2010 MLB Draft: Chicago Cubs' Secret Weapon (To Fans, At Least)
Monday is the first day of Major League Baseball's three-day First-Year Player Draft.
There are 50 rounds stretched out over those three days and, from the somewhat limited research that I was able to do, it seems that five or six players, on average, from any given team's draft class will eventually reach the big leagues.
Of course, that doesn't take into account that teams typically only sign a little less than 30 of their picks every year. Most teams will probably draft one future major leaguer (maybe even two) that they won't sign.
That means that baseball fans can probably expect to see four or five players from their team's draft class in the majors one day.
A good portion of major league teams will probably see one of their players within three years, but most of the other players are going to show up somewhere between four and six years down the road with a few late bloomers straggling further behind.
Since they have to compete with international signings in trying to unseat established veterans, some of those guys are going to barely spend any time on the roster.
Basically, there's a pretty small percentage of drafted players that develop some semblance of staying power in the major leagues. If you can get three in the same draft, you've had a pretty good couple of days.
That's part of the reason that someone like Tim Wilken, the Cubs scouting director, is so important to a team.
Wilken has been in charge of 11 drafts coming into 2010 (1995-2000 Blue Jays, 2005 Rays, 2006-2009 Cubs), has been heavily involved in four others (2001-2003 Blue Jays, 2004 Rays), and his 25-year tenure with the Blue Jays as a national crosschecker and scouting director included a streak of 12 consecutive first round picks making it to the big leagues.
He drafted Roy Halladay, Craig Wilson, Ryan Freel, and Brandon Duckworth (unsigned) in 1995; Billy Koch, Casey Blake, and Orlando Hudson (unsigned) in 1996; Vernon Wells, Michael Young, Orlando Hudson, Brad Hawpe (unsigned), and Chad Qualls (unsigned) in 1997; and Alex Rios, Brandon Lyon, and Reed Johnson in 1999 for the Blue Jays.
Since we're only six years removed from his start with the Rays, we don't have a full picture of drafted players' staying power, but there's still an impressive list of players.
In 2004 he drafted Jeff Neimann, Reid Bringac, Wade Davis, Jake McGee, Fernando Perez, Andy Sonnanstine, and Daniel McCutchen (unsigned). The following year, he called the names of Jeremy Hellickson, Tommy Hunter (unsigned), and Ike Davis (unsigned).
Five players from his first three drafts as Cubs' scouting director have already reached the big leagues: Tyler Colvin and Jeff Samardzija from 2006, Josh Donaldson and James Russell from 2007, and Andrew Cashner from both 2007 and 2008.
That number should increase even more before 2010 is over.
Jay Jackson (2008) could get called up as soon as the major league pitching staff has an opening and Darwin Barney (2007) is probably only a major league injury or two away from becoming the Cubs' sixth infielder. September call-ups will likely increase that number even further.
Ultimately, it's pretty safe to say that the man knows what he's doing.
On Monday, the Cubs have the 16th overall selection. There's a wide range of ideas as to who the Cubs might select with that pick.
If you're expecting me to answer that question, then you've come to the wrong place.
I haven't seen the vast majority of available talent play even one game, so the best I could do is regurgitate information from Baseball America, ESPN, or MLB Bonus Baby and attempt to come up with a seemingly original opinion.
I just wouldn't feel right doing that.
I can tell you that Bryce Harper is as close to a lock for the first overall selection as there has ever been and that Jameson Taillon and Manny Machado will, in all likelihood, go second and third overall. But the other 1,500-plus picks are best left to people who have actually seen these guys play.
What I do know is that Tim Wilken will take a player that is truly one of the best available.
Being a Cubs fan is a generally frustrating experience, but this is one area that you don't have to worry about. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy.
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