2009 MLB Draft: A Retrospective

It’s commonplace in the prospecting business to look ahead. When the then Devil Rays selected B.J. Upton with the 2nd pick in 2002, all we wanted to talk about was how good his 15 year old brother Justin would be. The night before the 2009 Draft while Steven Strasburg was generating unprecedented draft buzz, Sports Illustrated published their infamous Bryce Harper article. But now, as I grow bored with the NFL season half way through it’s first Sunday, I thought it would be fun to look back at the 2009 draft. It seemed fitting now that the minor league season is over.

  1. Stephen Strasburg – RHP – WAS. The Phenom started the year in AA and finished in Dr. James Andrews operating room while making stops in AAA and in Washington along the way. In 11 Minor League starts he posted a 7-2 record with a 1.30 ERA and 65 K’s in 55 innings. In his 12 MLB starts he went 5-3, 2.91 and posted 92 K’s in just 68 innings.
  2. Dustin Ackley – OF/2B – SEA. He didn’t show the type of bat that he’s capable of but a .267-.368.-407 line between AA and AAA isn’t terrible No reason to be alarmed but if you’re only going to slug .407, you’d better steel more than 10 bags.
  3. Donavan Tate – OF – SD. Tate was limited to just 25 games and 90 ABs because of injuries. None are expected to be long term concerns but his talent was already raw and he really needs his work. .222-.336-.344. 2HR – 15BB – 41K – 7SB.
  4. Tony Sanchez – C – PIT. The Bucs took some heat when they used the #4 pick on a defensive minded catcher, but he impressed with his bat. Limited to just 59 games because of an injury, he hit .314-.416-.454 though 207 ABs. He’ll go to the AFL in October for more work.
  5. Matt Hobgood – RHP – BAL. Hobgood was another surprising top 5 selection, but he wasn’t as successful as Sanchez. A 3-7 record with a 4.40 ERA and 5.65 K/9 isn’t horrible but it’s underachieving for a guy who throws 95 and it certainly doesn’t justify being the top HS arm off the board.
  6. Zack Wheeler – RHP – SF. Electric righty posted a 3-3 record, 3.99 ERA and 70 K’s in 58.2 innings in the Low A South Atlantic League. Only cause for concern was his 5.83 BB/9 that led to an inflated 1.45 WHIP.
  7. Mike Minor – LHP – ATL. The Vanderbilt Alum made 4 minor league appearances after signing late in 2009, and needed just 21 Minor League starts in 2010 before making his MLB debut. In those 21 outings he managed a 3.37 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 10.92 K/9 through 120 innings. Now involved in a playoff run with the Braves, he’s made 6 MLB starts with mixed results. He’s 3-0 with a 5.63 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and 35 K’s in 32 IP.
  8. Mike Leake – RHP – CIN. I was shocked when he jumped from Arizona State to Cincinnati’s rotation but he was an immediate success. His BABIP caught up with him down the stretch but he’s still 8-4 with a 4.62 ERA. He’s already logged 138 IP and been moved to the bullpen for the remainder of the year but he’s already accomplished more in 1 year than many on this list will for an entire career. Hopefully Dusty Baker manage him wisely so he can have a Sophomore season.
  9. Jacob Turner – RHP – DET. The Rick Porcello comparisons were inevitable and they’ll continue after his 1st professional season. In 2008 Porcello posted an 8-6, 2.66 ERA, 1.19 WHIP with 72 K’s in 125 IP for High A Lakeland. In 2010 Turner went 6-5, 3.28 ERA, 1.12 WHIP with 102 K’s in 115 IP between Low A and High A. Now we’ll wait and see if they rush in the the rotation by Opening Day next season.
  10. Drew Storen – RHP – WAS. I recently found out that my boss coached Drew in little league and since he signs my pay checks I’ll give him credit for Storen’s immediate professional success. The Indiana native and Stanford Alum posted a 1.08 ERA and .90 WHIP in 13 Minor League appearances before beating Srasburg to Washington where’s currently 3-3 with a 3.23 ERA, 1.27 ERA and 3 Saves.
  11. Tyler Matzek – LHP – COL. The prep lefty from California nearly became an Oregon Duck, but instead signed at the deadline for $3.9MM. His season was delayed because of a bicep injury he still managed to make 18 starts and throw 89 innings in the Low A Sally League where he went 5-1, 2.92 ERA and 88K’s in 89 IP. Troubling though, that Matzek allowed as many walks as he did hits (62).
  12. Aaron Crow – RHP – KC. A two time 1st round pick after he failed to sign with the Nationals (#9 overall) in 2008, the Missouri alum was just not good this season. In 29 starts between High A and AA, he went 9-10 with a 5.73 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP. He gave up 181 hits in 163 IP. His K and BB numbers were decent, but overall there’s just not a lot to get excited about.
