Is it drafty in here or is it just my hypersensitivity to cold air? Either way, let's get this 2008 MLB First Year Player Draft off on the right foot. Full disclosure: I have no idea what I'm talking about. I have done zero research and know next to nothing about the players who will be selected today. I don't know the state of each team's farm system, I lack any knowledge about the individual teams' needs, and I certainly know nothing about the 20-80 scale of rating teenagers' tools.
I'll basically be learning as I go with the XM broadcast crew and possibly making things up. So take this glog with a grain of salt, and if you want intelligent coverage, go to Baseball Analysts or Baseball Prospectus. They're professionals and they're paid to know stuff. I'm an amateur and I attempt to entertain you for free.
Thanks to my partner in blogging, Camp Tiger Claw, for feeding me information as the draft happens.
Our snarky and/or glib bullshit starts after the jump:
Pre-draft comments: I'm tuned in to XM channel 186 and Holden Kushner is interviewing former number one draft pick and current Twin catcher Joe Mauer. Not sure if this is pre-recorded or not since he's not playing in the Twins' afternoon romp with the Orioles. Let's hang up on Dr. Sideburns and get to this draft!
Crap, I've been alerted that it will be 15 minutes or so until the first pick is made. Please don't tell me that I'm going to have to hear Bud Selig talk about how the sport is making adv....zzzzzzzzzzzz.
Kushner says that this year's Rick Porcello (aka the Pitcher Who Is Super Talented but Super Expensive and Will Fall to the Rich Teams) is Gerrit Cole, the hardest throwing pitcher amongst the high-schoolers. Kid throws up to 98 MPH. Yowsers. Ten minutes to the first pick.
Bud Selig approached the podium to announce that the Rays are on the clock. Nothing more. Way to be dynamic, Bud-o. There is a small but vocal group of Rays fans chanting "Let's go Rays". There are more people at this draft than a typical home game at the Trop.
Okay, we're underway. Bud Selig is an awkward old man:
1. Tampa Bay Rays - Tim Beckham, SS, Georgia HS: Beckham was rated by many to be the top high school prospect in a somewhat light draft class. He's got all five tools and his agent's name does not rhyme with Flott Floras. Hopefully when Beckham makes it big, he won't be playing for another team like past Tampa Bay #1 overall draft picks like Josh Hamilton or Delmon Young. After all, Beckham may not be ready to contribute to the big league club for a few years but his ceiling is high enough to be called a 'loft' in real estate listings.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates - Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Vanderbilt: Oh man, Pirates GM Neal Huntington is trying to land a big fish. Kid is super talented but coming off an broken hamate injury. I don't know what a hamate is but I ate a ham last night, so that counts. Alvarez is repped by the one and only Scott Boras who will be trying to get a $7 million signing bonus for the young Alvarez. Too bad, Scott! The Pirates already gave all their couch change away to Matt Morris!
3. Kansas City Royals - Eric Hosmer, 1B, Florida HS: He was the South Florida Sun-Sentinel player of the year. Good baseball players grow on palm trees down in Florida so that's quite the honor. Kid is tall and big and even struck out 32 hitters in 15 relief innings during his senior season. He's committed to ASU for next year, so we'll see what happens. Also being advised by Scott Boras. Yikes.
4. Baltimore Orioles - Brian Matusz, LHP, University of San Diego: He was drafted a few years ago out of high school in the fourth round by the Angels, but didn't get his big payday. Fast-forward three years and Matusz has been rewarded for his success at San Diego by being drafted...by the Orioles. Whoops.
5. San Francisco Giants - Buster Posey, C, Florida State: Probably the only top 5 player most ready to make an impact on a team. In college, he hit like Piazza and threw runners out like a moving crew going through some old house's stair carpets. He leads the nation in hitting, OBP, and slugging. He was also 6-for-6 in save opportunities, just for giggles. Kid wants $12 million to sign, so good for him and his brother James.
6. Florida Marlins - Kyle Skipworth C, California HS: The less heralded of the two top catchers. Hits from the left side with a ton of power. Has "below average speed for a catcher" is like saying he's "not smart for a baseball player." Defensively, "He is average at best receiving and he occasionally gets handcuffed behind the plate." I see no reason not to give him a $5M signing bonus. He was interviewed by Rich Lederer.
