Today was the day that dreams were made. Kids who have spent their whole life dreaming of what it would be like to have their shot at major league glory took that first step on this day as the 2009 MLB First Player Draft began. Here are some of my thoughts after watching the first round on television.
* The Nationals didn’t screw it up and took Stephen Strasburg with the first overall pick in the draft. The kid has amazing stuff including a fastball that normally resides in the 96-98 mph range and has been clocked as high as 103 mph (that’s not a misprint). Not just a tools guy, Strasburg’s results in college were phenomenal this year including the fact that in just 109 innings he posted a 1.32 ERA, racked up 195 Ks (that’s a K/9 mark of over 16 folks), and walked just 19 batters leading to a 13-1 record. Yeah, on top of the heat and the massive strikeout totals this kid just throws darts leading to a 10.26 K/BB mark. Could he be effective in the big leagues today? Quite possibly. However, the question at this point isn’t about his talent, it’s about how long it will take him to sign with the Nationals since his agent is Scott Boras. Mr. Boras has been thought to be pushing for something along the lines of at least $20 million to sign the flamethrower with some reports tossing out the $50 million figure. Newsflash Mr. Boras – this isn’t the NFL, players don’t get that much dough on their first deals in baseball. Will the Nats pony up that much dough if that’s really what Strasburg is looking for? I know he might be a once in a generation talent, but a 6-year deal for $50, if the reports are accurate, would be just crazy for a guy without a single pitch in a big league uniform. Just my two cents.
* How many times can someone use the word “signability?” Seriously, we get it. Some guys want a lot of dough, more than teams want to pay, but really, can’t we use some other term? Is it just me or does signability sound like a word someone made up one night when they had pulled back one too many beers?
* I love the MLB studios where the draft was held. Looks just like a real baseball field with a diamond, outfield walls etc. Great look.
* Nine of the first 12 picks were pitchers this year, and 15 of the first 22. I know you build championships with pitching so it makes sense from that angle but with all the arm problems that hurlers have anymore would you want to build your franchise around an 18 year old fresh off his high school graduation? Seems to me that it might be a better idea to go with a position player that early, but like Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars it seems like the lure of the “dark side” is often too powerful to pass up (Anakin becomes Darth Vader for those of you who don’t know Star Wars, and shame on you if you don’t).
* Is Bud Selig a robot? I know I’m always on the guy, but really, how could you not be? He cannot pronounce Cincinnati or Los Angeles, said this was the 19– draft, and looked like he was reading a teleprompter every time he made an announcement. He caught himself in mid-sentence with the year snafu, and we all say stupid things at times, but really it’s 2009 Bud so get your head out of that place where the sun doesn’t shine.
* Oh yeah, there is also this note. I opined on my thoughts on the Phillies stupidly hanging on to the belief that the ninth inning answer for the club right now was Brad Lidge despite the mountain of evidence that said otherwise on May 24th in my piece titled A Change is Needed. Now, a mere two and a half weeks later, the Phillies finally listened. Lidge has been placed on the DL with a knee issue, and into the ninth inning role goes Ryan Madson who has been the vastly superior hurler this season. To read my thoughts on what Madson brings in great depth, read my latest IMPACT REPORT. Bout time Phils.
By Ray Flowers