It was a little unfair watching a pair of top-10 draft picks sitting out this year, unable to contribute to the Dust Devils pitching staff.
Stephen Dodson, the Colorado Rockies’ 10th-round pick out of Georgia, threw 95 2/3 innings for the College World Series finalists but didn’t throw a lick at Tri-City with tendinitis in his right shoulder.
Aaron Weatherford was picked in the third round out of Mississippi State after saving seven games and striking out 62 batters in 31 2/3 innings for a 0.85 ERA. But he spent his best days with the Dust Devils on Andy Stover’s training table, rehabbing a sore elbow.
But if you think it’s difficult to see them on the bench, watching from the bench wasn’t much fun for them, either.
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“It’s like being in captivity,” said Dust Devils pitching coach Dave Schuler. “One thing I talked about to Weatherford about is that he doesn’t have to go through this again. That condition right there can give him a big jump in spring training next year.”
But that’s a small consolation for Dodson, who at least had the company of former Georgia third baseman Ryan Peisel in Tri-Cities.
“I love having an old teammate here,” said Dodson, who shares a host family with Peisel. “We were both excited to be teammates again.”
Dodson knew he would have to take some time off here, but he wasn’t sure how exactly how much time.
“I was hoping to get some action at the end of the season,” he said.
But now, that hope is looking bleak with just six games left to play.
It seems as though college coaches bleed the last drop out of these players before they head into the draft, but you can’t really blame them, according to Bill Schmidt, the Colorado Rockies’ director of scouting.
“Those guys have a job to do, too,” Schmidt said. “It’s just the way the system is right now.”
In the minor leagues, everything is done with a mind towards player development.
At the college level, development is secondary to winning. In other words, try to squeeze what talent you can out of players while you have them in your program.
“If you’re any good, you’re always going to get more innings pitched,” Schuler said.