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NL Draft Reports

By Josh Boyd
May 16, 2003

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Scouting Director: Mike Rizzo

Players who have reached the major leagues: RHP Brandon Webb (5) made a successful debut in April when Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson went on the DL.

First pick: RHP Mike Schultz (2). The Diamondbacks lost their first-rounder for signing Russ Springer and have not gotten an inning out of the injury-plagued Schultz in the last two years. He logged 25 innings in 2000.

Best late-round pick: RHP Brian Bruney (12). The Diamondbacks' best picks in Rizzo's first draft were made in the middle rounds, including Webb, SS Tim Olson (7), Bruney and draft-and-follow 1B/OF Jesus Cota (14). Drafted out of a rural Oregon high school, Bruney is rising through the system on the strength of a fastball that approaches 100 mph.

The one who got away: OF Andrew Wishy (47). A junior at Arkansas, Wishy is rated as the top college prospect in that state for this year's draft.

Biggest disappointment: Schultz. A torn labrum sidelined the 6-foot-7 righthander, who hit the mid-90s in college, for all of the 2001 season and a second shoulder surgery ended his 2002 season before it began. A shoulder injury also limited LHP Bill White (3) 28 innings into last season.

Interesting developments since 2000: C Brad Cresse (5) hit 18 home runs in a half season after signing in 2000 and was expected to blitz through the system as the Diamondbacks catcher of the future. He had just 19 homers in his next 795 at-bats.

Grade/Assessment: This draft marked a shift in philosophy after Rizzo's predecessor Don Mitchell showed his Braves roots with high-risk, high school picks. Though Rizzo selected nine college players in his first 10 picks, the first two high school prospects he drafted--OF Josh Kroeger (4) and Bruney--have helped to bolster the system's depth.

Depth: C+. Impact C.

ATLANTA BRAVES

Scouting Director: Roy Clark

Players who have reached the major leagues: RHP Trey Hodges (17). The Braves first nine picks were from high school and the took just seven college players in the first 20 rounds, including Hodges, who was the outstanding player at the 2000 College World Series for champion Louisiana State.

First pick: RHP Adam Wainwright (1). Some teams were scared off before the draft by Wainwright's medical reports, but he has led the organization in strikeouts in each of the last two years, and he overtook Wilson Betemit for the No. 1 spot on the system's prospect list after going 9-6, 3.31 for Class A Myrtle Beach last year.

Best late-round pick: 1B Adam LaRoche (29) established himself as a legitimate prospect, and a possible long-term answer at first base in Atlanta, by hitting .317-13-72 in 2002 at Double-A Greenville and high Class A Myrtle Beach.

Biggest disappointment: 2B Aaron Herr (1), the son of former all-star Tommy Herr, is the only one of the Braves' top eight picks who hasn't cracked the organization's top 30 prospects list. Now at Myrtle Beach, Herr entered this season with a career .240 average.

The one who got away: Projected as a third- to fifth-rounder out of high school, OF Anthony Gwynn slipped to the Braves in the 33rd round as teams didn't think they could buy him away from San Diego State, where his dad later became the head coach. Three years later, Gwynn is projected to go in the second or third round, and he should sign this time. Oklahoma State LHP Shane Hawk (41) is also a potential top five round pick in 2003.

Interesting developments since 2000: Unsigned RHP Brian Montalbo (4) was the highest-drafted player ever out of Alaska, but he's had an unspectacular career at California. C Kevin Cust (11), younger brother of Jack Cust, signed with the Braves, only to reclaim his amateur standing and enroll at a Florida junior college.

Grade/Assessment: Armed with six picks in the first two rounds, Clark, another first-year scouting director, kept the Braves' strong drafting tradition alive. Their big draft budget didn't hurt, as they spent $6.815 million on the first eight picks, including a $1.2 million bonus to fourth-rounder RHP Zach Miner.

Depth: A. Impact: A.

