2009 Draft: Notes & Thoughts

That closer mentality
Tix available for Yanks-Mariners in Seattle

The high school season is basically over, and the NCAA conference tourneys wrap up this week. That means we’re inching closer and closer to draft day. So here are some bullet point goodness to hold you over.

  • Strasburg Watch: 94.1 IP, 54 H, 18 BB, 174 K, 1.34 ERA. With a 12-0 record in 13 starts, Stephen Strasburg has more wins than the Nationals (11-27), and his 174 strikeouts are just 52 fewer than the entire Nats’ staff, despite throwing 249.2 fewer innings. Acting GM Mike Rizzo has all but confirmed that the Nats will make the righty the first pick in the draft.
  • While on the subject of the Nats, Rizzo also says the Nats will not go cheap with their second pick, #10 overall. Slot money for the tenth overall pick is expected to be around $2.1M, which means the Nats could spend close to $27M on their first two draft picks this year, nearly half their 2009 big league payroll of $54.9M. The current record for the most cash spent on one draft class is the $11.1M the Royals handed out last year.
  • The Mariners are all over UNC 1B/CF Dustin Ackley at #2. He’s the best hitter in the draft class, and perhaps the safest bet in the class as well, even safer than Strasburg. Coming back from Tommy John surgery, Ackley has recently seen time in center field, which is where he’d be most valuable. The only knock against him is his moderate power potential, but there’s no shame in falling back on a Mark Grace-esque type of career. Peter Gammons recently sung the kid’s praises.
  • The two top LHPs in the draft, high schoolers Tyler Matzek and Matt Purke, are rumored to be seeking bonuses upwards of $3M, which would be overslot outside of the top three or four picks. It won’t take much for one, if not both of these kids to go the Rick Porcello route and fall to the back end of the first round. Either would be an outstanding selection for the Yanks at #29.
  • It looks like USC SS Grant Green caught the same draftitis bug that hit ex-Trojan Ian Kennedy three years ago. He’s hitting .374-.439-.579 and has hit just one homer in conference play (four overall), underwhelming for a guy who was considered to be one of the three best players in the draft back when the season started. There are serious concerns about his ability to stay at short, and if he has to move off the position his value takes a significant hit. Green could still go as high as sixth overall to the Giants, but I would not be shocked at all if he was still on the board when the Yanks’ first pick comes around.
  • Jason Churchill of ESPN and Prospect Insider spoke to at least one scout that thinks the Yankees could pop prep catcher Luke Bailey at #29. You may remember that I wrote about Bailey two weeks ago. He was the consensus top high school catching prospect coming into the year, but recently had Tommy John surgery.
  • If you put a gun to my head right now, I’d guess that the first five picks play out like this:
    1. Nats: Strasburg
    2. Mariners: Ackley
    3. Padres: Donovan Tate, CF, Georgia HS (new owner makes a splash)
    4. Pirates: Tanner Scheppers, RHP, Indy League (they love him, and they took him last year so they have the best medical info of any team)
    5. Orioles: Aaron Crow, RHP, Indy League (this would give them the two best pitching prospects from the ’08 draft)
  • The Braves love their local products, so Georgia HS RHP Zack Wheeler seems like a slam dunk for them at #7. If Arizona State RHP Mike Leake makes it to the Diamondbacks’ back-to-back picks at 16 & 17, expect them to pop the local college product. Oh by the way, Leake’s 1.35 ERA (106.2 IP) would be an NCAA single season record, breaking Floyd Bannister’s mark (1.45) which has stood since 1976. It’ll be nearly impossible for him to maintain an ERA that low through the postseason, but it’ll be a fun story to follow.
  • Bryce Harper’s season is over. His numbers were absolutely insane.

Just a reminder, you can check out the draft order at our 2009 Draft Order Tracker at anytime. Given the injury to Rickie Weeks, I suppose there’s a chance the Brewers could sign Mark Grudzielanek (resulting in another sandwich round pick for the Brewers), but I highly doubt that happens.

