Los Angeles -Matt Kemp is proving already why the Dodgers have a good case to rate as the top divisional draft in back to back years in 2002 and 2003. Chad Billingsley (who made his MLB debut yesterday) was LA's first pick that year, but they also got Andy LaRoche, Chuck Tiffany (traded for half of Baez,) Brett Dowdy and Russ Mitchell, giving this draft some considerable top-line talent. the draft would have been even better had they signed later round picks Matt Antonelli and Mark Melancon.
Arizona - If Conor Jackson and Carlos Quentin were all that Arizona's 2003 draft had, than they could probably still argue for placing this high. Jackson could become this year's NL ROY if he keeps up his current pace and Quentin's impact will resonate just as deep. Both are likely to be mainstays in the Diamondbacks' lineup for years to come. Yet, the draft has more value on the way in the likes of Matt Chico and Orlando Mercado, and while none of the rest will rise to the level of those first two picks, because of them, Arizona still won't be too far behind in LA in talent drawn from 2003 when all is said and done.
San Francisco - David Aardsma's already contributing on the MLB level and has been for some time now, but the real strength for the 2003 Giants draft is in its late risers. Nate Schierholtz, Craig Whitaker, Marcus Sanders, and Mike Mooney are all creeping up the Giants system and could make this a very deep draft indeed. Add in role contributions from Brian Wilson and Pat Misch, and you can see the reason to be high on this draft.
Colorado - Because Ian Stewart hasn't blossomed as quickly as some of 2003's other draftees for teams in the division, the Rockies draft lags behind some of our peers' right now. Once he does start having the impact we expect, however, the draft should rise above San Fran's and come closer to the level the Diamondbacks are enjoying. Particularly if later round sleepers like Joe Gaetti, EY Jr, Jordan Czarniecki and Ryan Mattheus materialize into anything worthwhile. Of these, EY probably has the best shot at making an impact at the big league level. It's a good thing we have those late round highlights as this really was a comparitively weak draft by our team. The Rockies had a limp follow through to the Stewart pick, as of the top ten selections, only Christian Colonel and Stewart still seem like MLB caliber players.
- San Diego - Weak as it was for us, San Diego's draft is even worse. First round selection Tim Stauffer was a great choice, but he could wind up being the only player from San Diego's draft to make it to the major leagues, and even if any of the other picks do get a cup of coffee, they won't get more than that. When the rest of the division has multiple picks from their drafts entering into the everyday lineups, this group of players comes off looking pretty pathetic.