The most successful players from the draft class of 2004--so far--have been
two guys who weren't even first-round picks: Huston Street, who went 40th overall
to the Athletics, and Jason Vargas, who went 68th overall to the Marlins. Most
of the first-rounders are making slower but steady progress toward the big leagues,
with the exception of a few fast movers such as Justin Verlander. And the inevitable
injury bug has already struck a few players as well, most notably Philip Humber.
1.Padres: Matt Bush, ss
HS--El Cajon, Calif.
Still early in his career,
but Bush clearly doesn't have the talent of a classic No. 1 pick.
2. Tigers: Justin Verlander, rhp
Old Dominion U.
After holding out until last
October, Verlander didn't waste any time this season.
3. Mets: Philip Humber, rhp
Put up mostly bad numbers this
year; Tommy John surgery in July showed why.
4. Devil Rays: Jeff Niemann, rhp
Nagging shoulder injuries limited
Niemann to 32 innings this season.
5. Brewers: Mark Rogers, rhp
HS--Orr's Island, Maine
First prep first-rounder from
Maine will need development time: 2-9, 5.11 in 99 innings.
6. Indians: Jeremy Sowers, lhp
Sowers has been exactly what
Cleveland expected: polished lefty who will move fast.
7. Reds: Homer Bailey, rhp
HS--La Grange, Texas
125 strikeouts in 104 innings,
but was wildly inconsistent in his pro debut.
8. Orioles: Wade Townsend, rhp
Did not sign
Went back into 2005 draft and
joined Niemann in Devil Rays organization.
9. Rockies: Chris Nelson, ss
Hamstring problems held him
back this season; batting .241 in 315 at-bats.
10. Rangers: Thomas Diamond, rhp
U. of New Orleans
Hasn't been as dominant since
promotion to Double-A, but could get September trial.
11. Pirates: Neil Walker, c
Put together a strong season
(.301-12-68) for an otherwise putrid Hickory team.
12. Angels: Jered Weaver, rhp
Long Beach State U.
Didn't take him long to knock
off the rust after finally signing in May.
13.Expos: Bill Bray, lhp
William & Mary
Back problems kept him out
two months, but he moved quickly in relief after returning.
14. Royals: Billy Butler, 3b
A signability pick, now he
looks like an impact offensive player for a team that needs it.
15. Diamondbacks: Stephen Drew,
Florida State U.
Signed late like Weaver, and
got off to a similar hot start as well.
16. Blue Jays: David Purcey, lhp
U. of Oklahoma
Needs to work on his command,
but showed ability to dominate at two stops.
17. Dodgers: Scott Elbert, lhp
Strikeout-walk ratio of 128-57
in 115 innings showed his potential and weakness.
18. White Sox: Josh Fields, 3b
Oklahoma State U.
He has holes in his game, but
he's adapting well for a former part-time player.
19. Cardinals: Chris Lambert, rhp
His limited baseball experience
showed after promotion to Double-A (6.35 ERA).
20. Twins: Trevor Plouffe, ss
Two-way high school player
had ugly average (.223), but other numbers show potential.
21. Phillies: Greg Golson, of
Sprained knee and ankle cost
him valuable development time this season.
22. Twins: Glen Perkins, lhp
U. of Minnesota
Like many others in the class,
Double-A proved to be his first major challenge.
23. Yankees: Philip Hughes, rhp
HS--Santa Ana, Calif.
Showed great stuff and command
in bouncing back from elbow tendinitis last year.
24. Athletics: Landon Powell, c
U. of South Carolina
Tore ACL in his left knee in
a January workout and has spent the whole year rehabbing.
25. Twins: Kyle Waldrop, rhp
Took every turn and got innings,
but did not miss enough bats (182 H in 152 IP).
26. Athletics: Richie Robnett,
Fresno State U.
Power stroke came around (14
HR after July 1) thanks to adjustments to swing.
27. Marlins: Taylor Tankersley,
U. of Alabama
Missed two months with shoulder
tendinitis as second-rounder Jason Vargas shot past.
28. Dodgers: Blake DeWitt, 3b
Workmanlike first full season
(.291-12-72) gets little notice in loaded Dodgers system.
29. Royals: Matt Campbell, lhp
U. of South Carolina
Shoulder injury limited him
to just 64 innings before he was shut down for the year.
30. Rangers: Eric Hurley, rhp
Butler's high school teammate
led the Midwest League with 152 strikeouts.