It's here! It's here! The 2009 MLB First Year Player Draft is finally here! Break out your scouting notebooks and fire up your Twitter feeds, the draft drops officially at 6PM EDT, and I'm here to break down ten of the top prospects for you. However, I'm learning as I write, so don't expect any insight or clever predictions. Unlike college football or college basketball, I don't consume any amateur baseball so my knowledge base is zero.
If you want professional analysis, go scurry behind the paywall at Keith Law's TWWL blog or skidoodle over to Baseball Prospectus. They're paid to know the business. I'm not paid to know nothing. It's a solid business plan!
Onto the strapping young men:
- Stephen Strasburg, RHP, San Diego State: Will absolutely, positively be drafted by the Nationals at #1. I know because dummy former Nats GM Jim Bowden told me so. Is a Scott Boras client. Even one time "greatest prospect ever" Ben McDonald thinks Strasburg is a can't miss despite the fact that UVa beat him up in the College World Series.
- Aaron Crow, RHP, Fort Worth Cats: Was drafted by the Nats out of Mizzou last year but failed to sign because, well, he's a Scott Boras client. Signed with the independent Fort Worth Cats which served as a stopover for other failed signees like Luke Hochevar and Max Scherzer. Fella was 3-0 with a 1.06 ERA in May for the Cats, which is equivalent to going 3-0 with a 1.06 ERA if he was pitching against the Nationals lineup. Could end up a Mariner, forcing Geoff Baker to come up with clever crow puns for blog headlines.
- Dustin Ackley, 1B/OF, North Carolina: Supposedly the number one hitting prospect in the draft, which could also tempt the Mariners in the #2 slot. Led the ACC this year in OPS at 1.264. He's a Cackalacky boy through and through, and his dad John was drafted by the Red Sox back in 1979.
- Mike Minor, LHP, Vanderbilt: There is no such thing as a pitching prospect. That means that if you're gonna draft one pitcher, you better draft a bunch of pitchers. And never let them get worked out by Dusty Baker. Minor was drafted in 2005 by the Devil Rays but chose the four-year college life in the SEC instead. Do you blame him? Could end up with the Padres, or the Pirates, or pretty much any pitching-starved team.
- Zack Wheeler, RHP, HS (Georgia): I'm not going to go around naming high schools because (a) it doesn't matter and (b) there's a restraining order that prevents me from doing so. Wheeler threw a HS playoff no-hitter and was interviewed by Sky Andrecheck at Baseball Analysts and claims that the Pirates, the Orioles, the Giants, and Braves are interested in him. Frank Wren leaves no stone unturned in Georgia, y'all!
- Tanner Scheppers, RHP, St. Paul Saints: Has been drafted twice already, first as a high school grad by the Orioles in 2005 when he chose to attend Fresno State instead. The lusty Sierra Nevadas over the dirty streets of Balty-more? Yes, please. Was highly rated in last year's draft until injuring his shoulder and eventually dropped to the Pirates in the second round, then chose to play with the independent Saints. Could end up anywhere in the mid-first round this year which will prove to be a tidy increase in signing bonus, despite the Xtreme Depression.
- Michael Trout, OF, HS (New Jersey): He's from South Jersey so he runs in a different crowd and speaks with a different accent than me. Hit .500 in his senior year, has retained the same agent as Brett Myers, and his dad played for four years in the Twins organization under the tutelage of Charlie Manuel. What does this all mean? Nothing, except that he totally glides his dipthongs.
- Matthew Purke, LHP, HS (Texas): Was the cover boy on ESPN RISE Magazine, which purports to 'celebrate high school athletes'. If you thought teenagers were safe from being monetized by TWWL, you were downright mistaken. Speaking of cold hard cash, Purke wants Porcello-style money, so he'll probably fall to the bottom of the first round, perhaps to the Yankees?
- Eric Arnett, RHP, Indiana University: At six-foot-five, he walked on to the IU basketball team under coach Tom Crean and got in terrific shape for baseball season. All those suicides really help out your plant leg as a pitcher, or something. I'm not a physiologist, people. Threw a complete game last month but tallied 141 pitches so he'll fit in great in the Reds system.
- A.J. Pollock, OF, Notre Dame: Worked out with the Nats last Saturday. Is projected by some to go to the Cubs. Is an economic and versatile alternative to codfish. If he gets taken by the Diamondbacks, would start his minor league career with the South Bend Silver Hawks and keep dipping his pen in the college girl inkwell.
Last year, we liveglogged the undertakings for you. It was fun, and I learned a bunch about the players. Two players from that draft have already made the big leagues, Mark Schlereth's son Daniel as a reliever for the D-Backs and Gordon Beckham as a shortstop for the Fightin' Ozzies. This year with the draft moving to (almost) primetime on the MLB Network, we'll throw open the commenting doors to Tonight's Questions, but no liveglog.
In conclusion, I hope your preferred team consummates its financial relationship with its first draft pick in a tidy and efficient manner.