Wooden's World of Baseball

Saturday, May 31, 2008

First-Year Draft? *Yawn*

As a baseball junkie, most folks might be surprised to learn that I hate the first-year draft. It's true. In fact, I hate all drafts because it's probably the one thing that proves the accusation that sports are simply soap operas for men.

Maybe it's because when you look at the first round of picks from, say, five years ago, you can just as many hits as you do misses. And by that, I mean guys that haven't become established major leaguers. (Sorry, but if you're good enough to be drafted out of high school, you should be good enough to make it up by the age of 23).

But mostly it's because of the hype. Sure, I get it that most of the guys taken in the first round will eventually make the majors to some degree. But in the meantime, I have to live with the suspicion that some guys are put where they're put because of that hype.

Take Ross Detwiler, for example.

Here's his 2008 line in Potomac:
4-2, 5.09 ERA, 46IP, 50H, 2HR, 26BB, 50K

Now compare that to Jhonny Nunez, an NDFA that came to Washington via a trade from the Dodgers. He's about 4 months older, so it's fair to compare them side-by-side:
0-5, 5.10 ERA, 47.2 IP, 54H, 5HR, 9BB 50K

So who's the better pitcher?

Now, compare that to this breezy description of Detwiler from Baseball America:
Just because Detwiler is so slight, don't mistake him for a finesse lefty. He's got outstanding stuff, with four options -- two fastballs (two- and four-seamers), a curve and a changeup. He improved his command considerably during his junior season of college, helping make him a top 10 pick.

After just nine games and 33 1/3 innings in the Minors, Detwiler was rewarded with a callup to Washington and a spot on the 40-man roster. He threw just one inning, but it was a sign that he likely isn't long for the Nats' farm system. While it's unlikely you'll see him in Washington on Opening Day, a 2008 arrival isn't out of the question.

Outstanding one-handed typing. But the evidence does not support this delusion.

But will Ross be demoted to Hagerstown? Nope. Not after failing to get out of the second inning for the second time this season last night. I don't have the time to research this assertion, but I'll bet he's the only pitcher in high-A to have done so without getting demoted or bumped from the rotation.

And that's why I'll never be completely sold on affiliated baseball being better than independent baseball, or that when a player is drafted really matters all that much.


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