Rockies grab Clemson standout Parker (via MLB.COM)

By Thomas Harding /

DENVER -- Upholding a tradition of selecting baseball stars who also happen to be college football quarterbacks, the Rockies selected Clemson right fielder Kyle Parker with their first-round pick in Monday night's MLB First-Year Player Draft.

The Rockies selected Parker with the 26th pick. He was playing on Monday night in the Auburn Regional of the NCAA Tournament.

Parker celebrated the selection by hitting a home run during the game to bring his season total to 20. He entered the game with a .358 batting average and 60 RBIs, while starting 59 games.

Unlike first baseman Todd Helton out of Tennessee and outfielder Seth Smith out of Ole Miss, Parker is considered an NFL prospect at his position. Helton ended up a backup to Peyton Manning and Smith backed up Eli Manning, and saw action for one play as a receiver.

Parker was named the quarterback on the All-Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman Team in 2009. His touchdown pass total (20) was equal to his home run number.

With a football future seemingly bright, the pick could be seen as risky, but in recent years the Rockies have made informed decisions with picks that were seen as risks.

In 2008, several teams didn't pull the trigger on Eastern Kentucky left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich, but the Rockies took him 25th overall and were able to sign him.

Last year at No. 11 overall, the Rockies didn't shy away from left-handed high school standout Tyler Matzek of Capistrano Valley (Calif.) High School. Although Matzek had committed to Oregon and told he could continue hitting, the Rockies signed him.

In 2004, teams stayed away from outfielder Dexter Fowler of Milton High School in Alpharetta, Ga., who had committed to the University of Miami, and he lasted until the Rockies grabbed him in the 14th round.