One of the things Purple Row has always followed closely has been the amateur draft in June. It will be no different in 2009.
The Colorado Rockies return to the top half of the draft in 2009, after picking 25th in 2008. The Rockies would have had the 10th pick in the draft, but the Nationals failed to sign their first-round pick, RHP Aaron Crow. As a result, the Nationals obtained a second first-round pick. That 2009 pick is slotted right after his 2008 selection. He was ninth overall, so the Nationals have the 10th pick in 2009 (as well as the first overall pick).
Now, let's look at how the 11th overall pick has fared since the start of the decade. As I wrote in last year's look at the 25th pick, this review is not meant to determine how the Rockies' selection will pan out. It can, however, help us see how other teams approached this slot.
College - 4
High School - 5
2000 - Dave Krynzel, Brewers, OF, High School - Dave Krynzel was at one point the center fielder of the future for the Brewers--it didn't prove true. He did well all the way through Double A, though a second half slump occurred at that level in 2003. He stayed at the Triple-A level in 2004 and 2005, but saw time with the Brewers in both years. During the 2006 offseason, Krynzel was involved in a six-player deal with the D'Backs. He hasn't seen the majors since 2005 and played in only 4 games for Tucson in 2008 before being released.
2001 - Kenny Baugh, Tigers, RHP, Rice - Beware Wayne Graham-coached pitchers. Wayne Graham is the head coach for the Rice University Owls and if you look at the track record of pitchers drafted during his tenure there, you'll see that many of his pitchers wind up having surgery. Baugh is one of those guys. Baugh actually pitched quite well that summer in low-A and Double-A ball. He quite possibly could have seen Detroit that same year, but in August he had shoulder problems. He missed all of 2002 before returning in 2003. Though he pitched well enough, his stuff was never like it was before the surgery. Baugh was shipped to the Padres during the '05-'06 offseason, and he never pitched for them after injuring his shoulder. Baugh moved to the Marlins' organization in 2007 and spent the end of May to the end of July moslty in the bullpen.
2002 - Jeremy Hermida, Marlins, OF, High School - Right now, Hermida stands as the most successful 11th overall pick from this decade. 2008 was a bit of a letdown for Hermida after his 2007. He had a 3.3 VORP in 2008, down from his 27.3 VORP the previous year. His EqA went down to .256 (slightly below average) from .300 in 2007. The Marlins have already started to look for suitors.
2003 - Michael Aubrey, Indians, 1B, Tulane - Aubrey made his major league debut in 2008 (15 games over two stints). His lack of power for a first baseman (48 in six seasons, 15 his season best) has held him back, but if given playing time he'd likely be an average first baseman.
2004 - Neil Walker, Pirates, C, High School - Walker would play well at one level and then receive a promotion. He would struggle at the new level, return there the next season, and then receive a promotion. You should know what happens next. Walker has since moved to third base. Repeating Triple A in 2008, Walker had a .684 OPS, but did have 16 homers. The Pirates drafted Vanderbilt's Pedro Alvarez back in June.
2005 - Andrew McCutchen, Pirates, OF, High School - McCutchen is on the verge of playing in Pittsburgh--if that's a good thing. He's steadily advanced up the ladder, spending all of 2008 in Triple A. As a 21-year-old, he hit .283/.372/.398. McCutchen, who plays center field, has speed, stealing 34 bases in 2008. He did, however, get thrown out 19 times.
2006 - Max Scherzer, Diamondbacks, RHP, MIssouri - Hey, we know this guy with heterochromia. He's going to be a good 'un.
2007 - Phillipe Aumont, Mariners, RHP, Canada/High School - Aumont should stay a starter as long as he can, but he did spend time as a reliever in 2008. Aumont is a very raw product, and Mariners fans will need to be patient with him.
2008 - Justin Smoak, Rangers, 1B, South Carolina - Smoak hit .383 with 23 homers for the Gamecocks in 2008 before being drafted by the Rangers. He played in 14 games after signing and should move fairly quickly, being one of the more polished hitters in the draft.
Hermida and Scherzer have had the most success. I'll predict that McCutchen and Smoak will join those two as proven major leaguers in the future. Aumont is too far away from making any predictions yet, and Walker, while added to the 40-man roster in November, will have to move off of third for Alvarez or move to another team if he hopes to play in the majors. Even then, it's not a good bet to make that he'll be a successful major leaguer.
Thoughts? Questions? Comments? What should future installments be?