Tuesday, April 12, 2005

2003 - A Draft to Forget

Baseball Analysts has posted a fairly thorough review of the top picks in the 2003 draft. Royals fans will cringe when they read it, though:

With the Kansas City Royals and Daniel Glass picking in the five spot, it was obvious that money would be an issue. The three best high school talents on the board (Ryan Harvey, Lastings Milledge, John Danks) all had high bonus demands, taking them off the Royal wish list. So it became obvious days before the draft that Chris Lubanski -- who had stated he wanted to be reporting to the minors by June 15 -- was the Royals best option.

Lubanski ended up signing quickly with the Royals for $2.1M, making $25,000 more than Milledge and the same as Danks. Harvey inked for $2.4M, but considering that all three players are far better prospects than the man with the .662 OPS, the Royals screwed up here. Lastings Milledge turned out to be the best choice, and with proper communication with his agent would have saved the club money. Considering the failure that the five-turned-zero tool Lubanski has been...

So there you have it. Kansas City is really the only team with an obvious screw up, though Detroit and Pittsburgh also opened themselves up for criticism.

Let's hope draft day 2005 will be much more like draft day 2004 than 2003. I'd like to think the Royals have learned a lesson or two about their draft-day decision making since the Lubanski debacle. At least Billy Butler is as good as Lubanski is bad.

It'd be nice to have Lastings Milledge floating around in our system right now, wouldn't it?

Seems to me that the Royals' only hope for Lubanski is that he puts up some big numbers in altitude-inflated High Desert this season, creating a value bubble that the Royals can use to spin him off in a package with an established veteran (like Anderson, Sweeney, or Stairs) and receive an actual high quality minor league prospect in return. (Now THAT'S wishful thinking.)

Anyway, if the guy can't hit in High Desert, though, he's done as a prospect. I think he's a non-prospect anyway.


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