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 Central:
With the third overall pick the Cubs selected third baseman Josh Vitters. Many have proclaimed him as a bust over the past few seasons as he hasn’t shot through the system, but the kid was only 17 when drafted and has reached Triple-A at for his age 22 season. There’s still time for him to develop, but he’ll need to take a few more walks and make more consistent contact to get regular playing time in the Majors. Supplemental round pick Josh Donaldson was in part of the package for Rich Harden in 2008. His new team, the Oakland Athletics, moved him out from behind the plate to third base where he’s played in the place of the injured Scott Sizemore. He’s struggling to hit, but the A’s haven’t given up hope yet.
The Cubs didn’t have a second round pick, but drafted second baseman Tony Thomas in the third round. Labeled as an offensive-minded infielder, Thomas’ statistics started to dwindle as he rose through the system.
Fourth round pick Darwin Barney has emerged from the image of a bench utility infielder that won’t hit enough for a regular job to the Cubs starting second baseman. He’s nothing special with the bat, but he puts up palatable stats to go with good defense. Outfielder Brandon Guyer was their fifth round pick. He was sent to the Rays in the package compiled for Matt Garza. Brandon’s had a few at-bats with Tampa, but lingers mostly in Triple-A, posting a decent batting line. Lefty James Russell has pitched out of the Cubs pen for the past three years. He hasn’t been great, but he’s been usable.
Pitcher Andrew Cashner was drafted for the third time in 2007 (29th round), but once again, he decided to go back to college. But the Cubs got another chance on Cashner in 2008 when they drafted AND signed him. He has since been shipped to San Diego for Anthony Rizzo.
Catcher Devin Mesoraco was the 15th overall pick in 2007. He struggled early in his career in the Minors, but his bat eventually turned around and he became a viable offensive prospect. Devin is now learning the ropes in his rookie season in the Majors.
The Reds had two supplemental picks in third baseman Todd Frazier and righty Kyle Lotzkar that year. Although Frazier’s bat hasn’t emerged as well as Mesoraco’s he’s still a viable player that is getting his feet wet this season in anticipation of taking over Scott Rolen‘s position full time. High school right-hander Lotzkar has been handled with kid gloves as he’s been injured numerous times, but he may still emerge to be a viable pitcher for the Reds.
Second round saw the selection of shortstop Zack Cozart. He’s currently playing alongside Frazier, but on a more full-time basis. The Reds had two third round picks which they spent on righty Scott Carroll and third baseman Neftali Soto. Carroll struggled in the upper minors and was switched to relief, but to little avail as his ERA is over 5.00 at Triple-A. Soto, yet another infielder picked by the Reds in this draft, has been moved to first base. He displays 30+ home run power, but may not hit for enough of an average or take enough walks to be viable at the next level.
Third baseman Brandon Waring was drafted in the 7th round. He was included in a trade package for Ramon Hernandez that sent him to Baltimore. He’s struggled in the upper minors though, with the same issues that Soto has.
After a poor draft in 2006, the Astros did worse in 2007. Houston lost its first two picks signing free agents Carlos Lee and Woody Williams in the offseason. They didn’t pick until the third round that year, selecting third baseman Derek Dietrich. Things got worse as Dietrich passed on Houston’s offer and went to Georgia Tech. He’s now in the Rays’ Minor League system. Overall, the Astros didn’t sign anyone from the first four rounds.
In fact, no-one from the 2007 Draft seems to be working out for Houston. Not a single player from the draft is currently in the Astros organization as a player. It’s like the draft never existed…..
The Milwaukee Brewers drafted slugger Matt LaPorta in the first round of 2007. Although they struggled to find a defensive position for him, LaPorta raked offensively in the Minors. He ended being part of the trade package for C.C. Sabathia. Matt’s bounce from the Majors to Triple-A the past few seasons, but he’s continually struggling with hitting with Cleveland. A change of scenery may be best. Third round pick Jonathan Lucroy has emerged as the team’s starting catcher and a decent hitter.
Speedster Eric Farris was drafted in the fourth round. He’s stolen 70 bases in the minors one season, but has had only one PA in the Majors so far. No-one else has panned out so far.
The Pirates spent their first round pick on Daniel Moskos, a left-handed pitcher from Clemson. Moskos has gone from relief to starting to relief, where he’s most suited. He’s pitched a few innings for Pittsburgh, but has found himself down in Triple-A this season looking for another chance. Second round pick Duke Welker seems to have found better control the past couple seasons and the righty is now in Triple-A looking for a shot at the Pittsburgh pen. Third round pick Brian Friday has struggled to hit at Triple-A. The infielder may not make it to the Majors at all.
Lefty reliever Tony Watson was drafted in the 9th round and has pitched decently out of the Pittsburgh pen the past couple seasons.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals had five picks in the first three rounds in 2007. Their first pick was on first rounder Pete Kozma a high school infielder. Although he’s seen some time with St. Louis, Kozma’s not hitting well enough to merit a return trip. Supplemental round pick Clayton Mortensen was sent to the Oakland Athletics in the Matt Holliday deal. He has since been traded two more times, landing the righty in the Boston bullpen, where he seems to have found his calling as a reliever.
Righties David Kopp and Jess Todd were drafted in the second round. Kopp struggled and is now out of baseball. Todd briefly saw time in the St. Louis bullpen before being included in a trade for Mark DeRosa. He pitched a few innings in relief in Cleveland, but he’s struggled and is now back in the St. Louis organization, at Triple-A. Third round pick, infielder Daniel Descalso, has played a utility infielder role for the Cardinals over the past three seasons.