Monday, June 9, 2008

Draft a Disaster for Vandy

Last Thursday and Friday were supposed to be days for Commodore fans to celebrate the careers of former greats Pedro Alvarez, Ryan Flaherty and others, instead it turned into an absolute catastrophe for Tim Corbin and Vandy baseball's future.

In 2006 1b Lars Anderson was rated the 40th best prospect in the draft by Baseball America. Due to bonus demands reaching seven figures and a strong commitment to play at the University of California at Berkeley, Anderson lasted until the 18th round where he was selected by the Boston. Two months and $825,000 later Anderson was the newest member of the Red Sox organization. Anderson is currently hitting over .300 with 7 hrs and 32 rbi's and is a likely top 15-20 prospect in baseball. In the same draft a former top 10-15 prospect was thought to need Tommy John surgery. The injury combined with a commitment to North Carolina dropped Nick Adenhart all the way to the 14th round where he wound up signing with the Angels for $710,000. He opened the season ranked as the #24 prospect in baseball and has already made his major league debut this season.

These are the two most prominent of the many players who have turned down commitments to play at top universities when big market teams and their money came calling. This is bad news for the Commodores, who had many recruits drafted by big market franchises. Ryan Westmoreland (5th round), Navery Moore (26th), and Matt Marquis (28th) went to Boston, Sonny Gray (27th) went to the Cubs, and Will Clinard (37th) was taken by the Dodgers. Also, there were pre-draft rumors that Westmoreland, who is from Rhode Island, had agreed to a deal with the Red Sox and Moore is a similar story to Adenhart seeing that he fell partially due to TJ surgery performed last year.

More bad news is that potential starting SS Jason Esposito was drafted in the 7th round by the Kansas City Royals. The 7th round is the first of the 2nd day of the draft. As Keith Law suggested in his chat last Friday, this can often mean that a team has a deal in place with the draftee. Looking back at the 2007 7th round, every HS player drafted wound up signing, highlighted by OF David Mailman who was signed away from UNC for $550,000 by who else, the Red Sox.

To top all of that, probable starting 3b Joe Loftus was drafted by the hometown Minnesota Twins. I fully expect to see Loftus on campus next year, but the allure of playing at home may be just enough to sway him to take the money.

I'm not saying all of these guys will sign or even that many of them will (Gray almost certainly will not), but it was basically the worst case scenario for a team that already knew SS Anthony Hewitt was likely to leave after he was drafted in the 1st round by the Phillies. It's only going to take a few of these big market teams doing what's right for their futures by offering amounts that can't be turned down for a team that had Omaha in its sights in the next couple of years to be in a position to be fighting for a spot in Hoover.


Tony Arnold said...

As long as similiar stuff is happening to other teams, we may still be on a level playing field. In fact, if the college talent pool is not as strong as in previous years, coaching can have more of an effect and I think we have a big advantage there.

Also, it may promote greater team chemistry and that was something lacking a little this year. Not bad, but never completely gelled.

Anonymous said...

Navery Moore is already enrolled in summer school and is draft ineligible.

As for the others, who knows, but I feel safe with everyone except for Marquis, Milligan and Westmoreland.

Esposito already announced he reached a deal in principle with Kansas City and Hewitt is all but conceded as gone.