Grading Every MLB Team’s 2007 Draft Haul

There was little question who the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft was going to be after Vanderbilt left-hander David Price separated himself from the pack during a stellar junior season that ended in the Golden Spikes Award.

The rest of the first round had several other hits, including Madison Bumgarner, Jason Heyward and Josh Donaldson, and the later rounds provided Freddie Freeman, Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony Rizzo and Corey Kluber.

With more than a decade to digest how things have played out, we’ve gone back through the draft haul of all 30 MLB teams and slapped a letter grade on the talent they acquired.

We went with A, B, C, D or F as the possible grades based on the amount of MLB talent a team’s draft class produced, how the team did with its first-round pick and how it used prospects to improve the roster in other ways, such as trades.

 

Arizona Diamondbacks

First-Round Picks: RHP Jarrod Parker (1-9), RHP Wes Roemer (1-50), C Ed Easley (1-61)

Other MLB Players: RHP Barry Enright (2-73), SS Rey Navarro (3-103), LHP Scott Maine (6-193), RHP Bryan Augenstein (7-223), RHP Josh Collmenter (15-463), LHP Tommy Layne (26-793), RHP Evan Scribner (28-853)

The first high school pitcher selected in the 2007 draft, Jarrod Parker made just one appearance with the D-backs before he was traded to the Oakland Athletics in a five-player deal that brought Trevor Cahill to Arizona. He had two terrific seasons in the Oakland rotation before injuries derailed his career, and he threw his final MLB pitch when he was just 24 years old.

However, fellow first-round pick Wes Roemer never reached the majors, and Ed Easley played a grand total of four games in the big leagues.

Right-hander Josh Collmenter spent five-plus seasons filling a swingman role on the Arizona staff, posting a 3.54 ERA in 659.1 innings spanning 75 starts and 125 relief appearances.   

Grade: C

 

Atlanta Braves

First-Round Picks: OF Jason Heyward (1-14), 3B Jon Gilmore (1-33)

Other MLB Players: 1B Freddie Freeman (2-78), IF Brandon Hicks (3-108), RHP Cory Gearrin (4-138)

While only five signed players from this draft class reached the majors, the Atlanta Braves knocked it out of the park with their first two selections.

Jason Heyward never quite lived up to his superstar potential, but he’s racked up 39.4 WAR in 12 seasons. He spent five seasons in Atlanta before he was flipped to the St. Louis Cardinals in a deal for Shelby Miller, who was in turn traded to Arizona for Dansby Swanson.

They did find a superstar in second-round pick Freddie Freeman, who has a chance to go down as one of the all-time greats in franchise history if he re-ups this offseason and finishes his career in Atlanta.

University of Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon signed as a fifth-round pick and played 28 games in rookie ball in 2007 before he turned his full attention to the gridiron.

Grade: A   

 

Baltimore Orioles

First-Round Picks: C Matt Wieters (1-5)

Other MLB Players: RHP Jake Arrieta (5-159), 1B Joe Mahoney (6-189), OF Matt Angle (7-219)

A three-year starter in college, Matt Wieters hit .358/.480/.592 with 17 doubles, 10 home runs and 59 RBI in 57 games during his junior season at Georgia Tech and exited the college ranks as one of the most hyped catching prospects in recent memory.

He was the No. 1 prospect in baseball at the start of the 2009 season, and he debuted later that year. In eight seasons with the Orioles, he earned four All-Star selections, won two Gold Glove Awards and tallied 18.2 WAR.

The O’s did not have a second or third-round pick, but they hit on fifth-rounder Jake Arrieta, who signed an above-slot $1.1 million bonus. Unfortunately, it was not until after the team sold low and traded him to the Chicago Cubs that he broke out.    

Grade: B

 

Boston Red Sox

First-Round Picks: LHP Nick Hagadone (1-55), SS Ryan Dent (1-62)

Other MLB Players: 3B Will Middlebrooks (5-174), 1B Anthony Rizzo (6-204), RHP Ryan Pressly (11-354), RHP Hunter Strickland (18-564), LHP Drake Britton (23-714)

There are some notable names in this draft class, but only Will Middlebrooks made a significant impact in a Boston Red Sox uniform.

