Now that the signing deadline has passed, I thought it would be worthwhile to take a look at some of the early returns from the 2008 draft. As I've written before, short-season performance isn't always a great predictor for a number of reasons, but it's still fun to track. Today we'll look at the top 15 rounds.
Round 1 - Allan Dykstra, signed, Eugene - Currently working out to get his legs under him. He'll likely be activated shortly.
Comp #1 - Jaff Decker, signed, Peoria - As of today, he's leading the Arizona League in OPS (1.048), OBP (.522), runs scored (43), walks (49) and he's 5th in average (.338). To put his accomplishments in perspective, if Jaff were to go 0 for 56, his OBP would be a stellar .400. He's also stolen seven bases in eight tries and has played solid defense in the OF. Pretty ridiculous.
Comp #2 - Logan Forsythe, signed, Eugene/Peoria - Logan signed right away and reported to Eugene. Unfortunately, he injured his thumb on a slide in just his third game which required surgery. He is back now after rehabbing and has played the last three games with Peoria to work back into form.
Round 2 - James Darnell, signed, Eugene - With just two games under his belt, James is four for nine with a double and a walk. Though it took some time and additional dollars to get him signed, James doesn't seemed to have missed a beat. He also may have had the best signing day batting practice at a Major League stadium that I've seen in my years. His first swing in Petco was a homer, and it just got better from here as he sprayed hard line drives all over the field (including a number of more homers to both left and center field).
Round 3 - Blake Tekotte, signed, Eugene - To put it succinctly, Blake has been tremendous. A prototypical leadoff-hitting centerfielder, Blake has shown surprising power so far, banging out 13 doubles and six homers in just 139 ab's. As of today, a player in the Northwest League needs 167 plate appearances to qualify for the league rankings, and Blake has just 165. Assuming he gets the requisite pa's, Blake currently sits 1st in slugging (.554), 3rd in OBP (.424), 5th in average (.331), and tied for 5th in homers (6). All of this comes after he started one for nine with seven strikeouts in his first three games.
Round 3 Comp - Sawyer Carroll, signed, Ft. Wayne - Sawyer had a tremendous season in Eugene and was recently promoted to Ft. Wayne. Despite his promotion and missing some time with a small injury, Sawyer is still 1st in the Northwest League in slugging (.548), 2nd in extra base hits (25), 2nd in RBI (39), 2nd in homers (8), 4th in runs (41) and 10th in average (.299).
Round 4 - Jason Kipnis, unsigned - As a sophomore elgible this year Jason made the decision to go back to ASU for his junior year. On the morning of the draft we were informed that Jason was looking to sign if taken anytime during the first day (top six rounds), so when we took him in the fourth we didn't anticipate any problems with signing him. Nevertheless, Jason went to the Cape and over time decided he would prefer to return to school. Offering him over slot money didn't change his mind, and the deadline passed without his signing. We wish Jason the best and will certainly be scouting him again next spring.
Round 5 - Anthony Bass, signed, Eugene - A starter in college, we've used Anthony exclusively out of the pen this summer so as not to overload his innings. With a fastball that has reached 94 mph to go along with a good slider and changeup, Anthony has put together a terrific season. His 1.63 ERA and four saves both lead the squad.
Round 6 - Cole Figueroa, signed, Eugene - We knew there were going to be some signability issues surrounding Cole since he was sophomore eligible out of the University of Florida. Fortunately, we were able to get him signed, and he has been the player we expected to see. A left-handed hitting middle infielder, Cole currently has a .383 obp, has stolen four bags, and has more walks than strikeouts.
Round 7 - Adam Zornes, signed, Ft. Wayne - Adam was a late sign, so he played a few games in Peoria to get back in the groove, and then we sent him up to Ft. Wayne where he's played three games so far. As a 22-year old junior from Rice, we felt Adam was ready to compete at that level, so we weren't afraid to be aggressive with him.
Round 8 - Beamer Weems, signed, Eugene - Like Cole Figueroa, we expected that it would take above slot money to sign Beamer away from Baylor. Beamer is a very slick defender at SS with excellent hands, a plus arm, and an innate feel for the position. In fact, his defense allowed us to send him up to AA for five games when we needed someone to fill in there. Offensively, he's started to get his bat going after a slow start (1 for 16 to start and a .381 obp and .353 slg since then including his time in AA).
Round 9 - Kyle Thebeau, unsigned - Quite frankly, we probably missed on this one. We didn't miss him from a baseball standpoint - he's a nice looking pitcher - but rather from a signability standpoint. Kyle wasn't terribly interested in signing and will be returning to school this fall.
Round 10 - Andrew Albers, signed, Peoria - Shortly after signing Andrew, he experienced a little tenderness in his arm, so we decided to take the summer really slow. Fortunately, he is back on the mound feeling good and has pitched three shutout innings in Peoria.
Round 11 - Tyson Bagley, signed, Eugene - Basically a reliever in college, we wanted to expose Tyson to starting a bit this summer if for no other reason than pitch development. He already has a plus fastball and hard breaking ball, so we wanted to stretch him out a bit. In a mix between starting and relieving he has struck out 44 hitters in 37 innings and has posted a 3.86 ERA.
Round 12 - Matt Clark, signed, Eugene - Another player we knew would take more to sign, we were happy to come to an agreement with Matt and get him going in Eugene. So far he's been tremendous. A big left-handed hitting first baseman with monster power, Matt is hitting .333 with a .444 obp and a .540 slg in his first 100 pa's.
Round 13 - Erik Davis, signed, Eugene - A weekend starter for Stanford this spring, we wanted to take it easy on Erik this summer. He was pitching so well out of the pen, however, that we decided to give him a few starts before the end of the season. Erik's excellent command and changeup have led him to a 2.75 ERA along with 30 strikeouts compared to just four walks in 19.2 innings.
Round 14 - Robert Musgrave, signed, Eugene - Robert is another pitcher who had a significant workload this spring as a starter for Wichita St, so he's pitched exclusively out of the pen for Eugene. A left-hander, Rob has pounded the strike zone, and his plus changeup and curveball have left the hitters little chance. He has a 1.98 ERA with 57 strikeouts and just six walks in 36.1 innings.
Round 15 - Brett Mooneyham, unsigned - There's been a lot of talk around Brett on this blog, so it's probably appropriate that he completes this post. The have been a lot of rumors about what Brett wanted. The fact of the matter is that what Brett wanted was to go to school, and I don't blame him. He's a big left-hander with a plus arm, and he's headed to Stanford. Many people have suggested that we should have paid him whatever he was looking for, but I can tell you that such a scenario rarely ends well for anyone involved. Nobody should make a significant life decision, like going into pro ball instead of attending college, because they've been convinced by a check. The minors are a real grind, and unless that is absolutely what an individual wants to pursue right now, they should continue to attend school. I applaud Brett for making the decision, and we look forward to tracking his progress over the next three years.
As you can probably imagine, we're very excited with the early returns from this draft even when considering my caveat about short-season performance. It seems to be a very strong class, and it'll be fun to have many of them in Instructional League this fall.