Weekend BlogSeptember 09, 2007
Looking back at the 2005 draft
By Joe P. Sheehan

It's often said that it takes several years to properly evaluate a draft in any sport because it takes different lengths of time for players to mature and reach their potential. That being said, how good was the 2005 MLB draft? The first five picks went like this.

1. Justin Upton-ARI
2. Alex Gordon-KCR
3. Jeff Clement-SEA
4. Ryan Zimmerman-WAS
5. Ryan Braun-MIL

With Clement getting called up on Sept. 2nd, all five of these picks have now made their Major League debut. This might not sound like much, but since 1998 there has always been at least one top-five pick who didn't even make the majors for even a September call-up. Upton and Clement are the only two in the group to just have cups of coffee, with the other three players all essentially playing at least one full season. Zimmerman reached the majors first, a mere three months after he was drafted, while Braun is possibly the best rookie slugger ever. Gordon was better than both Zimmerman and Braun in college, and while he is having a tough year statistically, he has hit much better as the season has progressed.

Outside the top-5 picks, the draft still had a lot of value. The Rockies got Troy Tulowitzki with the 7th pick and Tulo has had a great rookie campaign as well. With the exception of Braun, Tulo might be having the best rookie year by an NL hitter. In the bottom of the first round, Craig Hansen and Joey Devine were taken, who at the time were seen as two sure bets to make the majors. They did make the majors in 2005, but struggled and eventually returned to the minors.

There are a bevy of other talented players who were taken in 2005 and so far have had cups of coffee (Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz) or a full season (Travis Buck, Matt Garza and Mike Pelfrey). It's amazing that so many players from this draft have already made the majors (and performed well), but it remains to be seen how many will have the staying power needed for a long career.

---Joe P. Sheehan


Good timing. Braun hit two more HR today, including the third in a back-to-back-to-back binge to open the game, becoming only the third team in MLB history to pull off that feat.

With Braun, Gordon, and Zimmerman, the 2005 draft will most likely be known as "The Year of the Third Basemen."

Considering that we're both from UVA, all I can say is that I hope that Ryan Zimmerman can go on to have a solid and successful career in the majors. If only he didn't hit that home run against Chien-Ming Wang on June 18, 2006...then Wang would be on pace for back-to-back 20-win season.

That is true for now, Rich, but it seems unlikely that Braun is going to stay at 3B. I know FA is inadequate to judge a player's defense, but Braun's is .896. That is 1890s territory and probably will force him to another position. I am pretty sure his range factor and other more advanced fielding metrics do not compensate for that FA, nor do observations by scouts.

Incidentally, if Wang wins 2 more games it would set him up for back-to-back 20 win seasons as he could then go on to do it again in 2008. But he won 19 last year, so that feat would have to wait until next year.

Joe, sorry to nitpick, but the 2001 draft also had the top 5 in the majors at one point.

1. Joe Mauer-MIN

2. Mark Prior-CHC

3. Dewon Brazelton-TBD

4. Gavin Floyd-PHI

5. Mark Teixeira-TEX

I know it doesn't seem like much with an career ERA+ of 69 (or should it be considered minus?) but Dewon Brazelton was still in the majors as recently as last year with the Padres.

good catch Ian...I just missed that.

If there is one team that is committed to keeping a bat at a position, it is the Brewers. They have figured out a way to take advantage of inefficiency in the game.

They have managed to get Weeks, Hall and Braun into tough defensive positions, in order to get the bat on the field and add major incremental gains. The same will be done with LaPorta in LF.

The Brewers are going to stick with this much longer than any other team would, I think they will make it work.

Bruce and Maybin also went in the top 15 or so, wow what a draft!!

"wow what a draft!!"

Unless you're a Blue Jays fan... ugh.

Seeing Tulowitzki have not only a good offensive season but play some incredible D while the Jays have John McDonald really hurts.