Redoing the 2001 draft: picks 11-20

2 Comments

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.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to spring training

Getty Images
5 Comments

Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.

Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.

Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.