Archive for June 9th, 2009

The Z-Meter: 6/9/2009 – Draft Day Edition

The Z-meter tracks the story arcs of 25 top prospects (or players we just like) on their way to the bigs. It is named after current Washington Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman, who made the transition from anchoring the University of Virginia to starring in MLB in one year.

Promoted:

Jordan Zimmermann: Syracuse Chiefs (AAA) to Washington Nationals (MLB)
Matt LaPorta: Columbus Clippers (AAA) to Cleveland Indians (MLB)
Daniel Bard: Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA) to Boston Red Sox (MLB)
Mat Gamel: Nashville Sounds (AAA) to Milwaukee Brewers (MLB)
Fernando Martinez: Buffalo Bisons (AAA) to New York Mets (MLB)
Matt Wieters: Norfolk Tides (AAA) to Baltimore Orioles (MLB)
Antonio Bastardo: Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA) to Philadelphia Phillies (MLB)
Andrew McCutchen: Indianapolis Indians (AAA) to Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB)

Antonio Bastardo: Reading Phillies (AA) to Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA)

Madison Bumgarner: San Jose Giants (A) to Connecticut Defenders (AA)
Yonder Alonso: Sarasota Reds (A) to Carolina Mudcats (AA)

Why an edition of the Z-Meter dedicated to the MLB draft? Several reasons.

  1. Most of the guys on this meter came to us from the MLB first-year player draft. The rest were signed out of shady, desparate third-world baseball academies.
  2. I will be leaving for Omaha on Friday, so I’m forced to meet my obligation of posting once per week earlier than usual.
  3. None of these humps has been promoted this week, so we need a “hook”.

The draft will begin at 6pm tonight. I wonder who will go first????????


The top level. These prospects are in AAA in the prime of their youth, waiting for the call that will change their lives.

Wade Davis, RHP – Durham Bulls (Rays): 12 Games – 6W – 3L – 3.18 ERA – 29 BB – 52 K

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Omaha Royals – .280 – 38 R – 8 HR – 25 RBI – 50 BB – 0 SB – .505 SLG – .932 OPS

Alcides Escobar, SS – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): .309 – 45 R – 3 HR – 21 RBI – 13 BB – 22 SB – .436 SLG – .783 OPS

Carlos Carrasco, RHP – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies): 11 Starts – 1 W – 6 L – 5.14 ERA – 17 BB – 63 K

Austin Jackson, OF – Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Yankees): .340 – 31 R – 1 HR – 27 RBI – 22 BB – 11 SB – .453 SLG – .866 OPS


These guys also have the potential to skip straight to the majors, but may get promoted to AAA first.

Lars Anderson, 1B – Portland SeaDogs (Red Sox): .262 AVG – 29 R – 7 HR – 34 RBI – 25 BB – 0 SB – .441 SLG – .788 OPS

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP – Tulsa Drillers (Rockies): 11 Starts – 4 W – 4 L – 3.19 ERA – 22 BB – 52 K

Carlos Santana, C – Akron Aeros (Indians): .282 AVG – 37 R – 10 HR – 39 RBI – 39 BB – 0 SB – .546 SLG – .957 OPS

Justin Smoak, 1B (injured) – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers): .325 AVG – 28 R – 6 HR – 25 RBI – 32 BB – 0 SB – .503 SLG – .947 OPS
  
Andrew Locke, OF – Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros): .348 AVG – 36 R – 10 HR – 60 RBI – 18 BB – 0 SB – .557 SLG – .948 OPS
 
Madison Bumgarner, LHP – Connecticut Defenders (Giants): 5 Games – 4 Starts – 4 W – 0 L – 1.86 ERA – 8 BB – 29 K
 
 
Jeanmar Gomez, RHP – Akron Aeros (Indians): 7 Starts – 4 W – 2 L – 3.20 ERA – 6 BB – 38 K
 
 
Yonder Alonso, 1B – Carolina Mudcats (Reds): .219 AVG – 3 R – 0 HR – 3 RBI – 4 BB – o SB – .313 SLG – .618 OPS
 
Kyle Drabek, RHP – Reading Phillies (Phillies): 1 Start – 1 W – 0 L – 0.00 ERA – 3 BB – 4 K
 
 

These guys have vast potential but need to work out some kinks in A-ball before they can advance.

