Five-Year Grace Period Up: Looking Back at 2005 MLB Draft Critically
The 2005 MLB Draft, perhaps the deepest and most talented draft pools of the current generation of players, has certainly not disappointed through five years, the milestone in which critical statements can be made about draft selections.
Yet, it wasn't all about success. Many picks were marred with injury and failure from the get-go, as there were maybe as many good picks as there were busts.
In this slide-show. I will describe the careers of each draft pick thus far in their careers, grade each selection, and provide you with the player the team would probably have drafted if they were given the knowledge of how the player performed up to this point.
Let us begin with number one pick Justin Upton.
1. Arizona Diamondbacks: Justin Upton (A)
Although Upton never received quite the hype that current top prospects Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg have gotten of late, scouts have raved about him since he appeared in the Area Code Games as a 14-year-old. Still only 22, and a legitimate NL All-Star last season, Upton has a chance at a 35/35 season, while maintaining a .300+ average.
He has all the tools for a great long career, a perfect pick for the Diamondbacks at the time, and it stands. Having signed a six-year contract extension in March, Upton will be the face of Arizona baseball for a long time.
Redraft: Arizona sticks with Justin Upton as their first overall selection.
2. Kansas City Royals: Alex Gordon (C+)
Gordon is looking like one of those quadruple-A players who mash AAA pitching but never seem to figure out the majors. Although he still has some time and could turn into a full-time player hitting .260/25/70, that's of bust quality considering the multitude of fantastic players taken soon after him.
He has shown promise in the major leagues, but he's never been able to put it all together and have a great year with only a .249 average in 1231 career at-bats.
Redraft: The Royals instead decide to draft Ryan Zimmerman, also a college third baseman like Gordon.
3. Seattle Mariners: Jeff Clement (D)
Drafted as a catcher, Jeff Clement showed tons of potential in college, given many accolades while at the University of Southern California. But he has failed to show the full extent of his skills in the majors, leading to his trade to the Pittsburgh Pirates in July of 2009.
The main chip that the Mariners received in the deal was Ian Snell, who was just designated for assignment, meaning this high draft pick has been almost entirely wasted.
However, he is receiving semi-regular playing time with the Pirates this year, and like Gordon, could stick around for another five to 10 years at the major league level, providing .240/15/60 numbers if given 500 at-bats.
Redraft: The Mariners were looking for a player that could rake, almost regardless of position, so they go ahead and select Ryan Braun out of the University of Miami.
4. Washington Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman (A)
Making the majors the year he was drafted, Zimmerman has since established himself as perhaps the National League's best third basemen, both offensively and defensively.
Zimmerman had a huge 2006, finishing second to Hanley Ramirez in Rookie of the Year voting in one of the closest rookie races in recent memory. After dropping back in 2007 and 2008, Zimmerman made the proper adjustments and put it all together again for a big 2009 campaign and a strong start to the 2010 season.
Redraft: The Nationals would be overjoyed to select Zimmerman over again, but with the Royals snatching him up, the Nats go for fellow highly-touted infielder Troy Tulowitzki out of Long Beach State.
5. Milwaukee Brewers: Ryan Braun (A+)
Now nicknamed the Hebrew Hammer, Ryan Braun has raked in the majors, posting an OPS of 1.004 in his rookie season and batting .320/32/114 last season. Originally drafted as a 3rd baseman, Braun has since switched to left field where he is less of a defensive liability.
The Brewers should be extremely happy with their pick, as, at 26, Braun is just entering his prime and has potential to post seven or eight consecutive .310/30/100 seasons, maybe adding a batting title or MVP along the way.
Redraft: With Seattle picking up Braun, Milwaukee decides to select toolsy centerfielder Andrew McCutchen.
6. Toronto Blue Jays: Ricky Romero (B+)
Hailed as almost a complete bust as recently as 2008 due to injuries and control problems, Romero made the Blue Jays rotation out of Spring Training in 2009 and hasn't looked back since. Romero seems to be the polar opposite of Alex Gordon: a player that never had much success in the minors but somehow had success at the major league level.
