Sunday, June 6, 2010

The MLB Draft's 23rd Pick

With Major League Baseball's amateur draft starting on Monday, people like to look back at the top picks from the past decade. Well, we also happen to care about the 23rd pick. But should we? Also check out the fourth pick and the tenth pick.

23. David Espinosa, Reds, SS

The Reds, in their never ending quest to replace Barry Larkin, did a little reaching for Espinosa. After two years of A ball, he made his way to the Tigers minor league system. Then there was some independent ball. Now there's a little Mariners' minor league system action. Up next, drug muling and Mexican stickball. By the way, Mexican stickball has nothing to do with baseball.

Verdict: We should not care

23. John-Ford Griffin, Yankees, RF

Griffin had a career batting average of .427 at Florida State. After a year in the Yankees' system, he was part of a three team trade that landed him in Oakland and Jeff Weaver in New York. Around seven months later, Griffin was dealt to the Blue Jays. Released, signed by the Dodgers, released, signed by the Dodgers, released, signed by the Cubs, released. Now, I hear he just walks around in a revolving door at the Woodfield Mall all day.

Verdict: We should not care

23. Jeff Francoeur, Braves, OF

Where to begin, where to begin. In 2006, Francoeur played in 162 games, hit 29 home runs and had 103 RBI. He also struck out 132 times, walked 23 times and registered a .293 OBP. The next season was his best when he, again, played 162 games while hitting 19 home runs and .293/.338/.444. He has a career OBP of .312 which seems a little high to me. The Braves eventually dumped the local boy off to, wait for it, Omar Minaya. I'm not sure that guy would know OBP if it punched him in the groin. While Francoeur is technically a major leaguer...

Verdict: We should not care

23. Brandon Wood, Angels, 3B

This is going to be painful and biased. Full disclosure, I am an Angels fan. This is the first season he was given a full shot at third base. But in his random 346 plate appearances in his major league career, he has 9 home runs and averaged .179/.203/.277. Yikers! In eight minor league seasons, he hit 160 home runs and averaged .284/.352/.538. I'm afraid Brandon feels too much pressure to succeed with the Angels and will need a change of scenery to reach his major league potential. And for that...

Verdict: We should care

23. Philip Hughes, Yankees, RHP

Hughes, at one point, was considered the number one pitching prospect in baseball. Then he was rumored to be involved in Johan Santana trade discussions and then jerked around between the rotation and the bullpen. In 2010, the Yankees finally gave Hughes a guaranteed spot in the rotation. So far, he is 7-1 with a 2.54 ERA and 64 strikeouts against 20 walks. Full disclosure, I hate the Yankees. But...

Veridct: We should care

23. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox, CF

Boy, is the jury out on his defense. UZR has his metrics all over the place. All I know is that the Sox do seem to play better defense when he's playing. He led the AL in stolen bases in 2008 (50) and 2009 (70). The kid is fast and will probably get a cameo in Fever Pitch 2: Tahmmy Takes A Wicked Pissah On Hollywood.

Verdict: We should care

23. Maxwell Sapp, Astros, C

I plugged Maxwell Sapp into Baseball-Reference and it laughed at me and contacted the authorities.

Verdict: We should not care

23. Nick Schmidt, Padres, LHP

Schmidt missed all of the 2008 season with the dreaded elbow reconstructive surgery. When I have my first left handed pitcher son, I'm getting him Tommy John surgery for his 13th birthday. Something will have to make up for his poor genetics. Schmidt now pitches for my favorite baseball logo, the Lake Elsinore Storm. But at 25-years-old and in high A, I'm afraid...

Verdict: We should not care

23. Allan Dykstra, Padres, 1B

The Padres draft a player who has a famous sounding last name for the second year in a row. The 23-year-old first baseman/DH is also at high A Lake Elsinore. He doesn't look like much of a prospect.

Verdict: We should not care

23. Jared Mitchell, White Sox, OF

Mitchell is a freak of an athlete. He played on both the LSU football and baseball teams and was the Most Outstanding Player for LSU's 2009 College World Series championship team. He's raw and, unfortunately, will miss the entire 2010 season after tearing a tendon in his ankle during spring training. He has all the tools to be a very good major league outfielder. And before you ask, I am an LSU homer.

Verdict: We should care

Recap: 6 We should not care, 4 We should care

Summary: I've wasted both your time and mine.

Good luck on Monday, boys. The draft is like evens and odds. And I don't appreciate it when you use the middle finger to represent one.

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