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Winners and Losers of the 2010 MLB Draft

June 13, 2010 BY ALEX EISENBERG 16 Comments


Boston Red Sox

I’m not so much in love with their first round pick as I am with the amount of talent they accumulated as the draft wore on. They loaded up on prep prospects, many of whom dropped for signability reasons. The Red Sox will have to hand out plenty of money for some of these guys to sign, but I’m pretty sure they’ll be able to afford it and I’m sure they’ll be aggressive in adding many of these players to their system.

You also have to like the addition of Anthony Ranaudo, a projected top-5 pick to enter the season. Injuries caused his stock to plummet. I have breakdowns on Ranaudo from 2009 and here from 2010.

Sean Coyle, Kendrick Perkins, Mike Hollenback, Garin Cecchini, and Adam Duke are probably the toughest prospects to sign of the group.

Tampa Bay Rays

To start, the Rays drafted one of the more advanced high school bats on the board in Josh Sale and followed that up with the drafting of a real solid two-way prep player in Justin O’Conner.

They took a couple of guys I considered to be really good sleeper prospects in Michael Lorenzen and Drew Vettleson. They drafted an advanced college bat Derek Dietrich and a reliever that could work his way quickly through the system in Jacob Thompson.

After that, Austin Wood and Ian Kendall are both power arms with good upside and the drafting of Jesse Hahn is an excellent value pick since he was a first rounder that slid due to questions about the health of his arm.

I was really impressed with the balance of this draft.

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates got arguably the two biggest arms in the draft in Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie. If not the two biggest arms, they certainly got the best one in Taillon. After that, the team continued to stockpile arms with upside, while sprinkling a few position players in the mix. The organization has done an excellent job of infusing the organization with talent and credit them for not going the signability route with their No. 1 pick.

San Diego Padres

The Padres added three prep arms and one community college player — Karsten Whitson, John Barbato, A.J. Vanegas, and Zack Cates. All have good present stuff with the potential for better, all have good command of their repertoire, and all have an advanced feel for pitching given their age.

The Padres also drafted an advance college bat in Jedd Gyorko and a high school bat in Cory Hahn who is a real talented prospect though he’s on the small side. He’ll be a tough guy to sign, however.

Houston Astros

No, I didn’t like their first round pick of Delino Deshields Jr. all that much. Great athlete, but I’m not sure I believe in the bat. However, while some see Mike Foltynewicz as an overdraft, I actually like the pick and I believe his breaking ball can be tightened up.

However, it’s the day two picks that make this draft for me. Vincent Velasquez is an excellent athlete with tremendous arm strength. Austin Wates is a college hitter that still has pretty good upside. Adam Plutko is another good athlete with a great body and clean, athletic mechanics at pitcher. The best player in this class might be Jacoby Jones.

They’ll have to pony up some money, but if they can get these guys signed, it will go a long way toward restocking a once barren system.

St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals got two excellent value picks in Zack Cox at No. 26 and Tyrell Jenkins at No. 50. Sandwiched between Jenkins were a couple of my more favorite college pitchers, both from Arizona State: Seth Blair and Jordan Swagerty.

Los Angeles Angels

Another upside draft as they used their first five picks on prep talent. They’ll probably let Kaleb Cowart hit at first, but I believe in the arm more than the bat. I’m a big Cam Bedrosian fan as well.


New York Mets

No problem with the Matt Harvey pick, but I don’t see a great deal of upside in this draft.

Chicago Cubs

You have to look at that first round pick. They probably could have gotten Hayden Simpson later in the draft. They didn’t draft a ton of upside in this draft, but I like Reggie Golden despite his high risk label and I thought Micah Gibbs was a good value pick with their third choice.

San Francisco Giants

No question Gary Brown adds some tremendous speed, defense, and athleticism to the organization, but I don’t see a great deal of upside. I also have an issue with the complete lack of walks. I don’t believe in the bat of the team’s second round pick Jarrett Parker. After that, there isn’t too much to get excited about.

New York Yankees

Not that I didn’t like there draft — it was solid overall. But it pales in comparison to what the Red Sox did. And a team with their finances should be able to better take advantage of the way the draft is set up.

Chicago White Sox

The Chris Sale pick was solid, but there is not a lot to like about the rest of the draft. I like Addison Reed and Rangel Ravelo looks like an interesting prospect, but I don’t see a great deal to get excited about.


  • Bob Biggar said:

    Geez,I see 12 teams in your breakdown of winners & losers.I guess you must be appraising a different draft than the MLB one where all teams in both leagues participate.Or were the others all lack-lustre in your mind?

  • Alex Eisenberg (author) said:

    Not lack luster, but somewhere in the middle, a mix of good and bad. If you have some teams in mind that you’d like to hear some thoughts on, just let me know.

  • 3Com Park said:

    As a Giants fan, I’m pretty disappointed in their draft. They’ve done well the last few years with high picks, but this year it appears they fell flat on their faces with the top two picks. Disappointing.

  • obsessivegiantscompulsive said:

    I’m not enamored with the Giants draft either, but if a guy is hitting .438, I want him hitting, not taking walks.