Going into the 2009 season, nobody had him among Toronto's Top 5 prospects, but he was able to put up a decent rookie year, one that faded down the stretch (first-half numbers: 7-3, 3.00 ERA).
He's been outstanding in 2010 thus far, with a 6-3, 3.08 ERA line, and an AL 3rd-best 96 strikeouts.
Toronto should be happy with their decision to draft Romero, but some scouts don't think he quite has the upside to be a true ace.
Redraft: Toronto thinks about taking Tommy Hanson, but they ultimately prefer Ricky Romero and stick with drafting him.
7. Colorado Rockies: Troy Tulowitzki (A)
A great player on both sides of the ball, Tulowitzki was a great selection by the Colorado Rockies at this pick. With a 33/20 season in 2009, Tulowitzki has emerged as the Rockies best position player and clubhouse leader.
While he is currently out for a month-plus with a broken wrist, he has shown in his short career that he is capable of playing 150-plus games in his career, and the recent injury wasn't really his fault—he was hit by a pitch. Tulowitzki might not have MVP potential, but he's going to be a consistent .300/25/100/15 SB performer for the majority of this decade.
Redraft: With Tulowitzki off the board to the Nationals, the Colorado Rockies opt to select power-hitting corner outfielder Jay Bruce.
8. Tampa Bay Rays: Wade Townsend (F)
Wade Townsend has been a complete bust. No other way about it, Townsend was released by the Rays in August 2009 after struggling prolifically in both the Arizona Fall League and short-season A Hudson Valley.
Now in Toronto's organization, not much is expected of him at all. After having Tommy John surgery in 2008, he is an extreme longshot to even be in baseball in four or five years.
Redraft: Erasing their prospect-blockbuster deal with the Twins in 2007, the Tampa Bay Rays elect to select Matt Garza out of the draft, allowing them to keep Delmon Young in the process, instead of trading him to the Twins for Garza.
9. New York Mets: Mike Pelfrey (B)
In his first full season in a major league rotation (2008), Pelfrey posted big numbers, a 13-11 record with a 3.72 ERA. But after his disappointing 2009, Pelfrey left many scouts wondering about his future.
Well, he's back in 2010, and I believe that his bad 2009 was just a product of overworking his arm in 2008, and he now has full arm strength for an entire season of quality pitching. With his 9-2, 2.69 ERA this season so far, it's hard for anyone to complain as he's been the Mets' best pitcher this season (yep, not you Johan, we're talking about Pelfrey).
Redraft: The Mets should be happy with their selection, and they are, selecting Pelfrey in the redraft.
10. Detroit Tigers: Cameron Maybin (B-)
Maybin was a great selection for the Tigers at this pick. He rose up prospect rankings and the Tigers traded him to the Marlins in the huge Cabrera/Willis blockbuster along with Andrew Miller.
So, the Tigers are happy, but the Marlins aren't, as he's failed to show much in The Show, with not much production in almost 450 at-bats. However, like Gordon, he seems to be one of those AAA players, a minors masher who doesn't quite belong in the majors but is too good for AAA.
Redraft: The Detroit Tigers instead select speedy outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, but he's not of the long-term project types that the Marlins prefer, so Miguel Cabrera ends up in 2009 free-agency, in which he signs with the Yankees, leaving Mark Teixeira to sign with the Red Sox or Angels.
11. Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen (A+)
McCutchen is the perfect pick here. Most of the players taken after him in the first round were busts, and none drafted after him in the first round are as talented.
After a big rookie season in which he demonstrated great plate discipline and outstanding speed, McCutchen projects to be a realistic .320/20 HR/40 SB player with solid defense and maybe even a .410 OBP.
Redraft: The Pirates are obviously steamed that McCutchen is off the board, but they are just as happy to select Tommy Hanson to replenish their mediocre pitching staff.
12. Cincinnati Reds: Jay Bruce (A)
As with the Pirates selecting McCutchen, the Reds took the right man in Jay Bruce here, it's debatable as to whether or not anyone else drafted in the first round is a better player now in 2010.
