Sunday, March 6, 2011

Season 1 Draft Grades - NL South

Atlanta Braves
Picking at the end of the first round didn’t stop ATL from adding a starting pitcher with legit ML talent to its system. Akinori Zhang should develop into a solid starting pitcher who can eat innings and give his club a chance to win on most nights he pitches. Pablo Johnson was also a very nice find in round 4. The reality is that it’s basically impossible to find a projected ace or MVP candidate from where ATL drafted, and they did about as good as could be expected in their draft. Nice job.
Overall Grade: B+
Best Pick: Akinori Zhang – 1st Round

Florida Marlins
Florida got a grab bag of players in its draft. None are elite, and with the #11 pick you would hope that pick would be, but they did get players with projected ML ability, and not all clubs were able to do that. At #11, FLA picked up Carl Marte, and if he reaches his projections he should be a solid every day ML shortstop. That kind of player has value, but again at #11 I would think ownership was hoping for a bit more. Not a bad draft, but there’s just no wow factor to it either.
Overall Grade: C+
Best Pick: Carl Marte – 1st round

Houston Astros
I wouldn’t call Ignacio Polanco and ace, but with the potential to have an absolutely devastating fastball and the makeup to come really close to his projections I would be surprised if he doesn’t go on to have a long and very nice career. He should move quickly, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pitching in HOU in a couple of seasons. Ajax Wallace (round 2) will probably be playing in the Majors someday too. A good, solid draft for Houston.
Overall Grade: B-
Best Pick: Ignacio Polanco – 1st round

St. Louis Cardinals
With four picks in the first 70, I’m a little surprised STL wasn’t able to find better talent to fill their system. That being said, the players they did get were solid, if not spectacular. There’s a good chance that 2nd rounder Keith Relaford develops into a solid platoon/utility player and his baserunning smarts, defense, and ability to do ok against lefties should allow him to make the big leagues some day. 1st rounder Mark Prince doesn’t have great splits, but dude throws real hard and has a real heavy sinker he backs up with a plus changeup. Put a good defense behind him and he may be able to find some success at the ML level.
Overall Grade: C+
Best Pick: Mark Prince – 2nd round

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