Ian Gac, 1B – Bakersfield Blaze (Rangers): .252 AVG – 9 R – 9 HR – 24 RBI – 12 BB – 0 SB – .483 SLG – .785 OPS

Mike Moustakas, SS – Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals): .273 AVG – 33 R – 7 HR – 36 RBI – 13 BB – 4 SB – .440 SLG – .754 OPS

Pedro Alvarez, 3B – Lynchburg Hillcats (Pirates): .240 AVG – 27 R – 10 HR – 42 RBI – 31 BB – 1 SB – .454 SLG – .792 OPS

Che-Hsuan Lin, OF – Salem Red Sox: .215 AVG – 26 R – 1 HR – 17 RBI – 26 BB – 8 SB – .287 SLG – .607 OPS

Josh Vitters, 3B – Peoria Chiefs (Cubs): .338 AVG – 35 R – 13 HR – 36 RBI – 6 BB – 3 SB – .592 SLG – .970 OPS

Shooter Hunt (injured), RHP – Beloit Snappers (Twins): 7 Games – 5 Starts – 0 W – 1 L – 10.70 ERA – 33 BB – 18 K

Collin Cowgill, OF – Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks): .279 AVG – 39 R – 6 HR – 33 RBI – 26 BB – 10 SB – .457 SLG – .827 OPS

Mauricio Robles (injured), P – West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers): 10 Starts – 4 W – 3 L – 3.91 ERA – 23 BB – 70 K

Tim Beckham, SS – Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays): .297 AVG – 26 R – 3 HR – 31 RBI – 18 BB – 2 SB – .427 SLG – .788 OPS

Ezekiel Spruill, RHP – Rome Braves (Braves): 11 Games – 10 Starts – 7 W – 2 L – 1 SV – 3.17 ERA – 11 BB – 47 K

Brad Brach, RHP – Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres): 26 Games – 0 Starts – 1.04 ERA – 3 W – 2 L – 16 SV – 5 BB – 33 K


NCAA: Only used if a prospect in college shows really, truly, immensely, hugely inescapable potential.

Stephen Strasburg, RHP – San Diego State: 14 Starts – 13 W – 1 L – 1.32 ERA – 19 BB – 195 K

Strasburg and the Aztecs were eliminated from postseason play in their regional. Tonight’s draft will give us the first idea of where he’ll start his Z-Meter career as a pro.

 


Prospects chosen from Diamond Cutter’s Top 25, Baseball America, and our trademark irrational sense of whimsy.

Can college destroy a hitter too?

Before the post, a brief introduction. I’m Andrew, I was invited to join this conclave by young mister One More Dying Quail, and I’m only too happy to join up with this conclave. You might know me from The Grand National Championships or my brief appearance as Fat Guy #2 in Monk’s Super Bowl Spectacular.

But as we get into the College World Series and the baseball draft, we have to ask. Does college baseball ruin prospects? I’ve already made mention about how Augie Garrido ruins pitchers. But here’s my new premise.

Mark Marquess ruins hitters.

Unless you’re a hardocre Philly fan, you may not know who this is. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. He’s Michael Taylor, and he is made of speed and power. But he wasn’t exactly off to a fast start as he went to college.

Why? Because Mark Marquess has a system for hitters. Level swings. They must use only one plane of contact to their swing. Mark Marquess has won Pac-10 games with the better part of thirty-three seasons. And in that time, he’s had three hitters who have had moments above commonality.

Ed Sprague, Jeffrey Hammonds, and Carlos Quentin. That’s about it.  He’s brought more early round busts than professionals. And that’s not even if you count pitching…but anyway.