Sure, Bruce has had his ups and downs, never being able to hit for average consistently, but the power is there, and he's been improving his plate discipline, leading to a certainly serviceable .267 average this season so far.
He has .280/45/130 potential and in the worst case scenario will end up as a .265/30/80 hitter, basically Pat Burrell without the plus-OBP. The Reds should be pleased with their pick, as my "A" grade shows.
Redraft: With Bruce off the board, the Reds go a different route positionally but take the same type of project in Chris Volstad to add to their good organizational pitching talent.
13. Baltimore Orioles: Brandon Snyder (C)
Snyder still has hope, and is still widely considered to be among the Orioles Top 10 prospects, but without the potential he was once seen to have. Without a single major league at-bat to his record, he is now at AAA and playing with moderate decency.
However, he is a surely a bust at this point. The best case scenario for him would be to start every day as the Orioles' first baseman, putting up .295/15/80 numbers (think James Loney the last few years).
Redraft: The Orioles decide to select the best player available in Colby Rasmus, who's flat-out raking with the Cardinals at the moment.
14. Cleveland Indians: Trevor Crowe (C+)
Trevor Crowe can certainly be labeled as a bust of sorts, having not shown enormous success at the major league level with a .238/.289/.332 line in 319 at-bats. That said, Cleveland is giving him some modest playing time this season and they can allow him to take him time.
However, I don't think his total upside is much more than being a .265/15/60/20 SB player, which isn't really good enough to play regularly on most teams despite his solid defense.
Redraft: The Indians instead elect to draft Brett Gardner, a speedster showing good overall hitting skills this year, which would immensely improve Cleveland's lineup.
15. Chicago White Sox: Lance Broadway (D+)
Broadway climbed prospect charts as any top draft pick is expected to, widely ranked as the White Sox third-best prospect going into the 2007 season.
But he just never stuck in the majors, prompting a trade to the Mets in May 2009 for career backup catcher Ramon Castro. After 14 horrendous innings with the Mets in 2009, he was let go as a free agent after the season. Broadway then signed a minor-league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays in that off-season and hasn't been to The Show since.
In 75.1 innings at AAA Las Vegas this year, he has a 6.69 ERA and is hardly striking anyone out. He's still only 26, so he could turn it around a bit and become a major-league mop-up man, but I'm not expecting much out of him.
Redraft: Sensing an aging lineup, the White Sox decide to select Gaby Sanchez, who's currently having a great season in Florida.
16. Florida Marlins: Chris Volstad (B)
Volstad had a big, largely unnoticed rookie season in 2008 for the Marlins, going 6-4 with a 2.88 ERA and solid peripherals. While he followed it up with a sub-par 2009, Volstad is largely still developing. The Marlins are pleased with how the 23-year-old is doing.
Redraft: The Marlins would be happy with Volstad again, but with him off the board they reach for current rookie sensation Jaime Garcia.
17. New York Yankees: Carl Henry (F)
A multi-sport athlete, Carl Henry never even advanced out of High-A ball in both the Yankees and Phillies farm systems, after being swapped in the Bobby Abreu trade.
Today though, he has a brighter future than most other busts in this draft class, playing basketball at the collegiate level with the Kansas Jayhawks.
Redraft: With Brett Gardner off the board and not much batting depth left, the Yankees decide to reach down to select Alex Gordon and give him a shot at playing left field in New York.
18. San Diego Padres: Cesar Carrillo (C)
Regarded by some as the Padres' top prospect in both 2006 and 2007, Carrillo has yet to make much of an impact in the majors. Perhaps ironically dubbed "The most major-league ready pitcher in this draft," by lots of sources, including Sports Illustrated, Carrillo has taken a long path, having Tommy John surgery in 2007.
Today, he is with the Portland Beavers, San Diego's Pacific Coast League affiliate, but doesn't entirely have the electric stuff he use to. He could still pan out in a sense, however, maybe make the bottom of the Padres' rotation in 2011 or find a spot in long relief.