Anthony Rizzo (to SD for Adrian Gonzalez), Nick Hagadone (to CLE for Victor Martinez) and Hunter Strickland (to PIT for Adam LaRoche) were used as trade chips, while two-time All-Star Ryan Pressly was lost to the Minnesota Twins in the 2012 Rule 5 draft.

Middlebrooks posted a 121 OPS+ with 29 extra-base hits in 75 games as a rookie in 2012 and spent three years as Boston’s primary third baseman before he was traded to the San Diego Padres for veteran catcher Ryan Hanigan.    

Grade: C

 

Chicago Cubs

First-Round Picks: 3B Josh Vitters (1-3), 3B Josh Donaldson (1-48)

Other MLB Players: 2B Darwin Barney (4-127), OF Brandon Guyer (5-157), LHP James Russell (14-427)

“Scouts describe him as the rare right-handed hitter with a pretty swing, and he’s shown the ability to handle different velocities and different styles of pitching with ease. [His] hand-eye coordination and ability to make contact are almost too good, because at times he swings at pitches he should let pass, rather than waiting for one he can punish with his all-fields power,” Baseball America wrote about No. 3 overall pick Josh Vitters.

However, those offensive skills never translated to pro ball, and he hit .121/.193/.202 with 33 strikeouts in 109 plate appearances in his only MLB action in 2012.

Flipping a young Josh Donaldson to the Oakland Athletics as part of the four-player package to acquire Rich Harden at the 2008 trade deadline was a regrettable move, but they did find some value in Gold Glove winner Darwin Barney, solid lefty reliever James Russell and Brandon Guyer, who was part of the trade package to acquire Matt Garza from the Tampa Bay Rays.   

Grade: D

 

Chicago White Sox

First-Round Picks: LHP Aaron Poreda (1-25)

Other MLB Players: RHP John Ely (3-119), RHP Nate Jones (5-179)

Left-hander Aaron Poreda made 10 appearances out of the Chicago White Sox bullpen in 2009 before he was included in the trade to acquire Jake Peavy from the San Diego Padres that summer. He made a total of 40 appearances in the majors.

Third-round pick John Ely was also traded in the deal that brought speedster Juan Pierre to the South Side, and he made 18 starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2010 and has just 25 appearances in the majors.

Reliever Nate Jones was the only real hit of this draft class. He posted a 3.12 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 9.8 K/9 with 69 holds in 284 appearances with the White Sox, and earned a three-year, $8 million extension prior to the 2016 season that included a trio of option years.    

Grade: F

 

Cincinnati Reds

First-Round Picks: C Devin Mesoraco (1-15), 3B Todd Frazier (1-34), RHP Kyle Lotzkar (1-53)

Other MLB Players: SS Zack Cozart (2-79), RHP Scott Carroll (3-104), 1B Neftali Soto (3-109), LHP Jeremy Horst (21-649), RHP Curtis Partch (26-799),

Catcher Devin Mesoraco, third baseman Todd Frazier and shortstop Zack Cozart combined for four All-Star appearances and 33.9 WAR during their time with the Cincinnati Reds, making this a wildly successful draft class for the organization.

Frazier was the best of the bunch, posting a 113 OPS+ with 108 home runs and 14.3 WAR in five seasons before he was traded to the White Sox in a deal that brought Scott Schebler, Jose Peraza and Brandon Dixon to Cincinnati.

Things never clicked for Neftali Soto stateside, but he developed into one of the best power hitters in the Japanese League. He led the league in home runs in 2018 (41) and 2019 (43) while playing for the Yokohama Bay Stars.

Grade: A

 

Cleveland Guardians

First-Round Picks: 1B Beau Mills (1-13)

Other MLB Players: LHP T.J. McFarland (4-137), RHP Josh Judy (34-1,034)

Beau Mills hit .458/.556/1.033 with 38 home runs and 123 RBI in 62 games in 2007 at Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho. He spent his first two collegiate seasons at Fresno State but was suspended from the team for academic reasons prior to his junior year.

Those results were impossible to ignore, and he wound up being the third college hitter selected after Matt Wieters (No. 5) and Matt LaPorta (No. 7). He showed some intriguing power in the minors but never made enough contact to fully tap into it, and he failed to make the jump from Triple-A.

The team had no second or third-round pick, and T.J. McFarland broke through only after he was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2012 Rule 5 draft.

