Thursday, June 11, 2009

2009 Draft Hits and Misses

It was the fall of Tanner Scheppers that was Tuesday's biggest story

For a variety of reasons; signability issues, time to reach the major leagues, the overall draft length, etc. you can’t really give accurate grades to a baseball draft for many years—if at all. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t some things that took place that weren’t worth mentioning. With that in mind, here’s our quick take on who is likely to benefit and who made us scratch our heads after the first two days of the 2009 draft.

Hits –

Colorado Rockies – If they can convince Matzek to sign, this was by far the most impressive first night performance. First they took a Top Five player in Matzek with the 11th pick, then they got a Top Fifteen Player in Tim Wheeler at #32. Wait, the Rockies didn’t stop there, as they were able to steal Rex Brothers, a Top Twenty talent in the Supplemental round. If you want to add icing on the cake, in the 4th Round, with the 121st overall selection, they tabbed the Diamond Futures’ Top 50 Special—Kent Matthes from Alabama. Each of their first three picks were the best player left on our list at the time of selection. If I didn’t know better, they had stolen our list.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Getting Borchering at #16 rivals the Matzek pick for us as the best of round#1. While he landed exactly where we predicted him to, this was the best prep hitter in the draft. As we said on Monday, if the Pirates were going to ‘reach’ then the pick ought to have been Borchering at #4. Pollock was a solid pick at #17, but then they came back in the supplemental round and were able to nab Matt Davidson, a Top Twenty player, with the 35th pick. Finally, to cap their good run on Tuseday, they were able to snare Marc Krauss from Ohio University in the second round.
Texas Rangers – We would have taken Matzek over Purke, but it was still an excellent pick at #14. But where the Rangers made their draft was grabbing Scheppers in the Supplemental round. Yes we understand the medical concerns, and no we don’t claim to be orthopedic surgeons, or to have seen his medical records, but what we do know is that his velocity is back in the upper 90’s and, pre-injury, he was our #1 pitcher in the 2008 draft. We would have called the Ranger’s pick excellent if they had taken Scheppers at #14. Admittedly there wasn’t a lot of the rest of their draft that we were real fond of, but from our perspective that got two of the top ten talents available.

Best Picks of the Second Round –
Jason Kipnis to Cleveland at #63
Garret Gould to the Dodgers at #65

Best Pick of the Third Round –
Will Myers to the Royals at #91

Jake Marisnick to the Blue Jays at #104

Best Picks of the Fourth Round –
Max Stassi to the A’s at #123
Luke Bailey to Tampa Bay at #139
Kent Matthes to the Rockies at #121

Best Pick of the Fifth Round –
Jeff Malm to Tampa Bay at #169

The Misses –

Pittsburgh Pirates – Same old Pirates. Coming on the heels of the McLouth deal, Sanchez at #4 doesn’t just look bad…it looks awful. Yes, unlike the Moskos pick a couple of years ago at least Sanchez was a first round talent, but with the 4th pick overall, there were at least 15-20 better options. But it wasn’t just the Sanchez pick. It would be great if you said the logic was that they were going to save $ on Sanchez to draft over slot later on, but there were only two of their picks in the first ten rounds that could even possibly qualify for that (Brooks Pounders in round two was well placed and Zach Von Rosenberg in round six was solid talent). I have three words for this draft…awful, awful, awful!
Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles have drafted well in recent years so I can’t be too hard on them, and I will have to take them at their word that Hobgood was their guy—not a signability pick. Don’t get me wrong, I like Hobgood, but I am willing to wager that at least half of the group of Jacob Turner, Tyler Matzek, Matt Purke, Shelby Miller, Zack Wheeler and just to even the odds more in their favor throw in Garret Gould—so at least three of them, likely more, will outperform Hobgood long-term. If Hobgood was their guy, then they just plain got it wrong. While the rest of their draft wasn’t awful, the only other pick they made where I thought they under drafted a guy was Ryan Berry in Round Nine.
Major League Baseball – It’s time that something changes with the Draft! The purpose of it should be so that the worst teams in the league end up with the best available players. Clearly on Tuesday night, that was not the case. If a slotted system or a hard draft cap isn’t going to make it through the collective bargaining agreement, then it is time Major League Baseball allowed the trading of draft picks. At least at that point the teams that can’t afford to meet the higher priced demands can at least get value for the pick. I seriously thought that after 2007, the 2008 draft was relatively free of the signability problem. Unfortunately, after the first three picks last night (Strasburg, Ackley and Tate), signability was a bigger story than the players being taken. That’s bad Public Relations and it is detrimental to the long-term future of the game.

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