2005 Draft Throwdown

While dreams are coming true for hundreds of high school and college players this week, let's compare the paths of some 2005 first round draft picks. Nothing is more interesting than seeing how teams did choosing players at the same position. In a draft, it is the closest teams come to the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. Meanwhile, those lists haunt fans' memories for years to come.

  • Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) vs. Ryan Braun (Brewers): This battle between Zimmerman, picked fourth, and Braun, picked fifth, was to be a test of hot corner prowess. But while Zimmerman has excelled at the position, winning a Gold Glove in 2009 and grading well under more advanced defensive metrics, Braun settled in left field after proving to be a disastrous fielder at third base. So far, Braun has a .931 to .836 edge in OPS, but with Zimmerman putting up an .888 in 2009 and at .986 so far in 2010, that gap may well have disappeared. Moving forward, the edge goes to Zimmerman, a terrific hitter, though a notch below Braun, but a far more valuable defensive player. Both teams won here, though.
  • Cameron Maybin (Tigers) vs. Andrew McCutchen (Pirates): These high school center fielders went back-to-back, with Maybin going tenth and McCutchen going 11th. The early returns suggest that the Tigers made a poor choice here, though they ultimately packaged Maybin in a deal for Miguel Cabrera, so they're not exactly complaining. McCutchen has hit since he arrived in Pittsburgh last season, and a 23-year-old with an .847 OPS in his first 733 major league plate appearances stands an awfully good chance of being an elite player for years to come. Maybin is still immensely talented, and could turn into a star- but McCutchen already is one. Pirates win- how often do you get to read that?
  • Craig Hansen (Red Sox) vs. Joey Devine (Braves): This throwdown is a lesson in the perils of college pitchers. They seem like sure things, compared to high schoolers, and from the start, the Red Sox and Braves thought they had their ninth-innings mapped out for years to come. Hansen, drafted 26th out of St. John's, has yet to find command at the major league level, with 63 walks against 70 strikeouts in 93.2 innings. The right-hander was one of the moving parts in the three-team deal that sent Manny Ramirez to Los Angeles. Hansen's troubles were baffling, until the discovery of a degenerative nerve condition that has his career in doubt. Devine, chosen 27th, got traded to Oakland for Mark Kotsay, so Atlanta didn't benefit much from choosing him, either. The Athletics got a fantastic 2008 out of Devine- a 0.59 ERA in 45.2 innings with 49 strikeouts. Tommy John surgery kept him out for 2009, but he is currently on track to return to Oakland by the end of June. Winner here? Clearly, the Athletics.


19 Responses to 2005 Draft Throwdown Leave a Reply

  1. Was there a particular reason the Braves gave up on Devine so fast?

    • Ian_Smell 5 years ago

      They got Mark Kotsay for him, who wouldn’t make that deal!?! But seriously, I don’t know. He was really good for them even if it was for a short time, and then he continued to improve in his time with the A’s. If he’s ever able to get healthy, he could be really good.

  2. CrustyJuggler 5 years ago

    How bout Jeff Clement VS. Alex Gordon? Can you believe those two when 2-3 in that draft pool?

    Makes me sad as a Mariner fan to think that Seattle could have drafted Zimmerman, Braun, McCutchen, Tulowitzki, Ricky Romero, Ellsbury, Jay Bruce, Colby Rasmus, etc… I mean, jeezus. They could have blind-folded themselves, threw darts and came up with a better player than Clement.

    • jwredsox 5 years ago

      even the pirates couldn’t mess that draft up!

  3. start_wearing_purple
    start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

    Hansen will always be a puzzle to me. I saw him pitch a few times when he was on and the movement on the ball was pure art from the moment it left his hand. Too bad he could never pitch consistently, he could have been a marvelous closer.

    • YuppieScum 5 years ago

      Rumor always was that he was too much of a partier. In fact I did see him at the purple shamrock one time.

      There were also rumors that the coaching staff screwed up his mechanics horribly/made changes that didn’t work out for him, and he was unable to overcome that.

  4. Paul Hansen 5 years ago

    How could Zimmerman ever be thought of as good as Braun? Zimmerman has been injured half the time, and Braun has been nothing but outstanding since he came up. He’s an above average outfielder, and a better hitter. So because Zimmerman plays D at 3rd he’s better? Absurd thinking.

    • CodyG 5 years ago

      ummm….no
      Some things that are wrong with this comment
      *Ryan Braun is an above average defender….
      *Zimmerman has had one season where he hasn’t reached 500 PA and that’s in 08 when he had 466
      *Zimmerman is one of the best fielding 3B man according to many stats… I’m assuming you’re using something like Feilding% to back your argument which is a big mistake.
      *there’s a little something called positional adjustment where the average OFer is going to outhit the average third baseman.

  5. GermanYankee 5 years ago

    Braun’s an above average outfielder? You’re joking, right? He’s hardly a better outfielder than Jermaine Dye or Adam Dunn.

  6. Braun have been quite bad defensivly as a outfielder just not as bad as he was on third. Why can people say Zimmerman is as good or *GASP* even better then Braun well it’s simple Zimmerman is quite good defensivly and plays at position that have greater value and so far this season he’s better with the bat aswell.

  7. Just_MLB 5 years ago

    how about Wade Townsend vs Mike Pelfrey?
    Wade went 8th in the draft…Pelfrey went 9th…

  8. ThePaulCrew 5 years ago

    Braun is by no means a liability in left field. He will barely ever screw up a routine defensive play, and he will rarely make a highlight reel defensive play as well. That being said, I would find it difficult to believe that any gm in majors would take zimm over braun because braun’s offense is that good.

    • Fullgatsu 5 years ago

      Many advanced fielding stats disagree about that statement of Braun not being a liability left field in 2009 he had a UZR/150 -11.7 and so far in 2010 he’s on the way for a UZR/150 -25.1 though he was above average in 2008. DRS and RngR also had him as well under average for 2009-2010 while slightly above average in 2008. Some may not like advanced stats but when they all seem to be in agreement there seems to be some truth to it. While Braun doesn’t make many errors in LF he shows a lack of range which is why he’s said to be a liability.

      Also currently Zimmerman is hitting better then Braun and plays a harder position with better defense. So I’m not so sure that many GM would take Braun over Zimmerman.

  9. Guest 5 years ago

    Mike Pelfrey vs. Wade Townsend? Pelfrey is having a tremendous season while Townsend has yet to pitch in the majors.

  10. 55saveslives 5 years ago

    Zimmerman and Braun are both great! Win/Win.

  11. lionofsenate 5 years ago

    How can you not have Alex Gordon listed? he was also a 3b and he was taken before BOTH Zimmerman and Braun.

    It should say: Alex Gordon (Royals) vs Ryan Zimmerman (Nats) vs Ryan Braun (Brewers).

    Otherwise good work.

    • fpz 5 years ago

      They already did something like that a couple of articles ago. Zimm vs. Gordon

  12. Ferrariman 5 years ago

    colby rasmus vs jacoby ellsbury? my take is rasmus, but i might be bias their.

  13. YuppieScum 5 years ago

    Rumor always was that he was too much of a partier. In fact I did see him at the purple shamrock one time.

    There were also rumors that the coaching staff screwed up his mechanics horribly/made changes that didn’t work out for him, and he was unable to overcome that.

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