2009 MLB Draft Preview: Isaac's Top 20
On Tuesday, June 9, the MLB Draft will take place at 6 PM. There, future superstars will be drafted. Guys like Evan Longoria, Justin Upton, David Price, Matt Wieters, and Brian Matusz are all recent first-round picks who have bright futures ahead of them.
Let's take a look at the Top 20.
No. 1—Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg, RHP, San Diego State
The Nats would be foolish not to take Strasburg with the No. 1 overall pick. He can throw his fastball in the high 90s and maintains that velocity deep into starts. He has a good slider, a plus curveball, and good command.
The Nats need major help this offseason, and it starts with grabbing a kid like Strasburg, who some consider the best draft prospect ever.
No. 2—Seattle Mariners: Dustin Ackley, 1B/CF, UNC
The Mariners are a very mediocre team. At 25-28, they deserve better, with some solid pitching led by Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, and Erik Bedard. However, what's holding them back is anemic offense.
Adrian Beltre has been disappointing, Yuniesky Betancourt has been horrible in the field, and the team needs a true power hitter. Ackley is the guy.
No. 3—San Diego Padres: Donovan Tate, OF, Cartersville HS
The Padres, like the Mariners, are in need of some offense. They need a table setter to effectively put Adrian Gonzalez in RBI situations. While he does lead the league in home runs, he will not get the RBI he may want.
Tate would effectively put Gonzalez in situations to drive in more runs in the future. Tate is the best athlete in the draft and is above-average defensively. Last year, he hit .410 with seven homers and 25 RBI.
No. 4—Pittsburgh Pirates: Kyle Gibson, RHP, Missouri
Kyle Gibson has great mound presence and command, which makes him project as a future front-of-the-rotation guy. His fastball sits comfortably at 92 MPH, which doesn't exactly match up with Strasburg, but Gibson has command, mound presence, and can be a future ace.
It seems to be somewhat of a reach with the fourth overall pick, but he has very good value.
No. 5—Baltimore Orioles: Aaron Crow, RHP, Missouri
If the Pirates pass on Crow, it is likely the O's will draft him. Despite having a stacked minor league system, they could use another pitcher, as beyond the trio of Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, and Chris Tillman, the four and five spots are "to be determined."
Crow is a tough sign, as he was drafted by the Nats last year only to not sign, but the O's dished out $6M to Matt Wieters and $3.72 to Matusz, so they should be able to come to terms with Crow.
No. 6—San Francisco Giants: Grant Green, SS, USC
It is my personal opinion that in the future, the San Francisco Giants will be consistent NL West Champs. They have some solid pitching in the majors, with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, have a stud catching prospect in Buster Posey, and boast another stud pitching prospect, Madison Bumgarner.
If they only had offense. The Giants need some offense, and shortstop is rather unclear right now. Green would be a solid pick at six.
No. 7—Atlanta Braves: Tanner Scheppers, RHP, Fresno State
The Braves have some solid veteran pitching with Derek Lowe and Javier Vazquez. However, they need to get younger within the staff, and drafting Scheppers, who was drafted in 2005 and 2007, would lay out the blueprint.
Jair Jurrjens has future ace potential, but Scheppers could rob that title right from under him. In 2008, he was 8-2 with a 2.93 earned run average. At seven, he could be a steal, as some mock drafts have him going as early as fifth overall.
No. 8—Cincinnati Reds: Tyler Matzek, LHP, Capistrano Valley HS
The Reds, like the Giants and O's, have some solid young pitching, and some has already been exposed in Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto.
They need to add a lefty into that rotation, and that would be Matzek, a guy who doesn't throw as hard as Volquez but can command his pitches very well and has solid mound presence. At eight, he'd be a steal.
No. 9—Detroit Tigers: Alex White, RHP, UNC
The Tigers made a good decision when they drafted Rick Porcello. Despite a rough outing yesterday, the 20-year old is 6-4, has a solid 3.70 ERA, and is the early leader to win AL Rookie of the Year.
The Tigers also have a pitcher with Cy Young potential in Justin Verlander. Drafting White would only make the team better.
No. 10—Washington Nationals: Zack Wheeler, RHP, East Paulding HS
The Nats need to address their horrendous pitching. They already drafted Strasburg, and it doesn't stop there. The Nats have a young rotation with John Lannan, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler, Shairon Martis, and Craig Stammen.
However, I'm not convinced about any of these youngsters besides Detwiler. Wheeler isn't a big kid, just 170 pounds, but his fastball can hit 95, and the Nats need to take him with the 10th pick.
