The Rockies selected Oklahoma right-handed pitcher Jonathan Gray with the No. 3 pick in the Major League Baseball draft Thursday.
In 16 starts for the Sooners this season, the 21-year-old Gray is 10-2 with a 1.59 ERA, 22 walks and 138 strikeouts in 119 innings pitched. Oklahoma (43-19) plays this weekend at Louisiana State in a super regional, with a berth in the College World Series on the line.
Gray (6-foot-4 and 239 pounds) was a unanimous all-Big 12 Conference selection this season.
"Jonathan has a power arm and he is a great competitor," Rockies vice president of scouting Bill Schmidt said in a news release. "Jonathan is a good kid who we feel has a chance to be a quality starting major-league pitcher."
With the third pick in the second round, the Rockies selected third baseman Ryan McMahon, who just graduated from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif. With the 70th pick overall (which came in the competitive balance Round B), Colorado drafted Alex Balog, a right-handed pitcher from the University of San Francisco. The junior has a fastball that reaches the low-90s.
McMahon played quarterback at the school, which is known for producing a number of college and NFL quarterbacks, through his junior year but left football as a senior to concentrate on baseball. He has committed to play baseball at USC.
"We feel good about the first day," Rockies vice president of scouting Bill Schmidt said. "We got two big, physical right-handed pitchers and an athlete at third base.
"Jonathan Gray probably is the hardest thrower we've ever drafted."
Schmidt said he's aware of Gray reaching 101 mph with his fastball.
"We'll evaluate the workload after he's finished pitching in college and determine from that where he'll begin in the organization," Schmidt said. "We were prepared to go with whoever was still available with our first pick."
Gray was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 13th round of the 2010 draft and by the New York Yankees in the 10th round of the 2011 draft.
Gray transferred from a junior college to Oklahoma for his sophomore season. In two seasons with the Sooners, he is 18-6 with 242 strikeouts and 64 walks in 221 innings pitched.
"I have nothing but love for Colorado," Gray said on a conference call Thursday. "Tulsa (home of the Rockies' Double-A affiliate Drillers) is about 40 minutes from my house."
Gray added: "The more I look at it, the more I look forward to the challenge of pitching at altitude."
Gray tested positive for the medication Adderall during the predraft drug testing earlier this week, according to multiple reports. ESPN reported he did not have a prescription for the drug, which is a mix of two amphetamines and used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
"I will talk about it at a later date," Gray said Thursday.
Gray said he almost signed with the Yankees when drafted out of junior college. But he made the decision on his own that he could improve his situation and get better. So he dropped roughly 30 pounds since enrolling at Oklahoma — he was as high as 260 pounds — and he said he's never had any arm problems.
The Rockies also hold a pick in the competitive balance Round B (which is No. 70 overall).
With the No. 1 pick, Houston took Stanford right-handed pitcher Mark Appel, who is a Houston native. The Cubs selected third baseman Kris Bryant, the best power hitter in college baseball out of the University of San Diego, with the second overall pick.
Rounds 1 and 2 were Thursday. Rounds 3-10 are Friday, and rounds 11-40 are Saturday.
Irv Moss: 303-954-1296, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/irvmoss