The Rockies didn't pick for the first time until No. 48 overall in the second round of the 2017 Draft, courtesy of signing free agent Ian Desmond, but they feel they got a first-round talent in Vilade, an Oklahoma high school infielder who signed for full pick value rather than join his father, an assistant coach at Oklahoma State. After a strong summer debut, Vilade really struggled out of the gate during his full-season debut in 2018, but righted the ship with a .310/.370/.419 second half.
Vilade's ability to shake off a terrible start in the South Atlantic League as a teenager speaks volumes about his ability to learn and make adjustments as a hitter. He has a tremendous feel to hit with excellent bat speed and a quick swing from the right side of the plate. There's a lot of raw power to tap into, with the chance for Vilade to eventually have plus pop that he'll get to thanks to his approach. While few doubt he'll hit, there is more question about what position he ultimately plays. The Rockies like moving infielders around during development, doing it with top prospect Brendan Rodgers, for example, and Vilade will do the same moving forward after only playing shortstop in his first year-plus as a pro.
Vilade will have the opportunity to stay at shortstop, but given that he's already bigger and stronger than he was when last season ended, it's easy to see him outgrowing the position. He could slide over to third or across to second full-time in the future. One thing the Rockies love about positional flexibility is that it will be easier to get Vilade's potent bat into a big league lineup once he's ready.
SS Ryan Vilade assigned to Lancaster JetHawks.
SS Ryan Vilade assigned to Asheville Tourists from Grand Junction Rockies.
SS Ryan Vilade assigned to Grand Junction Rockies.