Chris Young

Redoing the 2001 draft: picks 11-20

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I’m redoing round one of the 2001 draft, pick by pick.  If you missed part one Wednesday, click here.

11. Detroit Tigers
Actual: Kenny Baugh
Redo: Gavin Floyd (4th pick, Phillies)

After an impressive debut in 2001, Baugh suffered a torn labrum and missed the 2002 season. His stuff failed to come all of the way back, and he finally gave up after a stint in indy ball in 2009. In his place comes Floyd, a late bloomer who wouldn’t have made a difference in the Tigers’ 2006 postseason run, but who is on his way to a fourth straight season as an above average starter.

12. Milwaukee Brewers
Actual: Mike Jones
Redo: Chris Young (493rd pick, White Sox)

Jones, who spent his entire 10 years career in the Brewers organization without ever reaching the majors, underwent two shoulder procedures and Tommy John surgery before announcing his retirement in February. Taking over for him and filling what’s been a pretty big hole for Milwaukee in center field is Young. The Brewers did get two nice years from Mike Cameron in 2008-09, but they relied on Brady Clark and Bill Hall the two previous years and Carlos Gomez last season.

13. Anaheim Angels
Actual: Casey Kotchman
Redo: Geovany Soto (318th pick, Cubs)

I was high on the Kotchman pick at the time, and it worked out just fine, considering that he was a solid regular in 2007 and ’08 and then was turned into Teixeira in a 2009 trade with the Braves. Still, I’ll make a change here. While I’m not convinced the Angels really needed a catcher — they always did just fine with Mike Napoli behind the plate — Soto’s presence may well have spared us the Jeff Mathis era. Mathis was the Angels’ supplemental first-round pick this year, going 33rd overall.

14. San Diego Padres
Actual: Jake Gautreau
Redo: Jeremy Bonderman (26th pick, Athletics)

Gautreau was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2002, and whether that had much to do it with it or not, he never fulfilled his potential. He was last seen playing indy ball in 2008. Bonderman is done now, but he could have been of real use to those 2005-08 Padres teams that went to the postseason twice and missed by one game another year. He had his best season in 2006, going 14-8 with a 4.08 ERA and then 1-0 with a 3.10 ERA in three postseason starts for Detroit. Had he been a part of San Diego’s rotation, perhaps the team wouldn’t have lost in the NLDS.

15. Toronto Blue Jays
Actual: Gabe Gross
Redo: Edwin Jackson (190th pick, Dodgers)

Gross turned into a useful role player for a few years, but only after Toronto traded him to Milwaukee as part of the Lyle Overbay deal. With no shortstop worth mentioning from 2005-08, the Blue Jays really could have used J.J. Hardy. But he didn’t fall, and the other shortstop possibility here, Jason Bartlett, had his one great season in 2009, which is what Marco Scutaro had a career year for Toronto. As a result, I’m simply giving the Jays the best available pitcher. Jackson still hasn’t developed into a consistent force eight years after debuting in the majors, but he has his moments.

16. Chicago White Sox
Actual: Kris Honel
Redo: Brandon League (59th pick, Blue Jays)

Honel was still looking like a strong prospect a couple of years after getting drafted, but he hurt elbow in 2004 and underwent Tommy John surgery. Unfortunately, while his stuff mostly came back afterwards, his command went from average from terrible. Getting nothing from their 2001 first-rounder didn’t stop the White Sox from winning the World Series in 2005, and I’m not seeing anyone left on the board who would have made a real difference for the club when it lost in the ALDS in 2008. So, I decided to focus strictly on who would be helping the team most right at this moment, and the answer would seem to be League, who just made the All-Star team as Seattle’s closer.

17. Cleveland Indians
Actual: Dan Denham
Redo: Luke Scott (277th pick, Indians)

The Indians took Denham and J.D. Martin with their two compensation picks for losing Manny Ramirez to the Red Sox. Only Martin eventually reached the majors, doing so with the Nationals in 2009. In Denham’s place, the Indians get Scott, their ninth-round pick whom they traded away to the Astros for Jeriome Robertson in 2004. As it was, the Indians never realized what they had in him. However, Scott could have helped plenty during a 2007 season in which the team got a .718 OPS from its left fielders and a .760 OPS from its right fielders. That was the year they lost to the Red Sox in the ALCS, and Scott had a nice .855 OPS with 18 homers and 64 RBI in 369 at-bats for Houston.

18. New York Mets
Actual: Aaron Heilman
Redo: Ricky Nolasco (108th pick, Cubs)

The Mets lost the NLCS in 2006 and then missed the postseason by a game in 2007 and ’08, so that would be the reasonable place to look for help. But, since we’re redoing the whole draft, the Mets don’t have David Wright and probably wouldn’t have had such strong records those seasons anyway. Based on that logic, I changed my mind about keeping Heilman here. Nolasco is 28 now and still has just one above average season under his belt, but there’s still hope that he’ll improve.

19. Baltimore Orioles
Actual: Mike Fontenot
Redo: Jason Bartlett (390th pick, Padres)

This is the first of two picks Baltimore received after Mike Mussina signed with the Yankees. After bypassing J.J. Hardy to give C.J. Wilson to the Orioles with the seventh pick, I am supplying Baltimore with a shortstop here. Bartlett won’t ever have another year like his 2009, when he hit .320/.389/.490 and went to the All-Star Game for the Rays, but he’s a solid regular and he would have been a big upgrade over Juan Castro in 2008 and Cesar Izturis in 2009 and ’10.

20. Cincinnati Reds
Actual: Jeremy Sowers
Redo: Jason Hammel (559th pick, Rays)

Many speculated that the Reds had no intention of signing Sowers after using the 20th pick on him. He ended up going to Vanderbilt and getting taken sixth overall by the Indians three years later. In his place comes Hammel. The right-hander failed to develop in Tampa Bay, but he’s on his way to a third straight solid season as a member of Colorado’s rotation. I also considered another Tampa Bay product instead: Jonny Gomes, who drove in 86 runs for the Reds when they won the NL Central last year.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.

Max Scherzer still can’t throw fastballs

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals works against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.

The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.

Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.