Tuesday, June 16, 2009

2004 Draft in Review: Chicago Cubs

They say you can't grade an MLB draft for at least 4 or 5 years. Here is a team-by-team review of every team's draft from 2004. In the end, each team will receive a grade, from A to F.

Chicago Cubs

Notable Major Leaguer: P Sean Gallagher

Early-Round Bust: P Grant Johnson

Late-Round Gem: P Micah Owings

The Cubs spent over $1 million on Johnson, who is out of baseball. Several players have made the majors from this draft, including Eric Patterson, Sam Fuld, Gallagher (now traded), Jeremy Blevins, and Micah Owings. C Mark Reed is a solid catching prospect who is still in the system, though his ascent has been slow.

Grade: D+
Bottom-Line: A number of players have made the majors, but none of been impact players and the best ones either didn't sign or were traded away. Combined with a big bust in Johnson, and this draft was a poor showing.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

2004 Draft in Review: Boston Red Sox

They say you can't grade an MLB draft for at least 4 or 5 years. Here is a team-by-team review of every team's draft from 2004. In the end, each team will receive a grade, from A to F.




Notable Major Leaguer: 2B Dustin Pedroia



Early-Round Bust: P Andrew Dobies



Late-Round Gem: 3B Beau Mills

Pedroia has become one of the top second baseman in the game, topping it off with an MVP award. Dobies was the first pitcher taken by the Red Sox, but has had an extremely slow ascent through the system. Mills did not sign, and was later taken in the first round by the Cleveland Indians. Other prospects of note who did not sign or were traded include 1B Steven Pearce and P Cla Meredith.

Grade: B
Bottom-Line: Though only one player from this draft has played for the Red Sox, Pedroia has produced a MVP award and makes this a solid draft all by himself.

2004 Draft in Review: Baltimore Orioles

They say you can't grade an MLB draft for at least 4 or 5 years. Here is a team-by-team review of every team's draft from 2004. In the end, each team will receive a grade, from A to F.

Notable Major Leaguer: P Brad Bergesen

Early-Round Bust: P Wade Townsend

Late-Round Gem: OF Will Venable

Not being able to sign their first round pick in Townsend really hurts this draft, though Bergesen has turned into a solid starter for the Orioles. Only one other Top 10 pick made the majors in OF Jeff Fiorentino, who is trying to make it back to the majors as a backup outfielder. Unfortunately, the two other solid prospects produced from this draft are no longer on the team, or didn't sign, P Kevin Hart, and Venable, respectively.

Grade: D
Bergesen's development has been a pleasant surprise for an otherwise horrid draft.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

2004 Draft in Review: Atlanta Braves

They say you can't grade an MLB draft for at least 4 or 5 years. Here is a team-by-team review of every team's draft from 2004. In the end, each team will receive a grade, from A to F.



Notable Major Leaguer: C Clint Sammons



Early-Round Bust: 3B Eric Campbell



Late-Round Gem: P Sean Doolittle

Sammons has only had a cup of coffee so far and along with P James Parr, are the only members from this draft to make the majors. Campbell, the Braves first pick in the draft, is still in the system as a solid prospect, yet he has only just made it to AA. Doolittle may be the best prospect from this draft-and he didn't even sign, he was re-drafted by the A's as a top draft pick.

Grade: F
Bottom Line: Aside from two players who have had barely any big league experience, this draft has been a complete bust for the Braves.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

2004 Draft in Review: Arizona Diamondbacks

They say you can't grade an MLB draft for at least 4 or 5 years. Here is a team-by-team review of every team's draft from 2004. In the end, each team will receive a grade, from A to F.


Arizona Diamondbacks


Notable Major Leaguer: SS Stephen Drew

Early-Round Bust: OF Jon Zeringue

Late-Round Gem: 3B Mark Reynolds

Diamondbacks acquired the left side of their infield in this draft. Drew has become a solid MLB shortstop, and is very close to reaching the all-star level that has been expected of him. Reynolds was a steal in the 16th round, showcasing massive power, though he has struggled with constant contact and fielding ability. The Diamondbacks also took three other players who have been used in trades, including P Ross Ohlendorf, P Garrett Mock, and 1B Chris Carter.

Grade: B-
Bottom Line: Signing the left side of their infield has been great for the Diamondbacks, but there was not much else and any solid pitching from this draft has been traded away.

2004 Draft in Review: Anaheim Angels

They say you can't grade an MLB draft for at least 4 or 5 years. Here is a team-by-team review of every team's draft from 2004. In the end, each team will receive a grade, from A to F.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Formerly the Los Angels Angels)

Notable Major Leaguer: Jered Weaver

Early-Round Bust: OF Patrick White

Late-Round Gem: P Nick Green

Without a 2nd or 3rd round pick, the Angels needed to make their 1st round pick count. They most certainly did with Weaver, arguably the best college pitcher that season, and a pitcher who dropped due to signability concerns. Weaver has now emerged as one of the top starters on the Angels, and one of the top in the American League. Only a couple notable prospects are still in the system, including power-hitting 1st baseman Mark Trumbo, and shortstop Henry Statia. The Angels failed to sign their second pick White, who later became a star college quarterback. They also failed to sign pitcher Alan Horne, one of the Yankee's top pitching prospects. Green was a late pick who signed and has slowly proved himself and may get a chance at the majors in the near future. Nick Adenhart, a 14th rounder and former top prospect, was finally living up to his immense potential when he was tragically killed by a drunk driver, a life taken too soon.

Grade: C-
Bottom Line: Only 1 solid major leaguer, though Adenhart was certainly on his way. Not enough development overall to mark this anything but an average draft.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Baseball's Draft: The need to change

For years, analysts have stated that Major League Baseball needed to make a change to its draft process, and minor changes have been introduced. However, the one change that has yet to be made has been to the "slotting system," the system used to provide bonuses for the players.

However, with this day in age, a day of a depressed economy and a Stephen Strasburg, baseball may be doomed. This draft could set a precedent, or may finally establish in the minds of the baseball elite that these bonus demands are getting out of hand and must be adjusted.

The reason the draft is held is to allow for the worst teams to have a chance to gain the best talent, in an effort to "even the playing field." However, with signability being a factor that is the worst in sports (though football is also an issue), this is not always the case. Often, the big-market teams have a greater draft budget to spend on draftees, and can afford to buy players out of returning to school or out of scholarship. The smaller-market teams, many of which find themselves at the top of the draft, have to find the perfect player, one who can fit into their budget, yet still has enough talent to warrant such a selection and create an impact. This does not seem like the way a draft should work.

Which brings back the conflict of the slotting system. The way this system works is that MLB hands down a recommendation bonus for each pick of the draft. The bonus is not something that teams and players must agree on, but purely a recommendation.

As a result, teams largely seem to ignore this and end up spending a lot of money just to acquire a talent. Not a proven talent, but money invested based on potential. This could be devastating to a small-market team, especially if the player ends up a bust. However, a large-market team can usually suck up the loss, and continue spending large dollars.

This year is different. There are so many players who are expecting large bonuses, led by the best prospect in the world, Strasburg, who will command an unmatched bonus somewhere within the $15-20 mil range, with rumors of upwards of $50 mil. At this time when the economy is clearly having an effect on professional baseball, negotiations for many teams could end up a disaster.

Basketball got it right, with 1st rounders receiving guaranteed contracts at a set amount. Baseball needs to do the same, so that the only question for potential draft picks is who has more talent, not who wants more money.


Coming Soon: They say it takes 4 or 5 years before you can really grade a MLB draft. 2004 Team by Team Draft Review and Grades coming up!