Lewis-Palmer's Paul Tillotson meets with numerous MLB teams ahead of draft

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Photo - Lewis-Palmer's Paul Tillotson could get drafted by a Major League Baseball team this week. Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette.
Lewis-Palmer's Paul Tillotson could get drafted by a Major League Baseball team this week. Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette.

Thirteen meetings with scouts, nine in-house meetings with Major League teams, multiple 150-question personality tests, several reaction-time questionnaires, and one extremely important family conversation.

Now, all Paul Tillotson has left to do is wait. 

The Lewis-Palmer pitcher has laid all the ground work for the 2016 MLB first-year player draft, which begins Thursday and concludes Saturday.

Air Force right-hander and Cherry Creek grad Griffin Jax could also get drafted this week. Baseball America ranks Jax No. 100 in the publication's latest list of its top 500 first-year draft players. Tillotson is No. 396 on the list.

And even after all the preparation Tillotson still has no idea in which of the 40 rounds he could be selected.

"At this point no one truly knows," he said. "There is just so much going on during those draft meetings, it is really hard as a player, especially out of high school, to figure out where you might go."

Tillotson, who went 8-1 this season with a 1.02 ERA and a .562 batting average, was nervous during his first meeting. It was with the Cubs and he had no idea what to expect. The hour-long conversation dug into Tillotson's character and included a computerized personality test and 20 more questions to gauge his reaction time. After that initial meeting, things got easier for the pitcher, and he became more relaxed with each team.

Like many young baseball players, Tillotson has dreamed about being drafted since his Little League days, but unlike most of those players, his dream is likely to come true. Still, Tillotson said it would take a lot for him to pass up the chance to play at Nebraska next year.

"Me and my family sat down and came up with the idea that I would have to go in the top five rounds for me to miss the opportunity to be a D-1 athlete and the chance to further my education," he said.

The dream team for Tillotson is the Rockies, who he grew up watching, but he said being selected by them wouldn't change the mark he set with his family.

Associate scout for the St. Louis Cardinals, and former Lewis-Palmer coach, Tom McCabe said it is near impossible to predict what will happen, but he can see Tillotson going in the first 15 rounds because of both his physical skills and the intangibles he brings to the table.

Tillotson, McCabe said, is a five-tool player with few weaknesses to his game and a maturity that isn't generally found in a person his age.

"His attitude and how he approaches games makes him appealing to draft," McCabe said. " . He is receptive to improvement and is willing to make changes to make himself better."

Tillotson spent this season making improvements that would make him more attractive to scouts. He worked on his stride length and pitching speed, resulting in hitting 95 mph on radar guns in a tournament earlier this year in Arizona.