Wednesday, June 8, 2011

MLB Draft thoughts...

There were certainly some interesting stories to come out of the MLB Draft so far, especially at the top of the 1st round. There were 2 starting pitchers from UCLA taken in the top 3, 2 high school pitchers from Oklahoma taken in the top 7, and the Royals taking the home-state guy in Bubba Starling at #5.

Biggest surprises in Round 1 in my eyes were Cory Spangenberg from Indian River State CC at #10. A solid bat and pretty versatile, but not the type of talent you want in the top 10. Also, the Mets taking Brandon Nimmo at #13 was a bit of a surprise as he wasn't viewed by most as a top 25 prospect.

The Braves also had a surprising pick at #28 in FSU LHP Sean Gilmartin, likely due to Robert Stephenson being taken by the Reds the pick before. I was hoping for Mikie Mahtook, who had dropped when a few unlikely pitchers jumped into the 1st round. Hopefully, Gilmartin will work out like Mike Minor, a pick I questioned as well.

That same draft was when the curious decision by Matt Purke was made after he was the 14th pick by Texas. Purke turned down 4 million to go to TCU and struggled this year with velocity and injuries, and was drafted by Washington in the 3rd round. He will likely be looking for a multi-million dollar contract, even at pick 96, or head back to TCU for another year and hope to get his stock back up if the money isn't there.

After a huge run on GA high school players in the 1st round the past few years, the only one taken in the 1st round this year was the final pick of the round, Kevin Matthews. Again, a bit of a surprise as Larry Greene or Dwight Smith were thought to be the 1st GA HS players on most boards. But, Matthews is a big lefty with a 90+ fastball, and will probably never make it to UVA now.

An interesting article today by Tom Verducci talks about some of the great draft classes of all-time, with 2005 coming in #1. A more recent class, though, has a chance to get into the top 5 in the next few years, the draft class of 2009.

That class already has had 4 starting pitchers make their debut and show signs of becoming a front line starter (Strasburg, Minor, Alex White, and Mike Leake). Drew Storen and Aaron Crow are dominant relievers, while #6 pick Zach Wheeler is rapidly moving through the Giants system. As for hitters, Dustin Ackley will be at the top of the Mariners batting order soon and Mike Trout, arguably the top prospect in the game was the 25th pick in '09.

Andrew Oliver and DJ LeMahieu have also made their big-league debuts as 2nd round picks, and many other HS players (Donovan Tate, Jacob Turner, and Tyler Maztek) all have been as advertised in the minors.

One final note that was a bit odd was all the college players the Braves took. After taking so many High Schoolers with their 1st few picks over the years (Chipper, Freeman, Heyward, McCann, etc), Atlanta took a college player with their 1st 11 picks this year...

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