2009 Draft Live Blog

It’s 6:00 pm – do you know where your blue chip prospect is?

I’ll be chipping in with comments as we go here in the post. Feel free to leave your reactions in the comments below.

Pre-draft

If John Hart is special assistant to Jon Daniels, how is he supposed to advise Daniels while on TV?

I’m a Jim Callis fan, but shouldn’t he be a little bit more excited about Baseball America’s Christmas Day?

Also, can we just start picking please?

Selig is so terrible at public speaking. Oy vey.

We’re all going to be relieved when this pick is over, Ben. Talk about dragging out the inevitable.

#1. Washington – Stephen Strasburg, RHP

To the surprise of no one. We’ll find out how much he signs for on August 17th.

#2. Seattle – Dustin Ackley, 1B/CF

If you weren’t aware, I like this kid quite a bit. Early career Darin Erstad was a terrific player. A very safe, +3 to +4 win talent with some upside beyond that. Despite the talk about this being the Strasburg draft, Ackley would fit in well at the top of any draft.

#3. San Diego – Donovon Tate, OF

When Bud didn’t appear, was it wrong of me to hope he’d been kidnapped?

The comparisons to Cameron Maybin aren’t that far off base, but he probably has a bit more power and less speed. San Diego needs a premium position player, but he’s not going to get to Petco quickly.

#4. Pittsburgh – Tony Sanchez, C

Jorge? What?

As for the Pirates pick, I don’t know what to say. They insisted they weren’t going to go cheap, but are taking a guy because he’ll sign for less than the 20 guys who should go ahead of him on talent. I like Neil Huntington and the staff they have there in Pittsburgh, but I don’t get it.

Also, I grew up watching Harold Reynolds and loved watching him play, but his reasoning for the Tate pick was hilarious – “the Padres are one of the most boring teams in baseball to watch.” I’m sure picking an 18-year-old who won’t get to the majors until 2014 will make their games more exciting.

#5. Baltimore – Matt Hobgood, RHP

The Orioles hit gold by spending money on Matt Wieters, but didn’t want to do it again this year, so they took a good HS pitching prospect rather than a really good one in order to save some money. Personally, I don’t like taking HS arms this high unless they’re elite arms, and I don’t get the feeling that Hobgood is. Lots of risk with all 18 year olds. Need a lot of upside to offset that risk.

Also, the A’s Twitter feed is hilarious.

#6. San Francisco – Zack Wheeler, RHP

This pick probably breaks the Braves heart, who love them some local kids. The Giants reportedly wanted a hitter, but there wasn’t one worth taking here, so they went with the prep arm that every scout I talk to loves. The fact that he’ll sign makes him a legit top 10 prospect. The Giants depth of pitching is scary.

Does it surprise anyone else that Bud Selig still thinks we’re in the 20th century?

#7. Atlanta – Mike Minor, LHP

I am not a fan. This is a signability pick all the way. A low-upside lefty with good command, but the stuff isn’t great. He’s a back-end starter. Think Ricky Romero.

#8. Cincinnati – Mike Leake, RHP

Oh, man, Zack Wheeler. I’m sorry. Please never do another interview again.

I love Mike Leake. This pick breaks a lot of hearts. Leake’s a great command groundball guy who can pound the strike zone and knows how to pitch. The stuff isn’t as great as some of the other arms, but he’s a better pitcher than all of them. He’s got the kind of package that you look for in an innings eater, and this is a great selection for the Reds.

#9. Detroit – Jacob Turner, RHP

The Tigers live up to their reputation, taking the big arm who wants a lot of money. David Chadd hit pay dirt with Rick Porcello in a similar scenario, and Tigers fans have to hope Turner can repeat what Porcello has done. Big time fastball, which Detroit loves. Probably won’t get to the majors at age 20, but he’s got more upside than all the other non-Strasburg pitchers taken so far. Lots of risk, as always, but if the Tigers can get him signed, they’ll have to be happy with how this worked out.

#10. Washington – Drew Storen, RHP

Gotta love Strasburg tossing out nine cliches in the same sentence. These interviews are so useless.

Washington has to take a guy who will sign here, since they don’t get compensation for the pick if they can’t strike a deal. Storen should be a fairly easy sign, and Washington thinks they can turn him back into a starter, so they’re not just taking a bullpen arm. We’ll see.

#11. Colorado – Tyler Matzek, LHP

On talent, there’s no way he should have lasted this long, but his bonus demands pushed him out of the top 10. As punishment, he ends up heading to Coors Field. He better get his money early. Seriously, though, great pick for the Rockies if they can sign him. This is the kind of kid who makes the risk with HS arms worth it. Massive upside.

#12. Kansas City – Aaron Crow, RHP

There was some thought that Crow might fall out of the first round, but KC pops him here. They aren’t afraid of Indy League guys (see Hochevar, Luke), and they get another quality arm to plug into their future rotation. He could get to Kansas City quickly if they can get him signed. Good value for the Royals here.

#13. Oakland – Grant Green, SS

The A’s take the star of the Cape Cod League last year, ignoring his mediocre junior year who can be an up the middle player with a solid bat. Interesting to see how much Boras gets from the A’s, who aren’t big spenders.

#14. Texas – Matt Purke, LHP

The Rangers go with a big high school arm from Texas, which fits the mold of what they like. He wants a huge contract, so we’ll see how tough he is to sign, given that he’s clearly behind Matzek on most teams boards and got selected behind him as well. The Rangers farm system will just get even stronger, but it’s going to come at a high dollar cost.

#15. Cleveland – Alex White, RHP

White’s arm gets him drafted in spite of inconsistent performances and spotty command, though those problems caused him to fall a bit. He’s a guy who has the ability to be a better pro than he was in college, but you’re adding some hope to the mix here. He’s not close to the majors, unlike most college arms. He’s got a good amount of work to do.

