Looking back: The 2006 MLB Draft

It’s been more than four years since
the 2006 MLB Draft took place, but the names that checkered it are as
fresh as ever. One of the beauties of looking back several years is
that by now, we have a pretty good indication of how those teams and
players have fared. So without further ado, it’s time to break down
one of the stronger first rounds in recent memories, complete with
player analysis and a grade on how they have fared thus far in their

Pick, Player, Team, Pos., School

1 Luke Hochevar, Kansas City
Royals, RHP, University of Tennessee

Anaylsis: Hochevar’s selection didn’t
create nearly the same buzz that more recent ones like David Price
and Stephen Strasburg have, and perhaps with good reason. His
inauspicious career has paralleled that of the Royals, who have yet
to break through as seem feel they have the talent to do. In
three-plus seasons at the major-league level, the tall righty has
gone just 18-30 with a 5.68 ERA. This year has been his best yet, and
that’s not saying much. He is 5-4 with a 4.96 ERA but is currently on
the disabled list with a sprained right elbow. Grade: D+

2 Greg
Reynolds, Colorado Rockies, RHP, Stanford University

Reynolds has been nothing short of a disaster for the Rockies. He has
survived just 14 games in the major leagues, going 2-8 with an 8.13
ERA in 13 starts in 2008. Though his minor league numbers are
somewhat respectable, he has found the disabled list more often than
the mound. He was recently activated from the 60-day DL with an elbow
contusion and is back at Double-A Tulsa.
Grade: F

3 Evan
Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays, 3B, Long Beach State University

The Rays found a franchise player in Longoria, and he has been one of
the key cogs in their remarkable turnaround in recent years. In three
seasons in the majors, Longoria has made the All-Star team three
times, been named Rookie of the Year, and earned both a Gold Glove
and Silver Slugger Award in the rugged American League. He continues
to improve both offensively and defensively and will be a force in
the AL East for years to come.
Grade: A

4 Brad
Lincoln, Pittsburgh Pirates, RHP, University of Houston

Lincoln finally cracked the big-league club this season, almost a
surprise given the struggles of the Pirates in recent years. Although
his numbers are far from spectacular (1-3, 5.10), Lincoln has been
durable in all seven of his starts, going six innings or more six
times, and he earned his first big-league win with seven shutout
frames against the Cubs on June 30. Lincoln figures to be a mainstay
in the rotation for years to come.
Grade: C-

5 Brandon
Morrow, Seattle Mariners, RHP, UC-Berkeley

Morrow has great stuff, but what’s frustrated fans in both Seattle
and now Toronto is his lack of command. He has shown flashes of
brilliance, but ongoing problems locating the strike zone have driven
managers and fans alike batty. The Mariners shipped him off to
Toronto after three uneven seasons, and the inconsistency bug has
continued to bite Morrow north of the border. In three-plus seasons,
he is just 13-18 with a 4.26 ERA and an even-more alarming 5.3 walks
per nine innings. A good fastball will only take you so far, and
until Morrow can throw strikes on a regular basis, he will remain an
Grade: C

6 Andrew
Miller, Detroit Tigers, LHP, University of North Carolina

Like Morrow, Miller’s stuff has never been in question, but rather
his command and mound presence. The Tigers apparently saw enough of
him in just over a year in the big leagues to ship him off to
Florida, where his problems continued. After going 9-15 in two
seasons with the Marlins, Miller has spent the entire 2010 campaign
in the minor leagues working on his control. The Tigers gave up awful quickly on Miller, but what they got in return was perhaps the best all-around player in the American League in Miguel Cabrera.
Grade: C

7 Clayton
Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers, LHP, Highland Park High School

It hasn’t always been picture-perfect, but Kershaw’s two-plus years
in the big leagues have been pretty smooth in Tinseltown. The
hard-throwing lefty has struggled with his command at times, but a
22-18 record and even-more impressive 3.30 ERA have coincided with
the Dodgers’ return to the top of the heap in the National League.
Kershaw has gotten better each year, and his 9-5 record and 3.16 ERA
have helped keep the Dodgers afloat in a suddenly-tough NL West. If
he can shake the walks, Kershaw will eventually evolve into the staff
ace the Dodgers envisioned when they drafted him.
Grade: A-

8 Drew
Stubbs, Cincinnati Reds, CF, University of Texas

Stubbs has emerged in 2010 after getting his feet wet last year in
Cincy. Now a regular in the Reds’ lineup, Stubbs has at least shown
power potential with 11 home runs (including three in one game)
despite a sub par .235 average. He has provided the Reds with an
offensive spark as the team is in first place this late in the year
for the first time this decade. Though he needs to cut down on the
strikeouts (90 this year), he figures to get better as time goes on.
Grade: B-

9 Bill
Rowell, Baltimore Orioles, 3B, Bishop Eustace Prep School

For a team that has had its fair share of poor draft picks, this one
took the cake. The Orioles passed on two-time Cy Young winner Tim
Lincecum apparently because they felt his odd throwing motion would
lead to injuries. What they got instead was a player who hasn’t
ascended beyond high-A ball. In three seasons at Single-A Frederick,
Rowell has hardly impressed, hitting .240 with 23 home runs. He
doesn’t figure to be in the club’s big-league plans any time soon. On
a side note, ponder this: Of the top 22 draft picks, Rowell is the
only one without his own Wikipedia page. That should tell you all you
need to know.
Grade: F

10 Tim
Lincecum, San Francisco Giants, RHP, University of Washington

Lincecum’s unique delivery has held up just fine in San Francisco, as
the baby-faced righty already has two Cy Young awards under his belt.
In this his fourth season in the majors, Lincecum is also a
three-time All-Star who has posted a 50-21 record, 2.91 ERA, and 812
strikeouts. Safe to say one team’s misery is another team’s treasure.
Grade: A

11 Max
Scherzer, Arizona Diamondbacks, RHP, University of Missouri

Scherzer didn’t get much of a chance to shine in Arizona, as the
D-Backs traded him to Detroit after last season. Like many young
pitchers, the hard-throwing righty has shown flashes of brilliance
while still batting inconsistency. He is 15-22 with a 4.13 ERA at the
major-league level, but his 335 strikeouts have raised some eyebrows,
including 14 in a game earlier this year. Scherzer and Justin
Verlander will combine to give the Tigers a potent 1-2 punch of power

arms in their rotation for future years. Grade: C+

12 Kasey
Kiker, Texas Rangers, LHP, Russell County High School

Kiker has hardly lived up to expectations, as the southpaw is still
toiling away at Double-A Frisco. His minor league numbers won’t
excite anybody, as he is just 20-27 with a 4.07 ERA, including 1-4
with a 5.65 ERA this year. The Rangers already have a slew of
talented arms at the major league level, leaving many to wonder if
Kiker is in their future plans.
Grade: D-

13 Tyler
Colvin, Chicago Cubs, LF, Clemson University

Colvin was at the heart of a war of words earlier this season between
Cubs broadcaster Steve Stone and manager Lou Piniella. Many wondered
why the talented young outfielder wasn’t getting ample playing time,
and rightfully so. Colvin has emerged in his first full year on the
scene, hitting .262 with 12 home runs and 32 RBI. He has provided a
boost to an otherwise-unspectacular lineup and will anchor the middle
of the Cubs batting order for a long time.
Grade: B+

14 Travis
Snider, Toronto Blue Jays, RF, Henry M. Jackson High School

Snider had been picking his game up when he went down in May with a
sprained wrist. Though he is still learning how to hit and struggles
against lefties, he has good power potential, as evidence by his six
early-season home runs. He is just 22, so the Blue Jays have time to
work with him to make sure he develops properly. Snider is an
important part of their plans, so how he returns from his injury will
be key.
Grade: C+

15 Chris
Marrero, Washington Nationals, 3B, Monsignor Edward Pace High School

Marrero has yet to hit the majors, but at least he has given fans
hope by posting respectable minor league numbers. He has played
primarily first base, as his drafted position of third is blocked by
mainstay Ryan Zimmerman. In 116 games at Double-A Harrisburg, Marrero
has hit .288 with 13 homers and 61 driven in, and may find himself in
Washington soon should the team move Adam Dunn.
Grade: C-

16 Jeremy
Jeffress, Milwaukee Brewers, RHP, Halifax County High School

Stuck in high-A ball, Jeffress has been a disappointment thus far.
The Brewers need pitching help, and the youngster has been nowhere to
be found, struggling to a 20-21 record with a 4.04 ERA in the minors.
Milwaukee seems to be taking its time with Jeffress, probably a good
thing given his inconsistency.
Grade: D-

17 Matt
Antonelli, San Diego Padres, 3B, Wake Forest University

Antonelli reached Triple-A ball in 2008, but has scuffled ever since,
batting just .209 with 11 homers after showing promise at the lower
levels. Just making contact has given him trouble, meaning he won’t
be helping the Padres in the immediate future.
Grade: D

18 Kyle
Drabek, Philadelphia Phillies, RHP, The Woodlands High School

The Blue Jays targeted Drabek when they were planning to deal Roy
Halladay, and they ultimately landed the son of former major leaguer
Doug Drabek. The youngster had been progressing nicely for the
Phillies, and has continued that progress with the Blue Jays. In 33
minor league games (32 starts), Drabek has gone 17-10 with a 3.31
ERA. Though he never pitched for the Phillies, he did help them land
the coveted Halladay, so they get a strong grade anyway.

19 Brett
Sinkbeil, Florida Marlins, RHP, Missouri State University

Sinkbeil has yet to adjust to Triple-A ball, going 3-11 with a 6.20
ERA in 85 games (just 8 starts). His numbers as a starter at the
lower levels makes one wonder if that isn’t where his future lies,
because as a reliever Sinkbeil has had his share of issues. The
Marlins may have a decision to make on Sinkbeil, who hasn’t warranted
a promotion by any stretch.
Grade: D-

20 Chris
Parmelee, Minnesota Twins, RF, Chino Hills High School

Parmelee has been steady if not spectacular in the Twins’ system,
averaging 15 home runs a year from 2007-09. He is hitting .272 with 7
dingers between high-A and Double-A ball this season. Still, he has
played just 62 games in Double-A, so he doesn’t figure to land in
Minnesota for a couple more years.
Grade: C-

21 Ian
Kennedy, New York Yankees, RHP, USC

Kennedy showed occasional promise during an otherwise rocky tenure in
the Bronx before the Yankees finally sent him to Arizona last
offseason. At times Kennedy has impressed with the D-Backs, compiling
a 4-7 record with a 4.12 ERA in 2010. He has racked up 100
strikeouts, meaning he seems to have turned a corner as far as his
command is concerned. The Yankees get credit for the return they got
for Kennedy in a three-team trade that also included Scherzer.

22 Colton
Willems, Washington Nationals, RHP, John Carroll Catholic High School

Considering the Nationals’ gaping hole in their rotation, the fact
that Willems hasn’t played beyond high-A ball should be an indication
of his struggles thus far. Issues with his command have played a
part, but his 9-17 record and 4.00 ERA at the low minor league levels
haven’t helped either. Willems has been nothing short of a major
disappointment thus far.
Grade: F

23 Maxwell
Sapp, Houston Astros, C, Bishop Moore High School

There may be no sadder story in this first round than Sapp’s. The
Astros saw the youngster struggle mightily with a .224 average and
just 7 home runs while never getting beyond Single-A ball. Sapp then
sat out then entire 2009 season with a life-threatening case of
meningitis before the Astros finally released him this year. As often
seems to be the case, the players in a draft that fall the farthest
always seem to be in the organizations that struggle the most. The
Astros will have to chalk this one up to experience, as they have
already moved on.
Grade: F

24 Cody
Johnson, Atlanta Braves, 1B, A. Crawford Mosley High School

Johnson has shown a lot of promise in the minors, hitting 58 home
runs in 2008-09 between A and AA ball. He is batting just .210 with
10 homers at Double-A Mississippi this year, and his 97 strikeouts
are another indication that he still has some holes in his swing. But
if he can fix some of those woes, he figures to make a splash in
Atlanta at some point.
Grade: C