That closer mentality
Tix available for Yanks-Mariners in Seattle
  • Jake H

    Yes more draft stuff! I would love a big time lefty to fall to the Yanks with their first round pick. I do wonder if they will go super agressive this year with overslot guys to make up for last year.

  • Whozat

    Wait…you can’t give yourself another pick by signing a free agent, right?

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tADvb3yyhwM Slugger27

      i think he means it would give the royals a sandwich pick

      • whozat

        That makes sense…I read another story recently that seemed to indicate Grudz played for the brewers last year, and was confused by it at the time…I thought I just missed a trade or something. It said that both Grudz and Durham split time at 2B for the Crew in the second half last year, but that’s not true, right?

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tADvb3yyhwM Slugger27

          http://www.google.com/

          couldnt resist, since u always do that… but no, he played for the royals

          • whozat

            Yeah, that’s what thebaseballcube said. I looked it up before you replied :-)

            I’m just wondering what that article I read was talking about. I guess it was just botched editing.

  • V

    Bryce Harper = sick. I wonder who will end up with the worst record in 2010, and if they will pay top dollar for him.

    • whozat

      It’d be criminal malfeasance if they didn’t.

      • V

        Well, what will top dollar for Harper be? Less or more than Strasburg?

        Would you say he’s the next ‘ARod’ when it comes to being drafted out of High School?

        • whozat

          That seems to be the kind of hype. Who knows, though? Maybe by the time he’s ready to break in, we’ll be calling him the next Matt Wieters. That kid scares me. I am not looking forward to Yankee pitchers facing Jones-Markakis-Wieters for the next six-eight years.

          • Doug

            and they got some pitching on the way

        • Stu H

          Harper should be paid more than Strasburg. He’s the most hyped prospect…ever. He had a 2.000 OPS, which is unbelievable. He was on base 77% of the time. Why did anyone ever throw him ANYTHING to hit?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tADvb3yyhwM Slugger27

    my god those bryce harper stats were outta control

    • Hobs

      Bryce Harper is a son of a bitch. Harper’s family crest is a picture of a barracuda, eating Neil Armstrong.

      • tim randle

        Bryce Harper=Nick Swisher’s Love Child

  • Doug

    Shall I assume that if either Matzek or Purke fall to us, we “have” to take them?

  • Reggie C.

    BA has both Matzek and Purke getting their names called well before the Jays pick at #20. Boras has to scare off a bunch of teams bw now and draft day to ’cause those guys to fall. Besides, Jacob Turner is the one getting the headlines in asking for Rick Porcello money.

    I’m not even going to allow myself to consider Grant Green a possibility at #29.

    • Doug

      read the same thing about green from another source. slipping over concerns about his future at SS. if this is the case, is he really a no-brainer for the yanks if he falls to us?

      • whozat

        Depends on what the concerns are. If he has to move to 3B…urmm….if he’d have to move to 2B, well that might be OK. It’d give us leverage in Cano contract negotiations in a few years, or let us trade him when he’s 30 for a huge haul, and slot Green in.

        • Doug

          i hear you, but does is offensive #s justify a 1st round pick if he’s not a shortstop. they don’t seem so mindblowing.

          • Reggie C.

            apparently Green’s Cape Cod numbers and workouts were insanely impressive. Green showed advanced hitting actions and power not found in SS … and he did that with wood bats.

      • Reggie C.

        I’ve read Green’s made more errors at the start of this season, but his MLB draft report has him listed as AVG. in range and arm strength and possessing “soft” hands. College seasons aren’t terribly long and guys press immediately.

        So many teams would have to think budget before talent in passing on Green, even with future defensive questions. You gotta still think talent wins out at the end, especially if you’re confident in him staying at SS and playing it … average. I’d be shocked to see him fall out the top 10.

  • http://deleted RollingWave

    “Peter Gammons recently sung the kid’s praises. ”

    it was more like a mega orgsam to be exact…… funny that he’s father just happens to be a Ex Red Sox…. must have nothing to do with that…..

