Decided I'd kill some time by reviewing the last 8 drafts and what they've yielded. I mainly looked at the top 6 rounds, as from my limited research, there seems to be a pretty large dropoff in likelihood of reaching the bigs after that round.
Notable Busts: Josh Muecke (SP-5th Rd), Jon Davis (C-6th Rd)
Comments: This was a pretty weak draft for Houston, but it sure would be nice to have Drew Stubbs roaming Minute Maid. Sad that only one player (a AAAA utility IF) remains in the system. Overall this draft gets a grade of D-
Playing for someone else: Ben Zobrist (2B)
Busts: Mitch Einertson (OF-5th Rd)
Comments: Obviously Pence was a great pick and Towles yielded more than expected (and may end up catchign on in the bigs with another team), but overall another below average draft. Again, it'd be sweet to have Zobrist at 2B in Houston. It's doubtful that Santangelo or Englebrook ever break in, but they are still in the system. Also of not is that 3rd rd OF Jordan Parraz is still in KC's system and doing pretty well. I'd grade this draft as a C-.
Other Teams: None
Comments: At this moment, it doesn't look like this draft will yield a single every day MLB player, although Manzella, Clemens, and Bogusevic all have a chance. 3rd Rd SP Josh Lindblom is progressing in SF's system. Ori will probably be released. It depends on what ends up becoming of Clemens, Manzo, and Bogey, but at this point I grade it a D+.
Other Teams: None
Busts: Max Sapp (C-1st Rd), Nick Moresi (CF-3rd Rd), Casey Hudspeth (SP-5th Rd)
Comments: Johnson and Norris are 2 players the 'stros are hoping will be parts of their next winning team(s). Other than that, this draft was pretty barren. Van Ostrand will probably be released this year, and Perez is on his last leg, although he could emerge as a solid reliever given his upside. Whiffing on consecutive 1st rounders (Sapp and Iorg) hurts. This draft gets a C-.
Remaining: Collin DeLome, Jon Fixler, Kyle Greenwalt, Al Cartwright, Brian Pelligrini, Brian Wabick, Colton Pitkin
Other Teams: None
Busts: Derek Dietrich (unsigned), Brett Eibner (unsigned), David Dinelli (SP-6th Rd)
Comments: DeLome has shown good power, but poor OB skills. He needs a stellar year in AAA next year to get back on track, but he may not be given every day play. Fixler's #'s surprised me once I started looking at them; he actually is a decent offensive player, and I wonder if he could end up as a decent big league backup catcher. Greenwalt and Cartwright both have good upside, as some (not me) see Greenwalt as a #4 starter and Cartwright as an everyday 2B. The other guys who are left have repeated years or not progressed and not much is expected of them at this point. Starting with this year, there is still a fair amount of projection left, so it's harder to grade. Moving forward, none of the players who are not with Houston will have made an impact for other teams. Factoring in the absence of a 1st or 2nd round pick automatically lowers this draft's grade. I see this draft producing 4 cup-of-coffee players (DeLome, Fixler, Greenwalt, Cartwright), but no everyday players (although Cartwright has Brandon Phillips upside), so I grade it an F.
Top Picks: Castro, Lyles, Shuck, Austin, OF TJ Steele, SP Ross Seaton, SP David Duncan
Busts: Chase Davidson (unsigned--although we did receive a compensatory pick for him)
Sleepers: Danny Meszaros (RP), Luis Cruz (SP), Chris Hicks (SP), Shane Wolf (RP)
Comments: This is shaping up to be a very good draft. Castro is already the starting C in Houston. Lyles lit the world on fire last season and profiles as a front of the rotation starter. Shuck, Meszaros, and Austin are all on track for MLB appearances someday, and many other players still have a lot of upside left. Steele, OF Jon Gaston, Seaton, 3B David Flores, SP Luis Cruz, C Rene Garcia, and SP Chris Hicks could all put themselves on the map with good 2011 seasons. Grade is a B+ with A- upside and C+ downside.
Top Picks: SS Jio Mier, SP Tanner Bushue, 3B Jon Meyer, OF Telvin Nash, RP BJ Hyatt, SS Brandon Wikoff, 2B Kike Hernandez
Busts: None (yet)
Sleepers: OF JD Martinez, SP Dallas Keuchel, RP David Berner, SP Robby Donovan, RP Mike MOdica, OF Jake Goebbert, 3B Erik Castro
Comments: I think this will end up being a very good draft as well. With so many HS players drafted in the early rounds, it will be 2-3 more years before we can really begin to judge this draft. However, Martinez and Keuchel could both make their debuts as early as next year, and both project as starters in the bigs. ALthough they haven't put up monster stats, Mier, Meyer, and Bushue were all young for their league. Nash had a breakout year in 2010, and Hernandez has produced as well. I think in the end, this draft will produce at least 4 solid big leaguers, so it gets a B-, with A- upside and C- downside.
Top Picks: 2B Delino DeShields, 3B Mike Kvasnicka, SP Mike Foltynewicz, SP Vincent Velasquez, CF Austin Wates, SP Robert Doran, C Ben Heath
Busts: Adam Plutko (unsigned)
Sleepers: OF Bryce Lane, C Roberto Pena, SP Jake Buchanan, SP Tom Shirley, C Chris Wallace, 3B Tyler Burnett, SP Evan Grills, OF Jordan Scott, OF Dan Adamson
Comments: Another good draft, which makes 3 straight. A good mix of HS and college players. Heath is on the fast track and I am really high on him. DeShields and Folty have as much upside as anyone. On the negative side, Kvasnicka didn't exactly light it up and Velasquez has already suffered a major injury. Solid throughout (as evidenced by the large number of sleeper prospects, which could easily be added to). Still 3+ years away from having a real grip on how good it is, but I see this draft being very fruitful, a solid A, with C- downside and A+ upside.
So other than just a time waster, the questions this begs from the board:
Who are your sleepers?
What grades would you assign?
How long can this string of above average drafts last?
And of course, any other thoughts, questions, or comments?