16) Billy Traber, LHP, New York Mets (Loyola Marymount)
Polished, college-trained finesse lefty was expected to move rapidly. He hurt his elbow before signing his contract, however, reducing his bonus from over $1.6 million to just $400,000. Has been continually nagged by health problems, though he had an OK year for the Indians in 2003.
17) Ben Diggins, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (University of Arizona)
Hulking monster on the mound with a 96-98 MPH fastball but shaky command and a mixed track record. He continued to have command problems as a pro, lost his fastball, and eventually hurt his shoulder. Lost four out of five starts for the Brewers in 2002.
18) Miguel Negron, OF, Toronto Blue Jays (high school, Caguas, PR)
Toolsy Puerto Rican outfielder was selected for admittedly budgetary reasons: most teams saw him as a third round pick. His minor league track record is undistinguished. If he makes the majors at all, it will be as a reserve.
19) Sean Burnett, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (high school, Wellington, FL)
Polished high school lefty with a mediocre fastball but good action on his pitches, plus an advanced sense of pitching. Did well in the minors, came to the Show and went 5-5 in 13 starts in 2004 before hurting his arm. Still trying to come back from that.
20) Chris Bootcheck, RHP, Anaheim Angels (Auburn University)
Low 90s fastball, cutter, curve, changeup. . .four solid pitches. For some reason, in college the results never quite seemed to match with his talent, and this trend continued in the pros. Appears to have topped out in Triple-A.
21) Boof Bonser, RHP, San Francisco Giants (high school, St. Petersburg, FL)
Somewhat inconsistent early in the minors, but has proven durable and effective overall. Trade to the Twins in the Pierzynski/Liriano deal, he is now getting a chance in the rotation. He doesn't throw as hard as he did in high school, but his breaking stuff is better and he is more of a pitcher now, not just a thrower. Could still have a very good career.
22) Phil Dumatrait, LHP, Boston Red Sox (Bakersfield Junior College)
Lefty with a lower 90s fastball and an excellent curve, his stock was hurt a bit by concerns about the durability of his smallish frame. Indeed, injuries have proven to be a problem for him, and he fell off the prospect charts quickly. Currently pitching well for Double-A Chattanooga in the Reds system, he could still contribute in some role.
23) David Espinosa, SS, Cincinnati Reds (high school, Miami, FL)
Some teams thought he was the best high school hitter in the draft, but his bonus demands and Scott Boras connections scared most clubs away. The Reds gave him a major league contract to sign. He has not played as well as expected, struggling defensively and putting up very erratic offensive numbers. Now an outfielder in the Tigers system, with an outside shot at a bench role someday.
24) Blake Williams, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (Southwest Texas State University)
Got into the first round by boosting his fastball into the mid-90s to go with his fine curve. The velocity didn't last; injuries sapped his heater back into the upper 80s, and his command wasn't good enough to compensate. Now in independent ball.
25) Scott Heard, C, Texas Rangers (high school, San Diego, CA)
An excellent defensive catcher, Heard got into the first round because of his glove, but there were serious questions about his bat and durability. He hit .351 in rookie ball, but fell apart after that. Even his defense proved disappointing. Out of baseball.
26) Corey Smith, SS, Cleveland Indians (high school, Piscataway, NJ)
Compared to Gary Sheffield due to his bat speed and power potential, Smith has been unable to tap his ability, hampered by poor strike zone judgment, problems finding a consistent swing, and defensive inconsistency at third base. He is having a fine season so far in 2006 however, and at age 24 he still has time to put things together and contribute.
27) Robert Stiehl, RHP, Houston Astros (El Camino Junior College)
Stiehl had a mid-90s fastball and a devastating curveball. He was brilliant in his pro debut, but hurt his shoulder in 2001 and hasn't been the same. He lost 3-5 MPH off his fastball, and his command isn't good enough to compensate. Still trying to salvage a career.
28) David Parrish, C, New York Yankees (University of Michigan)
Almost as big a stretch as Miguel Negron in the first round. Most teams saw Parrish as a second round pick at best. Parrish had reasonable defensive skills, and the Yankees thought he could hit like his father Lance did. It didn't happen, and Parrish quickly devolved into an organizational roster-filler.
29) Adam Wainwright, RHP, Atlanta Braves (high school, St. Simons, GA)
Tall, lanky Wainwright fit into Atlanta's pitching development system perfectly, and quickly became a top prospect due to sharp command of his low 90s fastball and decent curve. Traded to the Cardinals, he is having a fine season in relief so far in 2006, but could still end up as a starter eventually. Should have a solid career either way.
30) Scott Thorman, 3B, Atlanta Braves (high school, Cambridge, ON)
Thorman had a promising power bat but shaky defensive skills at third base. He had injury problems, moved to first base, but is currently having a good campaign for Triple-A Richmond. He can still be a contributor.
So, of the 30 players in the first round, we have one guy (Chase Utley) who looks like a star. We have a young pitcher (Adam Wainwright) having a good rookie season so far in 2006. We have Boof Bonser, who is still a fine prospect. We have a few others who still have a chance to have careers at least in a contributing role (Baldelli, Thorman, Smith) and a few others with outside shots for minor roles. We have a very large number of pitching injury casualties, both high school and college. Also note how the players with the worst combinations of hubris and greed did not pan out very well.
Here's hoping that 2006 is better than it looks on the surface.