CHICAGO CUBS

Scouting Director: Jim Hendry (now general manager)

Players who have reached the major leagues: 2B Bobby Hill (2) turned down a second-round offer from the White Sox in 1999 before heading to the independent Atlantic League, where he hit .326-13-82 with 81 steals. It took the Cubs five more months to sign him the following year.

First pick: SS Luis Montanez (1) was regarded as a high-impact prospect coming out of high school, but hasn't built off his MVP debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League.

Best late-round pick: OF Jason Dubois (14). The Cubs were fortunate to get Dubois back this spring after the Blue Jays selected him in the major league Rule 5 draft in December. He has plus power and a good idea at the plate. They also made astute picks with RHP Jon Leicester (11), a potential power-armed reliever, and LHP Carmen Pignatiello (20), a young Kirk Rueter in the making.

Biggest disappointment: Montanez, the third overall pick, is repeating high Class A Daytona this year and hasn't turned his tools into on-field performance.

The one who got away: Though it took them awhile to get Hill under contract, the Cubs signed their first 15 picks. 3B Chad Corona (16) was the highest unsigned, and he's as a moderate prospect this year out of San Diego State.

Interesting developments since 2000: LHP Dontrelle Willis (8) and C Ryan Jorgensen (7) were dealt to the Marlins before the 2002 season for Matt Clement. Willis has already made it to Florida. Hendry has since been promoted to GM.

Grade/Assessment: Without Montanez asserting himself as a frontline prospect, the Cubs still loaded their system with talent and used their seventh- and eighth-rounders to acquire a No. 3 starter.

Depth: A. Impact: A.

CINCINNATI REDS

Scouting Director: DeJon Watson (now a major league scout for the Indians)

Players who have reached the major leagues: None. Six players opened the season in Double-A, though.

First pick: 2B/OF David Espinosa (1) was drafted as a shortstop and signed a unique eight-year, $2.75 million major league contract with no signing bonus. He was traded to the Tigers last summer as part of a deal for Brian Moehler.

Best late-round pick: OF Stephen Smitherman (23). An impressive physical specimen at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, Smitherman has averaged .301-18-79 in three seasons and was off to a hot start for Double-A Chattanooga.

Biggest disappointment: Espinosa hit .255 in two years at Class A and moved off shortstop before he was dealt to the Tigers. He was regarded as one of the top talents in the draft, and slid to the 23rd pick because of signability concerns.

The one who got away: The Reds let three of their top 10 picks go unsigned, including OF Roydell Williams (5), who went on to play wide receiver at Tulane and should be a premium pick in the NFL in 2004. But the real loss from was RHP Jason Arnold (16), who went back for his final season at Central Florida. A year later he was a second-round pick and now is the No. 5 prospect in the Blue Jays system.

Interesting developments since 2000: The Reds are on their third scouting director since 2000. Watson was reassigned after the draft and replaced by Kasey McKeon, who has since bolted to Colorado to make way for Leland Maddox.

Grade/Assessment: The Reds are yet another club whose top picks haven't lived up to their billing, but they were able to bolster their system with strong middle- to late-round picks. RHP Dustin Moseley (1) has emerged as the gem and could join the Reds rotation by 2004. LHP Ryan Snare (2) was used to help acquire Ryan Dempster from the Marlins last summer.

Depth: B. Impact: B.

COLORADO ROCKIES

Scouting Director: Bill Schmidt

Players who have reached the major leagues: Cory Vance (4) made two appearances for the Rockies last September. RHP Jason Young (2), 3B Garrett Atkins (5) and SS Clint Barmes (10) are pounding on the door in Triple-A.

First pick: RHP Matt Harrington (1). Still unsigned, Harrington has been drafted in each of the succeeding years by the Padres (2nd round, 2001) and Devil Rays (13th round, 2002).

Best late-round pick: OF/1B Brad Hawpe (11) broke out last year in Class A Salem, where he hit .347-22-97.