  13. Grant Green – SS – OAK. Can’t say I’m pleased with the 38 BB compared to 117 Ks, but it works for some guys. See Gonzalez, Carlos. He hit .318-.363-.520 with 20 HR, 39 2B and 87 RBI.
  14. Matt Purke – LHP – TEX. (DID NOT SIGN) He put up the more impressive numbers than anyone on this list in 2010 going 16-0, 3.02 ERA, with 142 K IN 116 IP. The problem is, he accomplished those numbers leading TCU to the College World Series after Texas failed to sign him. He’ll be a draft eligible sophomore in 2011 and he figures to go in the top 5.
  15. Alex White – RHP – CLE. White led a 2009 UNC staff that included 2010 1st round pick Matt Harvey (Mets – 7th overall) and 2009 4th rounder Adam Warren (Yankees). Between 25 Minor League starts, White went 10-10 with an impressive 2.45 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. It’ll be nice to see him in person next season in AAA Columbus.
  16. Bobby Borchering – 3B – ARI. Touted as the top power hitting prep prospect in the 2009 draft, he didn’t disappoint. Borchering hit .270-.341-.423 with 31 2B, 15 HR and 71 RBI in the Low A, Midwest League.
  17. A.J. Pollock – OF – ARI. Held to just 63 games because of an elbow injury that caused him to miss three months, the Notre Dame outfielder hit .271-.319-.376 in 255 ABs. He’ll head to the AFL for more work where he can work to improve on that slugging percentage.
  18. Chad James – LHP – FLA. Like some other prep pitchers on this list (Wheeler and Matzek) walks were an issue (5.12 BB/9 – 1.57 WHIP). He finished the year 5-10 with a 5.04 ERA.
  19. Shelby Miller – RHP – STL. The most impressive prep pitcher this draft after going 7-5, 3.62 ERA, 1.25 WHIP 12.08 K/9 (140 K’s compared to just 33 BB in 104.1 IP). Going to be a close call between him and 2010 draftee 3B Zach Cox for the top spot on the Cardinals top 30 prospect list for 2011.
  20. Chad Jenkins – RHP – TOR. Meh. Most impressive number was his 1.97 BB/9 but that’s not exciting. Too early to tell obviously but the numbers look like a low end starter.
  21. Jiovanni Mier – SS – HOU. .235-.323.-.314 is ugly. I guess the 15 SB and 63 BB are positive signs but a silver lining around shit is still just shiny shit.
  22. Kyle Gibson – RHP – MIN. Arm issues late in his Junior season at Missouri caused the top 10 talent to fall to the Twins at #22. He was productive in his first season as a professional, advancing to AAA. Between three levels, he accumulated an 11-6 record, 2.96 ERA, 1.15 WHIP holding opponents to just 136 hits in 152 IP.
  23. Jared Mitchell – OF – CWS. The Most Outstanding Player of the 2009 College World Series had his season derailed when he tore a tendon in his ankle in Spring Training. The toolsy outfielder will go to the Arizona Fall League where he could get as many as 200 plate appearances.
  24. Randal Grichuk – OF – LAA. .299-.335-.562 between Rookie Ball and the Low A Midwest League. I like the power numbers, but I’m not a fan of the 12:59 BB:K ratio.
  25. Mike Trout – OF – LAA. .336-.424-.483. 10 HR, 73 BB, 86 K, and 55 SB. The Minor League Player of the Year candidate was a steal this late.
  26. Eric Arnett – RHP – MIL. The biggest disappointment among the 2009 1st rounders. He was 3-9 6.79 ERA 1.63 WHIP between Rookie ball and the Low A Midwest League where the 22 year old should dominate.
  27. Nick Franklin – SS – SEA. Member of Baseball America’s Minor League All Star Team, Franklin hit .283-.354-.486 with 23 HR and 25 SB in his first full professional season. He joins Trout as a great value this late.
  28. Reymond Fuentes – OF – BOS. Carlos Beltran’s little cousin turned heads with his 42 SB in the Sally League. I’d like to see a guy with that kind of speed improve on his 6% BB Rate and his 0.29:1.00 BB:K Ratio, but overall the Sawx should be pleased.
  29. Slade Heathcott – OF – NYY. His numbers are unimpressive – .258-.359-.352 2 HR, 15 SB 9CS, but the Yankees knew he lacked polish when they selected him. No cause for concern yet, but if he’s posting lines like this in 2 years hit the panic button.
  30. LeVon Washington – 2B – TB. (DID NOT SIGN). LeVon had a rough 2009. He failed to sign, was declared ineligible to go to Florida and ended up at a Junior College. The Indians picked him in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft and he still made $1.2 Million which is slightly more than what slot would have been at #30 in 2009.
  31. Brett Jackson – OF – CHC. .297-.395-.491 is pretty impressive for someone that was once viewed as a raw yet athletic project. He stole 30 bases, hit 14 3B and he’ll get a chance to showcase those skills in the Arizona Fall League.
  32. Tim Wheeler – OF – COL. .245-.337-.380 in the perceived hitter’s haven that is the California league isn’t a good sign, but he did hit 12 HR and stole 22 bags.

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