Why has Michael Taylor become such a professional success? And he is rolling up with a .351/.413/.600. He got away from the Stanford system. The Stanford system messed up people like Joe Borchard and Donald Lucy. And now?

The Phillies have a J.J. Davis whose actually developed some skills.

The 2009 College World Series Is Set

Your participants:

Arkansas
LSU
Cal State Fullerton
North Carolina
Virginia
Southern Miss
Arizona State
Texas

Bus League’s own Extra P is on the ground in Omaha as we speak, living out a lifelong dream of visiting Rosenblatt Stadium. If Virginia wins the whole deal, it may be awhile before we see our bearded friend again.

The First Overall Pick in the MLB Draft: Pitchers vs. Position Players

Two years ago, I wrote the following introduction to a post on pitchers who were selected with the first overall pick in the draft:

If you are a major league general manager with the first overall pick in the draft and you’re thinking about selecting a starting pitcher to serve as the ace of your staff for the next ten years, let me give you some advice: don’t do it. History is not on your side.

Let the record show that exactly 24 months and three days have passed since those words were typed on my keyboard, yet if I were advising the Washington Nationals, I would wholeheartedly recommend that they take Stephen Strasburg with the first overall selection.  Funny how a little excess hype can get in the way of good old fashioned evidence.

Thirteen pitchers were taken with the first overall pick between 1973 (David Clyde) and 2007 (David Price), nine of whom played at least five seasons in the major leagues (Brien Taylor injured his shoulder in an off-field incident in the minors and was never the same pitcher; Bryan Bullington has appeared in 13 games spread over four seasons; and it hasn’t even been five years since Hochevar and Price were drafted). Four of those nine played more than ten seasons and won more than 100 games, including Mike Moore (161), Andy Benes (155), Tim Belcher (146), and Floyd Bannister (134); Moore (176) and Bannister (143) each had losing records.

So what are you getting if you take a pitcher in the top spot?  If this was the 1970s or 1980s, there would be a good chance you’d have some value coming your way, but the last guy to last more than nine years in the majors was Andy Benes, valedictorian of the Draft Class of 1988.  At least four of the last eight have experienced major arm trouble (and I’m not sure about McDonald), with Luke Hochevar and David Price hoping to stop the trend.

Year Player Team Yrs W-L SO ERA
2007 David Price Tampa Bay 2 1-0 32 2.20
2006 Luke Hochevar* Kansas City 3 7-15 83 5.51
2002 Bryan Bullington* Pittsburgh 1 0-5 25 5.08
1997 Matt Anderson Detroit 7 15-7 224 5.19
1996 Kris Benson* Pittsburgh 7 69-74 798 4.41
1994 Paul Wilson New York (N) 7 40-58 619 4.86
1991 Brien Taylor New York (A) DNP
1989 Ben McDonald Baltimore 9 78-70 894 3.91
1988 Andy Benes San Diego 14 155-139 2000 3.97
1983 Tim Belcher Minnesota 14 146-140 1519 4.16
1981 Mike Moore Seattle 14 161-176 1667 4.39
1976 Floyd Bannister Houston 15 134-143 1723 4.06
1973 David Clyde Texas 5 18-33 228 4.63

Given a chance to do it all over again, I’m not sure any team would take any of these pitchers with the first overall pick in the draft. Taylor and his unrealized potential might be an option (just keep him out of bar fights – or teach him to swing with his right hand), but who else stands out? Benes? Hochevar? Moore (terrible numbers early in his career with Seattle, averaged 16-17 wins a year in four seasons with good Oakland teams)?  Maybe Price, depending on how the next couple years go.  Most of the time, though, you’re better off taking a position player first and picking up pitching later.