Redraft: The San Diego Padres go with another starter, Jeremy Hellickson, who is currently ranked among the top 25, according to almost all baseball experts.
19. Texas Rangers: John Mayberry (C-)
Mayberry has yet to fully pan out for either the Rangers or the Phillies, to whom he was traded to in November 2008. In 2009, he received a short audition with big-league Philadelphia and responded okay, homering four times in 57 at-bats with a .211 average.
His average has, of course, been the problem his entire career, and his major league upside is looking more and more like a Jack Cust type without the plate discipline.
Redraft: They were searching for a high-upside outfielder in the draft, and despite him not producing much so far in the majors, they take a chance on Cameron Maybin.
20. Chicago Cubs: Mark Pawelek (D-)
Pawelek never seemed to progress at all in his professional career. Let go by the Cubs as a free agent after the 2008 season, he signed a minor league deal with the Reds.
He pitched great in his first two seasons, 2005 and 2006, in rookie and low-A ball, but after injuring his non-throwing arm in a freak accident, he was never the same, getting lit up in 2007 and 2008 before his move to the Reds.
He pitched okay for the Sarasota Reds in 2009, but that's only high-A ball, and he is now out of baseball.
Redraft: Instead, the Cubs take a different pitcher in Clay Buchholz, who's having a great season with the Red Sox this year.
21. Oakland Athletics: Cliff Pennington (B)
Sure, Pennington hasn't exactly set The Coliseum on fire this season, but he's turned into a dependable shortstop for the A's.
With solid plate discipline (28 BB to 48 K this season so far) and a tiny bit of pop (13 doubles this year so far), he's a starter on maybe a third of the teams in baseball this year, and he certainly isn't bringing Oakland down.
Redraft: The A's could do good by redrafting Pennington, but Sean West would further shore up their young pitching staff, while Adam Rosales would be adequate playing shortstop instead of Pennington.
22. Florida Marlins: Aaron Thompson (C)
Thompson has had a very interesting career so far and has put up middling numbers at every minor league stop he's been at, posting a career 26-46 record with a 4.19 ERA. Yet, Washington decided to acquire him straight up for OBP machine Nick Johnson, that was the whole deal.
He's only 23, but he just hasn't progressed, and while he's played at every level of major league baseball, he's never been close to a call-up with only one career start in AAA. So, he's back in AA for Washington, and Florida doesn't really have anything to show for the pick they made in taking Thompson.
Redraft: The Marlins take Clayton Richard, a key part of the trade that sent Jake Peavy to the White Sox.
23. Boston Red Sox: Jacoby Ellsbury (A)
Boston made a great pick here, nabbing a good defender and tremendous top-of-the-lineup speedster in Ellsbury. And boy, has Ellsbury produced since the first day he stepped onto the diamond, with a fantastic 50-steal campaign and .280 average in his rookie season, which powered him to third in AL ROY voting.
After stealing 74 bases in 2009 and putting up a decent OBP of .355, Ellsbury has cemented himself among baseball's best lead-off hitters. A great pick for Boston, avoiding a few land mines that were surely to be on their radar at the 23rd pick.
Redraft: With Ellsbury taken, the Red Sox reach down to select Yunel Escobar, to beef up their middle-infield and prevent them from having to sign Marco Scutaro out of free agency.
24. Houston Astros: Brian Bogusevic (C+)
Bogusevic was drafted by the Houston Astros as a starting pitcher, as they wanted to draft a college starter to beef up their rotation and eventually replace Roy Oswalt.
But Bogusevic didn't work out as a pitcher, and, in mid-2008, converted to play outfield. And for the most part, he has batted quite well, destroying AA Corpus Christi in 2008, and holding his own with AAA Round Rock, where he currently is. Most consider him among Houston's Top 15 prospects, and he could be a solid .275/15/60 guy in the future with average defense.
Redraft: The Astros decide to go with Kevin Slowey, a steady pitcher who could perform nicely as their third or fourth starter for the next six or seven years.
