When discussing a failed draft choice in another sport, a guide once quipped, "What was he supposed to do? Give the money back?" When a player fails to live up to expectations, it's easy to throw around 'bust'. Judging a player's abilities at four or five years down the line seems difficult to project. Yeah, I know, that's a scout's job. To me, though, it seems horribly difficult to project how an amateur using an aluminum (composite) bat against A-Level (at best) pitching will perform against AA curve balls. Realistically, that is the standard.
When evaluating a high schooler, it gets even tougher. Pitchers only need go to their second pitch against one or two of nine guys in the lineup. Even in summer ball, there are still plenty of reasonably safe outs for a guy throwing low-to-mid 90 gas. If he throws a curve, it may show great 'depth' and 'slope' or whatever, but seriously. Fanning a guy swinging on an adequate deuce may work against a high school kid (or a highly-paid MLB LF), but it shouldn't place him with a '7' (on the 2-to-8 scale) curve for present development.
So color me a bit skeptical on all the high 'present' ratings on high school (and most college) pitcher's abilities. Jameson Taillon was mediocre in Low-A Ball this week. He will probably be very good. But if he can't get out Sally League hitters consistently, don't tell me he has a 6 or 7 fastball eleven months ago. Kevin Gausman can't get out SEC hitters. The SEC is a great league, but if his Present numbers are that good (a year ago), he should be going six innings on most nights, except for pitch counts.I know that it isn't about 'Now', but 'Then'. Let's be a bit more realistic on our evaluations. Matt Barnes, Trevor Bauer, Jed Bradley, or even Gerrit Cole will have plenty of ragged outings between now and their first big league win. Any of the high school phenoms will be a year or so away from Low-A Ball most likely. I'm just saying. I'm not being negative. I wish people (other sites more than here) would preface their commentary with honesty.
For instance, if the Cubs get Dylan Bundy (same HS as Austin Kirk, just sayin') with the Ninth Pick, he would be very fortunate to pitch three scoreless innings in Boise in 2011. He would probably be a decent pitcher in Peoria in 2012, and may see Tennessee by 2013. He will get pounded quite a few times in that span. That said, he is very talented, and if he remains motivated and healthy, he might be able to contribute by 2014 in the bigs.
Those would be 'reasonable' now ratings. Not 6 1/2 on th 8 scale.
Comps are another comical exercise. Not that I don't participate here and there, but still. People like to bust out the 'either-or' comps. He'll be another (insert Hall Of Famer) or (guy that people thought would be a Hall Of Famer that wasn't very good). I much prefer the more reasonable types. This guy reminds me of Terry Pendleton. This guy has Frank White-type ability. No, they aren't flashy-blowout-headline makers, but I prefer them. If someone gives, 'think Al Oliver with more power', I figure he's done his homework.
Similarly, so many guys that are incredibly good comps never made it. Not because they were Busts, but because baseball effectiveness requires day-in-day-out commitment to detail. While a guy might have the ability to initially impress, there is that solid shot that he'll never hit a AA Curve. that is reality, not a washout. Unless, he didn't try in practice or got himself in legal trouble.
Matt Purke and Jackie Bradley Jr. are tumbling down draft boards due to injury concerns. While JBJ's injury will presumably keep him out the rest of the season only (though he still expects to play, based on Twitter comments), he would still probably be good for some Short season work or Fall Instructs. I'm wondering if he is too injury-prone. Still, I'd love him with a second-round pick.
Purke will probably go to Boston, who will throw a couple million at him in hopes that he has legit upside. Bradley will probably fall in the neighborhood of all the Tampa Bay picks.
I welcome calls on who we will take with the 69th pick. Here is one mock that goes 10 rounds deep, pegging us to a 3B from Nebraska, a lefty from Clemson, and a Righty from Baylor in Rounds 2-4. I like that he has us getting Bundy with 9, but he has Purke off the board at 6.
Baseball may let the Mets overslot bonuses. Sandy Alderson may be allowed to run the Draft Bonuses as he wants. If so, that pretty much make a mockery of the whole slotting system, and makes the Dodgers rigors look hypocritical. But what do I know? I'm not a Selig supporter by any stretch anyway.
Discuss. Anything but attendance, rain-out refund policy, and the joys of the Royal wedding. Or, the opener in Arizona.