Biggest disappointment: Harrington. The debacle that took him from top draft prospect to historical footnote is one of the biggest stories in draft history.

The one who got away: Harrington. RHP Bob Zimmerman (14), OF Marcus Townsend (29) and LHP Matt Farnum (44) all will be prominent picks in this year's draft.

Interesting developments since 2000: The Rockies signed LHP Zach Parker (21) as a draft-and-follow out of junior college powerhouse San Jacinto. Parker went 16-7, 4.01 in 2002 and moved into the system's Top 10 Prospects.

Grade/Assessment: After the first round, the Rockies produced prospects with their next four selections, including Young, RHP Chris Buglovsky (3), Vance and Atkins, and made some solid middle-round choices with Barmes, Hawpe and Parker to solidfy their depth.

Depth: B. Impact: C+.

FLORIDA MARLINS

Scouting Director: Al Avila (now Tigers vice president/assistant general manager)

Players who have reached the major leagues: None. 1B Adrian Gonzalez (1) is in Triple-A.

First pick: Drafted with the first overall pick, Gonzalez was locked up with a $3 million predraft deal, while the draft's consensus top talents slid. After hitting .312-17-103 in his full-season debut at low Class A Kane County in 2001, he hit .266-17-96 as a 20-year-old in Double-A last year.

Best late-round pick: C Josh Willingham (17) was drafted as a shortstop out of North Alabama and played third base until switching to catcher last fall in instructional league. The early returns on his catching have been encouraging, and his offensive game continues to blossom.

Biggest disappointment: OF Anthony Brewer (4) hit .198 at Class A Kane County last year, and unless he gets on base he can't take advantage of his best tool: speed.

The one who got away: LHP Daniel Moore (23) went to North Carolina and will be drafted in the top three rounds in June.

Interesting developments since 2000: The Marlins netted first basemen with their first two picks in Gonzalez and 1B Jason Stokes (2). Stokes moved ahead of Gonzalez on the prospect depth chart last season with an outstanding season in the Class A Midwest League, but both have had trouble with wrist injuries. Gonzalez is two levels ahead of Stokes, and one of them is likely to be used as trade bait.

Grade/Assessment: The Marlins surprised everyone by popping Stokes in the second round after taking the conservative route with their first pick. After battling shoulder problems, LHP Rob Henkel (3) broke through last year, then was shipped to the Tigers as part of a three-player package for Mark Redman. This draft was rated the best at the time, and still ranks as one of the strongest three years later.

Depth: A. Impact: A.

HOUSTON ASTROS

Scouting Director: David Lakey

Players who have reached the major leagues: None.

First pick: RHP Robert Stiehl (1), who was drafted with the 27th overall pick despite pitching in only 15 innings in junior college, has been limited to 61 innings in three pro seasons. He missed all of last year following rotator-cuff surgery.

Best late-round pick: OF Todd Self (15) was a senior sign out of Louisiana-Monroe and has hit better than .300 in each of the last two years. He had a career-high 36 doubles and 12 jacks last year.

Biggest disappointment: A converted catcher, Stiehl fit the Troy Percival prototype. The Astros can only hope Stiehl will rebound a la Brad Lidge.

The ones who got away: RHP Bob McCrory (11) and OF Michael Bourn (19). McCrory has attracted big draft draft interest this year at Southern Mississippi by touching 96 mph, while Bourn's draft stock at Houston has suffered after he had the hamate bone removed from his hand.

Interesting developments since 2000: SS Tommy Whiteman (6) has been a pleasant surprise with his broad base of skills, especially his production at the plate.

Grade/Assessment: This draft didn't generate much depth as the Astros went after pitching and college prospects. RHPs Chad Qualls (2) and Anthony Pluta (3) have figured prominently in the system's prospect rankings, though Pluta has struggled with his consistency. Whiteman could turn out to be the Astros' best pick out of this class.

