Gophers ace Oakes signs with Colorado Rockies

Oakes joined the Rockies’ Class-A affiliate in Pasco, Wash., on Monday.

Andrew Krammer

Gophers pitcher TJ Oakes has decided to forgo his senior year and sign with the Colorado Rockies, the team that took him in the 11th round of last week’s Major League Baseball draft.

The Jordan, Minn., native will officially join, on Monday, the Tri-City Dust Devils, a Rockies Class-A affiliate in Pasco, Wash.

“The Rockies were one of the teams that talked to me throughout the process, so it wasn’t a complete surprise,” Oakes said in a release. “Everyone has told me that their organization is a good fit for me, and I’m happy to be included with the club.”

A 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher, Oakes had a stellar junior season for the Gophers, posting a 7-3 record and a 2.31 ERA in 14 starts.

An All-Big Ten first team selection, Oakes led the Big Ten in strikeouts looking (27) and finished third in total strikeouts (78), fourth in ERA and fourth in innings pitched (97.1).

“It was difficult to not pitch as a senior, but this opportunity with the Rockies is one that I couldn’t pass up,” Oakes said in the release.

He added that pitching in the minors would be a different experience, but “I’m probably a little more prepared for it than most people since my dad [Todd Oakes] was a minor league pitching coach when I was growing up.”

The Minnesota Twins drafted Oakes in the 41st round last year, but the signing bonus that late in the draft wasn’t enough to entice him to leave the Gophers.