No. 11—Colorado Rockies: Mike Leake, RHP, Arizona State
The Rockies, playing in Colorado, have never been a team with great pitching. The "Rox" need to address their bad pitching situation by taking Leake. He throws a fastball anywhere from 88-94, sitting most comfortably at 91-92.
They need a guy with mound presence, command, and movement. Leake has all of that. He's a poised kid who has plus command (70 on a 20-80 scale) and has good sinking action.
No. 12—Kansas City Royals: Shelby Miller, RHP, Brownwood HS
The Kansas City Royals are a team on the rise. While Zach Greinke may not have the start he has had this year ever again, he projects to have a very bright future, and the Royals have some other promising youngsters like Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, and Mike Montgomery.
They need to add to their pitching depth by adding Miller, who can hit 98 on the radar gun and has command.
No. 13—Oakland Athletics: Rex Brothers, LHP, Lipscomb
Rex Brothers is a youngster who needs to work on his control. On a 100 scale, The Baseball Cube gave him a mere 13. In 97 innings during the 2008 season, he struck out 97 but also walked 52 hitters.
He was nothing Strasburg-like last year, going 5-5 with a 3.26 ERA, but his command improved, as he struck out 132 and walked 43 in 94 innings.
The A's need some pitching, and Brothers can be the prized prospect.
No. 14—Texas Rangers: Matt Purke, LHP, Klein HS
The Texas Rangers are a team surprising the baseball world. Despite not having any pitching superstars, they have a 31-21 record, good for first in the AL West, 4.5 games ahead of the projected front-runner Los Angeles Angels.
The Rangers have no problems offensively. However, they need to build on their already strong farm system. If they want to be a truly successful team in the future, they need to add even more young arms.
No. 15—Cleveland Indians: Mike Minor, LHP, Vanderbilt
We all remember the last left-handed pitcher taken out of Vanderbilt. His name was David Price. Minor, a 6'4", 195-pound southpaw, hasn't been dominant this year (6-6, 3.90), but he has the potential to be a very good starting pitcher in this league.
He's walked just 37 in 110.2 innings while striking out 114. Fausto Carmona has struggled mightily, and Jeremy Sowers doesn't appear to be the guy for the job, so taking Minor with the 15th pick would be wise.
No. 16—Arizona Diamondbacks: Jacob Turner, RHP, Westminster Christian Academy
The Diamondbacks have the 16th AND 17th overall picks, and with Brandon Webb and Dan Haren in the majors, you wouldn't think the Diamondbacks would want to add another pitcher.
But Turner is an attractive option. Some have him landing with the Detroit Tigers with the ninth overall selection. He's too good to pass up, and Arizona would be wise to draft him, the best player available.
No. 17—Arizona Diamondbacks: Everett Williams, OF, McCallum HS
The Arizona Diamondbacks need help offensively. While Mark Reynolds is a great source of power and Justin Upton has a bright future ahead of him, the Diamondbacks need another speedy, athletic outfielder.
That's why drafting Williams would be a good choice. He's a part of the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic and has a very bright future ahead of him—hopefully with the D-Backs.
No. 18—Florida Marlins: Bobby Borchering, 3B, Bishop Verot HS
The Florida Marlins are an exciting young team to watch. They have some talented young pitching (Chris Volstad, Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco), and some solid offensive talent (Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Jeremy Hermida).
Here, the Marlins would be smart to build offensively. They have always been good developing pitchers, and Borchering is a local kid (Bishop Verot HS in Florida).
No. 19—St. Louis Cardinals: Chad James, LHP, Oklahoma HS
Under pitching coach Dave Duncan, the Cardinals have turned around several veterans' careers. The Cardinals would be wise to take a pitcher here and have him flourish under Duncan, and to me, the best pitcher available is James.
He's a lefty who throws his fastball anywhere from 93-95 MPH, has solid movement, and is very athletic, as he batted third in the order for Oklahoma High and showed some solid power and good speed.
No. 20—Toronto Blue Jays: Matt Hobgood, RHP, Norco HS
The Blue Jays need a guy who can step in for former Jay A.J. Burnett in the No. 2 role in the rotation. Toronto has some capable guys behind Roy Halladay, but not a innings eating, strikeout machine like Burnett was with the Jays.
Hobgood attacks hitters very well. He doesn't throw very hard (89-92 with his FB) but can command it well, and he attacks hitters, pounds the strike zone, etc. He'd be a very smart pick.