2021 MLB Draft: Six Colorado products selected

(Steve Abeyta)

The 2021 MLB Draft was held July 11-13 at Denver's Bellco Theatre. Below is a profile of the six Colorado products selected.

Last season, two players who played high school baseball in Colorado were taken.

For a list of all previous Colorado players drafted, browse our historical MLB Draft database

Regis Jesuit graduate and right-handed pitcher Alec Willis became the first Colorado product selected in the 2021 MLB draft, as he was picked in the seventh round, 211th overall, by the St. Louis Cardinals.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Willis was MLB.com’s 130th-ranked prospect after a senior season in which he finished 3-1 with a 0.72 ERA and 54 strikeouts (against eight walks) in 29 innings pitched.

Willis has signed his letter of intent to attend the University of Minnesota. With Willis' selection, a Regis Jesuit grad has been chosen in an MLB Draft 29 times.

Three 2017 Colorado high school graduates were selected next, led by 2017 Heritage grad Casey Opitz, who attends college baseball powerhouse Arkansas. Opitz was selected in the eighth round, 244th overall, by the Chicago Cubs.

Opitz was one of the top backstops in college baseball, being named to the Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Watch List in 2019, while also earning Preseason All-American honors. In 2021, he was a team captain for an Arkansas team that entered the NCAA Baseball Tournament as the number one overall seed.

At Heritage, he was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 27th round of the 2017 MLB Draft. His senior season, he was ranked the No. 3 player in the state of Colorado and the top catcher overall.

He is the third Opitz brother to be taken in an MLB Draft, following Shane (2010) and Jake (2008).

Opitz also played basketball and football for the Eagles at times during his high school career.

2017 Lewis-Palmer grad Billy Cook, a 2021 Pepperdine graduate, went next to the Baltimore Orioles in the 10th round, 287th overall.

Cook was a four-year starter at Pepperdine, appearing in 122 games with 109 starts. He finished tied for ninth in all-time home runs in Pepperdine history. In 2021, he was selected first team all-West Coast Conference.

At Lewis-Palmer, Cook was a three-time 4A all-state honoree, while helping the Rangers to a pair of conference championships.

He is the fourth Lewis-Palmer grad to be drafted all-time, and the first since 2008.

Jack Winkler, a 2017 Chatfield grad, was next to go later in the 10th round, 308th overall to the Oakland Athletics.

Winkler was a four year starter for the University of San Francisco, his last three seasons as the primary shortstop. He had a tremendous campaign in 2021, taking home first team all-West Coast Conference accolades. In four seasons at USF, he played in 184 games, making 180 starts. A career .276 hitter, he totaled 186 hits, 43 doubles, 14 home runs, and 104 RBI.

At Chatfield, he was a three-time all-conference honoree, while helping the Chargers to a 5A title in 2015.

Going back to the recent Colorado high school grads, another Chatfield Charger in Quinton Low went in the 13th round, 387th overall, to the Milwaukee Brewers. With him and Winkler selected, they became the 10th and 11th Chatfield alums drafted all-time.

Low was a two-way star for Chatfield, batting .492 with 30 hits and nine home runs in 2021, while making seven pitching appearances with a 3.00 ERA and 56 strikeouts over 35 innings. He helped Chatfield to the 5A quarterfinals in 2021.

He has signed his letter of intent to attend Santa Clara University.

The final Colorado product selected was Ryan Ure of Eaton, taken in the 16th round, 464th overall, by the Texas Rangers.

Ure was Eaton's ace this past season, pitching to a 2.07 ERA over 44 innings, while compiling a 7-0 record with 83 strikeouts. He helped lead the Fightin' Reds to the 3A baseball title.

Ure is signed to play in college with Oklahoma State. He continues Eaton's rich MLB Draft tradition, as he is the ninth Eaton grad selected all-time, and the first since 2012.

Local selections in the 2021 MLB Draft

RD OVR Team Name POS High School Grad College
8 244 Chicago Cubs Casey Opitz C Heritage 2017 Arkansas
10 287 Baltimore Orioles Billy Cook 3B Lewis-Palmer 2017 Pepperdine
10 308 Oakland Athletics Jack Winkler SS Chatfield 2017 San Francisco
2021 graduates
RD OVR Team Name POS High School Commit
7 211 St. Louis Cardinals Alec Willis RHP Regis Jesuit Minnesota
13 387 Milwaukee Brewers Quinton Low RHP Chatfield Santa Clara
16 464 Texas Rangers Ryan Ure LHP Eaton Oklahoma State