#16. Arizona – Bobby Borchering, 3B

The best high school bat in the draft, Borchering is a kid who can really thump the baseball but might not stick at third. However, premium high school bats have a strong track record, so Arizona should feel good about this selection. A switch-hitter with power should be a nice option for them long term.

#17. Arizona – A.J. Pollock, CF

Interesting that Pollock gets announced as an outfielder – there were quite a few clubs who thought he could move back to shortstop or second base. It will be interesting to see how Arizona uses him. He’s a nice hitter with solid above average tools, and while he’s not flashy, he can play.

#18. Florida – Chad James, LHP

Florida selects a kid from Oklahoma? What a surprise. This was the easiest non-Strasburg pick in the draft to predict. The Marlins like young pitching, and they add another quality left-handed arm with a good breaking ball. At some point, they might want to draft someone who can catch the ball, though.

#19. St. Louis – Shelby Miller, RHP

Pre-draft rumors had the Cardinals wanting a left-handed pitcher, but they’ll have to settle for a kid who has been called a Josh Beckett clone. That’s probably a bit of an overstatement, but he’s got a power arsenal. Like Turner and Matzek, he’s the kind of pitcher who justifies the risk with high school pitchers.

#20. Toronto – Chad Jenkins, RHP

Jenkins fits the mold of arms that the Blue Jays like – throws strikes, a good selection of different pitches, pounds the bottom of the zone. Should be a groundball machine. The Halladay comparisons are going to be inevitable because of who drafted him, and while he’s not that good, this is a nice selection for Toronto.

#21. Houston – Jiovanni Mier, SS

A bit higher than some expected him to go, but Mier is an athletic shortstop with some power. How well he’ll hit is the question mark, but if he can develop a better all around offensive game, he could be a quality player. The glove should allow him to stick at the position, so he’s got some latitude offensively.

#22. Minnesota – Kyle Gibson, RHP

There’s no way Gibson falls this far without the forearm fracture, so the Twins have to be happy with how this worked out. The injury shouldn’t be a long term problem, and they’ll be able to see him throw before the signing deadline, so they should be able to make a determination of whether he’s healthy or not. He did have a heavy workload in college, though, so this might not be his last arm injury.

#23. Chicago White Sox – Jared Mitchell, CF

The White Sox love them some toolsy outfielders, and Mitchell is certainly that. He has the power/speed combination that makes it easy to dream on, but he’s a long way from being a major league player. He needs a lot of work at the plate, though he could still outdo Dwayne Wise offensively right now.

#24. Anaheim – Randal Grichuk, OF

This would have been a shocking pick a week ago, but St. Louis had Grichuk in to work out and got his name out there in the last few days. He’s a hitter in a draft that doesn’t have a lot of them, but unless they pick Mike Trout with their next selection, it’s tough for me to see how Grichuk is a better prospect.

#25. Anaheim – Mike Trout, OF

John Hart just mentioned that the executives have a chance to “touch and feel” players at personal workouts. Umm…

Well, there you go. I’ll take credit for that one. Your welcome, Mike. Nice pick for the Angels here – Trout can play, and is a very good value at #25.

#26. Milwaukee – Eric Arnett, RHP

I’m fairly certain that Harold Reynolds’ high horse will be running next year’s Kentucky Derby.

Arnett’s a big arm velocity guy who got better as the season went along. He’s got the power fastball/slider package so getting right-handers out won’t be a problem – the question is what he’ll throw to left-handed hitters in order to stay in the rotation. If he can develop a change-up that works, he could be a good value for the Brewers.

#27. Seattle – Nick Franklin, SS

Another pick that I’m a fan of for the M’s. A switch-hitting middle infielder who can hit and field. Nothing flashy, but a solid two way player who can turn into a quality performer at a position the M’s have a big hole at.

#28. Boston – Raymond Fuentes, CF

Fuentes got some ink for being Carlos Beltran’s cousin, but he deserves the press on his own. He’s got a nice five tool package, though the speed is ahead of the power. I’ve heard a comp to Andrew McCutchen, and that seems to fit pretty well.

#29. New York Yankees – Slade Heathcott, CF

Heathcott is a premium athlete with lots of baggage. Left-handed bat with power and speed, but he’s a long, long way from the majors.

#30. Tampa Bay – Levon Washington, 2B

You don’t see second baseman go in the first round that often, but Washington has serious athletic ability. He’s a left-handed bat with some top flight speed and the Rays liked his approach at the plate, so he could be a classic leadoff hitter type.

#31. Chicago Cubs – Brett Jackson, CF

People who hate strikeouts will remind you of Jackson’s contact rate, but he’s a premium defender with power and speed. I got a Devon White comp on him from a scout friend a few months ago, and while that’s definitely a best case scenario, this is a nice value for the Cubs.

#32. Colorado – Tim Wheeler, CF

Reports a week or so ago had Wheeler in the top ten, but questions about his price tag dropped him to the end of the first round. He’s a quality hitter, though he might not be a center fielder long term. It will be interesting to see if the Rockies can afford both Matzek and Wheeler, considering that both were looking for money that will be way above the slot recommendations.

That’s it for me, folks – thanks for sticking around on our first ever live blog. Hope you enjoyed it.





Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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Big Oil
Guest
Big Oil

Pretty cheesy draft room if I may say so.

Big Oil
Guest
Big Oil

The actual draft, not this virtual room

rk
Guest
rk

Hah, you read my thought process exactly. I was like…”wtf? ohhhh on the TV”

rk
Guest
rk

I wish the studio had real grass.