The 2000 First Round


Not a good investment

The Really Horrible 2000 First Round

We will begin our draft coverage this year with a look at the 2000 first round. Experts say that the top of the 2006 class is the weakest since 2000. But exactly how weak was 2000? Let's find out.

1) Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Florida Marlins (high school, Chula Vista, CA)
    Top pick in the draft, though at least partially because of signability. Considered to be a smooth and polished hitter with an excellent glove, but there were questions about how much power he would develop. Although he was said to have good makeup on draft day, he quickly gained a reputation within the Marlins system as something of a prima donna. Doubts about his power proved true, and he seems destined to be a journeyman.

2) Adam Johnson, RHP, Minnesota Twins (Cal State Fullerton)
    Good combination of stuff and command, low-90s fastball, excellent slider. Expected to move quickly, he did well in the lower minors but did not adjust well to the majors. He threw a tantrum when he didn't make the major league roster in 2002, ending any patience the organization had with him. He lost the touch on his slider, lost his command, and is now hanging around in the Oakland system, getting pounded.

3) Luis Montanez, SS, Chicago Cubs (high school, Miami, FL)
     Athletic shortstop with good offensive and defensive reputation in high school. Hit .344 in rookie ball, but had nagging injuries, then fell apart both offensively and defensively. Now trying to rebuild his career as an outfielder, was hitting .369 in Double-A before his recent promotion to Triple-A. Still has a chance to contribute.

4) Mike Stodolka, LHP, Kansas City Royals (high school, Corona, CA)
    Low 90s fastball, good curveball, good changeup, good command made him an attractive proposition to budget-minded Royals. Stodolka's fastball dipped down to 85 MPH as a pro, he lost his command, then hurt his arm. Now a first baseman and hitting well in the California League. He was a top hitter in high school and it is not impossible that he could still have a career.

5) Justin Wayne, RHP, Montreal Expos (Stanford)
    Average fastball, but excellent curve, good slider, solid changeup, and top-notch command made him the most advanced college pitcher in the draft and very close to the majors. Did well at first, but had problems adjusting to major league competition, lost zip on his fastball, and eventually lost command of his curve as well. This seems to happen to a lot of top-notch Stanford pitchers. . .they seem to peak very early.

6) Rocco Baldelli, OF, Tampa Bay Devil Rays (high school, Warwick, RI)
    Terrific athlete, possibly the best in the draft. He blossomed quickly, did well in the majors at first, until being hampered by injuries and poor strike zone judgment. Outlook very uncertain now.

7) Matt Harrington, RHP, Colorado Rockies (high school, Palmdale, CA)
    Refused to sign with the Rockies after disastrous and controversial negotiations. Was rated as the top high school arm in the draft by most experts. Harrington's refusal to sign turned out to be one of the biggest player blunders in baseball history, as injuries and control problems progressively reduced his bargaining power in subsequent drafts. Case study in the dangers of greed.

8) Matt Wheatland, RHP, Detroit Tigers (high school, San Diego, CA)
     Tigers liked him due to command of his low 90s power sinker, slider, and good control. Career ruined by injuries.

9) Mark Phillips, LHP, San Diego Padres (high school, Hanover, PA)
     92-94 MPH fastball and big-breaking curve made him very attractive. His control was erratic, but the Padres thought they could polish him up. It didn't happen. His control got worse, not better. Phillips also showed a poor work ethic, gained too much weight, and faded quickly when his fastball lost zip. I hope he invested his bonus money wisely.

10) Joe Torres, LHP, Anaheim Angels (high school, Gateway, FL)
     Thin lefty with 92-95 MPH fastball and excellent breaking ball dominated older competition in the Northwest League after signing, emerging as a top prospect quickly. But he was soon dogged by persistent elbow and shoulder problems. Healthy again by 2005, he has been unable to regain his command. Still has good stuff, but has lost confidence and the ability to locate his pitches in the strike zone.

11) Dave Krynzel, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (high school, Henderson, NV)
      Speedy outfielder with gap power was compared to Johnny Damon. But Krynzel has been unable to develop a consistent approach at the plate, and appears to have topped out in Triple-A. He has a good glove and might fit on a bench somewhere, but all hopes of stardom have died.

12) Joe Borchard, OF, Chicago White Sox (Stanford)
     The Sox spent $5.3 million to keep him away from football. Some people compared him to a switch-hitting Mark McGwire with more defensive value. Alas, Borchard has been unable to control the strike zone. His vulnerability to breaking pitches was evident in college, but the Sox felt this could be overcome with more experience. They were wrong.

13) Shaun Boyd, OF-2B, St. Louis Cardinals (high school, Oceanside, CA)
     Speedy athletic outfielder was expected to hit for average and be an effective leadoff man. But he didn't develop enough power to be an outfielder, and wasn't reliable enough to play second base on a consistent basis. He also had a lot of problems with injuries hampering his development.

14) Beau Hale, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (University of Texas)
      His fastball hit 97 MPH in college. He also had a good slider and a hard-nosed attitude. . .scouts felt he could be a very successful closer. But he blew out his elbow, lost most of his fastball, and is still trying to rebuild his career. He is actually pitching effectively this year and was recently promoted to Double-A. He still has a chance to contribute.

15) Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies (UCLA)
      Considered a complete hitter, though with questions about his glovework. It took him a few years to get completely on track defensively, and for a time it looked like his bat might stagnate, but he had a big breakout season in 2005 and is off to a good start this year. Best player taken in the first round.

We will get the second 15 players later today.

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