Thursday, June 07, 2007

MLB Draft: An inexact science

MLB Draft coverage on 1060west...just like Wilken, we have no idea

Back in the June 2001 draft the Cubs had the "dumb luck" of having Mark Prior fall to number two in the draft. While many regarded Prior as the best college pitching prospect of all time, the budget conscious Minnesota Twins passed on Prior in favor of a local kid. St. Paul native and at the time high school catcher Joe Mauer was selected number one overall. This move was ridiculed by many in the msm. Hell even the blogorama was against it.

They say hindsight is 20/20 and this is of course a great example of that. Now almost six years removed we can look back on that fateful day and as Cub fans we can just ask "what if?" What if the Twins had taken Prior? Would the Cubs have taken Mauer or would they have went Brazelton, Texiera or Floyd. Here is a pick-by-pick quick recap written by John Sickels for ESPN back in 2001. Specifically here is what was said about Mauer and Prior:

1. Minnesota -- Joe Mauer, C, Cretin-Derham Hall HS, St. Paul, Minn.The Twins avoid Mark Prior's bonus demands and go for a hometown connection: slugger Joe Mauer. He is an excellent athlete with a strong arm, but also has plus power from the left side and is very polished for a high school hitter from a northern cold-weather state. They should be able to buy him away from Florida State, where he has a football scholarship. Historically, high school catching is quite risky; prep backstops drafted in the first round have failure rates even higher than high school pitchers. Mauer may be an exception, or at least the Twins hope so. He makes superb contact to go with his power, a good sign for the future.

2. Chicago (NL) -- Mark Prior, RHP, Southern CaliforniaPrior may be the best college pitcher in history. He throws very hard, but also knows how to change speeds and attack hitters, both inside and on the corners. He has the intellect, polish, and overall stuff to step right into a major-league rotation according to many scouts. His numbers at USC are ridiculous: 14-1, 1.50 ERA, 189/17 K/BB ratio in 132 innings. The last college pitcher with this combination of stuff and command was Paul Wilson, whose career was waylaid by injuries. If Prior stays healthy, it's hard to see how he will fail. His mechanics are clean and he keeps himself in top physical condition, so the odds are in his favor. He has a huge price tag, but the Cubs will pay.

Drafting Prior was the can't miss move of the draft. For the record here was the rest of the first round of the 2001 Draft:

3--Dewon Brazelton--RHP--Devil Rays--Middle Tennessee State U
4--Gavin Floyd--RHP--Phillies--Mt. St. Joseph HS, Baltim
5--Mark Teixeira--3B--Rangers--Georgia Tech
6--Josh Karp--RHP--Expos--UCLA
7--Chris Smith--LHP--Orioles--Cumberland (Tenn.) U
8--John VanBenschoten--1B-OF--Pirates--Kent State U
9--Colt Griffin--RHP--Royals--Marshall (Texas) HS
10--Chris Burke--SS--Astros--U. of Tennessee
11--Kenny Baugh--RHP--Tigers--Rice U
12--Mike Jones--RHP--Brewers--Thunderbird HS, Phoenix
13--Casey Kotchman--1B--Angels Seminole (Fla.) HS
14--Jake Gautreau--3B--Padres--Tulane U
15--Gabe Gross--OF--Blue Jays--Auburn U
16--Kris Honel--RHP--White Sox--Providence HS, New Lenox,
17--Dan Denham--RHP--Indians Deer Valley HS, Antioch,
18--Aaron Heilman--RHP--Mets--U. of Notre Dame
19--Mike Fontenot--2B--Orioles--Louisiana State U
20--Jeremy Sowers--LHP--Reds--Ballard HS, Louisville
21--Brad Hennessey--RHP--Giants--Youngstown State U
22--Jason Bulger--RHP--D-Backs--Valdosta State U
23--John-Ford Griffin--OF--Yankees--Florida State U
24--Macay McBride--LHP--Braves--Screven County HS, Sylvan
25--Bobby Crosby--SS--Athletics--Long Beach State U
26--Jeremy Bonderman--RHP--Athletics--Pasco (Wash.) HS
27--Alan Horne--RHP--Indians--Marianna (Fla.) HS
28--Justin Pope--RHP--Cardinals--U. of Central Florida
29--Josh Burrus--SS--Braves--Wheeler HS, Marietta, Ga
30--Noah Lowry--LHP--Giants--Pepperdine U

The early returns on the Prior pick were obviously in favor of the Cubs. But as time has gone by the Twins selection of the 2006 AL batting champ has began too look a lot less about budget and more about the player that will be the face of their franchise for the next decade or so. What I'm trying to say is the Cubs can make the right pick this afternoon with the #3 pick and it could be the wrong pick come 2011.

MLB Draft coverage on 1060west...just like Wilken, we have no idea
Our crappy coverage continues all week
Tuesday: Cub first round picks through the years
Today: Overall number three picks through the years
Thursday Morning: An inexact science
Thursday Afternoon: It's a live open forum

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