2010 draft is coming June 7th. That is three weeks away. Just wanted to look back on what the Twins accomplished in the first round of the 2009 draft. Minnesota picked 22 and 31 and took two college pitchers. One was Kyle Gibson who has not disappointed and the other was Matt Bashore who is still recovering from an arm injury. Going into the draft it was pretty safe to assume the Twins were going to address their pitching. They also had a history of taking the more polished college arm to the upside and projection of a high school kid. Here I am evaluating some of the college pitchers that went in that first round in 2009 and how they are doing so far this year. Remember Gibson was as high as 4 on some mock drafts but his stress fracture in the arm caused him to fall to 22. You will see its a steal.
1) Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg; Strasburg was indeed a can't miss prospect. I do not need to say much more about the phenom. He is dominating the minor leagues and in 7 starts scattered around AA and AAA he has a 1.06 ERA and 40K in 34 innings. His other numbers are just unreal. He could have started opening day this year and dominated the majors. But Washington is being cost efficient with Strasburg and not letting him be a super 2. This is no joke, Strasburg is my pick for 2011 Cy Young. He reminds me of Twins pitcher with plus control of all sides of the plate and with all of his pitches. Except he throws the ball 97 to 100 MPH. Wow.
7) Atlanta Braves: Mike Minor; Tall lefty from Vanderbilt did not have the stuff of former number 1 pick David Price but has held his own. Atlanta started him in AA and he has had incredible strikeout numbers (65K in 44 innings). He has some control issues to work out but he is already looking like the left handed front line starter that will go next to Tommy Hanson for the future.
8) Cincinnati Reds: Mike Leake; The Reds acquired some great young pitching in 2009 in addition to Leake, the Reds go Cuban ace Aroldis Chapman. I was amazed that the Reds let Leake skip the minors all together but then I thought, wait its Dusty Baker he loves to run young pitchers into the ground. However Leake has looked great. He has been the best Reds starter as a 22 year old has a 4-0 record and a 3.09 ERA. He has not dazzled but has kept the now first place Reds in position to win games where he starts.
10) Washington Nationals: Drew Storen; Nationals had 2 picks in top 10 after not signings Aaron Crow in '08. Storen was seen as the best reliever in the draft and he has been fast tracked to the Majors, expected to be in Washington this week. Storen signed quick in 2009 and had a 1.95 ERA at 3 levels last year. In AA and AAA Storen has a combined 1.08 ERA in 2009. Safe to say he is ready and will contribute to a very improving Nationals team.
12) Kansas City Royals: Aaron Crow; At the beginning of the year I said the 23 year old Crow would be put on a fast track. So far Crow has disappointed me and the Royals. His ERA is 4.75 and in 47 innings has only 25K and 20 walks. At this point Crow looks like he will spend all of 2010 in AA and maybe he should have began the year in A ball.
15) Cleveland Indian: Alex White; Scouts were undecided whether White would start or close at the professional level. The Indians decided to begin this season with White in the rotation. In A+ ball Alex White 3.08 ERA in 38 innings with 35K and .212 BAA.
18) Toronto Blue Jays: Chad Jenkins; Jenkins may have been a guy who was on the Twins board. Reason why I say this is because he throws strikes and trusts his defense. The big right hander is showing very good control in the Midwest league only walking 8 in 42.2 innings. With ERA of 3.59, Jenkins may get the move to A+ ball pretty soon. I think Toronto has done great since trading Roy Halladay to address their pitching. Jenkins is sure to be part of a young deep pitching staff for years to come.
22) Minnesota Twins: Kyle Gibson; Gibson has flat out baffled hitters so far. He leads this group with 50 innings pitched in mid May already which is incredible. After dominating the FSL with 1.87 ERA and a 3 to 1 GB rate, Gibson went 7.1 shutout innings in his AA debut and struck out a career high 10. Twins tend to move their young players along slowly but if Gibson continues to pitch like this they will have no choice but to keep moving him along.
23) Milwaukee Brewers: Eric Arnett; Arnett has struggled the most of any college pitcher from this class. In low A ball his ERA is over 8 and 5 homeruns given up in just 29 innings. Arnett was a late riser on draft boards because of his size (6 feet 5, 230 pounds) and projectable stuff revolving around a mid 90s fastball. Again it is early but so far not good for Arnett and the Brewers.