2004 Draft Throwdown

Now that six years have passed since the 2004 draft, let's take a look at a few of the choices teams made between prospects at the same position to get a sense of who came out ahead in the great pick-by-pick spin of fate.

  • Justin Verlander (Tigers) vs. Phil Humber (Mets) vs. Jeff Niemann (Rays): Here we have a textbook study in the perils of pitching prospects. In Verlander, the second overall pick, the Tigers got a true ace. He has posted three top-seven finishes in the Cy Young voting already, and struck out an incredible 269 batters in 240 innings last year. Picking third, the Mets got an ace as well, sort of: Humber was eventually traded in the deal that landed them Johan Santana. Needless to say, Humber has not been an ace himself, pitching to an ERA over 5.00 at Triple-A for a second straight year in 2010. Niemann, meanwhile, has profiled somewhere in-between, though his 2010 so far suggests he may be fulfilling the promise of his status as fourth overall pick. He's pitching to a 2.83 ERA in 2010, though the strikeout rate (just 5.8 per nine innings) suggests that ERA will likely rise. Overall winner here? Everyone except the Twins.
  • Billy Butler (Royals) vs. Josh Fields (White Sox): Well, it certainly appears the Royals got the better of this battle of third basemen. Butler, picked 14th, didn't stick at third, but he is finally getting some attention as a legitimately excellent bat, putting up a .341/.396/.494 line in 2010 so far. Meanwhile, Fields, picked 18th, has struggled to remain on the field, and is actually now property of the Royals as well, coming over this winter in the deal for Mark Teahen. But he will miss most, if not all, of the 2010 season after having hip surgery in April. Fields, 28 in December, has had some impressive Triple-A seasons, so he may eventually fulfill his promise. Butler, however, is clearly here to stay. Overall winner? The Royals. Almost makes up for Alex Gordon!
  • Glen Perkins (Twins) vs. Phil Hughes (Yankees): Lost in the many months of Johan Santana trade talks back in 2007-2008, which centered around whether the Yankees would deal Phil Hughes, was the realization that the Twins could have drafted Hughes themselves. Instead, at pick 22, Minnesota took Glen Perkins, a college product out of University of Minnesota. The outlook isn't brilliant for Perkins at this point, with a 7.76 ERA in Triple-A, though his strikeout rate is at least relatively strong. Meanwhile, Phil Hughes has become one of the best pitchers in the American League, with a fantastic 74 strikeouts and 22 walks in 75.1 innings in support of his 3.11 ERA. Hughes won't be 24 until later this month. And among those who won't be celebrating his birthday? The Twins.

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13 Comments on "2004 Draft Throwdown"

5 years 2 months ago

What’s missing from this post is the realization that EVERYBODY passed on Dustin Pedroia.

5 years 2 months ago

phil humber…hhahahaha

5 years 2 months ago

Thing about Humber is he lost his velocity when he had Tommy John Surgery.

If anything, his story was more a referendum on drafting an abused college pitcher.

5 years 2 months ago

Phillip Hughes has not become one of the best pitchers in teh league. He is having a good season. Lets wait it out.

5 years 2 months ago

Well his xFIP is 3.70 which is good. Coming from a Red Sox fan I think he will be a very good pitcher in his career. Not a best in the league guy but he will be a guy who is always on the cusp. Plus his peripherals look good. Normal K rate for him, normal BABIP. Only thing that is somewhat low is HR rate (not by much) and his LOB% a bit. I think he is a consistent 3.50 ERA guy that occasionally gets good years that are in the lower 3.00s so I think he can keep this up for the season.

5 years 2 months ago

Whole-heartily agree with you. Textbook example of a number 2 pitcher, and that’s more than enough for me.

5 years 2 months ago

What I think BK was trying to point out however, is that one good season doesn’t determine how good a pitcher really is going to be. Case in point is Zack Greinke. This guy had an amazing 2009 posting 2.16/2.33/3.15 (ERA-FIP-xFIP) line. This year he’s posting a 3.94/3.87/3.94 line.

Also worth keeping in mind is Hughes has a career high of 86 innings pitched in a single season. Phil Hughes can become one of the best pitchers in the league, but he’s not there yet.

5 years 2 months ago

Ouch, the Alex Gordon comment stings. Well, at least the earlier discussions didn’t center on Hochevar.

5 years 2 months ago

Hochevar and Gordon had the same problem, not enough time in the minors to work on their flaws. Now that Gordon’s insanely good, wait for what the Royals are (dealing DeJesus and shifting Gordon into the OF) and designate Hochevar for assignment and let him dominate the minors and fix his problems.

Rinse, repeat, profit.

5 years 2 months ago

The hard part about reading this article as a Padres fans is that they had the number one overall pick that year and went with Matt Bush. They could have had any of these guys but John Moores was so scared to draft guys that might cost a little bit of money.

5 years 2 months ago

Literally, that night of the draft, Matt Bush was arrested at a bar for drinking underage. It was all down hill from their.

Last I heard the Rays had converted him into a middle reliever. And just last year he was part of a professional baseball first…Tim Beckham (#1 overall 2008) and (#1 overall 2004) Matt Bush were on the same team. And for the record…both were struggling and falling way short of expectations.

It may have been a first in the MLB, but David Carr formerly of the Houston Texans, New York Giants, Carolina Panthers and current San Francisco 49er. Has completed the task numerous times.

For instance, in Carolina Carr #1 overall played with former #1 overall Vinny Testaverde. Ditto in NY while backing up #1 overall Eli Manning. And then again in SF with #1 overall Alex Smith.

East Coast Bias
5 years 2 months ago

That post made me “aww” and “lol” at the Twins at the same time. A year the Twinkies would like to forget, I’m guessing.

5 years 2 months ago

Say what you will… but the Twins clean up in the draft every year. Their former GM Terry Ryan was the last old school talent evaluator. And the fruit’s of his labor have given the Twins a great farm system.

They are like the Indianapolis Colts. (Last year all 22 of the Colts starters had NEVER player for another organization.) I know the Twins sprinkle in a free agent here and there (Pavano, Hudson, etc.), but for the most part they are all home grown.

They may have missed on Glen Perkins, but just look at the rest of the organization. Mauer goes down and his rookie replacement gets 4 hits in his first start. The organization is very deep and well run.