Tuesday, February 23, 2010

D-Back On Draft

So today, the Rockies signed Nick Bierbrodt to a minor league deal. Normally, I wouldn't use the signing of a minor league free agent who hasn't played since the year I graduated from community college (2004) as fodder but Bierbrodt does hold a place in the history/answer to a trivia question arena as he was the first person ever drafted by the Diamonbacks. I decided to take a look back and see how the D-Backs have done with some of their other first round picks. Why? Because it's Tuesday and I have a couple hours to kill until the new episode of Lost comes on

1996: Bierbrodt: Things didn't quite go as planned. He made 5 starts for the D-Backs, and played briefly for the Rays, Indians and Rangers. Despite his struggles on the field, Bierbrodt is someone worth respecting as he's keep on pitching even after getting shot in the chest.

One of the poster children for 3-true outcomes (alongside Adam Dunn). The D-Backs didn't get much benefit out of him as he only played 3 games for them back in '01. In all fairness, 3 other teams didn't get much out of him before he established himself as a regular for the A's. Coming in to this year, he's the 3-time defending leader in strikeouts and has finished in the top-10 in Walks the last 3 years. He might hit .240 but i'd take his .240 over the .240 David Eckstein hits any day.

Out of all the sports, Baseball tends to be the sport where a top-5 overall pick is the farthest from a sure thing. This pack is a classic example of this. Despite being picked 4th overall, he has never played in the bigs. The last year he played (2007) he didn't exactly light AA and the Independent Leagues on fire. He did make it to AAA from 2004-2006 but never lived up to his high draft pick.

Like Cust, another player who has proven he can play in the Big Leagues. Like Cust, another player where an AL West time and not the D-Backs are the beneficiary of said ability to play at a big league level. Like Cust, someone who had a cup of coffee (9 games in '05) for the D-Backs. Like Cust, a late bloomer (made the most of his first chance to play regularly at 30 busting a 127 ERA+).

Interesting for a few reasons (other than being born exactly two months after me). Santos was originally drafted as a shortstop and was a bright enough prospect to get top 100 status from Baseball America in '04 and '05. However, if he ever sees any big league action it's going to be on the mound and not at short as he converted to a pitcher last year. If he ever becomes a sucessful major leaguer, it will be for a team other than the one that drafted him (this seems to be a recurring theme). Interesting trivia fodder as well as he was a throw-in in the trade that sent Troy Glaus to the Blue Jays.

It took seven years but the D-Backs finally nabbed someone in the first round that's started for the D-Backs. Had a few productive years in '06-'08 but was slowed by valley fever last year. He might not be a star but the D-Backs have done worse in the 1st round.

Quentin played 138 Games for the D-Backs in '06/'07 before being traded to the White Sox for a minor leaguer in the winter of '07. Quentin responded by being a late season injury away from winning the MVP. Quentin is one of those players with the talent to be the star but has trouble staying healthy.

The second straight season the D-Backs drafted someone who has gotten significant playing time for their team. In his 4 seasons he has alternated between above-average and below-average OPS+. He's still fairly young (27) and it still looks hopeful that he could turn into one of the better players in the league.

It looks like the D-Backs figured out this first round draft thing around 2003. With the potential Upton has, he could make the draft failures of the early years nothing more than a footnote. He's only 22, he's already an All-Star, he's improved every year he's in the bigs, it's conceivable that he could be an MVP-Caliber one of the best players in the league by the time he's 25. To put things in context, 3 of his most similar players through age-21 are in Cooperstown (Hank Aaron, Sam Crawford & Willie Mays). Cases could be made for two other players (Ron Santo and Vada Pinson) and another is one of the elite hitters in the game today (Miguel Cabrera). In other words, the sky is the limit.

Moved through the minors quickly making his debut in '08. Showed signs of his potential in '09 as he struck out 174 batters and had an 111 ERA+. The one thing for sure is if he realizes his potential it won't be for the D-Backs as he was traded to the Tigers over the winter.

Too early to tell with him but off to a strong start in the Minors. Just finished his second season in the minors in '09 and seems to be moving through the system quickly as he held his own in AA. 17-11 3.31 era in 44 Minor League starts, doesn't give up many homers and strikes out nearly a batter an inning. Has the stuff to be a star but he needs to recover from Tommy John surgery first. The Sporting News baseball preview that I bought at the grocery store the other day has a high assessment of Parker as they project him to be their ace by 2012.

Out of all the D-Backs first rounders, the quickest to make it to the Bigs (he debuted last May, a little less than a year getting drafted and after only playing 1 game above AA). While he struggled in 21 appearances last year, it looks like the sky's the limit for him. If he can improve upon his 7.4/BB per 9 innings, the D-Backs could have another star on their hands.

In the wow I feel old department, Borchering was born in the first year I consciously remember following baseball (1990). Way too early to tell what they have in Borchering as he has a whopping 22 games of Minor League experience under his belt (.241/.290/.425).

Another player where its too early. Had a line of .271/.319/.376 in 63 games.

Well, that was an interesting look at the D-Backs On Draft. It splits fairly evenly into two halves where they got relatively little out of the first rounders from 1996 to 2002 but they've gotten more productivity from 2003 on.

Best Pick: Justin Upton
Worst Pick: Corey Myers


  1. I'm going to start rolling out divisional previews....Part 1 of the AL West Goes Up Tomorrow