A while back I took a look at the first round of the 2002 draft and reviewed the picks of each team. With 10 years in the bank, it is fair to look back and judge how everything went for the teams. I would also like to review each team and will do so by division starting with the west. Here are the nine west teams and their 2002 performance.
A look at the 2002 drafts of the West division teams by the numbers.
*player in minors, but played in MLB recently
Played in the majors: 5 (10%)
Combined WAR: 21.1
Best Pick: Howie Kendrick (14.9 WAR) in the 10th round
Still Playing in MLB: Kendrick, Joe Saunders, Kevin Jepsen, Bobby Wilson and Steve Delabar
Comments: They got a first round pick contributed nearly 700 league average innings before (with prospects) turning into Dan Haren. Additionally, they got a late-round gem in Kendrick who has developed into one of the better second basemen in the league save his currently monstrosity of a season (84 OPS+ in 215 PA). Plus there is the faintest outside hope that Jepsen and Wilson could still offer some plus value as they remain on the Angels roster. Delabar is currently with the Mariners.
Played in the majors: 14 (27%)
Combined WAR: 49.8 (artificially inflated by Jonathan Papelbon’s 16.2; they took him in the 40th rd.)
Best Pick: Nick Swisher (14.2 WAR) in the 1st round
Still Playing in MLB: Swisher, Papelbon, Joe Blanton, Mark Teahen*, John Baker, Jared Burton, Trevor Crowe*, Brad Ziegler
Comments: They had seven picks in the top 39 and two other top 100 picks yet returned just 23.6 WAR on those picks. I realize baseball prospecting is difficult, but for a team that was supposed to be on the cutting edge of scouting and analysis, that is not good. There were five others guys in rounds two through four who netted 20+ WAR and they had so many cracks at those guys.
I would’ve given them a D, but Swisher netted Gio Gonzalez, Ryan Sweeney and Fautino de los Santos (who is still with them). Gonzalez turned into a host of talent this past offseason while Sweeney was part of the deal that brought Josh Reddick and minor leaguers Miles Head and Raul Alcantara. The former has a 1.074 OPS in High-A. So ostensibly they are still adding to the WAR total delivered from this draft even with Swish and Blanton (and even Gio) long gone.
Played in the majors: 6 (12%)
Combined WAR: 7.0 (6.0 of which came from guys they didn’t sign)
Best Pick: Bryan LaHair (0.7 WAR, but -0.5 for Seattle) in the 39th round
Still Playing in MLB: John Mayberry Jr. (didn’t sign), Gaby Sanchez (didn’t sign), Travis Buck (didn’t sign)
Comments: They got 166 plate appearances out of the 2002 draft. That’s it. LaHair gave them 150 (w/a .661 OPS) while some guy name T.J. Bohn (30th round) gave them another 16 of .607 OPS. Their first five picks were all high schoolers before they took a JuCo guys, followed by a Cuban and then two more high schoolers and another JuCo guy. They didn’t take a four year collegian until the 11th round. Not sure what that means, just pointing it. This was a bad, bad draft.
Played in the majors: 4 (8%)
Combined WAR: 0.1 (not a misprint)
Best Pick: Get real
Still Playing in MLB: Kameron Loe and Jesse Chavez
Grade: What is worse than F? Q-
Comments: Holy hell. I originally gave the Mariners an F- until I saw the Rangers draft. This is what happens when you don’t pick in rounds two through five. That’s because they signed Chan Ho Park, Juan Gonzalez, Todd Van Poppel and Jay Powell. Those guys delivered a whopping 0.6 WAR to the Rangers. That was the re-signing of JuanGone as he of course delivered 27.5 WAR from 1989 to 1999. Why did they wait three more years to hire Jon Daniels as their GM? The 2003 draft delivered John Danks, Ian Kinsler and Scott Feldman, but 2004 was another shitshow.
Played in the majors: 5 (10%)
Combined WAR: 4.2
Best Pick: Chris Snyder (4.0 WAR) in the 2nd round
Still Playing in MLB: Snyder and Sergio Santos
Notable Picks: Dustin Nippert (2-time top 100 prospect), Lance Cormier and Brian Barden
Comments: One pick after the sixth round (Nippert) made the majors for this draft. Santos, originally drafted as a shortstop, was traded with Troy Glaus to Toronto for Orlando Hudson and Miguel Batista which netted the D’Backs 11.6 WAR going forward. That saved them from a D grade. The Blue Jays have clearly coveted Santos for some time as they traded for him twice.
Played in the majors: 11 (21%)
Combined WAR: 25.1
Best Pick: Jeff Francis (8.6 WAR) in the 1st round
Still Playing in MLB: Francis, Micah Owings (didn’t sign as 2nd rounder, went in the 3rd round three years later), Matt Garza (didn’t sign), Jeff Baker, Ryan Spilborghs, Ryan Mattheus and Drew Sutton (didn’t sign)
Notable Picks: Ryan Shealy
Comments: Strong 1st round pick and some decent fringe players that were basically league average (Spilborghs and Baker) for about 1100 games. Baker turned into Al Alburquerque which would have been a coup as he was great in his pro debut, but it was with the Tigers. Garza was a 40th round gamble out of high school, but stuck with his commitment to Fresno State and became a 1st round pick for Minnesota three years later.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Played in the majors: 9 (17%)
Combined WAR: 37.6
Best Pick: Russell Martin (18.1 WAR) in the 17th round
Still Playing in MLB: Martin, James Loney, Jonathan Broxton, James McDonald, Eric Stults, Robert Ray, Doug Mathis* (didn’t sign), Luke Hochevar (didn’t sign)
Notable Picks: Delwyn Young, Greg Miller (#8 prospect in 2004)
Comments: Solid 1st rounder in Loney, plus another hit in the 2nd round with Broxton and then their best pick 15 rounds later. Not to mention the fact that McDonald and Stults were picked in the 11th and 15th rounds and they are still contributing in the majors, although not with the Dodgers. They should’ve been more patient with McDonald, but they still get credit for the pick. While not a draft or prospect maven, I feel like four impact players and another contributor in Stults is an excellent return.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
Played in the majors: 7 (14%)
Combined WAR: 7.9
Best Pick: Khalil Greene (7.4 WAR) in the 1st round
Still Playing in MLB: George Kottaras, Paul McAnulty, Lance Pendleton, Andy LaRoche (didn’t sign), Jared Wells*,
Comments: After Greene, the 2nd through 11th rounders didn’t even make the majors and when you consider that McAnulty (12th) and Pendelton (13th) have been negative contributors as major leaguers, there was no positive value from the 2nd round until Kottaras in the 20th round. LaRoche was taken in the 21st round, but stuck around at his JuCo for another year and ended up going in the 39th round of the 2003 draft to the Dodgers.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Played in the majors: 9 (18%)
Combined WAR: 38.3
Best Pick: Matt Cain (27.6 WAR) in the 1st round
Still Playing in MLB: Cain, Fred Lewis*, Kevin Correia, Clay Hensley, Travis Ishikawa, Alex Hinshaw* and Matt Palmer*
Notable Picks: Daniel Ortmeier
Comments: When you get a star, the draft is a success. And it’s a resounding success when you supplement that star with a handful of contributors as the Giants did here. All of their top four picks (Cain, Lewis, Ortmeier, Correia) made the majors. Most of Hensley’s positive value came elsewhere, but now, at age 32, he’s dealing out of the Giants’ bullpen with a sub-2.00 ERA. Sharp draft here for the Giants.