This series has been great. It seems that every year there is some en vogue first round SS that ultimately fails to deliver on expectations. It seems to be a product of the position more than poor scouting, but the idea of getting a premier SS to anchor a franchise is often too appealing to pass up.
Based on past talents, it seems that, ultimately, the risk outweighs the reward when it comes to spending big with an early draft pick on such a difficult prediction.
Something to point out: HS SS’s are widely considered the best athletes on their team. In HS, when you are toolsy, coaches most often put you at either CF or SS. As these players get older and fill out more, most lose the ability to stay at SS. How many of those HS drafted SS’s stayed at SS? Those guys you mentioned… A-Rod, Chipper, Preston Wilson, BJ Upton, Cuddyer, Kelly Johnson… they all had to move to the OF, 3B, or 2B. By the time you get to college, however, you’re usually playing the position you will play if you go onto the bigs. College SS’s usually stay at SS in the bigs. If you draft a college SS you are *usually* planning on him playing SS in the majors. If you draft a HS SS you are really just looking at his bat potential, and project him to play elsewhere. The fact is, most of the really good HS SS’s go on to play other positions, in college and the pros. That’s why you see such a difference in quality MLB SS’s from HS’s and U’s.
This is a good point and can’t be ignored. A-Rod was defensively an above average SS. He could move back now and probably not butcher it. Tell you what, take A-Rod out and add Sergio Santos, Kyle Drabek, and Mike Moustakas (Maybe Brandon Wood also?) — HS players drafted in the first round as SS’s that have since moved.
As a counter point, look at Khalil Greene, Stephen Drew, Troy Tulowitzki, Cliff Pennington. — College players drafted at SS’s in the first round that have stuck. I think it’s a valid point to make.