25. Minnesota Twins: Matt Garza (A+)
Garza is a perfect selection, nothing to complain about. Considering how many pitching busts were picked before this 25th selection, Minnesota got a steal with Garza.
Garza put together two very productive seasons in his first two full campaigns in the majors, (ERAs of 3.70 and 3.95) after being traded to Tampa Bay in a relative prospect-blockbuster that involved Delmon Young going the other way.
Redraft: Minnesota would surely want to redraft Garza, but with him off the board they go for an outfield bat, which they clearly need as they decided to trade Garza for one, selecting Nolan Reimold.
26. Boston Red Sox: Craig Hansen (C-)
Now in Pittsburgh's system after being involved in the huge three-way Manny Ramirez/Jason Bay blockbuster, it's hard to call Craig Hansen's career a success at this point. Armed with a high-90s fastball and a good slider, sleep apnea (a sleep disorder that affects breathing during sleep) has been blamed for his lack of stamina and focus on the mound.
While still a "prospect," time is running out, as Hansen has shown little to support his pledge to become a quality reliever in the majors.
Redraft: Boston selects another reliever in Mitchell Boggs, who's having a standout season for the Cardinals so far in 2010.
27. Atlanta Braves: Joey Devine (B)
Joey Devine was called up to the majors in 2005, the year he was drafted, after just playing two months in the minors. Understandably, he struggled, giving up seven earned runs in just five innings pitched. The story was much of the same in 2006, as he struggled mightily again in only 6.1 innings. But in 2007, he woke up, and after some success in the majors, he pitched great that year despite the small sample size.
This prompted a trade to Oakland, and along with minor-leaguer Jamie Richmond, Devine headed to the Bay Area in exchange for Mark Kotsay. And boy, were the A's right, as Devine pitched out of his mind in 2008, an other-worldly 0.59 ERA and 0.83 WHIP in 45.2 innings pitched. However, he suffered a setback in his remarkable development as he sat out the entire 2009 year after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Redraft: Atlanta would be happy to have Devine back, knowing the production he achieved in Oakland, but wary of his surgery, they go safe with another reliever, nabbing Sergio Romo, who's been great in the Giants' bullpen the past few years.
28. St. Louis Cardinals: Colby Rasmus (A+)
Much like the Twins and Garza, the Cardinals found a diamond in the rough with Rasmus, who was highly ranked as a rookie last year and is proving his rankers correct with a huge season so far.
At this point in 2010, Rasmus is on pace for a .279/33/86 season, with a great OBP of .379, as he's improved all parts of his game from 2009. At the age of 23, Rasmus has the tools to become St. Louis' cleanup hitter for the next decade and become the new face of the franchise if Mr. Pujols leaves.
Redraft: The Cardinals decide to pick up a capable center-fielder in Austin Jackson, who's having a solid rookie year in Detroit in 2010.
29. Florida Marlins: Jacob Marceaux (D-)
Can you say bust? Marceaux is still in the Marlins system, but he is showing little reason for Florida to promote him above AA, as his career 5.24 ERA certainly isn't enticing.
Not much more to say about Marceaux except that the Marlins selecting him and Aaron Thompson were both busts and has really stalled their major league pitching staff.
Redraft: After taking Clayton Richard instead of Thompson earlier in the draft, the Marlins can afford to grab a position player as they pick up power-speed threat Will Venable.
St. Louis Cardinals: Tyler Greene (C)
After an underwhelming career in the minors, Greene was called up to the majors to start on April 30, 2009 but hasn't shown much in 134 career major-league at-bats. He is presently being used as simply bench depth for the Cardinals and isn't anything of a prospect anymore.
Why he hasn't exactly been a bad pick, as he has made the majors unlike some others ahead of him, he hasn't entirely worked out for the Cardinals.
Redraft: The Cardinals instead select another middle-infielder in Chris Getz, who currently has more potential than just being a bench player like Greene but isn't much more than replacement level.