A Look Back: the 2006 MLB Draft


In preparation for the MLB Draft coming soon, I am going through past MLB drafts.  However, I’m making sure to make it as recent as possible while still being interesting.  The 2005 MLB Draft was an easy sell with Colby Rasmus and the best first round possibly ever (Tulo, Zimmerman, Upton, etc.).

Will 2006 have as easy of a draw?  Well that’s up to my writing and the players who were drafted.  If you didn’t read the ’05 draft recap, I would do that first.

1st round

Immediately, we can get an idea of how rare the ’05 draft actually was in just the first five picks.  While the ’05 draft had one bust (who admittedly is still trying to earn his way on an MLB roster), three franchise players, and one average player in the first five picks, the ’06 draft has Evan Longoria and… that’s about it.

First overall features a starting pitcher with 460 2/3 career innings pitched in the majors… but with a 5.47 ERA.  At best a mediocre pitcher who is able to eat up innings, Luke Hochevar, selected by the Royals, has not done anything differently this year.  He currently sports a 4.81 ERA in 73 innings pitched.  Very average, but a bust by #1 overall pick standards.

Second overall, the Rockies don’t do any better.  They selected Greg Reynolds, a pitcher out of Stanford.  If that name doesn’t ring a bell, you can be forgiven.  He has a 7.16 ERA  in 76.2 innings pitched.   Once upon a time in 2008, he managed to pitch 62 innings despite an 8.13 ERA.  The Rockies brass were so mad they didn’t bring him up until this year where he has definitely improved: 3.07 ERA in 2 starts.

Evan Longoria is a man who most everyone knows so I don’t think I need to show why this was a good pick.  The more amazing thing that happened was when the Rays locked him up to a team-friendly contract that makes other teams wildly jealous.

The Pirates have drafted top five for years now and 2006 offers a little reason why.  Brad Lincoln, out of the University of Houston, pitched to the tune of – and this cannot be a good sign for his future – 6.66 ERA in 52 2/3 innings pitched.  I don’t know if I’m more shocked at the ineptitude of the pitchers in this draft or the amount of innings they were given while they pitched horrible.  He is currently doing well with a 4.13 ERA – in AAA.

At #5 overall, the first pitcher who we can definitely say was a great pick was Brandon Morrow by the Mariners.  As Cards fans, I’m sure some of you don’t know who this is since he is in the AL and plays for a nondescript team (Blue Jays).  Well if you like good players, then you should learn his name.  Morrow had 15 career saves as a part-time closer and reliever with the Mariners until they traded him in the ’09 offseason for Brandon League and a 22-year-old currently in AA.  The Jays (rightly) thought he could provide more value in the rotation and now he has a near 11.00 K rate as a starter.

I’ll try to summarize the next five picks by the successes, the busts, and on-the-brink.  The successes involve Clayton Kershaw, at #7 overall, and Tim Lincecum, at #10 overall.  Their numbers are #1 ace stuff and not anything that you probably haven’t already seen.  At #8 overall, the Reds drafted Robert Stubbs, now known has Drew Stubbs.  He is a good defensive centerfielder and an improving hitter.  The improvement of Stubbs could determine how good Cincy can become.

At #6 overall is a pitcher who has been in the majors for a while but has not done a whole lot but dissapoint.  Andrew Miller, drafted by the Tigers and in the Miguel Cabrera trade to the Marlins, has a 5.00+ BB/9 and amazing stuff that he cannot control.  At #9 overall, Billy Rowell is still toiling in AA in the Orioles system without much hope going forward seeing as he is striking out in 35% of his plate appearances (did it last year in A+ ball and continuining the trend).

(After the jump, a look at Cards players and the rest of the 1st rounders)

At #11 overall, Max Scherzer (drafted by Dbacks, traded to Tigers), out of Mizzou, has a 3.71 career ERA in over 400 innings pitched.  At #13, Tyler Colvin (Cubs) has, in limited playing time, hit 22 homers in his career, but struggles to get on base at a good rate.  At #14, the Jays successfully selected a high school prospect in Travis Snider who blew through their system, but currently has a .184 average.  Chris Marrero, at #15 by the Nationals, has decent numbers at AAA but for a 1B lacks the power necessary to be a starter.

