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 2006 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 American League West:
Catcher Hank Conger was the Angels first round pick in 2006. He was selected 25th overall as compensation for losing Paul Byrd to the Indians via free agency. Conger has a good chance to be a good offensive catcher in the future. There’s still some questions about his defense, but he’s made good strides in that department. Conger turned out to be the team’s only pick in the first three rounds as they didn’t have a second round pick and third round pick, outfielder Russell Moldenhauer, didn’t sign and was eventually drafted by the Washington Nationals.
Reliever David Herndonwas picked up in the fifth round. He was eventually selected in the Rule 5 draft by the Philadelphia Phillies, but hasn’t done well in the majors since. Corner infielder Matthew Sweeney was selected in the 8th round. After posting an .896 OPS in High-A ball, he was included in a trade for Scott Kazmir. But he hasn’t hit much since.
Their 12th round pick, pitcher Jordan Walden, is now their closer. He’s been decent so far in this role. Outfielder Chris Pettit from the 19th round has made the major league club, but he still has a ways to go after coming back from a torn labrum that sat him out for all of the 2010 season. He may eventually be a decent 4th or 5th outfielder option.
Although the 2006 draft for the A’s resulted in only three players reaching the majors so far (only two with the team), it was a good pitching draft for the Athletics. The A’s gave up their first round pick in order to sign Esteban Loaiza, so they didn’t pick until the 22nd pick of the second round that year. But with that pick, they selected Trevor Cahill, who is essentially the team’s ace.
Third round selection, outfielder Matthew Sulentic, hasn’t hit well enough to move past Double-A. But another outfielder, fifth round pick Jermaine Mitchell, is putting up interesting numbers this season despite an up-and-down career in the minors. It’s hard to look away from .362/.493/.650 in 205 PA at Double-A. Then again, at 26, he’s old for the league.
Then in the sixth round the team took Andrew Bailey, their closer for parts of the 2009 and 2010 seasons. He’s working his way back to the majors and back into the closer position in the pen. In the seventh round the A’s selected pitcher Mike Leake. He didn’t sign, but would eventually become and important part of the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff after they drafted him in the first round of the 2009 draft.
The Seattle Mariners stocked up on pitching in 2006, but not much of what has reached the majors is still with them. With the fifth overall pick that year they selected Brandon Morrow. After bouncing between the rotation and the pen a few times, he was traded for Brandon League and outfield prospect Johermyn Chavez. Morrow has since settled into the Toronto Blue Jays’ rotation. Second round pick Chris Tillman was included in the trade for Erik Bedard and is now starting to become a viable member of the Baltimore Orioles rotation. Their third round pick, pitcher Tony Butler, never moved past A-ball.
Pitcher Nathan Adcock was drafted in the fifth round. He would eventually be traded to Pittsburgh in a package for Ian Snell and Jack Wilson. After being picked up in the Rule 5 draft, Adcock has become an important part of the Royals’ bullpen. Drafted in the sixth round, catcher Adam Moore has hit decently in the minors, but hasn’t been able hit enough to stick to the big league roster. Seventh round pick, starter Doug Fister, has actually out-pitched Morrow and Tillman in the majors so far. Seventeenth round pick, lefty Dan Runzler, didn’t sign and was eventually re-drafted by the San Francisco Giants where he pitches out of the pen. Their following pick, reliever Kameron Mickolio, was included in the Erik Bedard trade with Tillman. He has since been included in a trade package for third baseman Mark Reynolds. The Arizona Diamondbacks are hoping he becomes a solid part of their pen at some point.
In the first round, the Rangers took pitcher Kasey Kiker with the 12th overall pick. After struggling through the minors, Kiker was switched to relief, but his struggles got worse (2010: 10.4 BB/9, worse this season). The Rangers didn’t have a second round pick due to the signing of Kevin Millwood. Their third round selection was catcher Chad Tracy. Chad has showed notable power in the minors, but has lacked enough ability to make contact to be called up by the big league club.
In the fifth round the Rangers selected 1B/3B Chris Davis. Davis is currently back in the minors and is starting to earn a “Four-A player” designation. Tenth round pick, outfielder Craig Gentry, has had a cup of coffee in the majors. The Rangers spent their 22nd round pick on Cory Luebke. The lefty didn’t sign and was re-drafted by the San Diego Padres the following year. He is now in the Padres’ pen.
The find of the 2006 draft for the Rangers may be 25th round pick Derek Holland. Holland was once one of the team’s top prospects, he is now becoming a regular cog in the team’s rotation.
The Rangers also added reliever Danny Herrera in the 45th round. He has since been traded to the Reds in the Volquez/Hamilton trade and selected off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers.
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