Christmas was my favorite day of the year growing up. Gotta love those presents. Now my favorite day of the year is Draft Day. But unlike many Christmas gifts, baseball draft picks are gifts that keep giving and giving.
Both Christmas Day and Draft Day are times filled with joy and hope for the future. As an adult, the draft has become as exciting as Christmas was for me as a child. First there is the excitement of draft day. Question’s quickly morph one into the next: "Who will my team pick?" and "Who are these guys?"
Next is the anticipation of getting players signed and seeing their names in the box scores for the first time. Following the minor league box scores is how I found out that the Twins had signed their 14th round pick Jeff Manship last year.
But I never thought Manship would sign. Manship had been a solid prospect coming out of high school. He would have been drafted in the 2nd-4th rounds of the 2003 draft, if not for his committment to Notre Dame. Injuries and inconsistency plagued him at Notre Dame and signability was again an issue going into the 2006 draft. But he got drafted by the Twins, the best team at getting prospects to the majors, and he signed.
He is on his way to being ranked as a top prospect after his solid 2007 season. Now he hopes to follow Twins prospects Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey, and Scott Baker from the minors to the Major Leagues. Hopefully your favorite team drafts some players that you can pin your hopes on to improve your team. Best of luck to everyone on Draft Day.
I went to the MLB site today, and didn’t see my blog on the list of blogs. I have nothing prepared, but I want to save something and see if I show back up. So today will be just some ramblings, no rankings.
This is the last year of the draft-and-follow rule. Players drafted last year that attended junior college could be signed this year before the draft. The biggest names this year were Matt Latos and Jordan Walden. They have both signed big contracts and should start playing around June 20th this year.
The draft-and-follow rule has also been used by Scott Boras to get around signing rules. In 2006, it was Max Scherzer who didn’t sign with Arizona, quit college, and gambled that he would get more money by wasting one of the best years of his life. Now he has signed for less money than he turned down last year. He also has a huge target on his back for putting money ahead of the game. My sad prediction for Scherzer is that he will never fully recover from the year away from organized baseball. Injury will be a possibility if he is not prepared for the grind of minor league ball. So he missed one year by holding out. This year he will try to build up strength. But if he gets hurts and needs surgery, then he misses another year, then after a year of rehab, he looks forward to another year of building up strength again. So his timetable could have him making his major league debut in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, or never.
Don’t forget that the early part of the draft is being televised on ESPN2. The draft has also been moved to Thursday and Friday this year. Each year I take the first Tuesday in June off for the draft. So this year, I had to change my request.
If you want to test your drafting ability, find out when your team drafts, and make your own picks. I always draft in the Twins draft position. You can do this real time by choosing an undrafted player. Or you can do a delayed draft, where you choose players the following day. Some of my most successful picks have been drafting Jake Peavy in the 6th round of the 1999 draft and Dontrelle Willis in the 3rd round in the 2000 draft. Both of those players would look great in the Twins rotation this year.
When the draft starts next Thursday the Number One overall pick will be one of three players. Tampa Bay will select either David Price, college pitcher, Matt Weiters, college catcher, or Josh Vitters, high school third baseman.
Each of the 30 major league clubs will spend the next seven days cramming for the draft, baseballs equivelent of a final exam. And each teams draft list will be different. Sure, most of the top players on one teams list will look much like other teams lists. But after the first round, the lists are very different. Some teams will have 80 high school players in their top 100 players. Other teams could have a majority of college players on their list. Ten years from now, we will know who had the best draft.
My list of the top 100 players has changed over the last three weeks. Some players like HS 3B Will Middlebrooks and HS OF Cory Vaughn (son of Greg Vaughn) have moved up the list. Others like Clemson lefty Dan Moskos, Oklahoma State 3B Matt Mangini, and offense-first college catchers J.P. Arencibia and Mitch Canhamn have moved down the list. Like I said, there are 30 teams with thirty different draft lists, and my list is just one more.
When I started following MLB’s draft twenty years ago, I was looking for the inside scoop on the next great rookie card to collect. Back then news about the draft was hard to gather. Major League Baseball would publish the list of players drafted each year by team. But the list was, in effect useless, because players were listed in alphabetical order. Then in the late 1990’s the team lists started being published including the round in which each player was drafted.
Over the next six weeks I will use this blog to get the names of this years draft hopefuls out to fans. You can also check out the writings of Jonathan Mayo and Lisa Winston on MiLB.com They have increased draft coverage for 2007. This is the first year that MiLB has issued scouting reports on top players available in the 2007 First Year Player Draft. The link to the scouting reports seems to move around and be tough to find. If you have trouble finding them, please post a comment and I will post a link.
Here is a quick list of top high school players.
Traveling scouts and employees in baseball operations spend millions of dollars each year on scouting and signing players from the annual First Year Player Draft. I spend thousands of hours each year (used to be like a like a second job) and hundreds of dollars for the personal satisfaction of becoming the local baseball expert everywhere I go.
I made the first ten picks for my hometown Twins. The Twins got an extra pick in round four for the loss of free agent Jacque Jones. Here are the results for my draft. Since I had no direct knowledge of high school signability, I drafted nine college players and one high school player. In real life, I would more 50-50 in the first ten rounds. This year I would have actually been more high school in rounds 1-10, then heavy college in rounds 11-20. If everyone in the first ten rounds signs, there are some total steals live HS OF’s Devin Shephard, Jared Mithcell, and Riley Cooper just to name a few
Regarding the first pick, the Twins brought Chris Parmelee to Minnesota and he wowed them with multiple upper deck home runs. With that knowledge, he would have been my first pick as well. This was a great draft to get one of the top high school hitters in the first round. But instead with my first pick, I chose the best and most advanced high school lefty in the country.
If you follow the draft, let me know how you think your team did.