I always have a pretty good idea of what players I want to take in what round before the real draft occurs, but I always wait to draft my players until after to make sure I don't significantly over or under-draft a player. I also never take one of the Top 10 players chosen.
Let's take a look back at my last four drafts (tables include what round I picked them in, their name, the team that actually drafted them and where they were really drafted):
2003 1. Chad Billingsley Los Angeles (NL) 24th overall 1S. Anthony Gwynn Milwaukee 2nd round 2. James D'Antona Arizona 2nd round 3. Tim Moss Philadelphia 3rd round 4. Tony Richie Chicago (NL) 4th round 5. David Marchbanks Florida 7th round
Chad Billingsley is a pick I am still elated about and, at the time, I was torn between drafting the Angels' Brandon Wood or the Dodgers' right-hander. I can't say I'm pleased with the way the Dodgers have handled Billingsley, but he still has the stuff to be a star in the starting rotation. The walks are worrisome though (69 in 111 career MLB innings).
Anthony Gwynn, son of Padres star Tony, has the chance to be an average starting center fielder or a very good fourth outfielder. James D'Antona has really turned his career around as of late after struggling in his first three pro seasons and could contribute in Arizona at some point this year. Tim Moss was released by Philly earlier this season, Tony Richie has struggled with injuries and David Marchbanks was last seen in the independent leagues.
2004 1. Taylor Tankersley Florida 27th overall 1S. Jay Rainville Minnesota 39th overall 2. Eric Beattie Detroit 2nd round 3. Mark Reed Chicago (NL) 3rd round 4. Josh Baker Milwaukee 4th round 5. Brad McCann Florida 6th round
Taylor Tankersley hasn't been as impressive as I thought he would be in pro ball, but he is still a key part of the Marlins' bullpen. I liked Jay Rainville more than Homer Bailey mainly because Bailey has no interest in baseball whatsoever when he's not on the diamond (it's just a job to him) so I thought that could keep him from reaching his potential. Rainville has struggled with injuries and missed all of 2006.
Eric Beattie came down with Steve Blass disease and has walked 17 batters in nine A-Ball innings this season. I was really excited about catcher Mark Reed (brother of Seattle's Jeremy) but he has developed young catchers syndrome and has stalled in the low minors. Josh Baker was the forgotten man in the Rice University rotation behind Jeff Niemann, Wade Townsend, and Phil Humber but he had a solid college career. His pro career, like his former teammates, has been slowed by injuries. Brad McCann, older brother of Brian, has stalled in High A-Ball with Florida.
2005 1. Cesar Carrillo San Diego 18th overall 1S. Michael Bowden Boston 47th overall 2. Daniel Carte Colorado 2nd round 3. Nick Weglarz Cleveland 3rd round 4. Kevin Whelan Detroit 4th round 5. James Avery Cincinnati 5th round
The dreaded Tommy John surgery struck Cesar Carrillo, who was dominating the minors before his elbow problems. Michael Bowden has looked very good in a hitter's haven in Lancaster this season. He should develop into a solid No. 3 starter, or perhaps even a No. 2 and was a steal at the 47th pick. Daniel Carte is looking like a fourth outfielder or 'AAAA' player. Raw Canadian Nick Weglarz still has a long way to go but he's young and has power potential. Kevin Whelan helped Detroit obtain Gary Sheffield from New York and looks like a future set-up man in the majors. Another Canadian - James Avery - is looking solid in Double-A for Cincinnati.
2006 1. Kasey Kiker Texas 12th overall 1S. Steve Evarts Atlanta 43rd overall 2. Brett Anderson Arizona 2nd round 3. Chad Tracy Texas 3rd round 4. Garrett Olson Minnesota 4th round 5. Mark Melancon New York (AL) 9th round
It's too early to really comment on this draft, although I am not overly happy with my first round pick. I wanted Billy Rowell, but he was grabbed with the ninth pick by Baltimore. I was then torn between Pedro Beato, Adrian Cardenas, and Kasey Kiker. I had been hoping for a prep hitter or a college pitcher, but I didn't like any of the available players. I felt really nervous about taking three high school pitchers with my first three picks... I guess I've been watching Jays' general manager J.P. Ricciardi for too long.
Steve Evarts has some make-up issues that worry me, but Brett Anderson has been very good in A-Ball. I love Chad Tracy's offensive potential, but I'd like to see some better patience at the plate in A-Ball. Garrett Olson doesn't look like he'll have the power to play third base everyday in the majors. Mark Melancon has undergone Tommy John surgery and will be out until 2008.
Well, I don't think any Major League scouting directors should be worried about losing their jobs to me, but I think I did a solid job considering the limited number of scouting reports I had to go on, especially in 2003 and 2004. But scouting is definitely a fascinating job.
Any suggestions on what players I should target in my 2007 draft?
- Marc Hulet, 5/19/07, 12:04 p.m. EST
I looked at Cook first because I already had an idea about how his pitches moved. I have two starts for Cook in my database, the game at Coors and his start on April 8th at San Diego, and the pitch charts for each game are below. For some reason, of the 35 pitches tracked for Cook 30 were sinkers, so I can only compare his sinker across the two outings.
The first thing that jumps out at me from looking at these two charts is the differences in movement of his sinker at Coors compared to Petco. There's a huge possibility that the differences on the charts are the result of something other than an actual difference in how a ball moves at altitude, such as a calibration error or other technical glitch, so be careful with what you make of this. However, the differences between the two starts are so extreme and the break of pitches has been shown to be relatively consistent across parks, that I think this is somewhat of a real phenomenon. The biggest difference in Denver is that the horizontal break of the slider is almost seven inches less than in San Diego. Cook's sinker also ended up almost two inches lower in Denver. It appears that the sinker gets more downward action in Denver, but loses action in on right-handed hitters. Here's a chart showing just the sinkers for both games to further highlight the differences.
I'm looking at Lowry now and I'll post something about him later tonight.
- Joe Sheehan, 5/20/07, 7:32 p.m. EST