CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (BVM) — There were more highly-touted prospects that the Colorado Rockies could’ve chosen in the fourth round of last month’s pandemic-shortened, five-round Major League Baseball Draft.
Douglas County High School grad Case Williams wasn’t ranked among MLB Pipeline’s top 200 prospects or even the Baseball America top 500. But the Rockies clearly saw something special in Williams, and with the 110th overall selection, they made a dream come true for the lifelong Rockies fan.
“We were all just sitting there watching and I got a call, and I started to tear up, as well as my dad,” Williams said in an interview with MLB.com. “It was kind of quiet, just me, my mom, dad, sister and dog. We were all in the family room seeing what would happen. It was just three picks away. It felt like forever, and it happened. It was so unbelievable. It didn’t feel real.”
While the standout 6-foot-3, 215-pound righthander may have been overlooked in the draft rankings, he was considered to be the top right-handed pitcher in his state by Perfect Game and Prep Baseball Report. He finished his high school career 14-2 with a 2.98 ERA and 134 strikeouts. In his final season with the Huskies — as a junior in 2019 — he went 8-1 with a 1.81 ERA and 79 strikeouts.
The Santa Clara University commit might have drawn more interest from big league clubs had his senior season not been wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Rockies already liked what they had seen in Williams, who competed with the Rockies’ Fall Scout Team last year. President of scouting Bill Schmidt was also impressed by Williams’ performance at last summer’s Area Code Games, which were held in Long Beach, Calif.
“If you ever went there, you’d see maybe 500 scouts sitting behind home plate, with [radar] guns,” Schmidt told MLB.com. “It can be a little bit intimidating. But it didn’t faze him.”
Williams’ fourth-round selection is the highest a Colorado high school player has been picked since left-handed pitcher Brock Burke (Evergreen High School) was taken by the Tampa Bay Rays in the third round of the 2014 draft. Pine Creek’s Ryan Warner (third round, 2012) and Greeley Central’s Shawn Chacon (third round, 1996) are the only other Colorado high school players to be taken by the Rockies in the first four rounds.
Williams, whose fastball has topped out at 96 mph, was set on playing college ball for the Broncos, but less than a week after the draft he decided to sign with the Rockies for a $450,000 bonus.
“I had just always been working hard for Santa Clara,” Williams told MLB.com after being drafted. “It just happened to be that this opportunity came about, and here we are.”