Season 3's draft picks are on the block today. Let's revisit that one and see what might happen today:
Pick then: LF Jacque Puffer
I don;'t normally advocate taking a corner OF number one in the draft, but Puffer is no ordinary corner outfielder. Last season's AL MVP put up a 40-40 season and drove in 122 for the AL champs.
Pick then: SP John Balfour
Washington has chosen to rebuild with starting pitching (see the next edition of this column for more on that) and while Balfour hasn't reached his peak yet, he's shown flashes in his rookie season.
3. Austin (formerly Scottsdale)
Pick then: RF Ken Keagle
Today: LF Barry McEnroe (picked #4 by Boise (then CSP), still with team)
Keagle is a very good player and would still go in the top 5 in this draft. But McEnroe has been among the AL league leaders despite getting called up 20 games into the season- he appears to have MVP potential.
4. Boise (formerly Colorado Springs)
Pick then: LF Barry McEnroe
If they can't have the crown jewel of their system, now mashing in the bigs, they'd have to settle for Keagle, who will hit around .300 and be a 20-20 type guy. Not a bad consolation prize.
5. Syracuse (then Charlotte)
Pick then: SP Dan Callaway
Today: 2B Tony Johnson (picked #6 by Jackson, still with team)
After the first four, there are quite a few question marks. Johnson seems to be only about a .250-.260 hitter or so, but he's driven in 100 runs, so he'll get the nod at the 5 spot. Callaway is a decent reliever (pitching to about a 3.50 ERA in the AL over the past two seasons), but he's never won a big league game. I think Syracuse fans were hoping for a little more out of a #5 overall pick. Apparently the lesson here is if you have a #5 overall pick, you take a pitcher, and he asks for more than $6 million in signing bonus, he's going to be either a disappointment (see: Benji Stewart in season 1) or an outright bust (Calloway)
Pick then: 2B Tony Johnson
Today: C/1B/DH Vin Logan (picked #18 by New York, now with Monterrey)
Since Johnson went to Syracuse, Logan seems like the logical next pick. Logan is a guy without a position for now (he can't throw runners out behind the plate and isn't that great at first), but the guy can hit big time. He needed only 113 games to reach the 100 RBI plateau this season, will hit 30-40 HRs while hitting above .300 and walking almost as much as he strikes out.
Pick then: SS Doc Bowen
Only because there's not much better out there- there are guys with higher ceilings but have yet to prove much of anything on the ML level. So Philadelphia can keep their .260-20-70 type guy who'll play decent defensively at shortstop.
8. New Orleans
Pick then: SP Kevin Pong
Again, if you're going on potential, this isn't the pick. But Pong is having his best season by far, going 10-6 with a 2.77 ERA on a struggling New Orleans team. Has he put it together, or is this season an anomaly?
9. St. Louis
Pick then: 1B O.T. Bravo
Today: SP Slash Ruffin (picked #31 by Monterrey, now with Seattle)
Since Bravo never signed, even guys who haven't reached their potential have to be better than the Bravo pick. So they'll get a starting pitcher with a lot of potential, just starting his big league career in Seattle.
10. Oklahoma City (formerly Little Rock)
Pick then: SP Tomas Cedeno
Today: SP Pedro Limon (picked #20 by Atlanta, now with Boise)
In a word, oops. After dominating the lower minor league levels, Cedeno struggled a bit in AA and got shelled in AAA- he's 27 and has never thrown a big league pitch, although that could possibly change this season. Limon has a much bigger upside and is 8-6 in his rookie season, although the league is hitting .300 off him.