Archive for the ‘2009 Draft’ Category

Recapping The Rule 5 Draft

December 11, 2009

Today, Major League Baseball held its annual Rule 5 Draft. The Rule 5 Draft takes place around this time every year at the Baseball Winter Meetings.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Rule 5 Draft, here is a great overview courtesy of Baseball America’s Alan Schwarz:

“Major league teams must protect players on their 40-man rosters within three or four years of their original signing. Those left unprotected are available to other teams as Rule 5 picks.

“Players who were 18 or younger on June 5 preceding the signing of their first contract must be protected after four minor league seasons. Players 19 and older must be protected after three seasons.

“But here’s the kicker: To prevent teams from drafting players willy-nilly, each Rule 5 pick must be kept in the major leagues the entire following season or be offered back to his former team for half of the $50,000 selection price. Few players are ready for such a jump, so only about 10-15 get picked each year. Fewer still last the whole season in the big leagues.

Now you might be thinking why would I care about a draft were the players aren’t good enough to make a team’s 40-man roster? Well, you should care because some of the best players in the game today were taken in the Rule 5 Draft.

Santana was a Rule 5 Draft pick

Johan Santana, Joakim Soria, Shane Victorino, Josh Hamilton, and Dan Uggla are all current players who were taken in the Rule 5 Draft. Past players who were taken include All Stars George Bell, Kelly Gruber, Bobby Bonilla, and Roberto Clemente.

So as you can see, a team can definitely find a diamond in the rough in this draft.

Here is a recap of the major league phase of the Rule 5 Draft:

1. Washington Nationals: Jamie Hoffmann, OF. Drafted from Los Angeles Dodgers

2. Pittsburgh Pirates: John Raynor, OF. Drafted from Florida Marlins

3. Baltimore Orioles: Benjamin Snyder, LHP. Drafted from San Francisco Giants

4. Kansas City Royals: Edgar Osuna, LHP. Drafted from Atlanta Braves

5. Cleveland Indians: Hector Ambriz, RHP. Drafted from Arizona Diamondbacks

6. Arizona Diamondbacks: Zachery Kroenke, LHP. Drafted from New York Yankees

7. New York Mets: Carlos Monasterios, RHP. Drafted from Philadelphia Phillies

8. Houston Astros: Jorge Jimenez, 3B. Drafted from Boston Red Sox

9. Oakland A’s: Robert Cassevah, RHP. Drafted from Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

10. Toronto Blue Jays: Zechry Zinicola, RHP. Drafted from Washington Nationals

11. Milwaukee Brewers: Chuck Lofgren, LHP. Drafted from Cleveland Indians

12. Chicago Cubs: Michael Parisi, RHP. Drafted from St. Louis Cardinals

13. Tampa Bay Rays: Armando Zerpa, LHP. Drafted from Boston Red Sox

14. Seattle Mariners: Kenekoa Texeira, RHP. Drafted from New York Yankees

15. San Francisco Giants: Steven Johnson, RHP. Drafted from Baltimore Orioles

16. St. Louis Cardinals: Ben Jukich, LHP. Drafted from Cincinnati Reds

17. Philadelphia Phillies: David Herndon, RHP. Drafted from Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

A couple of notes about this draft:

– Not every team had a pick because not every team had an open spot on the 40-man roster.

– The Red Sox, Yankees, and Angels had the most players taken with two each.

– The Rule 5 Draft is usually pitching centric and this year was no different. Out of the 17 picks, 14 were pitchers.

– Jamie Hoffmann was traded by the Nationals to the Yankees to complete the Brian Bruney trade.

– Benjamin Snyder was traded by the Orioles to the Rangers to complete the Kevin Millwood trade.

– Jorge Jimenez was traded by the Astros to the Marlins to complete the Matt Lindstrom trade.

