June 7, 2008

Draft '08: Something to Crow About?

No professional baseball franchise (except possibly the Pittsburgh Pirates) issues a post-draft press release that reads:

Hoo, Boy! Folks, we just f&@%#d that up ROYALLY! I wouldn't bet a red cent on seeing our first round pick in the majors this decade. After that? Well, I'm not saying the cleaning crew got blitzed last night and rearranged our draft board alphabetically without anyone noticing, but I'm not saying they didn't, either. To be perfectly honest, after the 10th round we let Skippy, the owner's idiot nephew, make every third pick. Really sped things up too. And I think we've got a fair chancing of getting Kimbo Slice, Drew Henson and Big Brown to agree to terms.

No, draft picks are the like the children of Lake Wobegon; everyone's above average. All the hitters are "potential impact bats" and all the pitchers are one developing pitch away from being good enough to start in the majors today. Granted, for a Nats prospect that's not a particularly high bar to clear.

So when you look at Aaron Crow, be mindful of the struggles of Ross Detwiler in Hi-A ball with Potomac. Remember that Destin Hood is a much less polished version of the not-especially-polished Michael Burgess. But also know that Daniel Espinosa probably just became the Nats middle infield prospect closest to his major league debut, and adding Adrian Nieto to a catching corps that includes Jesus Flores and the under appreciated Luke Montz would go an awful long way to shoring up a key position down on the farm.

A talent pipeline can't really be said to exist until it flows all the way from Hagerstown (or Florida or Vermont) to Washington, and you'd be right in thinking that we're not there yet. But a series of drafts that combine quality with quantity can make that happen. Is 2008 one of those drafts? We'll know soon enough.

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