Grade: F

 

Colorado Rockies

First-Round Picks: RHP Casey Weathers (1-8)

Other MLB Players: 3B Jordan Pacheco (9-282), LHP Matt Reynolds (20-612), RHP Bruce Billings (30-912)

Selecting Vanderbilt right-hander Casey Weathers two picks before the San Francisco Giants chose Madison Bumgarner is a decision that will haunt the Colorado Rockies organization until the end of time.

Weathers never pitched above Double-A, wrapping up his pro career in the independent league in 2017.

The Rockies also had a chance to sign Chris Sale as a 21st-round pick, but he honored his commitment to Florida Gulf Coast University and developed into a first-round pick.

The middling contributions of Jordan Pacheco (377 G, 75 OPS+, 10 HR) and Matt Reynolds (221 G, 30 HLD, 3.80 ERA) over their careers with multiple organizations are not enough to save this draft class from a decisive “F” grade.   

Grade: F

 

Detroit Tigers

First-Round Picks: RHP Rick Porcello (1-27), RHP Brandon Hamilton (1-60)

Other MLB Players: IF Danny Worth (2-91), RHP Luke Putkonen (3-121), LHP Charlie Furbush (4-151), LHP Casey Crosby (5-181)

Rick Porcello broke camp with a spot in the Detroit Tigers rotation in 2009, jumping straight from High-A to debut after just 24 starts in the minors. The 20-year-old went 14-9 with a 3.96 ERA in 170.2 innings as a rookie, and he spent six seasons as part of the starting staff before he was traded to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes.

He went on to win AL Cy Young honors with the Red Sox in 2016, while Cespedes spent half a season in Detroit before he was traded again, this time to the New York Mets for Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa.

Lefty reliever Charlie Furbush was part of the trade package used to acquire Doug Fister from the Seattle Mariners at the 2011 trade deadline.

Grade: C

 

Houston Astros

First-Round Picks: None

Other MLB Players: None

The Houston Astros surrendered the No. 17 and No. 35 overall picks to sign slugger Carlos Lee to a six-year, $100 million deal in free agency, and they came up empty on all of their remaining draft picks.

They did select a handful of future MLB players in Derek Dietrich (third round), Brett Eibner (fourth round), Chad Bettis (eighth round) and Robbie Weinhardt (38th round), but they failed to sign all four of them.

Grade: F

 

Kansas City Royals

First-Round Picks: 3B Mike Moustakas (1-2)

Other MLB Players: LHP Danny Duffy (3-96), RHP Greg Holland (10-306), OF David Lough (11-336), 1B Clint Robinson (25-756)

“No premium draft pick had a better season than [Mike] Moustakas, who had one of the great careers in California high school history,” Baseball America wrote prior to the 2007 draft.

After a so-so start to his pro career, he broke out as one of baseball’s elite prospects in 2010 when he hit .322/.369/.630 with 41 doubles, 36 home runs and 124 RBI in 118 games between Double-A and Triple-A. He debuted the following year and spent seven-plus seasons in Kansas City, slugging 139 home runs and tallying 11.5 WAR. He also helped deliver a World Series title in 2015.

Closer Greg Holland was also an integral part of the team’s rise to prominence, racking up 159 saves and making a pair of All-Star appearances in eight seasons. Left-hander Danny Duffy tossed 1,172.1 innings in a Royals uniform, posting a 3.95 ERA and 19.8 WAR before he was traded this past summer.

Three impact players is a hugely successful draft.

Grade: A

 

Los Angeles Angels

First-Round Picks: RHP Jon Bachanov (1-58)

Other MLB Players: IF Andrew Romine (5-178), RHP Ryan Brasier (6-208), RHP Mason Tobin (16-508), 1B Efren Navarro (50-1,450)

The Angels gave up the No. 24 overall pick to sign Gary Matthews Jr. to one of the worst contracts in franchise history, and they missed on No. 58 overall pick Jon Bachanov, who lasted just four seasons in pro ball and never pitched above Double-A.

They also failed to sign Matt Harvey as a third-round pick, as he instead honored his commitment to North Carolina. He went on to be the No. 7 overall pick in the 2010 draft.

On a positive note, first baseman Efren Navarro was the latest pick in the 2007 draft to reach the majors.

Grade: F

Author: Lucy Green