Depth: C-. Impact: C.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Scouting Director: Ed Creech (now Pirates scouting director)

Players who have reached the major leagues: RHP Ben Diggins (1) and LHP Shane Nance (11), but both did so with the Brewers after a 2002 trade deadline deal brought Tyler Houston to Los Angeles.

First pick: Diggins (1). Some teams preferred his power bat--the Cardinals drafted him in the supplemental first-round in 1998 as a hitter--but the Dodgers coveted his power arm. He was unspectacular in two Class A stops before being dealt, and some scouts project him as a closer.

Best late-round pick: Nance has been overlooked throughout his career because of his height: 5-foot-8. He steadily climbed the ladder by baffling hitters with a plus changeup and fastball that reached the low 90s.

Biggest disappointment: RHP Jeff Tibbs (3) was released after his third straight year at Rookie-level Great Falls, where he compiled a 7.82 ERA with 97 walks 137 innings.

The one who got away: RHP Humberto Sanchez (9) was drafted by the Tigers in 2001 and blossomed in the spring of 2002. He signed with the Tigers for a seven-figure bonus as a draft-and-follow.

Interesting developments since 2000: Creech spent one more year overseeing the Dodgers' drafts before moving on to the same position with the Pirates.

Grade/Assessment: The Dodgers got little from the Nance-Diggins deal, as Houston got 65 at-bats in Los Angeles before leaving as a free agent. RHP Joel Hanrahan (2) has developed into one of the top starters in the system. He went 11-7, 4.64 last year, punctuated by two no-hitters. If 2B Victor Diaz (37) can find a defensive home, his pure hitting approach could prove to be a valuable addition at the big league level.

Depth: C-. Impact: B.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Scouting Director: Jack Zduriencik

Players who have reached the major leagues: None.

First pick: The Brewers have been aggressive in moving OF Dave Krynzel, one of the fastest players in the 2000 draft. The athletic center fielder has shown signs of developing plate discipline along with power, which has conjured comparisons to Steve Finley.

Best late-round pick: 3B Corey Hart (11) rose from relative obscurity to become one of the system's best prospects, and one of the top power-hitting prospects in the minors. A first baseman in high school, Hart has moved across the diamond to third base.

Biggest disappointment: LHP Dane Artman (3) has been hit hard (161 hits in 124 innings) in posting a 3-13, 6.70 career mark, while LHP Eric Henderson (4) has logged 30 innings in three years after Tommy John surgery.

The ones who got away: RHP Scott Roehl (16), 3B Brent Lewis (23) and SS Walter Sevilla (34) won't be major factors in the 2003 draft, but all should go on the first day.

Interesting developments since 2000: The live arms of RHPs Gerry Oakes (7) and Matt Yeatman (13) were dealt to the Twins for catcher Javier Valentin.

Grade/Assessment: Signing free agent shortstop Jose Hernandez at the expense of their second-round pick was not something a rebuilding team could afford to do. Krynzel looks like an impact player with speed and gap power, and Hart is more athletic than Richie Sexson with the same raw power.

Depth: C. Impact: B.

MONTREAL EXPOS

Scouting Director: Jim Fleming

Players who have reached the major leagues: RHP Justin Wayne (1) and LHP Cliff Lee (4). Wayne made his debut in Florida after he was traded to the Marlins last summer in the Cliff Floyd deal, and Lee debuted with Cleveland after going to the Indians as part of the Bartolo Colon trade.

First pick: Wayne, who signed with the Expos for a Montreal-record $2.95 million as the fifth overall pick, went 2-3, 5.32 during a five-start trial last September.

Best late-round pick: OF Jason Bay (22) was dealt after Omar Minaya took over as Expos GM in 2002. Bay, who is now on the verge of breaking into the big leagues with the Padres, was traded first to the Mets for journeyman Lou Collier, before being sent to the Padres in a second deal.