    I hate this pseudo-saber automatic assumption (not that Alex is doing this, but generally) that walks are better than hits, I have been seeing this in almost every reaction to the Giants draft. They aren’t, hits are way better than walks. But people just assume that if you don’t take a walk, there is something wrong with the hitter.

    Now I don’t know the magic point at which the runs produced changes in terms of where it is better to swing for a hit rather than take a walk, but at .438, I am thinking that he is past that tipping point.

    The key thing in Brown’s case is to examine his whole three year record as a hitter then, see what type of hitter he has been and how that evolved. In his first season, as a freshman, when he wasn’t as good of a hitter, he had a 8.5% walk rate, which is over double the 4% he had this season, and while not great, isn’t exactly “complete lack of walks” either. But he became a better hitter, so he started swinging away more often instead of taking a walk.

    Of course, taking a walk is much better than making an out. But that is the assumption many people make when they are making the statement that Brown isn’t walking. He is not making just outs, he is also getting hits and they are not just singles, his ISO of 257 shows that he has extra-base power (though not HR power) backing up his hitting.

    Let’s assume he instead maintained a 8.5% walk rate. That’s roughly 10 walks and PA. The wOBA on that is 0.918. Now take his rates for singles, doubles, triples, and HR per PA, multiply by the walks he would have had (10 roughly) to represent his PA, and what you get for your wOBA is 1.147. As great as 10 walks is, his hitting was way better.

    There is not complete stats on the league, but calculating a rough wOBA of .407 for the league, the walks were worth 4.38 runs above average. Whereas, with him choosing to hit, and I used his averages for each, resulted in 6.34 runs above average. That is 2 extra runs over those roughly 10 PA because he was swinging away. Hitting was worth far more runs, at least at the rate that Gary Brown was hitting them and assuming he hits at the same average rate.

    Presumably, when he is not hitting .438 in the pros, he will be more like his freshman season where he took a lot more walks, more than double the rate.

    Also, FYI, the walk rate for the teams in the Big West was 8.5% (that’s BB/(AB+BB) since no other stats were available) in 2010, so he was about league average for walks previously.

  • Alex Eisenberg (author) said:

    I agree hits are better than walks. But you’d rather have both.

    The lack of walks is a red flag, but it doesn’t guarantee failure as a prospect. He makes up for his lack of walks with his ability to make contact. But he’s also going to be relying more on luck than a guy who can get on base via the walk.

  • Scott said:

    What did the think of the Tigers pick. I like the first sup pick but question the Ruffin pick as he looks to be a setup man at best.

  • Alex Eisenberg (author) said:

    I love the Castellanos pick. I’ll have a write-up on him at some point.

    I’m not the biggest Ruffin fan in the world, but he’s been used as a starter, so they do have the option of starting him if they want. His peripherals look real solid as well. If they keep him in the bullpen, he seems like a good bet to reach the Majors rather quickly.

  • marty said:

    The Angels had a very strong draft with tremendous athleticism. Bedrosian will be an excellent major league pitcher.

  • nuhusky41 said:

    The Cubs pick makes a lot more sense when you combine it with the fact that the Angels had 5 early picks and their scouts were heavily following Simpson. He would definitely been selected as one of those picks, so the Cubs had to take him as he wouldn’t have been there later.

  • Alex Eisenberg (author) said:

    Yeah, that is one of the theories floating out there as to why the Cubs took Simpson that high. I felt there were more talented players on board, but I’ve only seen Simpson on limited basis. In time, we’ll know if the Cubs are vindicated or not.

  • Steve said:

    Any thoughts on Atlanta’s draft? I’m assuming it would go into the “good draft” column if they signed Sabol and/or Alvord, right?

  • Alex Eisenberg (author) said:

    I thought it was solid draft, though a little more conservative than I’d like.

    I will say I don’t have too much to go on in regards to Lipka so I’ll reserve judgement there. I do like the Cunningham pick. He doesn’t do a lot that stands out, but he definitely does a lot of things well and is an intelligent hitter. No problem with the Simmons pick. They got two accomplished college hitters in Joe Leonard and Phil Gosselin. It looks like they set out to infuse the system with some offensive talent, and you’re right, if they can get Alvord and Sabol, they’ll have gone a long way toward accomplishing that goal.

  • Santi said:

    what about the Dodgers?

    zach doesn’t count becasue the Dodgers probably want that pick for next year

  • Steve said:

    Thanks, Alex.

  • Alex Eisenberg (author) said:

    Really like Cash…like his mechanics, the movement/life on his fastball, the way the ball comes out of his hand.

    Leon Landry is intriguing because he’s an athlete with patience at the plate. He’s featured in a few articles around the site as is Blake Dean, who can hit, but also has no real defensive position.

    I’ve written about Gausman and I think he’d worth the high six-figure bonus he figures to get.

    I thought Eliopoulos was an interesting pick. He was a top-200 prospect in 2009 and really struggled in 2010 and I think a lot of it was mechanics related. If they can correct him, then he becomes a good value pick for the Dodgers.

    It does have to be pointed out that my judgements on these drafts are somewhat limited since there are only so many players I can see, but those are the guys that stood out to me, other than Lee. I’d put their draft in the middle somewhere overall based on what I know now.

  • Santi said: