Stephen Strasburg generated headlines as the consensus first overall pick of the 2009 draft, though that draft has taken on a different historic import almost ten years later, as that was the night Mike Trout officially became a Major League player. MLB.com’s Jim Callis looks back at the 2009 draft with a decade of hindsight, re-drafting the first round with the top players who were selected (and signed contracts) from that year’s class. In this scenario, the Nationals take Trout first overall instead of Strasburg, who falls to the Pirates with the fourth overall pick. The Mariners take Nolan Arenado with the second pick, while the Padres take Paul Goldschmidt third overall.
The actual draft spots of these superstars (Trout went 25th overall, Arenado in the second round, and Goldschmidt not until the eighth round) is indicative of the draft’s unpredictable nature, as teams and pundits simply never know which unheralded youngster might develop into a gem. Callis includes several interesting notes and scouting opinions about various players at the time of the 2009 draft, including the item that only the Athletics, Diamondbacks, and Tigers were known to be linked to Trout, among teams who had a chance to select him before the Angels. Many clubs didn’t have interest due to rumors that Trout was seeking a $2.5MM draft bonus, which would’ve exceeded the slot price for all but the top five picks, though in the end Trout signed with the Angels for the $1.215MM league-recommended slot price attached to the 25th overall selection.
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- Correcting one of his own reports from the offseason, Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link) notes that the Twins “were very much in on” Charlie Morton before the veteran righty signed a two-year, $30MM deal with the Rays. Since Morton was only looking for a short-term deal as he nears the end of his career, he fit the model of what the Twins were looking for this past winter, as the club inked the likes of Nelson Cruz, Martin Perez, Jonathan Schoop, and Marwin Gonzalez to contracts consisting of no more than one or two guaranteed years. It isn’t known how close Morton and the Twins might have come to an agreement, though the Rays did have a geographical ace up their sleeve, as Morton has stated that the Rays’ close proximity to his family’s home in Florida was a factor in his decision. Given that the Twins have already posted the best record in baseball, it’s hard to imagine how much better things could have been for the club with Morton in the rotation.
- After two seasons as an important weapon out of the Diamondbacks’ bullpen, Archie Bradley has struggled to a 4.63 ERA over 23 1/3 innings in 2019. As a result, manager Torey Lovullo told the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro and other media that Bradley will continue to handled carefully so he can get back on track, and likely won’t see many high-leverage moments. “We might get him some (appearances with) multiple innings to continue to develop a feel. We might give him some really short spurts to walk off the mound and have a good result,” Lovullo said. While a .409 BABIP is a big factor in Bradley’s issues, a lack of control has been his biggest problem, as his 5.79 BB/9 is more than double his walk numbers from the previous two seasons.
- Marlins fans bemoan the fire sale that saw the likes of Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, J.T. Realmuto, and Dee Gordon leave the team over the last 18 months, yet as The Athletic’s Marc Carig (subscription required) observes, Miami also parted ways with a wealth of pitching talent in recent years. Luis Castillo, Domingo German, Trevor Williams, and Chris Paddack were all somewhat unheralded prospects when the Fish traded them in various deals for veterans who ultimately didn’t help the team return to contention. Between all of these names and some other notables (Derek Dietrich, Nick Wittgren, Anthony DeSclafani), Carig comprises a startling what-if of a 2019 Marlins roster that would be on pace to win 102 games, as per Baseball Reference WAR calculations. “By simply securing the talent, they’d accomplished the hardest part of assembling a dynasty,” Carig writes. “Then, all of it slipped away. No team bats 1.000 when it comes to trades. Few teams hit near .000. For a period, the Marlins were seemingly one of those.”