2010 Draft Review: AL East

The series continues.

Number of Top 10 Picks Signed: 8.
Highest Bonus Awarded: Manny Machado, Florida HS, ss, 3rd overall.
College/HS Breakdown of Top 10 Signees: 4 college, 4 HS, 2 JC.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 4/6.

Notable Performances Thus Far: Not much of the draft class has started playing, but the team’s Aberdeen affiliate (in the New York-Penn League) has two names to which you should pay attention. Fourth-round pick Trent Mummey has been a regular since being drafted, and will reach about 300 professional plate appearances by the time the summer ends. For now, he has posted a .349 wOBA, with more ability shown in plate discipline than power potential. The team recently added a solid reliever in Clayton Schrader, the Orioles 10th round pick, who received an above-slot bonus to deter him from going to Oklahoma. Schrader has pitched five scoreless innings for the IronBirds, striking out 6.

Thoughts: Without a second-round pick this season, the Orioles were able to not worry about bonus demands from their third overall pick, Manny Machado. Despite his Twitter jokings with Bryce Harper, it was clear Machado would always sign, and this draft class would always be defined by his play. The team, however, does have six other players that earned more than a quarter-million bonus, including their eighth, ninth and, tenth-round picks. I even really like Matt Bywater, the seventh-round lefty from Pepperdine that signed for pretty cheap. This draft doesn’t have a sure thing, maybe with the exception of Mummey, but it is loaded with potential.

Number of Top 10 Picks Signed: 10.
Highest Bonus Awarded: Anthony Ranaudo, LSU, rhp, 39th overall.
College/HS Breakdown of Top 10 Signees: 6/4.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 4/6.

Notable Performances Thus Far: The team’s top two picks, Kolbrin Vitek and Bryce Brentz, have been regulars in the Lowell Spinners lineup for awhile. Vitek has been much better, posting a .379 wOBA while overcoming a 29.5 K%. Brentz hasn’t been able to overcome his bad contact skills, hitting .187/.252/.320 for Lowell. The only other draftee with significant playing time so far is fifth-round Puerto Rican outfielder Henry Ramos, playing in the Gulf Coast League. Ramos has thrived in Fort Myers, hitting .319/.373/.471 in his first stateside campaign.

Thoughts: This wasn’t the most expensive draft of any team, but it was probably the deepest: six players signed for more than $750,000, which includes two college hitters (Vitek and Brentz), two college pitchers, and two high school hitters. Ranaudo demanded the most money, and he earned it with a fantastic summer in the Cape Cod League. I really like sixth-round pick Kendrick Perkins, and seventh rounder Chris Hernandez was a favorite of the boys behind CollegeSplits.com. This was a team aware of high school pitchers who have historically been the least valuable commodity on draft day, and stockpiled every other type of asset. It should pay huge dividends for the farm system.

Number of Top 10 Picks Signed: 10.
Highest Bonus Awarded: Mason Williams, Florida HS, of, 145th overall.
College/HS Breakdown of Top 10 Signees: 3/7.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 3/7.

Notable Performances Thus Far: Much of this class is just starting to get their feet wet in pro ball, but surprise first rounder Cito Culver has been a regular in complex league play. Culver has held his own, hitting .269/.320/.363, and since July 22, has hit safely in 15 out of 19 games. Like any teenage shortstops, he’s been prone to mistakes (13 errors in 41 games) and offspeed stuff (25.6 K%), but there has been nothing about which to worry.

Thoughts: While the Red Sox clearly used their huge resources to put together the foundation of a great farm system in this year’s draft, the Yankees spendings were more middle-of-the-pack. Mason Williams was the only player the Yankees eclipsed seven figures on, and he’s a guy that doesn’t profile to hit for power. I like fifth-round pick Tommy Kahnle, but the crux of this draft are five high school players that the team spent big on. If two of them become trade-able commodities, then this draft has to be considered a success.

Number of Top 10 Picks Signed: 8.
Highest Bonus Awarded: Josh Sale, Washington HS, of, 17th overall.
College/HS Breakdown of Top 10 Signees: 4 college, 5 HS, 1 JC.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 4/6.

Notable Performances Thus Far: Both of Tampa’s short-season affiliates have had some interesting contributions. The complex league team has been assigned both first-round pick Justin O’Conner and third-round pick Ryan Brett, and their performances have been the opposite of what you might think. Brett has been amazing in 19 games, hitting .338/.410/.456 (.420 wOBA), with “just” four errors. O’Conner has struggled in 169 PA, hitting .215/.310/.354, struggling mostly with his contact rate. In the New York-Penn League, the Hudson Valley affiliate has the team’s second-round picks: Jake Thompson and Derek Dietrich. Thompson’s impeccable command has led to a 2.26 FIP through 35 innings, though his 6.94 K/9 leaves something to be desired. Dietrich isn’t showing the same power he did in college, and his 4.8 BB% in 33 games isn’t good, but he’s still managed a .288/.340/.432 line.

Thoughts: I really like this draft, and it shows you don’t have to break the bank to impress. Sale and O’Conner are really good value for where they were drafted in the first round, and I really believe in Sale’s bat. The team spent equally on its two college arms, one a safe innings-eater (Thompson) and one a volatile hard thrower (Jesse Hahn). They took some chances later in the draft, and have the farm system to afford taking chances on high school hitters. The balance probably leans a little too far for my liking, but I still think the Rays did well.

Number of Top 10 Picks Signed: 10.
Highest Bonus Awarded: Deck McGuire, Georgia Tech, rhp, 11th overall.
College/HS Breakdown of Top 10 Signees: 3 college, 6 HS, 1 JC.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 7/3.

Notable Performances Thus Far: The Blue Jays have been cautious with their two supplemental first round high school arms, Aaron Sanchez and Noah Syndergaard, both of whom are pitching in the complex league. While both are “starting” games there, they are averaging just 2.45 innings per start. Both have done well, but the star is Sanchez, who has a fantastic groundball rate and a 13.5 K/9. Kellen Sweeney, the team’s second-round pick out of Erik Manning’s town of Cedar Rapids, has had an encouraging start with the same team. In just 36 plate appearances, Ryan’s little brother has walked 10 times.

Thoughts: I love this draft. It appears to be pitcher heavy because the first four picks were all hurlers, but the team’s second-highest bonus getter was fifth-round pick Dickie Joe Thon. Toronto gave Thon $1.5 million to not attend Rice, and he becomes a perfect balance to the “safe” Deck McGuire pick. The team invested heavily in pitching, no doubt, and I really like what Aaron Sanchez has showed so far. But there is hitting to be found here, like Sweeney, Christopher Hawkins, and the two shortstops given above-slot money in the middle rounds. Toronto has worked hard in the last year, both on the international and domestic fronts, at rebuilding their farm system, and I think it will start paying dividends soon.

Favorite AL East Draft: Boston. Honorable Mention: Toronto. Least Favorite: New York.

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