Biggest disappointment: RHP Thomas Mitchell (5) had one of the best power arms in the Expos' class, but he hasn't been able to overpower hitters--who have hit him at a .306 clip--in the low minors.

The ones who got away: RHP Wes Littleton (7) and OF Freddie Lewis (20). Littleton, now at Cal State Fullerton, could go in the first round this year, while Lewis was drafted and signed by the Giants in the second round last year.

Interesting developments since 2000: LHP Cliff Lee (4) was an outstanding fourth-round selection--he profiles as a middle-of-the-rotation power pitcher--but Minaya packaged him with OF Grady Sizemore (3) and top prospect Brandon Phillips to the Indians for three months of Bartolo Colon.

Grade/Assessment: Not only did the signing of Graeme Lloyd not make sense at the time, but it also cost the Expos a second-round pick. Still, Fleming supplemented a strong draft by signing a first-round talent in Sizemore to a $2 million bonus. The top five prospects from this draft--Lee, Sizemore, Bay, Wayne and LHP Phil Seibel (8)--are in other organizations, with little to show in return.

Depth: B. Impact: A.

NEW YORK METS

Scouting Director: Gary LaRocque

Players who have reached the major leagues: LHP Billy Traber (1), after he was dealt to the Indians as one of the key prospects for Roberto Alomar prior to the 2002 season.

First pick: Traber was the 16th overall pick out of Loyola Marymount and agreed to a $1.7 million bonus before a routine physical revealed ligament damage in his elbow and he was forced to settle for $400,000. He cruised to Triple-A in his first pro season, going 10-9, 3.09.

Best late-round pick: The Mets produced little after the 10th round. RHP Luz Portobanco (36) showed early potential, but faded.

Biggest disappointment: C Brandon Wilson (4) has hit .230-5-25 in three straight years at Rookie-level Kingsport.

The one who got away: LHP Todd Nicholas (22) is sophomore-eligible at Mississippi State, and he could be one of the first from that state to go in 2003, possibly before the fifth round.

Interesting developments since 2000: Traber, who was unhappy with the way he was treated by the Mets after the draft, has continued to prove them wrong by staying healthy and reaching the majors first out of their class.

Grade/Assessment: There isn't much depth to this crop, though Traber helped the Mets land Alomar. This draft could look a lot better down the road, if some of the pitching pans out. Pitching was the focal point--notably RHPs Bob Keppel (1) and Matt Peterson (2). Fast-rising OF Jeff Duncan (7) could also be a factor.

Depth: D. Impact: C+.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Scouting Director: Mike Arbuckle (now assistant general manager)

Players who have reached the major leagues: 2B/3B Chase Utley (1) hit a grand slam in his first major league game.

First pick: Utley moved from second base to third after the 2001 season to prepare for Scott Rolen's departure, but after the Phillies traded for Placido Polanco and signed David Bell, Utley moved back to second. He projects as an offensive second baseman, though it remains to be seen if it will be in a Phillies uniform.

Best late-round pick: 3B Travis Chapman (17) transformed himself from an organizational player into a prospect with an offseason training regimen between the 2001 and 2002 seasons. He started to hit for power and nearly made the Tigers' Opening Day roster this spring as a major league Rule 5 selection. The Phillies were glad to welcome him back, though with Utley, Bell and Polanco blocking his path, Chapman's future might also be in another organization.

Biggest disappointment: RHP Matt Riethmaier (5) spent last year on the disabled list after posting a 5.68 ERA 2001. He has since been released.

The one who got away: LHP Kyle Bakker (37) became Georgia Tech's ace could go in the first two rounds in June.

Interesting developments since 2000: Arbuckle presided over this and the 2001 draft before taking over as assistant general manager for scouting and player development. He still evaluates the top names on the draft board, though Marti Wolever leads the amateur scouting efforts.