    Also there’s this hilarious tibet in that post.

    “Ackley, the son of former Red Sox minor league catcher John Ackley, might be a Chase Utley at second. Or a Darin Erstad in center. “I don’t know if I’ll ever coach a better player,” Fox says. “Or a better person.””

    That’s a fairly wide range of outcome for a MLB player no ? ;)

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tADvb3yyhwM Slugger27

      he’ll either be a hall of fame calibur talent at a premium position, or he’ll be a defensive replacement/pinch hitter type with decent speed

      • whozat

        It does kind of run the gamut.

      • http://eastrutherfordrant.com donttradecano

        So hell either be Joe Morgan or Brett Gardner with pinch hitting ability?

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tADvb3yyhwM Slugger27

          ryne sandberg, chad curtis…. i mean we’re splitting hairs here

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        What are you talking about? DARIN ERSTAD IS A GREAT PLAYER, HE’S SO FULL OF GRIT IT’S INSANE!!!!!!!!!

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          He was a football player!!!

          • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

            A PUNTER!!!!!! Gritty!!!!!

  • http://deleted RollingWave

    and this

    “But Ackley will quickly be the prize of the Mariners organization. (Seattle has the No. 2 pick in the draft.) There are those people that when you meet them, you know. They look you in the eye and give off a presence. Derek Jeter always had it. Joe Mauer. Grady Sizemore. Torii Hunter. Derrek Lee. David Wright. Chase Utley. Ryan Zimmerman. [b]Darin Erstad[/b]. Maybe hundreds more.

    One of those players are not the same as the rest. take one guess…

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tADvb3yyhwM Slugger27

      ruth, gehrig, dimaggio, mantle….. costanza????

  • http://eastrutherfordrant.com donttradecano

    If Bailey can recover from the Tommy John surgery, I think he has the potential to be that athletic catcher ala Joe Mauer.

    I just hope my friend gets drafted by either the Yanks or someone with a close Single A team so I can go watch him play.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Weird coincidences:

    The MLB and NBA drafts are both in June. Both drafts have a consensus #1 player who is heads and shoulders above all other prospects, and has been that way for over a year. Both drafts have a team with the top pick who have already announced to the world they’re going to take that #1 player, removing all doubt or intrigue from the top selection.

    Both those franchises (the Nationals and the Clippers) are historical laughingstocks in their sport and have suffered through prolonged stretches of losing seasons for a decade or more. Neither franchise has ever won a conference (or league) championship, let alone a title. They both moved to their current cities from their original homes of Montreal and Buffalo, northeastern cities less than 400 miles apart. As the Buffalo Braves played occasionally in the Toronto Maple Leaf Gardens, both franchises have played home games in Canada. They were both founded as expansion franchises a year apart (1969 for Montreal, 1970 for Buffalo).

    They both wear a red, white, and blue color scheme.

    Strasburg’s college coach, MLB Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, was drafted by the (then) San Diego Clippers in the 10th round of the 1981 NBA draft.

    • http://eastrutherfordrant.com donttradecano

      And most likely neither player wants to play for either team.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tADvb3yyhwM Slugger27

      how can the same franchise connect with itself?? we must be at the nexus of the universe!!

    • whozat

      Why does LA have two NBA teams that play in the same conference, division, and arena? And why is one so horrendous and the other so excellent?

      • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

        Because the NBA places teams in their respective conferences and divisions based on geographical relations.

  • V

    Somewhat off topic, but is there a more lopsided trade than the Bartolo Colon deal? Where would the Nationals be today if they had Sizemore/Phillips/Cliff Lee??

    • Tom Zig

      Probably still in Montreal.

