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2010 Draft Review: NL East

The series ends here.

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Number of Top 10 Picks Signed: 10.
Highest Bonus Awarded: Matt Lipka, Texas HS, ss, 35th overall.
College/HS Breakdown of Top 10 Signees: 6 college, 2 HS, 2 JC.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 2/8.

Thoughts: The Braves got everyone inked and in uniform quickly, so rather than list the notable performances so far, I figured it would be easier to make this section longer, and integrate the performances in the post. Drafting without a first round pick this year, the Braves did have a supplemental first and an extra second round pick. The team chose a signable player at every turn, and was among the draft’s smallest spenders in all of MLB. It’s all pretty unexciting stuff, but these are the Braves, and you just figure their scouting department has to know something that we don’t. They always seem to.

This year, it appears the onus was getting hitters in the system that make consistent contact with the baseball. To wit, first round pick has a 11.3 K% in the complex league (.378 wOBA), Todd Cunningham is at 12.5% in the Sally League (.346 wOBA), and Andrelton Simmons at 6.2% in the Appy League (.301 wOBA). This trend continues on, and it’s consistent through all the left-side infielders this team drafted in the top ten rounds. The Braves also drafted small school pitcher Dave Filak, who has a 2.97 FIP in 22 Appy League innings. Atlanta’s draft isn’t the most diverse in talent sets, but they don’t seem worried about it. This seems like a team simply hoping that out of quantity comes quality.

Number of Top 10 Picks Signed: 9.
Highest Bonus Awarded: Christian Yelich, California HS, 1B, 23rd overall.
College/HS Breakdown of Top 10 Signees: 7/3.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 6/4.

Notable Performances Thus Far: The team’s earliest pick with regular playing time so far has been fifth-round pick Robert Morey. The Virginia alum has made nine starts in the South Atlantic League, running a 3.49 FIP through 31 innings. The team isn’t really getting strikeouts or command from Rett Varner, but the guy has a 1.54 ERA because he’s getting a lot of groundballs. You have to go all the way to the tenth round to find a hitter with serious playing time, and it’s Missouri’s Aaron Senne. In 48 games in the NYP League, Senne is hitting .302/.386/.391.

Thoughts: The Marlins weren’t big spenders, but that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. They were sure to sign first round pick Christian Yelich, bought third rounder J.T. Realmuto from an Oklahoma State commitment, and made sure Mark Canha didn’t head back to California. Yelich is obviously the one to watch, but don’t buy his listed position of outfield. He has one of the worst arms I’ve ever seen from a touted prospect, and he’ll be at first base unless they completely re-teach him to throw. He’s going to hit, though. The added pitching should move quickly, as Rob Rasmussen and Robert Morey were among Division I’s most polished. The Marlins will get some big league help from this draft, but I don’t think they have added a star.

Number of Top 10 Picks Signed: 10.
Highest Bonus Awarded: Matt Harvey, UNC, rhp, 7th overall.
College/HS Breakdown of Top 10 Signees: 8 college, 1 HS, 1 JC.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 7/3.

Notable Performances Thus Far: The one sticking to me is Matt den Dekker, a senior sign from Florida who is 11 games into full season ball, and hitting .390/.468/.512 during that time. If he’s not the story, fourth-round pick Cory Vaughn is, hitting .308/.399/.556 in the New York-Penn League. Vaughn’s power never came as scouts thought in college, but it certainly is showing itself in short-season ball. As Carson Cistulli points out, however, his defense might not be so good. The highest of the hitters drafted, Blake Forsythe, is playing the worst, hitting .226/.298/.321 between the complex and NYP leagues.

Thoughts: If you listed the Mets picks in order of who received the largest bonuses, their top two guys (Harvey and Forsythe) would top the list, followed by 24th rounder Erik Goeddel, fourth-round pick Cory Vaughn, and sixth-round pick Greg Peavy. Goeddel obviously sticks out, and it will be interesting if the Mets are content to use him as a reliever going forward. But any way you slice it, the team went college-heavy here, going with big Division I players with the first 6 picks. There is some upside to be found there, though, so I don’t hate this draft for the Mets. But that really speaks to my optimism about Vaughn, Goeddel and den Dekker.

Number of Top 10 Picks Signed: 8.
Highest Bonus Awarded: Jesse Biddle, Philly HS, lhp, 27th overall.
College/HS Breakdown of Top 10 Signees: 7 college, 2 HS, 1 JC.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 7/3.

Notable Performances Thus Far: Biddle has been a nice story in his debut in the Gulf Coast League. Despite a nasty outing in his last start, the lefty still has a 2.51 FIP in 33.1 innings. His 41-to-9 K/BB ratio is really encouraging. Or, at least it’s better than talking about the NYP performances of the team’s college picks: Percy Garner (two bad starts), Cameron Rupp (.326 wOBA) and Bryan Morgado (2.09 WHIP) have all been not-so-good.

Thoughts: Biddle was the only Phillies draft pick to make more than $500,000, so as a result, he’s the key to this draft. The team did go to 300K on four players, three of which came after the 20th round: Kevin Walter, Jonathan Musser, and Brian Pointer were all bought out of college commitments. The college picks were not my favorite, in the slightest, but Biddle really does have the potential to put this class on his back. Philadelphia has done a great job scouting high school pitchers in recent years, and it looks like the trend continued this year.

Number of Top 10 Picks Signed: 10.
Highest Bonus Awarded: Bryce Harper, Nevada JC, RF/C, 1st overall.
College/HS Breakdown of Top 10 Signees: 8 college, 1 HS, 1 JC.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 4/6.

Notable Performances Thus Far: Rick Hague had a miserable last season at Rice this year, but moving to pro ball and wood bats have been pretty good for him. Playing mostly in the full season South Atlantic League, Hague is hitting .298/.371/.426 through 105 plate appearances. This is better than the performance of the short-season college guys: Kevin Keyes (.210/.356/.284), Cole Leonida (.143/.226/.179) and Jason Martinson (.236/.336/.328).

Thoughts: I suppose it’s fitting to end this series here, on Harper. It’s kind of intuitive that the team that drafts the best player should have the highest rated draft, but it’s not always the case: oftentimes, paying up for the most expensive player gives teams an excuse to not take any more chances. This was not so with the Nationals. This team also broke slot to sign three pitchers that all seem excellent: Sammy Solis, A.J. Cole and Robbie Ray. Maybe the team didn’t add any offense besides Harper in this draft (though if Hague hits, he was once considered first-round caliber), but with Harper, I’m not sure you need to. Finding the pitching balance to match their offensive addition is really what makes this draft stand out.

Favorite NL East Draft: Washington. Least Favorite: Florida.