2010 Draft Review: NL West

The series continues.

Number of Top 10 Picks Signed: 9.
Highest Bonus Awarded: Ty Linton, North Carolina HS, of, 421st overall.
College/HS Breakdown of Top 10 Signees: 5 college, 4 HS, 1 JC.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 7/3.

Notable Performances Thus Far: The team’s two highest drafted signees, second rounder J.R. Bradley and third rounder Robby Rowland, have really struggled in the Pioneer League. Bradley’s ERA (7.46) is worse than Rowland’s (6.30), but neither has a single solid peripheral statistic … Fourth round reliever Kevin Munson has started his career in the Midwest League successfully, allowing just two runs in 14 innings with South Bend, striking out 13.

Thoughts: While some have floated out the notion that Arizona drafted Barret Loux knowing that they’d get the seventh pick in 2011, it’s simply not true. Arizona liked Loux in that spot, but his medicals couldn’t justify a selection. Luckily, the team built in some insurance in the 14th round, drafting two-way star Ty Linton. Between paying him over one million, and paying eighth-round pick Tyler Green 750K, the team does take home some early round talent out of this draft. The majority of their risks came with high upside pitchers, so replacing Loux is a real possibility.

Number of Top 10 Picks Signed: 10.
Highest Bonus Awarded: Kyle Parker, Clemson, of, 26th overall.
College/HS Breakdown of Top 10 Signees: 8 college, 1 HS, 1 JC.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 5/5.

Notable Performances Thus Far: Chad Bettis was never consistent at Texas Tech, but he’s been consistently brilliant for the Rockies NWL affiliate. In 10 appearances, Bettis has a 1.12 ERA, 1.86 BB/9 and 0.00 HR/9. He’s getting groundballs at a 2.2-to-one clip, and looks like a brilliant gamble … In one-third the time, fifth-round pick Josh Slaats has been just as good. In 13.2 innings, the big bodied product of hawaii has struck out 23 and walked just 2 … It’s noteworthy that 15th round bonus baby Will Swanner made his professional debut in the Pioneer League yesterday, going 2-for-5 while playing DH.

Thoughts: The Rockies deal with top pick Kyle Parker will allow him to play his senior season at quarterback for the Tigers this fall, and then the team hopes his itch for the gridiron is satisfied. It should be the case, and you’d think that focusing only on baseball next season will allow his abilities to shine through more than ever. Supplemental round pick Peter Tago was a favorite of Marc Hulet, and it’s easy to understand why: maybe no one in this draft throws easier. I think they’ll definitely find a regular contributor out of Tago, Bettis or Slaats. I also like the gamble on Swanner, a catcher they bought away from Pepperdine. This is a nice and diverse haul for the Rockies.

Number of Top 10 Picks Signed: 9.
Highest Bonus Awarded: Zach Lee, Texas HS, rhp, 28th overall.
College/HS Breakdown of Top 10 Signees: 5 college, 4 HS, 1 JC.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 3/7.

Notable Performances Thus Far: Of the four first five rounders that have started playing, the two high school guys are in the complex league, the two college hitters in the Pioneer League. High school pitcher Ralston Cash has done well for himself, with a 3.68 ERA over seven starts, and enough movement on his pitches to post a good groundball rate (1.82 G/F) and he hasn’t allowed a home run. He’s joined on the team by James Baldwin (son of the ex-Major Leaguer), who strikes out constantly, but has put up an athletic .272/.321/.367 … Over in the Pioneer League, Jake Lemmerman has been brilliant. The Duke shortstop and fifth-round pick is hitting .355/.424/.560 in the hitting environment, with 28 extra-base hits and 22 walks in 200 at-bats! Third rounder Leon Landry is doing his best to keep pace, hitting .356/.397/.529 while he learns to translate his great speed into something useful on the baseball field.

Thoughts: Herein you will find my mea culpa. I teased Dodgers fans quite a bit in June, as it certainly appeared the team drafted Zach Lee without an intention to sign him. I thought maybe they’d get sixth-round pick Kevin Gausman for above slot, but the $5 million it’d take for Lee? No way. I WAS WRONG. Kudos to the Dodgers for striking a unique agreement, using Lee’s status as a football as an excuse to spread the money over five years. The Dodgers even went above slot twice more, on 11th rounder Joc Pederson and 26th rounder Scott Schebler. But make no mistake, this draft is all about Lee. And, it’s a good thing, because Lee was probably the fourth or fifth best player in the class. A steal at any price.

Number of Top 10 Picks Signed: 8.
Highest Bonus Awarded: John Barbato, Miami HS, rhp, 184th overall.
College/HS Breakdown of Top 10 Signees: 6 college, 2 HS, 2 JC.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 4/6.

Notable Performances Thus Far: Highest drafted signee Jedd Gyorko has enjoyed a really nice start to his career, with 52 games spread evenly between the Northwest and Midwest leagues. He’s hitting a combined .335/.396/.495, with a wOBA north of .400. On the opposite train was fifth-round pick Rico Noel, who began with some terrible Midwest League struggles before being demoted to the Northwest League, where he’s currently hitting .297/.453/.365.

Thoughts: It’s pretty hard to not sign your first round pick, especially when it’s in the top ten, and still have a good draft. I think this haul can work out okay for the Padres, but it won’t take the sting out of losing Whitson. His father said yesterday that Karsten’s dream has been to play college baseball, and this really makes you question the scouting done by the Padres: judging the signability of potential draftees is one of a scout’s largest jobs. But moving away from that, the team did build themselves some insurance with sixth-round pick John Barbato. While some certainly preferred unsigned seventh rounder A.J. Vanegas to Barbato, the Padres had to land one of the two. This draft needs Gyorko to become a regular, and either Barbato or Zach Cates to contribute on the mound. It could happen, but it wouldn’t excuse dropping the ball with Whitson.

Number of Top 10 Picks Signed: 10.
Highest Bonus Awarded: Gary Brown, Cal State Fullerton, of, 24th overall.
College/HS Breakdown of Top 10 Signees: 7 college, 1 HS, 2 JC.
Pitcher/Hitter Breakdown: 3/7.

Notable Performances Thus Far: It’s a tiny sample of a 21-year-old pitcher beating on high school kids, but fifth-round pick Richard Hembree has struck out 15 of the 28 batters he’s faced in the complex league. He’s rocking a negative FIP! Four of the team’s first 10 picks can be found on the NWL Salem-Keizer Volcanoes: Carter Jurica, Seth Rosin, Chris Lofton and Dan Burkhart. The latter is the team’s newest arrival, but he’s been excellent since moving up from the complex league. Jurica, the highest draft pick of the four, has been the worst (.291 wOBA).

Thoughts: This is pretty unexciting stuff. Gary Brown was one of the first round’s most volatile players, and while a lot of the numbers guys don’t like him because he never walks, you can’t write him off just for that. He’s just a guy whose value will be tied closely to his BABIP and the consistency of his defense. If he succeeds in those categories, he can still be a viable big leaguer. But after Brown, what is there? The team paid up a bit for Virginia outfielder Jarret Parker, another risky college outfielder, and sophomore-eligible lefty Mike Kickham. The other picks were all inexpensive, and typically low-upside college hitters. There is no star potential in this draft; just a couple average-ish outfielders and a reliever (Hembree?) here or there.

Favorite NL West Draft: Colorado Rockies. Least Favorite: San Francisco.

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