– You can find the Triple-A and Double-A phase of the draft here.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Preview: Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game

November 7, 2009

Update: Josh Vitters has been scratched from tonight’s game. Baltimore Orioles’ 3B prospect Josh Bell will replace Vitters on the East roster. Bell was traded to the Orioles in the deal that sent George Sherrill to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Bell is expected to compete for the Orioles’ starting third base job in spring training and is a Rookie of the Year candidate in 2010.

Original Post

Here is what I wrote back in June after I had just done a recap of the major league draft:

“Here is my suggestion for Bud Selig in order to give the draft some juice. Unless you are a real die hard baseball, other than Stephen Strasburg, you don’t know 99 percent of the players drafted in the first round.

“The MLB Network should show a high school or college “Showcase Game of the Week.” Once a week broadcast a game that features a projected first round pick. This will allow fans to get to know some of the players their team is interested in. I think this will really help the draft.”

Major League Baseball and the MLB Network has followed my suggestion–to an extent. Since we are there is no high school or college baseball to showcase right now, the MLB Network has decided to do the next best thing.

Tonight at 8:15 ET, the MLB Network will televise the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars game. This is exactly what I was talking about when I suggested the MLB Network show a rising stars game for high school and college players.

This is really great for the game of baseball.

This will allow fans a chance to see some of the future stars of the game. How often do casual fans get to see their teams top prospects play before they reach the major leagues?

Now that the MLB Network is televising this game, who should you be looking for? Here are 10 players in tonight’s game that you should keep an eye on.

East

1. Buster Posey, C

Organization – San Francisco Giants

Arizona Fall League Stats – .218/.317/.364 in 14 games

Posey was called up by the Giants in September, but for reasons only known to the Giants organization he didn’t play much. In seven games, Posey only hit .118 with the big club.

Don’t be fooled, this guy can hit. All signs point to Posey being the Giants’ starting catcher in 2010.

2. Josh Vitters, 3B

Organization – Chicago Cubs

Arizona Fall League Stats – .360/.385/.460 in 12 games

The former No. 3 pick in the 2007 draft has been tearing up the Arizona Fall League. Vitters should be ready to take over the starting third base job in Chicago once Aramis Ramirez is done with his contract after the 2011 season.

3. Grant Desme, OF

Organization – Oakland A’s

Arizona Fall League Stats – .373/.453/.827 in 18 games

That sound you just heard was Desme just breaking another window. In just 18 games, Desme has 10 homeruns in the Arizona Fall League. Desme has “light tower power” and for those of you think he is a typical A’s “Moneyball” player–he is not.

In the minor leagues in 2009, Desme had 42 SB’s,

4. Starlin Castro, SS

Organization – Chicago Cubs

Arizona Fall League Stats – .433/.462/.550 in 17 games.

The Cubs might have a star on their hands with Castro. The 19-year-old non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic is currently leading the Arizona Fall League in hitting. He is also tied for third in SB’s with five.

Watch for Castro tonight. He might be the most exciting player on the field.

Castro also played in the Future’s Game in July.

5. Drew Storen, P

Organization – Washington Nationals

Arizona Fall League Stats – 0.93 ERA, nine K’s, and two saves in 9.2 IP

Not only does Storen do a good job of updating his Twitter page, but he also might be the future closer for the Nationals. If the East is leading in the ninth inning, look for Storen to close out the game.

West

1. Jason Castro, C

Organization – Houston Astros

Arizona Fall League Stats  –.143/.260/.214 in 11 games

Ready or not, here Castro comes to the Astros. Because the Astros no established catcher in their organization, Castro might be rushed to the majors in 2010.

Castro hit .300 with a .826 OPS in the minor leagues in 2009.

2. Yonder Alonso, 1B

Organization – Cincinnati Reds

Arizona Fall League Stats – .275/.298/.375 in 13 games

Alonso was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2008 draft and if he is going to play in Cincinnati, he is going to have to learn to play another position. I don’t think Joey Votto is going anywhere for a while.

