Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Although the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft is still a couple months away, since my season on Out of the Park Baseball has gotten to that point (and I can't recommend this game strongly enough, plus it's only $19.99 to download) I've been in the draft mindset. Why not take a look at the Twins' draft history? We kind of know it a bit, but nobody pays all that much attention to the MLB draft. I'll take a look at the Twins' first pick and how it is working out, players they missed, and the rest of their picks overall. I won't focus on players missed by looking through the whole thing, there's like 50 rounds. We've heard about Piazza going in round 62, Mark Buehrle in round 38, and Roy Oswalt in round 23, but that would take all day to look it. Instead I'll focus on the picks right around the Twins, and see who was missed.
2007: Twins take Ben Revere, High School CF, 28th overall (pictured). Although he was considered a cost-saving pick by many, Revere looked good in Rookie ball last season, as mentioned below and is the Twins' third best prospect according to Baseball Prospectus. The big miss here wasn't passing on any name in particular that stands out, but that Rick Porcello, considered by many to be the best high school right hander to enter the draft in years, was nabbed by Detroit one pick before the Twins'. He was good enough to make his debut in High A ball this season, his first as a pro after a year at prep school, and has posted a 0.93 WHIP and 2.18 ERA in five starts. I haven't heard of any of the Twins' other picks from 2007, but a couple who show promise are CF Andrew Schmiesing (.321 BA/.421 OBP in Rookie ball last year) and SP Daniel Berlind (1.93 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 56 innings).
2006: Twins take Chris Parmelee, High School RF, 20th overall. After playing well in rookie ball is first year, Parmelee has struggled a bit in A ball over parts of the past three seasons. Last year was his first full year in A, and he hit just .239 and has followed that up with a .227 so far this season. There are encouraging signs, however. He gets on base (OBPs of .313 and .366) and can slug (.414 and .561). Despite the low average, the OPS is there, .927 this year, so he should come around. Glaring mistakes in this draft include passing on both Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain. I'm assuming since those two were both college pitchers, this was once again a cost saving draft pick. If that's the case, then the better pick would have been SS Adrian Cardenas, another high school player who is ranked the 3rd best prospect in the Phillies system, whereas Parmelee isn't in the top 11 for the Twins. The Twins were able to grab excellent pitching prospects Tyler Robertson in the third, and Jeff Manship in the 14th.
2005: Twins take Matt Garza, pitcher from Fresno State, 25th overall. We all know about Garza, since he made the bigs, basically rocketing through the minors. That success hasn't quite translated to the majors as of yet, and he's now laid up with an injury for the Rays. Garza's evaluation will be forever tied to Delmon Young because of the trade, so let's just say for now it looks like Garza can't hit. It's hard to say if they made any mistakes here with the pick, because Garza still has the ability to end up being the best pitcher out of this draft. One name that glaringly stands out as a guy the Twins passed on is pitcher Clay Buchholz in the Red Sox system, taken by them at #42. You know, the guy who already has a no-hitter in the majors. The rest of the Twins' draft looks promising, with P Kevin Slowey in the second and P Brian Duensing in the third looking like top prospect types, and SS Andrew Thompson in the second, 1B Erik Lis in the ninth, and P Brian Kirwan in the 11th looking like decent picks.
2004: The Twins had five first round picks this year, taking SS Trevor Plouffe at 20, P Glen Perkins at 22, P Steve Waldrop at 25, P Matthew Fox at 35, and P Jay Rainville at 39. Plouffe I covered below, so I'll skip him. Perkins has been up and down in the bigs, so you probably know who he is. None of Waldrop, Fox, or Rainville makes the Twins top 10 list, Rainville was solid in A ball the past two years, but has been getting ripped around after being promoted to AA for this season. Fox has been an ok middle reliever in rookie and A ball so far in his career, and Waldrop has been ok as a starter, moving up the system at a decent pace to land in AA ball and the end of last year. Overall, for five first round picks, this is a pretty disappointing group, especially when some of the guys they passed on include the Yankees' Phil Hughes, Oakland's Huston Street, the Brewers' Yovani Gallardo, and Boston's Dustin Pedroia. The Twins did pick up some good later picks, with P Anthony Swarzak in the 2nd, P Eduardo Morlan (since traded) in the third, and C Javier Sanchez in the 14th, but overall this draft was a failure, at least at this point.
2003: Twins take high school third baseman Matt Moses at #21 overall. Moses is beginning his sixth season in the minor leagues this year, and even worse is starting in double-A after getting a shot at Triple-A late last season. He doesn't walk much and doesn't hit for much power, and has posted a .258/.311/.388 in his minor league career. I'm pretty much calling him a bust at this point. Unfortunately, Moses was taken over guys like Chad Billingsley, Eric Duncan, Jarrod Saltamacchia, and Adam Jones. Oof. This was overall a nightmare of a draft, as none of the guys taken have spent so much as a minute on the Twins' major league roster, and it looks like none of them ever will.
2002: Twins take high school outfielder Denard Span at number 20 in the first round. We finally got to see Span this year, and he looks like he might end up being a good pinch runner. He's an ok hitter, with a decent OBP, but doesn't have and will never had much power. Unlike, say, Jeff Francouer who was taken by the Braves four picks later and has already put up major league seasons with 29 and 19 homeruns or Cincy's Joey Votto, who hit all through the minors and is putting up a very nice rookie year so far, taken 24 picks later. If you're curious about pitching passed up, Joe Blanton and Matt Cain were taken within five picks of Span. The rest of this drafted netted Jesse Crain and Pat Neshek, as well as a possible contributor down the line in the 49th round of Brock Peterson at third base. Peterson is still just in AA, but has posted an OPS of .800+ at pretty much every stop.
That leads us to 2001, which was the Joe Mauer draft and ends this post on a positive note, which I need because the rest of this draft review is making me a little sick.