7. Cincinnati Reds - Yonder Alonso 1B, University of Miami: "Professional hitter" who can go to all fields with above average power. Below average speed but also described as "not a base-clogger, with good instincts on the basepaths." Makes perfect sense that the Reds took this guy. He doesn't clog the bases!
8. Chicago White Sox - Gordon Beckham SS, University of Georgia: "Highly athletic" SS. It must be true because he's white so "highly athletic" isn't thinly veiled racism. Good range, strong arm, showed most power in Cape Cod League for any infielder since Longoria. With a name like Gordon, I'm surprised he's not Canadian. Not related to Tim Beckham, David Beckham, or Pedro Alvarez' hamate.
9. Washington Nationals - Aaron Crow, RHP, University of Mizzou: He threw 43 consecutive scoreless innings earlier this year and can hit 98 MPH on the radar gun. Experienced back problems and may end up being a closer. Here's hoping Jim Bowden doesn't end up eating crow with this pick.
10. Houston Astros - Jason Castro, C, Stanford: MASSIVE SHOCKER! Nobody saw this coming, especially with such a young talented catcher like JR Towles in the Astro organization. I'm hearing that a number of teams below the 'stros wanted to take Castro, especially a catcher-bereft organization like the Mets. Three top ten catchers! Amazing!
11. Texas Rangers - Justin Smoak 1B, University of South Carolina: Plus power from both sides of the plate. Good hands at first, but so slow that he's limited to playing only there or DH. Not that there's anything wrong with that, right Harold Baines? He's big-league ready! He's your next Mark Teixeira! Maybe!
12. Oakland Athletics - Jemile Weeks, 2B, University of Miami: Rickie's little brother. Hopefully he won't get raped by a wallaby. Was drafted by the Brewers three years ago but chose college instead. I'd rather hang out in Miami than Milwaukee too, man. Has excellent speed but not much power, unlike big brother Rickie. Should end up a leadoff hitter if he can work his patience.
13. St. Louis Cardinals - Brett Wallace, 1B-3B, Arizona State U: He's a heckuva hitter, allegedly, but has limited range and made 10 errors after being switched from first to third base. Won the Pac-10 triple crown a while back and should end up being a big, strong, hard-hitting first basemen in the majors. Good thing the Cardinals have nobody playing first base in the majors that will block Wallace from advancing.
14. Minnesoter Twins - Aaron Hicks, OF, California HS: He's got a powerful arm, having been both an outfielder and a pitcher. He's also the only person to show up at the Milk House in Orlando for the draft, so he's getting tons of smothering attention and is probably being interviewed on ESPN2 right now. He's speedy and toolsy, not unlike the commenters at Yahoo.
15. Los Angeles Dodgers - Ethan Martin, RHP, Georgia HS: The Dodgers love those prospect arms! Heck, if I was a young pitcher, I'd want to pitch in the cavernous Dodger Stadium and follow in the footsteps of Don Sutton and Orel Hershiser. He also played third base in school.
16. Milwaukee Brewers - Brett Lawrie C, Canadia: Raw pull power and a cannon from behind the plate. He has quickness but needs to work on advanced catching skills like blocking and farting on the umpire. Our friend from the North was interviewed by Marc Hulet. Kid's probably sorry to not be drafted by the Blue Jays, thus subjecting his salary to the weak US dollar. Four catchers in the top 16!
17. Toronto Blue Jays - David Cooper, 1B, UC Berkeley: Not the biggest guy out there but he's got a bat that could knock a tater tot out of the Rogers Centre and a name that is easy to spell on your scorecard. J.P. Ricciardi has a mediocre draft record so far and is probably over-reaching here. But hey! I keep reading that there's not a lot of college talent in this draft so I'll hold off on criticizing Mr. Ricciardi...for now.
18. New York Mets - Ike Davis, 1B, Arizona State: Ron Davis' son! Ike was drafted out of high school in 2005 by the Rays but chose to get a nice tan out in the desert instead. He hits, he pitches, he throws a cannon from the outfield, he's the son of a Yankee...how could this possibly go wrong? Oh, right...he's a Met now.
19. Chicago Cubs - Andrew Cashner, RHP, TCU: Another one of those kids who bring the heat with a 98 MPH fastball. The Cubs drafted him once before, so the organization has to hope that love is lovelier the second time around. He might become a closer for the Cubs, which is a job I would never want to have.