Alonso had a .838 OPS between Rookie and Single-A in 2009.

3. Dustin Ackley, OF

Organization – Seattle Mariners

Arizona Fall League Stats – .300/.378/.375 in 11 games

The No. 2 pick in the 2009 draft is someone to watch tonight. The former Tar Heel star has all the tools to be a star in the majors.

I have gone on record in saying that Ackley would be the best player to come out of the 2009 draft.

4. Jordan Danks, OF

Organization – Chicago White Sox

Arizona Fall League Stats – .333/.378/.485 in 18 games.

The White Sox have done well with one Danks at the major league level, so why not give another Danks a try. Jordan is the younger brother of White Sox LHP John Danks.

Danks made the jump to Double-A in 2009 and while he didn’t tear up Double-A pitching (.243 avg), he could get his shot with the big club in 2011.

5. Tanner Scheppers, P

Organization – Texas Rangers

Arizona Fall League Stats – 3.00 ERA and nine K’s in nine IP.

Scheppers was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008, but decided to go back to college. While in college, Scheppers tore his rotator cuff in his pitching shoulder.

With doubts about his health, Scheppers slipped to the 44th pick in the 2009 draft. Now healthy, Scheppers is showing everyone why he was on the highest regarded pitchers in the draft.

Conspicuous by his absence on this list is Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg was supposed to start this game for the East squad but was scratched because of a strained neck muscle.

The Reds and the Cubs have the most players in this game with four.

You can view the complete rosters for both teams here.

Let The Stephen Strasburg Era Begin For The Washington Nationals

August 18, 2009

For those of you who were not aware, last night at 12:00 est was the deadline for teams to sign their draft picks from the 2009 major league baseball draft.

While there were hundreds of players drafted this year, one player took precedent over everyone else – Stephen Strasburg. The biggest question going into yesterday and into the late hours of the night was whether or not the Washington Nationals would sign the overall No. One pick in the draft?

Not only is Strasburg the most hyped pitcher ever to be drafted, but he is also represented by Scott Boras, which always makes for a difficult negotiation. A lot of people didn’t think a deal would get done in time.

Well, after negotiating long into Monday night, the Nationals and Stephen Strasburg came to an agreement and the Stephen Strasburg era officially began in Washington.

Strasburg is officially a National

Strasburg is officially a National

The Nationals signed Strasburg to a record $15.1 million over four years. The deal breaks the record contract signed by Mark Prior ($10.5 million) for the most guaranteed money given to a drafted player. To be honest, $15.1 is not such a bad number considering Boras at one point was talking about a $25 – $30 million deal.

Signing Strasburg was a must for the Nationals. If they didn’t sign him, they would have received the No. Two pick in next year’s draft as compensation, but more importantly the Nationals would have lost the little credibility they have left.

As much of a disaster the Nationals have been since moving to Washington, they handled the negotiations with Strasburg as well as they could have been handled. Other than hype, Strasburg and Boras really had very little leverage in these negotiations.

What was Strasburg going to do? Play in Japan or the Northern League this year? There was no way he was going to play in those leagues and risk injury or pitching poorly. He would have lost all leverage next year if either of those scenarios happened.

If you are a Washington Nationals fan (all 10 of you), today is a good day.

Today brings some hope.

Today brings you the Stephen Strasburg era.

Why The Draft Matters For The Boston Red Sox…

June 12, 2009

When Theo Epstein was named GM of the Boston Red Sox on November 25th, 2002, his goal was to turn the Red Sox into an “Organizational Machine.” He wanted to turn the Red Sox into an organization that competes for a championship every year, while also developing a farm system that feeds players into the major leagues. Not an easy task.

However, in the last seven years the Red Sox have won two World Series and just as important, have developed a farm system that has been one of the best in baseball over that time period.