At #16, Jeremy Jeffries, the third straight successful pick that came out of high school, was involved in a trade for Zack Greinke and currently pitches for Kansas City after essentially skipping AAA ball.  At #17, Matt Antonelli is an older prospect who is still trying to get in the majors.  After making the majors and batting .193, Antonelli was injured for nearly all of 2010 and was granted free agency by the Padres.  Antonelli signed with the Nationals and is batting .294 in AAA right now.

At #18 Kyle Drabek, as part of the Roy Halladay trade, has a 4.16 ERA, but that does not look like it will continue as long as he walks as many batters as he strikes out.  The Yankees selected Ian Kennedy at #21 overall and of course traded him to the Dbacks in the Curtis Granderson trade.  He had nearly 200 innings pitched with a 3.81  ERA last year and has a 3.01 ERA currently.  At #25 overall, the Angels selected high schooler Hank Conger, who was #79 overall prospect by Baseball America as a catcher before the 2010 season.  He had a .385 OBP in AAA last year and in 105 plate appearances in the MLB this year has managed a measly .666 OPS.

In between this all, the Marlins, Twins, Nationals, Astros, Braves, and Dodgers all drafted players who have not made the majors and look to be probable busts.  The Red Sox had two consecutive picks at 27 and 28 overall and they used it to select Jason Place (in the Yankees system now in A+) and Daniel Bard (flamethrowing reliever for the Sox with 1.93 ERA last year).

For the second straight year, the Cardinals drafted last overall in the first round and they used it on Adam Ottavino.  Ottavino’s struggles are well known.  He is a strikeout pitcher that doesn’t have much control and walks way too many batters to go with it.  An 8.46 ERA in 22 innings last year got him removed from the 40 man.  So far in AAA, Ottavino has a 3.58 ERA and is still striking out a lot while walking too many.

Cardinals

Since we are getting closer to the current year, I’ll divide this into sections.  I’ll divide them into “At Memphis,” “At Springfield,” and the rest of the levels along with out of baseball.

At St. Louis/San Diego/Cleveland

Chris Perez – #42 overall – Perez is currently closing for the Indians with 36 saves for them the past two seasons.  He also had a 1.70 ERA in 63 IP last year and currently sports a 2.70 ERA in over 20 innings.  I wouldn’t be too worried about losing him however.  He is walking and striking out batters at the same rate which basically means he cannot possibly continue to have a 2.70 ERA if this trend continues.  Expect Perez to regress to levels worse than anybody on the Cardinals not named Batista or Franklin.

Jon Jay – #74 overall – As an outfielder out of The U, Jay was a speedy outfielder who could possibly stay at center.  Jay can now play all three positions in the MLB although he’s played most at RF.  He has a .309 career average and has improved offensively from last year.

Allen Craig – #256 overall – Craig is a fourth outfielder right now, but only because the Cards outfield is doing so well.  He is batting .316 with a .396 OBP and an .877 OPS.  He also is a possible long-term option at second base where he can provide Skip Schumaker fielding with Dan Uggla batting numbers (best possible case scenario).

Luke Gregerson – #856 overall – In 2009 the Cardinals traded Mark Worrell and a player to be named later for Khalil Greene, coming off a down year looking to rebound in a new place.  Who knew that the PTBNL would become an elite reliever and that Greene would have anxiety issues.  With a devastating slider, Gregerson has struck out more than 10 per nine innings pitched with a low walk rate.

At Memphis

Adam Ottavino – #30 overall – Brief major league appearance went about as bad as possible.  Off the 40 man roster after appearance.

Shane Robinson – #166 overall – Robinson has struggled mightily with injuries the past two seasons with barely over 100 plate appearances.  A stolen base threat that really has gotten caught too much to make stealing worth it, Robinson isn’t very good at hitting which makes it appear that he won’t ever make it – especially on a team that has Allen Craig and Jon Jay as the 4th and 5th outfielders.

PJ Walters – #346 overall – Walters has spent some time in the majors but he’s mostly been terrible with an average fastball, good changeup, and not much else.  He has a 5.81 ERA right now in Memphis.

James Rapaport – #1066 overall – Rapaport is an outfielder drafted in the 35th round who has actually compiled good stats.  He has a .256 average with a .357 on base percentage.  Memphis has taken any power he had however as he has a measly .320 slugging percentage in his career there.

