Each year, with the draft approaching, I look back at a previous draft to see how the players drafted have worked out. Essentially, most of the players that will be regulars in the majors will be up within five years of when they are drafted. So I will be reviewing the 2007 draft.
Reviewing every draft pick by each team would take forever and would consist of a large amount of, “….didn’t work out”, or “….is out of baseball”. So I’ll just review the picks of the first three rounds for each team and notables from each team’s later rounds.
Now we’ll look at the National League East:
The Atlanta Braves had one of the best selections in the 2007 draft, even though they picked 14th. Outfielder Jason Heyward became one of the top prospects of all of baseball. He’s struggled early on, but continues to work to fix the holes in his swing and can still become a star in the future. Their supplemental first round pick, third baseman Jon Gilmore, was used in the package sent to Chicago for Javier Vazquez. However, he’s stalled out at Double-A.
The Braves had two second round picks in reliever Josh Fields and first baseman Freddie Freeman. Fields didn’t sign and was eventually redrafted by the Seattle Mariners. Freeman however, is now the team’s starting first baseman and is hitting better than Heyward.
Third round pick Brandon Hicks has had a little time with Atlanta, but the shortstop has struggled to hit in the upper Minors.
The Braves picked up righty Cory Gearrin in the 4th round. He’s had some time in the Atlanta bullpen, but is now in Triple-A. Yet his statistics at Triple-A the past couple seasons have been interesting and he could return, or be trade bait. The Braves drafted a left handed pitcher in the 11th round that didn’t sign. But that lefty went in the 5th round two years later, the Giants redrafted Brandon Belt, but as a first baseman. Hidden in the later rounds as a 33rd round pick of Craig Kimbrel. He wouldn’t sign, but the Braves picked him up the following year.
The Marlins had the 12th overall pick in 2007 and spent it on third baseman Matt Dominguez. Matt was an upper tier prospect for a few seasons, but mainly due to his terrific glove. However, he has held an average above .262 once during his entire professional career. But it was their second round pick that was the find of the draft for them.
Outfielder Mike Stanton is now their starting right fielder and is bashing monster home runs in the middle of their lineup. Catcher Jameson Smith was their third round pick, but he didn’t hit well and was out of professional baseball after 2009.
Outfielder Bryan Petersen was drafted in the fourth round, he’s hit well in Triple-A, but hasn’t played well enough in brief Major League stints to keep him with Miami. In the fifth round the Marlins picked righty Steve Cishek has pitched well out of the Miami pen. The Marlins 8th round pick, a lefty by the name of Jay Voss, was used to reacquire Nate Robertson. He has struggled in Detroit’s upper levels.
New York Mets
The Mets didn’t have a first round pick due to the signing of…… Their first picks were in the supplemental first round when they took righty Eddie Kunz and lefty Nathan Vineyard. Kunz reached the Majors quickly, pitching 2.2 innings in 2008. But the reliever still hasn’t come back. He’s since been traded to the Padres for Allan Dykstra, who hasn’t fared any better. Vineyard blew out his shoulder in 2008 and never returned.
They had two second round picks and used them on two right-handed pitchers, Scott Moviel and Brant Rustich. Moviel stalled out in Double-A and hasn’t pitched since 2011. Rustich dealt with injuries and never reached Double-A.
The third round saw two more picks for the Mets and two more pitchers, giving the Mets six pitchers in the first three rounds. Who needs balance? The third rounders picked were Eric Niesen and Stephen Clyne. Niesen had a high walk rate and never got above Double-A. He’s now playing Independent ball. The same story exists for Clyne.
The first three rounds were a flop for the Mets, but the team found outfielder Lucas Duda in the 7th round. They did find a workable pitcher too, righty Dillon Gee was drafted in the 21st round.
Phillies first round pick Joe Savery already had question marks around him when he was drafted due to an injury sustained in college, but he’s still a lefty and so he has made his way to the Majors as a reliever. How long he lasts is questionable. Travis d’Arnaud was drafted in the supplemental round. He’s turned into a very good catching prospect…for the Blue Jays. Travis was involved in one of the various Cliff Lee trades.
Third baseman Travis Mattair was selected in the second round. However, he never hit for a very good average and struck out plenty. Travis is still playing but he hasn’t reached Double-A yet. The third round saw the Phillies select outfielder Matt Spencer. One year after the draft Spencer was traded to Oakland in the Joe Blanton transaction and then eventually to the Cubs in the trade that sent Jake Fox to Oakland. He hasn’t played professional ball yet in 2012.
Outfielder Michael Taylor was drafted in the 5th round. He was included in the Roy Halladay trade with Oakland (and others) and was flipped to Oakland for Brett Wallace. Taylor’s gotten a couple peaks at the Majors the last two seasons, but hasn’t locked down a spot yet.
With the sixth overall pick that year, the Nationals selected Ross Detwiler from Missouri State. Believed to be the #2 lefty behind David Price, Detwiler rose steadily through the Minors. He’s now in the Nationals starting rotation, though it will likely still be a couple years until we see him at his best and rate the pick appropriately. The Nats also had two supplemental picks in lefty Josh Smoker and outfielder Michael Burgess. Smoker’s battled injuries and has been converted to the pen. He still hasn’t made it out of A-ball though. Burgess has shown some power in the minors, but hasn’t hit with enough contact to move past Double-A.
With two second round picks the Nationals selected Jordan Zimmermann and Jake Smolinski. Zimmermann has battled back from Tommy John surgery to return to the Nationals’ rotation. He’s pitched very well so far this season. Smolinski, an outfielder, is having arguably his best season of his Minor League career. But it’s in the Florida Marlins’ system has he was included in a trade package for pitcher Scott Olsen and outfielder Josh Willingham. Also, he doesn’t hit for power or steal bases and he didn’t stick at second base. A light-hitting left-fielder without speed on the base paths isn’t too high on any team’s list these days. Third baseman Steven Souza was picked in the third round. He’s having, by far, the best season of his career. But it’s at Single-A. He’s still only 23, but time is running out and his walk rate is pretty bad still.
Catcher Derek Norris was drafted in the fourth round and became a top prospect of the Nats. He then struggled for a couple seasons and was included in the trade package for Gio Gonzalez. Norris is now on Oakland’s Triple-A team, seemingly coming back to form.