Vilade overcomes change to become top MLB prospect

News Press file photo Stillwater High senior shortstop Ryan Vilade has overcome change in his life to become one of the top MLB prospects in the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft.

The Colorado Rockies selected Stillwater High graduate Ryan Vilade with the 48th overall pick in the second round of the MLB Draft on Monday night.

Vilade, played with the Pioneers for one year after moving from Frisco, Texas, with his father, James, who got a job at Oklahoma State as the third base coach. Vilade had an incredible year with seven home runs and led the Pioneers with five triples.

Vilade was the first position player from Oklahoma selected in the first two rounds of the MLB draft since 2007, when the St. Louis Cardinals selected Pete Kozma, an Owasso native, in the first round. Kozma is still in the majors with the Texas Rangers organization.

Initially rated as the 43rd best prospect in the draft, Vilade dropped but not far as the Rockies, who currently have one of the best third baseman in baseball in Nolan Arenado, took a chance on Vilade.

Arenado, also a second-round selection of the Rockies back in 2009, is only 26 and the two-time All-Star is signed through 2018.

Now the question is whether Vilade, an Oklahoma State signee, is going to stay with the Cowboys or go begin his road to the show?

MLB.com rated Vilade as a 50 with his power at the plate a standout skill but scouts said he lacked the “quick-twitch athleticism” to play in pro ball so he would have to play third base instead of his more natural position at shortstop. The scouts loved his arm, though giving him a 60 rating, his best score out of any of the other typical “five tools.”

Vilade has played against pro prospects before as a participant in the Under Armour All-America game in August, where he won the home run derby there, exhibiting the power the scouts had lauded him for.

Vilade is the highest drafted third baseman in the Rockies organization in two years with Colorado’s last pick at that position, Tyler Nevin, going in the Competitive Balance Round A of the 2015 Draft. Nevin is currently on the Asheville Tourists, the Class A affiliate for the Rockies.

Other third baseman in the Rockies organization are Derrik Gibson and Ryan McMahon, both playing for the AAA affiliate Albuquerque Isotopes. In AA, the Rockies have Josh Fuentes playing for the Hartford Yardgoats and in Advanced-A. they have Wilson Soriano playing for the Lancaster JetHawks out in California.

The Rockies currently are leading the National League Western Division but haven’t made the playoffs since 2009 and have only made the World Series once, back in 2007, as they were swept by the Boston Red Sox.

Vilade is also the highest drafted Stillwater high grad since Josh Fields in 2004, who went to the Chicago White Sox at 18th overall by way of Oklahoma State. Vilade is the highest pure Stillwater High draft pick ever if he decides to forgo college as Matt Holliday went in the seventh round of the 1998 MLB Draft.

Vilade could follow in the footsteps of Holliday, who was also a draft pick of the Rockies. Even if Vilade has to spend six years in the minors before making the big league club like Holliday did, his career could still take off as Holliday is still in the league, contributing as a designated hitter for the New York Yankees.

The current pick value for his spot in the draft is $1.4 million. The drop from his original value of $1.6 million per year is going to cost him about $200,000.

With the pick happening at a late time, the News Press was unable to contact Vilade before press time as phone calls were not returned.

Twitter: @Jordanbishop35

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