I've decided to do a look back at the season 20 draft for our league. Since it's season 26 now, the players from that draft should have reached their potential and have begun to make impacts in the majors by now. I think this will allow me to give official grades on the players taken.
Top 10 Draft Picks
1. New York Damage Controllers- Gus Justice/RF- A
Justice has had a great impact for this franchise to open his career. In each of his first 3 seasons he's hit 20+ homers(29,38,45), 100 RBI, 100 Runs scored and stole 20+ bases. Last season he joined the 40/40 club with career highs of 45 homers and 46 steals. His batting average is a bit low and has declined in each season with .271, .264 and .244, but he still gets on base at a good clip. He certainly has Hall of Fame potential.
2. Vancouver Canucks- Malik Sele/SP- B-
The B- grade for Sele is due to where he was picked. He's been a good player, but he's not putting up the numbers like he should be for where he was picked. He does have 3 winning seasons to open his career and also has put up 200 innings in 2 of his 3 seasons. What brings his grade down is that his ERA hasn't been very good. He started his career with a 3.18, but then followed that up with a 4.68 and 4.32. He is still a solid top to middle rotation type pitcher that should have a long career, but I'm not sure he'll ever achieve being a true shut down ace.
3. Helena Copper Kings- Jim Hawpe/2B- B+
Hawpe already has 4 seasons logged in the majors after an early promotion for him. I really like what he's done to this point in his career. He's put up three 20+ homer seasons and has 40+ doubles in each of the past 3 seasons. He's also stolen 130 bases up to this point in his career and is a .279 hitter with a .350 obp. I'm not quite sure he can be a Hall of Famer, but he should make many all star games in his career.
4. Fargo Wood Chippers- Mike Franklin/RP- C
Franklin signed for the highest bonus in this draft, but hasn't put up the numbers to earn it. After spending just half of a season in rookie ball, Franklin made his major league debut the following season. He's been on a major league roster longer than anyone in this draft. He also only spent two seasons with the team that drafted him before being sent to his current team in San Juan. While he's been putting up a lot of innings with 141.2 and 131.2 over the past 2 seasons, his ERA has been pretty high as well. A career 4.40 ERA isn't just the result of bad luck because his 1.43 WHIP isn't very good either. The only thing keeping his grade up is that he eats up innings and still has the potential to turn things around.
5. Colorado Springs Night Watchmen- Keith Williamson/3B- A
Williamson is in just his third season in the majors, but his first two have been great. He won rookie of the year in season 24 with 42 homers, 110 RBI, 93 runs while hitting a .280 with a .328 obp. He followed that up with 36 homers, 104 RBI, 98 runs and a .271 average and .331 obp. At pick 5 Williamson was a steal. I could see him having a great career that could possibly get him into the Hall of Fame. At worst he'll be a multiple time all star and make a run at a few MVP awards.
6. Fresno Regulators- Ramiro Contreras/3B- B
Contreras never played a game in the majors for the team that drafted him, but he has three full seasons with the team he was traded to, Jacksonville Juice. In his 3 seasons, he's really only had one real succesful season and that was season 24, in which he won the All Star game MVP. He has shown marginal power with 14, 17 and 12. He does score runs with 73, 117 and 92. In season 24 he hit 50 doubles but his next best is just 25. His biggest threat is his feet. He has 124 steals and just 37 times caught. He's also a .267 hitter with a .330 obp. Both are solid numbers that are brought down by his rookie season totals. I really like Contreras and think he'll be around for a while although he's not a dominant player and should only see a few all star games.
7. New Orleans Zephyrs- Howie Osborne/CF- C+
Osborne is only in his second season in the majors right now. In his rookie season he hit 32 homers, 86 RBI, 96 runs, stole 19 bases but hit just a .236 with a .317 obp. He does have some good power and speed, but he'll never hit for a good average. He should have a solid career, but I don't see him as an all star although he may make a couple all star games. Depending on the rest of the first round, this may have been a reach at this pick.
8. Albuquerque Komodo Dragons- Ross Merritt/SP- D
Either the draft has taken a big dropoff at this point or this was just a bad pick. Merritt is a control pitcher that can eat up some innings, but he's had no success at this point in his career. Last season was his third in the league and he went 3-20 with a 6.02 ERA. He struggles with right handers and unfortunately for him, that is a big percentage of the hitters in the league. He's young enough that he could still have a solid career, but at this point it's tough to see that happening for him.
9. Oklahoma City Prairie Dogs- Milt Leary/ RP- C
Leary has been in the league for a couple of seasons and he's been an adequate reliever for the team. He's pitched just 63 games over 2 seasons though and just 117.1 innings. He did have a 2.88 ERA as a rookie, but it dropped to 4.11 last season. He's a solid pitcher, but at pick 9 you'd like to get more impact than what he's given them.