At Springfield

Thomas Pham – #496 overall – Pham was drafted as a shortsop out of high school and got transitioned into the outfield since then.  Pham has made it to Springfield as a 23-year-old and is doing very well.  He is hitting .289 with a .379 OBP and a .518 slugging percentage.

Casey Mulligan – #676 overall – Mulligan was a high school pitcher drafted in 22nd round (Last year’s 22nd round pick was Garcia…).  Mulligan is a relief pitcher who strikes out a ton and walks a ton.  He has 56 strikeouts and 25 walks over 45 1/3 innings.

At Palm Beach

D’Marcus Ingram – #766 overall – Ingram, drafted out of high school as an outfielder, has steadily risen from the rookie leagues to Palm Beach.  Last year in 215 plate appearances, he batted .269 with a .336 OBP and a .347 slugging percentage.  Ingram has incredible patience, averaging walks in over 10.0% of his plate appearances in his minor league career and currently 16.3% in 80 plate appearances.  He lacks power with 8 career minor league homers in four seasons.  His ticket to the majors will be his on base skills, something he might need to improve even more.

At Batavia

Matthew North – #286 – Drafted out of high school, he missed all of 2009 due to injury and has not recovered well.  Batavia season starts soon so I’m not sure if North is released or on the roster.  He is still only 23-years-old, but his future in baseball looks bleak.

Jon Edwards – #436 – An outfielder drafted out of high school, Edwards has struggled.  2011 would be his fifth year there and he currently has a .249/.333/.409 line there and is turning 23-years-old.

Out of Baseball/Independent Baseball/With Another Team

Brad Furnish – #54 overall – A 6.58 ERA in Springfield spread over two seasons convinced the Cardinals to let Furnish go.  Furnish still hasn’t given up on baseball yet though the future in baseball appears bleak at 26-years-old in independent ball.

Gary Daley – #106 overall – Daley is a right-handed pitcher who was drafted out of college currently in the Athletics system.  Since Daley didn’t strike many people out and walked nearly as many, the Cards released him in the middle of 2010 while he was in Springfield.  He hasn’t fared any better with the A’s with a 4.59 ERA spread out over three levels in 2011.

Eddie Degerman – #136 overall – Yet another college pitcher the Cardinals drafted that has failed.  He had a 7.42 ERA in Springfield when the Cardinals released him.  After trying out independent ball the rest of the year, he apparently called it quits when no major league teams came calling previous to the 2010 season.

Tyler Norrick – #196 overall – Norrick, a 23-year-old lefty when drafted, has not done very well in Memphis.  In 15 innings in AAA last year, he had 16 strikeouts and 15 walks with a 6.60 ERA .   He was released in early April and it is to be determined as to if he has called it quits or just hasn’t found a team on such short notice.

David Carpenter – #376 – Carpenter was traded for Pedro Feliz last year.  He is in AAA of the Astros system right now after 14 innings with 17 Ks and 3 BBs in AA to start the year.  He’s 25-years-old so at best he becomes a mediocre reliever.

Amaury Cazana – #556 – This was a strange and interesting pick.  Fangraphs has him born in 1974, B-Ref in 1978.  He was drafted as a 28-year-old or 32-year-old outfielder depending on the source.  He made it all the way to Memphis last year and had decent numbers, however his age proved to be the downfall as he is now in the Mexican League (batting .369).

Mark Shorey – #946 overall – Shorey was a fourth outfielder for Memphis last year batting just .263.  Apparently he wasn’t showing enough so they released him, something I think will happen to Shane Robinson following this season.

John Goodman – #1362 – I’m putting this here because his name is John Goodman.  Surely, they didn’t know who to pick, noticed his name, and said screw it we want John Goodman.  Well, he never played an inning of pro ball.

So the 2006 draft was actually quite successful whether you want to include the “ones that got away” or just the players in the Cards system.  Chris Perez, Jon Jay, Allen Craig, and Luke Gregerson is a solid group of major leaguers from one draft.  The Cardinals have way too many people in Memphis right now who basically have no future with the Cardinals.  Robinson, Walters, Rapaport, and Ottavino all will not do anything unless something changes.  The odds are certainly against them.

Tommy Pham and Casey Mulligan were two successful high school draftees who at least give potential to this draft.  Ingram is probably not going to amount to any major league success, but at least he’s still there.  The Cardinals drafted a few too many college pitchers in the first ten rounds and nearly all of them – save for Chris Perez – were busts.

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