25 Hank
Conger, Los Angeles Angels, C, Huntington Beach High School

Conger recently took place in the Futures game and won the game’s MVP
honors, which is why the Angels are quite excited about him. He has
hit .292 with 41 home runs in the minor leagues, and it won’t be long
before he finds himself in Anaheim. Though the Angels have Mike
Napoli and Jeff Mathis getting the job done at catcher, they will
find a place for Conger, who also has improved his defense behind the
plate this year.
Grade: B-

26 Bryan
Morris, Los Angeles Dodgers, RHP, Motlow State Community College

Morris is among the countless prospects the Pirates have received
when shipping off a big name to a contending team at midseason,
netting the Red Sox Jason Bay and the Dodgers Manny Ramirez in 2008.
He has shown some promise in the minors, but has yet to get beyond
Double-A. Additionally, he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2007 and
then was suspended five games by the organization in 2009 for
“unprofessionalism”. Still, with the Pirates being perennial
bottom-feeders, Morris will likely find himself in a Bucs uniform
sometime soon. For the Dodgers, having Manny Ramirez instead isn’t
too shabby.
Grade: C

27 Jason
Place, Boston Red Sox, CF, Wren High School

Place may not have one in Boston for a while given the team’s
never-ending depth, but he has shown flashes in the minors. Place was
inactive for a while this year and his numbers have slipped
drastically, but he hit 31 home runs from 2007-08 in A and high-A
ball. Still, with the rash of injuries the Red Sox have had in their
outfield this year, it is probably somewhat telling that Place’s name
hasn’t even surfaced as a possible suitor. Needless to say, the team
will have to let Place develop quite a bit more before he’s ready for
prime time. A rare miss thus far for the charmed Sox.

28 Daniel
Bard, Boston Red Sox, RHP, University of North Carolina

Did we say rare miss for Boston? Bard has been anything but a miss,
except when it comes to missing bats. The flame-throwing righty has
quickly righted any control woes he had in the minors to become
Boston’s go-to guy in the 8
inning to set up Jonathan Papelbon. In fact, Bard has been so
dominant at times there have been rumblings the team may move
Papelbon and make him the closer. But while those reports are quite
inaccurate, Bard hasn’t taken long to adapt to the major-league
level. This season, Bard has posted a 1.85 ERA in 42 appearances
while also chipping in 3 saves. He has fanned 45 batters in 43.2
innings, a byproduct of developing a solid slider to complement his
blazing fastball. Closing may indeed be in his future.

29 Kyle
McCulloch, Chicago White Sox, RHP, University of Texas

29-38 with a 4.37 ERA isn’t going to get anyone riled up about
McCulloch, but he has at least finally reached Triple-A. With the
White Sox having some bullpen issues, they may be able to overlook
his 1-3 record and 6.39 ERA this season, but it’s clear McCulloch
still needs more time to develop. Especially when he has 9 walks and
8 strikeouts.
Grade: D+

30 Adam
Ottavino, St. Louis Cardinals, RHP, Northeastern University

Ottavino earned a promotion to St. Louis this season, struggling to
an 0-2 record with an 8.46 ERA in five games with three starts before
landing on the disabled list. But he is still a highly-touted
prospect who deserves credit for cracking a rotation that contains
Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. He may still need time to
develop, but he is on the right track.
Grade: B

supplemental first-rounders and second rounders: Chris Coghlan,
Marlins OF (2009 NL Rookie of the Year), Joba Chamberlain, Yankees
RHP (current setup man to Mariano Rivera), Brett Anderson, LHP
(Drafted by Arizona, currently with Oakland), Wade LeBlanc, Padres
LHP (3.30 ERA in 16 starts for San Diego this year), Trevor Cahill,
Athletics RHP (named to 2010 All-Star team), Justin Masterson, RHP
(key reliever for Red Sox, currently a starter for Indians).

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