      • jsbrendog

        no strike = expos being a powerhouse to ths day and having won at least 1 ws before the close of the 90s

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          1994 Expos 74-40

          C Darrin Fletcher 92
          1B Cliff Floyd 89
          2B Mike Lansing 81
          SS Wil Cordero 119
          3B Sean Berry 106
          LF Moises Alou 153
          CF Marquis Grissom 99
          RF Larry Walker 151
          ———————
          OF Rondell White 112
          C Lenny Webster 112
          IF Juan Bell 97
          ———————
          SP Ken Hill 128
          SP Pedro Martinez 125
          SP Jeff Fassero 143
          SP Butch Henry 175
          SP Kirk Rueter 82
          ———————
          RP Mel Rojas 128
          RP Gil Heredia 123
          RP Jeff Shaw 110
          CL John Wetteland 151

          I wonder if they would have beaten the Reds. The Expos rotation was better, but the Reds had better hitters and a better bullpen…

          Cincinnati Reds 66-48

          C Brian Dorsett 74
          1B Hal Morris 128
          2B Bret Boone 123
          SS Barry Larkin 107
          3B Tony Fernandez 106
          LF Kevin Mitchell 185
          CF Roberto Kelly 96
          RF Reggie Sanders 110
          ———————
          OF Deion Sanders 84
          C Ed Taubensee 118
          IF Jeff Branson 111
          ———————
          SP Jose Rijo 136
          SP John Smiley 108
          SP Erik Hanson 102
          SP John Roper 93
          SP Pete Schourek 102
          ———————
          RP Johnny Ruffin 135
          RP Chuck McElroy 178
          RP Hector Carrasco 187
          CL Jeff Brantley 168

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Somewhat off topic, but is there a more lopsided trade than the Bartolo Colon deal?

      My baseball people kept talking about his bat. They kept saying, “Ken Phelps, Ken Phelps!”

      Seriously, though, yeah, that’s brutal. I also love the Orioles trading Curt Schilling, Steve Finley, and Pete Harnisch for Glenn Davis, though.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tADvb3yyhwM Slugger27

        at least im not the only one making lame seinfeld references in this thread… good to know u got my back!

        • A.D.

          There is no such thing as a lame Seinfeld reference.

    • Colombo

      cough..cough…AJ Pierzynski…cough…cough…

      • http://www.myspace.com/bayside Thirty5Thirty6

        Disagree. Lee has had more success than Liriano. And after that, it is comparing Sizemore to Nathan. Which Looks something like this:

        Sizemore>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Nathan

    • Chris

      Zambrano for Kazmir

    • Tony

      Ahh Vinatge Minaya..

  • Tom Zig

    If Luke Bailey didn’t have TJ surgery, where would he have projected to be taken?

    • Doug

      top 10 i read

      • V

        Wow, and surgery is enough to drop him to the lower half?

        • Doug

          well, it’s a surgery that’ll keep him and his development out for a year or so. most teams aren’t willing to wait that long.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          Sure, it’s a major surgery. I think a team with multiple first round picks (D-Backs, Angels, M’s) will grab him because they won’t be going all in on an injured player with their first rounder. I bet the Halos grab him with one of their first rounders, picks 24 and 25.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Top 15 for sure, possible top 10.

      • Doug

        Mike, what would be your optimal scenario for the Yanks: Matzek, Purke, Bailey, Green, or other?

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          I prefer Matzek over Purke. A little less stuff, but much better command. That’s like saying I prefer Pujols to A-Rod though, both guys are excellent.

          I’d rate them in the order you listed them.

          • Doug

            Okay, if you were going to place odds on the 4 of them being available, what would they be?

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

              That’s tough, so this is nothing more than a guess:

              Matzek: 2%
              Purke: 2%
              Bailey: 25%
              Green: 5%

              • Doug

                Appreciate the effort ;-)

                So, since it’s unlikely we’ll get any of those 4, who do you see us actually selecting? And I apologize if you’ve stated that previously somewhere

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                  I honestly have no idea, but I’m willing to bet it’s a top talent that drops because of money/injury. Bailey fits that description.

                • Doug

                  and it certainly fits our MO

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    Mike: Any chance one of my Huskies gets plucked?