Grade/Assessment: The Phillies signed Mike Jackson as a free agent, which cost them a second-round pick. They recouped their losses by signing RHP Taylor Buchholz (6), who was considered too tough to sign for most clubs. The Phillies worked the local angle and landed him for third-round money. In Utley and Buchholz, the Phillies netted a pair of prospects destined for the majors, and the potential of raw RHP Keith Bucktrot (3), SS Danny Gonzalez (6) and Chapman could elevate this draft over the next few years.

Depth: C. Impact: B.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Scouting Director: Mickey White (now East Coast crosschecker for the Orioles)

Players who have reached the major leagues: None.

First pick: LHP Sean Burnett went 13-4, 1.80 with a .210 opponent average for high Class A Lynchburg last year. He has a tremendous feel for changing speeds and commanding his three-pitch repertoire, featuring one of the best changeups in the minors.

Best late-round pick: 3B Jose Bautista (20). The strength of this draft is the success of the late-round finds, including OF Vic Buttler (14), OF Nate McLouth (25), Bautista and RHP Ian Oquendo (26). Bautista didn't sign until 2001 as a draft-and-follow.

Biggest disappointment: RHP David Beigh (2) was a bit raw when the Pirates popped him in the second round, but they expected more of an impact from his durable 6-foot-5 frame and mid-90s heat.

The one who got away: OF Patrick Boyd (4). White and his scouts were convinced they were going to sign Boyd, who once projected as a first-rounder, so it was a major disappointment when he returned to Clemson for his senior season. Boyd is now in the Rangers system.

Interesting developments since 2000: Though it hurt to not sign Boyd, the Pirates were able to sign Princeton basketball forward/RHP Chris Young (3) to a $1.65 million bonus, keep another tough sign in McLouth from attending Michigan, and eventually get Bautista with a healthy draft-and-follow bonus.

Grade/Assessment: The Pirates had Burnett and Shaun Boyd slotted as their top candidates for the 19th pick, and their decision became an easy one when Boyd went to the Cardinals at 13. After drafting Burnett's high school teammate Bobby Bradley the previous year, the Pirates knew more about Burnett than any other organization, thanks to the work of area scout Rob Sidwell. Burnett's velocity dipped to 84-87 at a tournament before the draft, scaring away many clubs. But regional crosschecker Scott Littlefield (whose brother Dave later became GM) was still impressed with Burnett, and all medical reports were clean.

Depth: A. Impact: B.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Scouting Director: John Mozeliak (now assistant general manager and director of baseball operations)

Players who have reached the major leagues: None.

First pick: 2B Shaun Boyd, the first of two Cardinals first-rounders, was considered a reach by most scouts, but the Cardinals were enamored with his pure line-drive swing and speed. He stalled his first year in high Class A before bouncing back last year.

Best late-round pick: LHP Tyler Johnson (34) signed as a draft-and-follow in 2001 and developed into one of the Cards best pitching prospects with a 15-3, 2.00 effort in low Class A last year.

Biggest disappointment: Considered a solid athlete before the draft, SS Chase Voshell (3) has hit .243 in two seasons at low Class A Peoria, and was off to a .211-1-8 start in his third consecutive season there this year.

The one who got away: RHP Matt Pender (46) was drafted in the third round by the Tigers in 2002. RHP Marc Lamacchia (18) went on to Florida State and significantly enhanced his draft stock before having Tommy John surgery this spring.

Interesting developments since 2000: RHP Blake Williams (1) and LHP Chris Narveson (2) have battled back from Tommy John surgery. Williams was temporarily lost to the Reds as a major league Rule 5 draft pick in December, while Narveson is trying to regain his status as the system's No. 3 prospect.

Grade/Assessment: Though its ultimate success hinges on the health of Williams and Narveson, this draft has a chance to be one of the more productive of the year. C Yadier Molina (4) is drawing favorable comparisons to his older brothers Benji and Jose; 1B John Gall (11) and OF Dee Haynes (14) just keep hitting, despite a lack of pure tools; and 1B John Santor (35) is developing into a prospect.

