How D'Ya Like Me Now?
The 2007 draft had an interesting mix of college and prep players selected in the first round. The first-overall selection of David Price, who had a significant impact in the Rays' 2008 late-season success, was a no-brainer at the time and still looks like the overwhelming correct choice. That pick was followed up with a few prep bats, which included Mike Moustakas (Royals) and Josh Vitters (Cubs). All the draftees now have a full season of experience under their collective belts so it is a perfect time to look back and see how the prospects are progressing.
As mentioned above, Price had an excellent Major League debut and was even better in the playoffs. He has likely secured himself a spot in the Tampa Bay starting rotation in 2009 and is an early Rookie of the Year candidate. He allowed nine hits and four walks in 14 regular season innings in 2008. Moustakas was taken second overall and had a solid season in A-ball, where he hit .272/.330/.468 with 22 home runs in a league where long balls are hard to come by. Third overall pick Vitters has been slower to develop and battled some injuries but he still hit .328/.360/.498, although he scuffled in a brief A-ball trial. Fifth overall pick Matt Wieters (Orioles) has played like a first-overall talent with a line at Double-A of .365/.463/.625 and an ISO of 260. He could probably hold his own at the Major League level now, but should get a little bit of Triple-A seasoning in 2009. The universe always has to find a balance and as good as Wieters has been, fourth overall pick Daniel Moskos (Pirates) has been as equally bad. The lefty had a 5.95 ERA in High-A ball and allowed 124 hits in 110.1 innings. His rates were disappointing at 3.51 BB/9 and 6.36 K/9.
The Giants win the award for the best pick of the next 10 players, which was high school pitcher Madison Bumgarner. The left-hander spent the year in A-ball and had a 1.46 ERA with 111 hits allowed in 141.2 innings of work. He posted rates of 1.33 BB/9 and 10.42 K/9. Sixth and seventh overall picks Ross Detwiler (Nationals) and Matt LaPorta (Brewers) had impressive debuts but regressed in 2008. Casey Weathers (Rockies) will miss all of 2009 after having Tommy John surgery. Fourteenth overall pick Jason Heyward (Braves) has massive potential but spent the season in A-ball where he hit .323/.390/.483 with an ISO of .160 as a 6'4'', 220 lbs 18-year-old.
J.P. Arencibia (Jays) was called an overdraft by some, but he had a solid pro debut and reached Double-A, where he hit .282/.301/.496. He significantly improved his defence and slugged 27 homers and drove in 105 runs between two levels. Tim Alderson (Giants) was another excellent selection by the Giants and the high school pick spent the entire year pitching in High-A ball where he allowed 125 hits in 145.1 innings and posted rates of 2.11 BB/9 and 7.68 K/9. He'll be in Double-A in 2009 at the age of 20. The club had less success with the second last pick in the round, Wendell Fairley, who struggled to hit for average (.258) at Rookie Ball in 2008 at the age of 20. Pitcher Rick Porcello (Tigers) also spent his first season in High-A ball with success. He allowed 116 hits in 125 innings and posted rates of 2.38 BB/9 and 5.18 K/9. Ben Revere (Twins) was a surprise first-round selection but he flirted with .400 for the first half of the season in A-ball and showed talent in every aspect of the game (except power). Joe Savery (Phillies), who battled injuries in college, had a disappointing season in High-A ball after allowing 171 hits in 150 innings.
In essence, with 34 picks, the supplemental round was the second round of the draft. The best selections of the round, to this point, included Nick Noonan (Giants), Todd Frazier (Reds), Julio Borbon (Rangers), Brett Cecil (Jays), Sean Doolittle (A's), Tommy Hunter (Rangers), and Nick Hagadone (Red Sox), who missed most of 2008 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Borbon split the year between High-A and Double-A and hit .337/.372/.459 at his second stop. Overall, he stole 53 bases but needs to show more patience at the plate. Hunter, 22, blew through three minor league levels and made three big league starts (with a 16.36 ERA). Noonan showed advanced skills for a prep pick but spent the year in A-ball where he hit .279/.310/.415. In his brief career, Frazier has hit for power, average and has also shown good patience at the plate. Cecil began 2008 on the disabled list and came back with a strict pitch count, but he made it to Triple-A in his first full season. Overall, the southpaw allowed 100 hits in 118.2 innings. The most disappointing picks of the round included Jackson Williams (Giants), Nathan Vineyard (Mets), Charlie Culberson (Giants), Matt Mangini (Mariners), and Trystan Magnuson (Jays).
