Monday, May 18, 2009

Getting Drafty

This could be the first time we've checked with ESPN's MLB Draft Blog, but we found something remarkable in Sunday's post by Jason A. Churchill.

One assistant scouting director's expectation for the top half of the MLB draft's first round includes:

"I do not have any confidence after the top pick that any player is going to be taken at any point. I wouldn't be surprised if the No. 2 player on our board went 15th or the No. 15 player went No. 2."

We all know Stephen Strasburg is going #1. Then, there is discussion as to the next 14 players being, for many reasons, somewhat interchangeable? That seems pretty, um, exciting? I don't know; I mean, this is the MLB draft. Is it compelling to any reasonable fan who follows his Major League team as often as he or she can, but doesn't have the time or interest to know about minor leaguers? Probably not.

The NBA Draft is probably the most popular draft for fans to follow because it's only two rounds, fans (used to) know college players who are getting drafted, and rookies traditionally contribute - or at least given the opportunity to contribute - more rapidly and consistently in the NBA.

The ESPNization of the NFL Draft has supposedly made it really popular, but I don't think the average NFL fan like to watch it on TV. They like to find out the results, but not necessarily sit through the broadcast and ESPN talking heads.

Seven years ago, I watched the entire first day of the 2002 Draft, while recovering from a Friday night. I didn't really have the strength to change the channel on the remote, so I decided to give in and commit to leaving the draft on, with commercials and everything.

Interestingly, Albert Haynesworth, the NFL's newest 100 Million Dollar Man was taken with the 15th pick of the first round.

I also had a feeling that the Bears' best pick was their 4th Round pick of Alex Brown. Looking back, he has had a more productive career than Marc Colombo, Terrence Metcalf, and "the other" Adrian Peterson, not to mention a group of busts lead by Roe Williams. Overall, watching the NFL draft was enjoyable and insightful. Still, I do not believe that the NFL Draft is as good, from a fan's perspective, as the NBA Draft and a higher percentage of average NBA fans enjoy the NBA draft, than the percentage of average NFL fans enjoy theirs.

Back to the MLB draft post, Churchill and an area scout he's speaking with continue...

"The ball drops once Aaron Crow or Tanner Scheppers is off the board," the area scout said. "Or both. But as long as one of them is there, things are a little gray.

"They each provide clubs with a signable player, and Crow brings no significant injury risks, too. Even someone like Cincinnati [at No. 8], Colorado [No. 11] or Kansas City [No. 12] has to consider them." Crow tossed five shutout innings Friday night for the independent Fort Worth Cats, allowing just two hits and two walks while recording nine strikeouts.

Scheppers produced a similar outing for the St. Paul Saints, lasting five innings and giving up a run on five hits. He walked two and fanned three, sitting 92-93 mph on the radar gun. Both right-handers are considered top-10 talents.

I have to respectfully and slightly disagree that five shutout innings, with two hits, two walks, and nine strikeouts is a similar outing to going five innings, with one run, five hits, two walks, and only three strikeouts. The strikout difference is a lot, and five hits & one run is much more than two hits/no runs. Sorry, but if my math is correct, their Bill James Game Scores are 70 for Crow and 54 for Scheppers.

Read the rest of Churchill's post to hear more about college center fielders. Sacramento State's Tim Wheeler and Notre Dame's A.J. Pollock look like the top two college center fielders, and there is an interesting perspective on Florida center fielder, Matt den Dekker.

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