Depth: B. Impact: C.

SAN DIEGO PADRES

Scouting Director: Brad Sloan (now a major league scout)

Players who have reached the major leagues: OF Xavier Nady (2) was the first player from this class to debut in the majors. In fact, he played in the majors--one at-bat--before playing a game in the minors, thanks to a stipulation in his major league contract.

First pick: LHP Mark Phillips established himself as the Padres' best pitching prospect, though it wasn't an easy ride. He disappointed the Padres by showing up to training camp out of shape in 2001 and 2002, and was sent to the Yankees as part of the Rondell White-Bubba Trammell deal this spring.

Best late-round pick: RHP Justin Germano (13) has shown an advanced knack for pitching despite being one of the youngest hurlers in his league the last three seasons. He led the organization in wins (14) and innings (175) last year.

Biggest disappointment: C Omar Falcon (3) has struggled to get out of Rookie ball after showing all-around promise in his Arizona League debut in 2000.

The one who got away: After gambling on the signability of Nady in the second round, the Padres did a good job of securing their picks, signing their first 11 selections. RHP Chad Cordero (26) is the only significant prospect who evaded them. The Cal State Fullerton closer should go in the first two or three rounds this year.

Interesting developments since 2000: OF Mewelde Moore (4) has a .218 average in his first two seasons for the Padres at Rookie-level Idaho Falls, but his desires lie elsewhere. He is expected to attract high-round interest from NFL scouts next summer after back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns for Tulane.

Grade/Assessment: Nady was considered one of the top five draft prospects heading into his junior year, but a high price tag and a subpar season knocked him out of the first round. When Phil Nevin went down with a season-ending shoulder injury this spring, Nady was ready to step in, and could develop into a middle-of-the-order presence, like Nevin. In trading Phillips, however, it almost appears they gave up on his potential.

Depth: D. Impact: B.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Scouting Director: Dick Tidrow

Players who have reached the major leagues: OF Jason Ellison (22) is the lowest-drafted pick from this draft to reach the big leagues so far. He enjoyed a steady, unspectacular ascent through the minors. He skipped Double-A in 2002 and hit better than .300 in Triple-A before his 2003 major league debut.

First pick: RHP Boof Bonser wasn't a consensus first-rounder because most teams didn't have enough background on him and had concerns over his conditioning. He developed much quicker than expected by posting a 16-4, 2.49 record in 2001. After being rushed to Double-A to start last season, he recovered in high Class A and has had more success in Double-A as a 21-year-old this year.

Best late-round pick: Ellison. The Giants have established an unusual talent pipeline with perennial NAIA power Lewis-Clark State College, tucked away in Idaho. Ellison joined Lewis-Clark State alum Marvin Benard, Keith Foulke, Steve Reed and John Foster in the majors.

Biggest disappointment: RHP Brion Treadway (3) teased the Giants with a solid debut in the short-season Northwest League, but has faltered since. There is still hope for the hard-throwing righthander, who has moved to the bullpen at Class A San Jose.

The one who got away: The Giants inked their first 20 picks, but lost Mississippi State-bound 3B Steve Gendron (21), who could be a second-rounder this year. RHP Jonathan Albaladejo (34) was drafted a year later by the Pirates and though he has yet to have extended success above Rookie-ball, he led the Puerto Rican League in ERA last winter.

Interesting developments since 2000: LHP Erick Threets (7) has topped 100 mph on several occasions, but the Giants still aren't sure what they have in the power-armed southpaw.

Grade/Assessment: The Giants beefed up their pitching depth with Bonser, LHP Ryan Hannaman (4) and Threets. Ellison's development has been a pleasant surprise, but 3B Lance Niekro (2) has been bothered by nagging injuries and hasn't shown the power expected from a corner bat. Overall, this was a solid effort that bolstered the system and could yield a few big league regulars.

Depth: B. Impact: B.

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