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Contrary to the performances turned in by the pitchers, position players drafted in the top spot are often solid and occasionally spectacular. A full 17 out of 31 played in the major leagues for more than ten seasons (plus several more who were chosen within the past ten years), including future Hall of Famers Ken Griffey, Jr., Chipper Jones and Alex Rodriguez (three out of the four position players selected between 1987 and 1993; the other was Phil Nevin).

Not everyone had a career as great as the three mentioned above, but many had at least one moment of fame during their playing days:

  • Rick Monday (1965), in addition to being the first ever draft pick, was best known for stopping two young men from burning the American flag on the field in 1975.
  • Steve Chilcott (1966) was the only position player selected first overall who never reached the major leagues (2004’s Matthew Bush became a pitcher – and thus slips through on a technicality – and 2008’s Tim Beckham doesn’t count just yet)
  • Ron Blomberg (1967) was the first designated hitter.
  • Jeff Burroughs (1969) won an MVP award and fathered Little League World Series hero Sean Burroughs.
  • Danny Goodwin (1971, 1975) is the only player taken first overall in two different drafts.
  • Dave Roberts (1972) and Bob Horner (1978) went directly from the draft to the major leagues. Horner later became one of the few men to hit four homeruns in one game.
  • Josh Hamilton (1999) was out of baseball before overcoming drug addiction, returning to the game and making his big league debut in 2007, and leading the American League in RBIs in 2008.
  • Delmon Young (2003) and Justin Upton (2005) are both the younger brother of a top five pick. Dmitri Young was taken fourth overall in 1991, while B.J. Upton went second in 2002.  Tim Beckham’s (2008) older brother Jeremy was drafted by the Rays in the 17th round of the same draft.
    Year Player Team Yrs HR RBI OPS
    2008 Tim Beckham Tampa Bay DNP
    2005 Justin Upton* Arizona 3 28 87 .831
    2004 Matthew Bush* San Diego DNP
    2003 Delmon Young * Tampa Bay 4 27 186 .723
    2001 Joe Mauer* Minnesota 6 56 336 .881
    2000 Adrian Gonzalez* Florida 6 119 368 .862
    1999 Josh Hamilton * Tampa Bay 3 57 201 .889
    1998 Pat Burrell * Philadelphia 10 252 844 .848
    1995 Darin Erstad* California 14 122 691 .743
    1993 Alex Rodriguez* Seattle 16 561 1629 .967
    1992 Phil Nevin Houston 12 208 743 .815
    1990 Chipper Jones* Atlanta 16 415 1402 .956
    1987 Ken Griffey, Jr.* Seattle 21 617 1788 .916
    1986 Jeff King Pittsburgh 11 154 709 .749
    1985 B.J. Surhoff Milwaukee 19 188 1153 .745
    1984 Shawn Abner New York (N) 6 11 71 .592
    1982 Shawon Dunston Chicago (N) 18 150 668 .712
    1980 Darryl Strawberry New York (N) 17 335 1000 .862
    1979 Al Chambers Seattle 3 2 11 .618
    1978 Bob Horner Atlanta 10 218 685 .839
    1977 Harold Baines Chicago (A) 22 384 1628 .821
    1975 Danny Goodwin California 7 13 81 .674
    1974 Bill Almon San Diego 15 36 296 .648
    1972 Dave Roberts San Diego 10 7 208 .643
    1971 Danny Goodwin Chicago (A) 7 13 81 .674
    1970 Mike Ivie San Diego 11 81 411 .745
    1969 Jeff Burroughs Washington 16 240 882 .794
    1968 Tim Foli New York (N) 16 25 501 .592
    1967 Ron Blomberg New York (A) 8 52 224 .833
    1966 Steve Chilcott New York (N) DNP
    1965 Rick Monday Kansas City A 19 241 775 .804

One general note on the draft: Tampa Bay selected first overall four times – Josh Hamilton, Delmon Young, David Price, and Tim Beckham. Only one of those players, Price, actually had anything to do with the team that went to the World Series last year (although Young was traded for Jason Bartlett and Matt Garza).