The Nationals scored with Jordan Zimmermann, who was the third pick of the second round. He reached Double-A where he allowed 89 hits in 106.2 innings. He could be in the big league rotation by the end of 2009. Prep pick Michael Stanton (Marlins) showed massive power in 2008 by slamming 39 home runs in 468 A-ball at-bats. He took a respectable number of walks but needs to trim the strikeouts (32.7 K%). Freddie Freeman (Braves) was another impressive young slugger who hit .316/.374/.521 with an ISO of .206 in 491 A-ball at-bats. Pitcher Jess Todd (Cardinals) was a solid college reliever who was thrown into the starting rotation in pro ball and has more than held his own. He spent the majority of the season in Double-A but made four Triple-A starts. Catcher Austin Romine (Yankees) split time behind the plate in A-ball with the highly-touted Jesus Montero. Romine showed solid defensive skills and hit .300/.340/.437 in 407 at-bats. Selections Josh Fields (Braves) and Hunter Morris (Red Sox) failed to come to terms. Morris headed off to Auburn University, while Fields returned to college for his senior year and was drafted by Seattle in the first round. He has failed to come terms yet again... The first selection in the second round Will Kline (Rays) missed the entire season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
The Rays organization may have lost its second round pick to injury, but the club scored with its first round pick (Price) and may have also grabbed a winner in the third round with prep pitcher Nick Barnese. In short season ball in 2008, he allowed 52 hits in 66 innings with rates of 3.28 BB/9 and 11.45 K/9. The 19-year-old should begin 2009 in full-season A-ball. The second pick of the round, Danny Duffy (Royals), had an excellent year in A-ball by allowing 56 hits in 81.2 innings and posting rates of 2.76 BB/9 and 11.24 K/9. He has impressive breaking pitches and can touch 95 mph with his fastball. Puerto Rican picks Reynaldo Navarro (Diamondbacks), Neftali Soto (Reds), and Angel Morales (Twins) have massive potentials. Soto had the best statistical season in 2008 with a line of .326/.347/.500 in 218 A-ball at-bats. Austin Gallagher was promoted aggressively to High-A ball as a 19-year-old third baseman but he held his own and hit .293/.354/.456 with a .163 ISO in 307 at-bats. Brandon Hicks (Braves) has shown surprising power at the shortstop position but may not hit for average at the Major League level. Alan Farina (Jays) has a plus fastball as a reliever but has had trouble staying healthy. Starter John Ely (White Sox) is now one of the system's best prospects after a solid season in High-A ball where he posted rates of 2.85 BB/9 and 8.30 K/9 in 145.1 innings.
The teams with the largest number of early picks in 2007 - which include the Giants (6 picks), Rangers, Padres (9) and Jays (8) - definitely made the most of their selections in the first three rounds.
The Giants had three first round picks (which included Bumgarner and Alderson) and three supplemental first round picks but lost the second and third round selections due to free agency compensation. The first two selections, though, should impact San Francisco for years to come.
For Texas, the club's first selection, Blake Beavan has been a bit of a disappointment, but Borbon and Hunter have been awesome. Prep pitcher Michael Main (selected 24th overall) also has massive potential. Neil Ramirez (44th overall) is another intriguing former prep pitcher.
For the Jays organization, which delved into drafting prep players for the first time in years, the young players who were selected held their own but did not take a huge step forward in 2008. First round pick Kevin Ahrens, supplemental pick Justin Jackson and second round selections John Tolisano and Eric Eiland all struggled during the second halves of their first full seasons in pro ball.
The biggest names to come out of the 2007 draft definitely include David Price, Matt Wieters, and Madison Bumgarner. There are also a ton of names that could be added to the list by the middle of the 2009 season.