Zack Greinke was drafted by the Royals with the 6th pick in the 2002 Amateur Draft. This was the draft covered in such high detail in Michael Lewis' book, Moneyball. You remember, the one where Billy Beane “figured out” a new way to build baseball teams. Stay away from high schoolers, love sabremetrics, the whole thing. After Zack's start last night I took a look at that draft, and the 1st round was loaded with some serious talent. Jeremy Brown excluded.
As far as busts go, Bryan Bullington, selected #1 by the Pirates, is up there. The MLB draft is always skewed by the signability of each player, and while the Pirates aren't really to blame for not being able to afford some players this was a deep 1st round and they missed out.
BJ Upton went 2nd to the Rays. He had a world of talent back then, and he still does today. The slow start to 09' will be forgotten. He proved his mettle last postseason, and his defense is great. Freakish arm.
After Greinke at 6 came Prince Fielder. Youngest player to ever hit 50, and in his 3 full seasons he has 112 HR's.
At 9 the Rockies grabbed Jeff Francis. 2 years ago he appeared headed for routine trips to the all-star game. The ace on the NL champion Rockies is hurt now, but hopefully capable of bouncing back.
The Marlins picked Jeremy Hermida at 11, and he has proved to be a serviceable outfielder. He's also only 24 years old.
Right after Hermida went Joe Saunders to the Angels. He won 17 last year and is off to a great start this season for a struggling team.
Khalil Greene went 13 to the Padres. In 07' he hit .254/27/97 playing home games in a pitcher's park. Huge setback last year, but maybe the change of scenery will do him some good.
The Mets took Scott Kazmir at 15 and then moved him to Tampa in a trade that still makes the Queens faithful sick. Arm troubles aside, when he's healthy he can be unhittable.
Right after the A's took Nick Swisher. A sabremetric golden boy, Swisher was very productive for Oakland until a trade sent him to Chicago. His 09' start with the Yankees is impressive, and makes you wonder why the White Sox ran him out of town.
The Phillies might have gotten the steal of the draft at 17 in Cole Hamels. People are up in arms about his early 09' results, but we need to permit an early season hangover after a World Series victory. He's got nasty stuff. He's a lefty. He's 25.
The Dodgers grabbed James Loney at 19. You'd like to see more in the power department, but he's still young and a great contact hitter.
Jeff Francoeur went to Atlanta at 23. Back to back 100 RBI seasons in which he played every game. A bit of a free swinger, but a dangerous man at the plate. Durable too.
24 was Joe Blanton to Oakland. Very hittable, but has great control. If Sidney Ponson can find a job there will always be a place for Joe Blanton.
Matt Cain went next to San Francisco. His poor W/L record can be blamed on an anemic offense in San Fran. From Cain you can expect a lot of Innings and strikeouts.
The last of Oakland's compensatory picks was Mark Teahen at 39. Traded to KC in the Carlos Beltran 3-way deal, Teahen is a starter, although at which position varies by the week.
In all, a pretty successful draft… as MLB drafts go. Hamels, Kazmir, Upton and the rest of this group make for 14 viable major leaguers in the 1st 39 picks. Greinke is right at the top of this list, just like he's at the top of every major pitching category in the majors.
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Written by Joe Coburn