Back in 2007 the Rockies selected Vanderbilt reliever Casey Weathers with the eighth overall pick in the first round of the Rule 4 First-Year Player Draft. At the time, the selection drew some criticism, not for the player but for such a high selection. Weathers could get his fastball up to 96-97 mph and his slider was considered good but needed some refinement. He sounded good, but for a team that hadn't had a winning season in years this selection seemed odd. How much could Weathers help this team and when?
We're still waiting on the answer to that question. Weathers spent all of 2008 with Double-A Tulsa and may have seen Denver in 2009 (most certainly in 2010). However, Tommy John surgery in late 2008 caused Weathers to miss the entirety of the 2009 season. He came back this season and spent time between short-season Tri-City and Hi-A Modesto. He posted a 6.75 ERA in 18 IP with a 17:25 BB:K ratio.
With hindsight, would Weathers still be drafted in the first round if 2007 was redone? Jim Callis of Baseball America answers "no," and so would most everyone else. If the teams redrafted according to the same order, Jim Callis would have the Rockies selecting the Detroit Tigers' Rick Porcello, who made his major league debut at the age of 20. In his rookie season of 2009, Porcello posted an ERA+ of 114 and finished third in AL Rookie of the Year voting. Porcello has fallen off this season with an 82 ERA+ and a -0.1 WAR (just under a replacement-level player).
Of course, in 2007 the Monforts would not have been willing to spend the money on a high school pitcher like they did two years later when drafting and signing Tyler Matzek.
Casey Weathers still has a long road ahead of him to make the majors, but even if he does will the investment in him have been worth it?