Recapping the 2005 MLB Draft: Who Were The Winners and Losers?

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Recapping the 2005 MLB Draft: Who Were The Winners and Losers?
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The 2005 MLB Draft class is regarded as one of the best in recent memory.  With six of the first seven picks being on MLB rosters today, there are almost no players that teams could've gone wrong with. 

What were some of the notable picks in the draft?  Let's check them out.

No. 1 - Arizona Diamondbacks - Justin Upton

Upton was the first overall pick of the draft.  Originally drafted a shortstop, Upton moved to center field because of the Diamondbacks' other shortstop, Stephen Drew. 

Upton is just 21 years old, and is the brother of Tampa Bay Rays' center fielder B.J. Upton. 

On August 2nd, 2007, Justin Upton made his MLB debut. At the age of 19, Upton didn't play much in the 2007 season.  In 2008, Upton played his first full season in the Big Leagues, hitting 15 home runs in 108 games. 

Looking at his frame, one would assume Upton is more of a speedy center fielder, but he has stolen only four bases in his 170-game career. 

 

Pick Grade

B.  Upton probably has the most unrealized potential out of anyone in the draft, and should be able to shine in Arizona.


 

No. 2 - Kansas City Royals - Alex Gordon

Gordon was the first collegiate player taken in the draft.  Out of the University of Nebraska, Gordon earned first-team All-American honors twice during his tenure in Lincoln, Neb.

He was named the best collegiate player by Baseball America, and was a member of the 2004 US National Team.  In Double-A Wichita, the third baseman hit 29 home runs and stole 20 bases in his first year with the Wranglers. 

Gordon, who has played two full seasons as a big-leaguer already, has a batting average of .250, but has hit 32 home runs and stolen 24 bases. 

Struggling at the beginning of the 2009 season, Gordon injured his right hip against the Yankees, and won't be back until around June.

Pick Grade

B.  Gordon has been given comparisons to another Royals' third baseman, who goes by the name of George Brett.  If Gordon can be even half as good as the Hall of Famer, one could call his career a success.



#3 - Seattle Mariners - Jeff Clement

Clement, a catcher out of the University of Southern California, was the first of the top eight picks to be called up to the majors and then get sent back down.

Jeff Clement showed promise while up with the Mariners, though.  Clement played 75 games and had an on-base percentage of .295.  Clement likely won't be getting much playing time with catcher Kenji Johjima playing for the Mariners.

 

Pick Grade

C.  Clement would be getting much more playing time if not for the exceptional play of Johjima.  Maybe he could get a spot on the roster as an outfielder if/when Ken Griffey Jr. gets hurt?


 

No. 4 - Washington Nationals - Ryan Zimmerman

Zimmerman has had probably the toughest road into the major Leagues.  Zimmerman's mother, Cheryl, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1995, and has been in a wheel chair since 2000. 

Zimmerman says his mom has been one of his greatest inspirations, and one of his greatest tools in his development into a big-league ballplayer. 

At the University of Virginia, Zimmerman started in every game he appeared in, and was named an All-American by Baseball America. 

Zimmerman made his MLB debut in 2005, and played 20 games that year, substantial time for a 20 year old at the time.  Since then, Zimmerman has played three full seasons, and has hit .282, with 63 home runs and 274 RBI. 

In 2009, Zimmerman has been nothing short of fantastic, hitting .289, with five home runs and 16 RBI.

 

Pick Grade

A.  Zimmerman will have a great career, as he has already showed what he is capable of.


 

No. 5 - Milwaukee Brewers - Ryan Braun

It's no surprise that Braun is going to have a successful career.  Braun, who won the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year award, is the only 2005 draftee to make an appearance in an All-Star Game. He did so in 2008 in New York. 

Braun, who didn't make his debut until 2007, played in only 113 games as a rookie, but still edged the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki for the Rookie of the Year.  His nickname—the "Hebrew Hammer," after his Jewish decent—fits Braun well. 

Hitting .302 for his career, and hitting 76 home runs through April of 2009, Braun has been the best pick of the 2005 draft, without question.  Braun is well on his way to a likely second All-Star appearance in 2009, since he's hitting .317 this year, with five home runs and 16 RBI.

 

Pick Grade

A+. The Brewers couldn't have made a better pick with Braun.  Simple as that.


 

No. 6 - Toronto Blue Jays - Ricky Romero  

For a while, Romero was considered the bust of the 2005 draft.  With the likes of Troy Tulowitzki drafted behind him, the Blue Jays general manager has been under some criticism of the pick.  

However, as of late, Romero has turned out to be quite the nice pick. After spending four years in the minors battling with injuries, Romero won one of the two open spots in the Blue Jays' pitching rotation at the end of Spring Training this year.  

Romero has filled that spot well, with a 2-0 record and a 1.71 ERA in three starts. However, after straining an oblique muscle, Romero will try a bullpen session today to gauge the extent of the injury.

 

Pick Grade

B-.  Romero spent quite a long time in the minor leagues, but after his hot start it looks as if Romero wasn't a bust in the draft.


 

 

No. 7 - Colorado Rockies - Troy Tulowitzki

Tulowitzki, drafted seventh overall out of Long Beach State in California, has been one of the best picks in the draft.  The hard-throwing short stop went 15-1 as a pitcher in high school, as well as batting .585.  

Tulo has been playing in the big leagues since 2007, and was in the running for both NL Rookie of the Year and an NL Gold Glove at shortstop.

His 24 home runs as a rookie were the best for an NL rookie shortstop ever. Tulowitzki helped lead the team on their 2007 "Rocktober" postseason run, where the team won 20 of 21 games in September and October, and took home an NL Pennant, the first in Rockies' history. 

Tulowitzki had been battling injuries his 2008 season, but appears to be fine in 2009.  

 

Pick Grade

A. Tulowitzki will be a member of the Rockies for a long time, and his hard-nosed style is exactly what the Rockies need.


Overall the 2005 draft was one of the best in a while.  With one All-Star so far, and potentially up to four in just the first seven picks, it was hard for GMs to go wrong on draft day 2005.

 

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