20. Seattle Mariners - Josh Fields, RHP, University of Georgia: Lots of Bulldogs makin' money today. Drafted by the Braves last year but never signed. Why? Two words: Scott Boras. Throws a nice fastball and a good curveball and has a relatively plain name. He was the closer for the Bulldogs this year.
21. De-troit Tigers - Ryan Perry, RHP, University of Arizona: Looks like they didn't take 2008's Rick Porcello and instead went with one of the bullpen studs from 'Zona. Perry's been wearing glasses on the mound which helps in, you know, seeing. According to MiLB.com, he had a motorcycle accident during his sophomore season, which leads me to believe he is in a biker gang and rides with his old lady on his hog.
22. New York Mets - Reese Havens, SS, University of South Cackalacky: Been compared to Evan Longoria in hitting prowess and all-around studliness. He was drafted out of high school by the Rockies a few years back and was almost drafted by the Red Sox the year after. Looks like the Mets will try and figure out a way to move this kid to second base to create THE INFIELD OF THE FUTURE. Wright, Reyes, Havens, and Davis. Sounds good...on paper.
23. San Diego Padres - Allan Dykstra, 1B, Wake Forest U.: Of the previous 14 first round draft picks by the Pads, only Khalil Greene remains with the team. That totally sucks. This guy's a big dude and he's NOT related to Lenny Dykstra (thank God). This boggles my mind, though...the Pads have a great first baseman already in Adrian Gonzalez and a good prospect in the minors with Kyle Blanks. Gotta trust Paul DePodesta I guess!
24. Philadelphia Phillies - Anthony Hewitt, SS, Connecticut HS: The Jimmy Rollins of the future? Probably not. But he does have power, speed, range and a good arm, and he's black so you'd better believe that the Philly sportswriters are going to give him the Rollins O' the Future label. MiLB.com says he has athletic talent but is too raw to go in the first round, which is just another way of saying he's black. He's committed to Vanderbilt, so nothing is set in stone for our friend from Brooklyn.
25. Colorado Rockies - Christian Friedrich, LHP, Eastern Kentuckah University: Good college lefties are like parking spots in New York City. You can never find them when you want them, and when you do find them, there's usually a homeless person sleeping in it. What were we talking about? Friedrich should be a good starter but he'll never be Tom Glavine. Probably because Tom Glavine already has that job.
26. Arizona Diamondbacks - Daniel Schlereth, LHP, University of Arizona: Holy crap it's Mark Schlereth's son! Josh Byrnes actually scouted this kid when he was 11. That's what being a former Denver Bronco and an analyst on ESPN will get you. ACCESS! He was drafted last year by the A's but wisely chose to return to 'Zona. He had Tommy John surgery in high school so he already has ligaments from an elephant's trunk in his pitching arm. That's how Tommy John surgery works, right?
27. Minnesota Twins - Carlos Gutierrez, RHP, University of Miami: Tommy John surgery two years ago. Low 90's fastball. Has a sinker. Has a slider. Did well at Miami. People are surprised. I'm typing what I'm hearing from the radio. I have no insight myself. This is a shocker. They're giving up and talking about Dan Schlereth instead.
28. New York Yankees - Gerrit Cole, RHP, California HS: Open up your pocketbook, Hank and Hal, and sign this kid immediately. He's the Rick Porcello of the 2008 draft. He's got Scott Boras as an agent and a real attitude problem, but holy crap he throws 98 MPH. Cole is committed to UCLA but who wants Westwood when you can have the Bronx? Am I right, people?
29. Cleveland Indians - Lonnie Chisenhall, SS, Pitt CC: He was drafted by the Pirates in 2006 but chose to attend USC instead. That all went into the shitter when he was arrested on burglary and grand larceny charges. Whoops. Went to a community college in North Carolina and is now projected to replace Casey Blake's corpse at third base for the Indians.
30. Boston Red Sox - Casey Kelly, SS, Florida HS: Not major league ready yet but he's toolsy AND the son of former Yankee Pat Kelly. Oh my, another chapter in the snake-mongoose rivalry has been written! Signed on to be the quarterback at Tennessee but wouldn't you rather be fielding grounders than getting tackled by fat guys? I would.
That's it for the first round! There will be some supplemental picks coming up next, but you're on your own to follow that. I hope your favorite team got someone who will actually make it to the big leagues. If not, at least you'll always have the next 7234 rounds. Good night and good luck!