was 5 years old. This is a dream come true, and getting picked by Colorado was definitely the key.”
Warner, 18, recently finished one of the most dominant pitching seasons in area history. Besides going 7-1 with a 2.18 ERA, he struck out 89 batters in just 51.1 innings pitched. He combined that with a .493 batting average with six home runs and 31 RBI as he helped the Eagles back to the 5A state tournament.
Last week, Gatorade named him Colorado Baseball Player of the Year.
Warner had earlier signed a National Letter of Intent to pitch at N.C. State, one of 16 teams still alive in the NCAA tournament. He informed coach Elliot Avent his decision not long after he got the call from Marc Gustafson, the Rockies senior director of scouting operations.
He was watching the draft live on MLB TV when the phone rang shortly before the supplemental round between the third and fourth rounds.
“I got up around 8:30 a.m. and watched the entire draft this morning,” Warner said. “I had a few people over. Marc gave me a call about 10 minutes before the draft pick was made official. He asked me if I was find at the 128 spot. I told him it would be a great honor.”
Although not originally from Colorado (he was born in Chicago but moved to Colorado Springs when he was 5), Warner hopes to someday join a select group of Colorado Springs high school graduate to play in the big leagues, such as Chase Headley (San Diego/Fountain-Fort Carson), Brandon McCarthy (Oakland/Cheyenne Mountain) and Hall of Famer Goose Gossage (Wasson).