These guys won’t make an impact for several years, if at all
In 2010, Harper headlined one of the better first-round classes in recent memory—he was 1-1, with Manny Machado, Drew Pomeranz, Matt Harvey, Yasmani Grandal and Chris Sale all coming off the board in the first 16 picks.
Also drafted during that time were:
- Barrett Loux (not in baseball anymore, to my knowledge)
- Karsten Whitson (drafted, did not sign and not currently playing baseball)
- Michael Choice (272 career at-bats in the majors, currently in Double-A)
- Deck McGuire (on his fifth organization, has never appeared above Triple-A)
- Jake Skole (washed out of baseball and is currently on Georgia’s football roster)
- Hayden Simpson (cut by the Cubs in 2012, washed out of independent ball in 2013.)
Imagine a Sliding Doors universe where Pomeranz came to the KC Royals or the Diamondbacks took Harvey instead of Loux.
And that’s the takeaway. At best, a meteoric riser like Brandon Finnegan emerges and can help quickly, but usually only as a relief arm and only in the sort of dire straits that brought Finnegan to KC in the first place. Even Harper didn’t come up until nearly two full seasons after he was drafted.
It’s an impossible position for MLB to be in: “Hey, tune into our draft. It’s mostly grown men having opinions about teenagers who won’t be with the club you live and die with until three or four years down the line, and that’s if absolutely everything breaks perfectly.”
Tl; dr: worrying and arguing about the projectability of 18-22 year olds who happen to have unnatural arm strength or enhanced fast-twitch muscles is a stupid and pointless exercise, even though we all agree it’s necessary and vital for three days each June. With that out of the way, please read Patrick’s recap of Day One from the KC Royals perspective, above.