Many deem the major league baseball draft not as important as the NBA, NFL or even the NHL because there are so many rounds, and the majority of the players drafted don’t even make it to the majors. Not Theo Epstein. For Epstein and his staff, it all starts with the draft.

Epstein loves the draft

Epstein loves the draft

Take a look at some the players Epstein has drafted from 2002-2006…

2002: Jon Lester, Brandon Moss

2003: Jonathon Papelbon, David Murphy

2004: Dustin Pedroia

2005: Clay Buchholz, Craig Hansen, Michael Bowden, Jed Lowrie, Jacoby Ellsbury

2006: Daniel Bard, Justin Masterson, Lars Anderson, Matt LaPorta (LaPorta was drafted by the Red Sox but didn’t sign)

That my friends, is one heck of a track record when it comes to the draft. It looks like Epstein has used the draft as his own personal playground. This list doesn’t even include players that the Red Sox have developed in their farm system over the last seven years. Players like Hanley Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis.

Even players Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss, who were some of the Red Sox lesser prospects, were used as trade bait (Both were traded for Jason Bay last year).

How did Theo and company do in the 2009 draft? One of the foremost authorities, Keith Law held a live chat on Wednesday. Henry from Columbus asked Law this question:

“Since you don’t do grades, care to give a team you thought has had the best draft so far? Just one team…”

Here is Law’s response:

Red Sox

The Red Sox keep feeding the machine. That’s why the draft matters to Theo Epstein and the Boston Red Sox.

You can check out Keith Law’s live chat here.

On a side note, we as baseball fans know there is nothing better than sitting down to watch a baseball game with a cold beer and some great food. There are two really good cooking sites that I go to if I want to make something quick for the game.

Check out Hartley Confections and The Gourmet Dude. Both offer great recipes that are simple and easy to make for any baseball fan. Enjoy.

Recapping The 1st Round Of The 2009 MLB Draft….

June 10, 2009

Other than Bud Selig being the worst public speaker of all-time and the awkward Zack Wheeler interview where he admitted he knows nothing about the San Francisco Giants, I thought the MLB Network did a very good job of producing the 2009 MLB Draft.

Here is a recap of the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft….

1. Washington Nationals – Stephen Strasburg, RHP. If this guy doesn’t pan out, he will be the biggest bust of all-time.

2. Seattle Mariners – Dustin Ackley, 1B. Ackley will play the OF for the Mariners and in my opinion, he will be the best player in this draft.

3. San Diego Padres – Donvon Tate, OF. Super athletic. Has a full ride to UNC to play football.

4. Pittsburgh Pirates – Tony Sanchez, C. John Hart said there are hitting concerns with Sanchez. Not something you want to hear about your forth pick.

5. Baltimore Orioles – Matt Hobgood, RHP. The first surprise of the draft. Many didn’t have Hobgood going this high. Reminds John Hart of Brad Penny. Somewhere Alyssa Milano and Eliza Dushku are smiling.

6. San Francisco Giants – Zack Wheeler, RHP. Don’t the Giants have enough pitching? My pick to be the second best player in this year’s draft. My only concern is that is wind up is very similar to Rich Harden’s.

7. Atlanta Braves – Mike Minor, LHP. As soon as this pick was made Harold Reynolds said throw stats out the window. What? Projects to a back of the rotation starter. Always good to hear with the #7 pick in the draft.

8. Cincinnati Reds – Mike Leake, RHP. The Reds have drafted well recently and it looks like they hit another HR with Leake. I like the ASU pedigree.

9. Detroit Tigers – Jacob Turner, RHP. Perhaps the most upside of all the high school pitchers in this draft.

10. Washington Nationals – Drew Storen, RHP. The future closer for the Nationals.

11. Colorado Rockies – Tyler Matzek, LHP. The only reason he lasted this long is because of signability issues. Matzek is asking for the moon. Matzek is probably the poster child for what is wrong with the current draft system.

12. Kansas City Royals – Aaron Crow, RHP. Good pick by the Royals. Crow was drafted last year in the first round by the Nationals but did not sign.