10. Houston Roughnecks- Louie Dorsey/ SP- B+
I'll admit, I gave Dorsey a grade bump due to the picks in front of him. He's on his third team and second in the majors. In his rookie season he was a reliever for Fargo and pitched 39 games with a 3.95 ERA. Then he was traded to Rochester and he's pitched 2 seasons as a really good starter for them. He went 12-6 in season 24 with a 2.86 ERA. He followed that up with a 16-8 record and 215.2 innings pitched with a 3.55 ERA. Dorsey has had a pretty good career so far and if he continues to pitch like this he should see a few all star games in his career.
Other 1st Round Standouts
14. Boston Pilgrims- Hades Phillips/RP- A
Phillips wasted no time making an impact in the majors. In season 22 he cracked the big league roster and went on to save 43 games with a 3.23 ERA. In season 24 he had a 1.53 ERA in 45 games while saving 25 games. In season 25 he was an all star and saved 37 games with a 2.33 ERA. He has been a dominant reliever since entering the majors and should continue to be for quite a while. He was a steal with this pick.
15. San Juan Pollos Hermanos- John Davidson/LF- B+
San Juan wasted no time making Davidson a regular on this team. In season 23 he became a full time player for them and had a really nice rookie campaign. He hit 32 homers, 33 doubles, 83 RBI, 92 runs, 22 steals with a .269 average and .335 obp. He followed that up with an even better season 24. He hit 36 homers, 33 doubles, 97 RBI, 116 runs, 25 steals and a .279 average and .358 obp. Davidson is going to be a star in this league for quite some time and should earn a few trips to the All star game.
16. Cincinnati Firestorm- Nolan Bourn/SS- B
It's rare to find a player that has the hitting abilities that Bourn has to go with the fielding abilities to play shortstop. Fortunately for Vancouver they were able to land Bourn in a trade in season 21. In his first 2 seasons Bourn has put up some pretty impressive numbers. His rookie season he hit 32 homers, 86 RBI, 67 runs and a .272 average with a .331 obp. Last season he hit 42 homers, 103 RBI, 88 runs while hitting a .249 and .300 obp. The on base numbers were down, but the power numbers were really good. He should be a regular all star.
17. Salem Volcanoes- Rafael Vincente/RF- B
Vincente has wasted no time making himself the centerpiece of the Volcanoes offense. With 3 straight 30 homer seasons(35,36, 33) he has established himself as a great middle of the order hitter. He's also driven in 90 runs, 101 runs and 97 while scoring 94, 83 and 111. In his rookie season he hit .295 with a .349 obp and he's had trouble matching that but is still a career .275 hitter with a .330 obp. Vincente should make plenty of all star games in his career.
39. St. Louis Arch Angels- Sam Goulet/DH-B-
Goulet was acquired by Rochester in season 22 in a trade with St Louis. He's been a really good hitter ever since. In half a season in season 23 he hit 8 homers while hitting a .367 with a .425 obp. He followed that up with a full season while hitting 21 homers, 82 RBI, 98 runs, 19 steals and a .292 average with a .363 obp. In season 25 he hit 18 homers, 64 RBI, 99 runs, 13 steals, .290 average and .367 obp. Goulet may not be an all star, but he's already proven himself to be a well rounded hitter that can get on base a lot.
2nd Round Steals
79. Rochester Retards- Phil Shibata/RF- B+
Shibata has found himself as a key piece in the offense for Dover. After being traded to Tampa Shibata found a role in the starting lineup. In season 23 he hit 34 homers and drove in 100 runs with a .301 average and .360 obp. He's followed that up with 25 and 28 homers and 75 and 96 RBI. He's been a .279 career hitter with a .344 obp. Not bad considering 78 other players were taken before him.
99. Jackson Juggernauts- Vic Romero/1B- C+
As a part time starter, Romero has been putting up some impressive numbers. In two seasons he has hit 16 homers and 26 homers in just 255 at bats and 280 at bats. He's also hit for a career .291 average with a .364 obp. If he was more than a part time player, he could have a much higher grade.
Round 3-10 Surprises
256. Durham Doormats- Teddy Warden/RP- C
At pick 256, Warden has far surpassed expectations. After being taken in the rule V draft by Texas last season, he went on to pitch in 78 games with a 1.07 WHIP and 3.20 ERA. He may not be an all star, but he's a more than average player especially for the 7th round of the draft.
400. Rochester Retards- Albert Goldber/C- B
I'm shocked that this guy fell this far in the draft. In season 24 he was selected by Scranton in the Rule V draft and instantly became an impact bat for them. He hit 24 homers, drove in 60 runs and scored 60 while hitting a .299 with a .393 obp. He followed that up with 29 homers, 72 RBI, 60 runs and .267 average and .332 obp. Goldberg has the bat to make a few all star games. It was a nice find by Rochester this late, but too bad they let him go to Scranton.
This is my round up of the season 20 draft. There was a nice run in the middle of the first round that outshines some of the top 10 picks by quite a bit. There were even a few really nice surprises after the first round in this draft. Throw in a couple players that could be future Hall of Famers and this was a pretty good draft for Pine Tar as a whole.