13. Oakland A’s – Grant Green, SS. Many thought Green would go to the Royals at 12. Frank Marcos describes him in the same many described Dustin Pedroia.

14. Texas Rangers – Matt Purke, LHP. John Hart, who is a special adviser to Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels thinks this is a great pick by the Rangers. Shocker there.

15. Cleveland Indians – Alex White, RHP. All of a sudden UNC is becoming a baseball powerhouse. White might be in the Indians’ bullpen next year.

16. Arizona Diamondbacks – Bobby Borchering, 3B. The best high school hitter on the board, projects to be a #3 or #4 hitter. He might move over to first in the future.

17. Arizona Diamondbacks – AJ Pollock, OF. MVP of the Cape Cod League. Good pick by the Diamondbacks. This pick was compensation for the Dodgers signing Orlando Hudson.

18. Florida Marlins – Chad James, LHP. Another young pitching stud for the Florida Marlins.

19. St Louis Cardinals – Shelby Miller, RHP. Sounds more like my accountant than a flame throwing pitcher. Frank Marcos and John Hart love this pick for the Cardinals.

20. Toronto Blue Jays – Chad Jenkins, RHP. Pitched at Kennesaw State University. Where exactly is that? This kid is a big boy.

21. Houston Astros – Jiovanni Mier, SS.  High school SS who will take some time getting to the majors. Good glove, little bat.

22. Minnesota Twins – Kyle Gibson, RHP. There are some injury concerns with Gibson, who had a stress fracture in his pitching forearm. If not for that injury, he would have been a top five pick.

23. Chicago White Sox – Jared Mitchell, OF. Mitchell also plays football at LSU. Just a ridiculous athlete. Already has the biggest neck I have ever seen for a baseball player.

24. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – Randal Grichuk, OF. Good hitter, who John Hart describes as a grinder.

25. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – Michael Trout, OF. Trout was the only player to show up to the studio for the draft. My guess is that if Trout wasn’t from NJ (MLB Network is in NJ) he wouldn’t have been there. Frank Marcos compares him to Craig Biggio.

26. Milwaukee Brewers – Eric Arnett, RHP. Draws comparisons to Marlins’ pitcher, Josh Johnson. Good athlete who used to work out with the University of Indiana Basketball team.

27. Seattle Mariners – Nick Franklin, SS. Steady ballplayer, who can switch-hit. I like what the Mariners have done in this draft.

28. Boston Red Sox – Reymond Fuentes, OF. John Hart loves this pick and thinks Fuentes is a future leadoff hitter. Fuentes has blazing speed and is the nephew of Carlos Beltran.

29. New York Yankees – Slade Heathcott, OF. Classic Texas name. Reminds me of former University of Texas QB, Major Applewhite. Lefthanded hitter, who has tremendous tools.

30. Tampa Bay Rays – LeVon Washington, 2B. Classic Rays’ player. Great speed, great athlete and has a great glove. He needs to grow into his body because right now he looks like a stick figure.

31. Chicago Cubs – Brett Jackson, OF. This is Harold Reynold’s #1 hitter in this draft. Which means that he will never reach the major leagues.

32. Colorado Rockies – Tim Wheeler, OF. Wheeler played at Sacramento State University. I didn’t even know that was a school. How much is Wheeler loving life right now? He gets drafted in the first round and has a chance to hit in Coors Field.

So that concludes the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft. I love the four minutes between picks. Makes everything just go so smoothly.

Here is my suggestion for Bud Selig in order to give the draft some juice. Unless you are a real die hard baseball, other than Stephen Strasburg, you don’t know 99 percent of the players drafted in the first round.

The MLB Network should show a high school or college “Showcase Game of the Week.” Once a week broadcast a game that features a projected first round pick. This will allow fans to get to know some of the players their team is interested in. I think this will really help the draft.