Taking a break from our regular content, this week Spikes Up brings you another installment of our Draft Review series. Here’s an in-depth review of the first 10 picks of the second round of the 2000 MLB Draft. Considering there are players among this list who are already out of baseball, we plan to skip ahead to the 2001 Draft when Spikes Up next tackles our Draft Review series.
41. Jason Stokes, 1B, Florida Marlins: Stokes was plucked out of a Texas high school at the tender age of 18 with power potential splashed all over him. The Marlins opened their wallets for the first-round talent, penning him to a $2.027-million signing bonus. So far, they haven’t exactly gotten much of a return on their investment as injuries have derailed the 6’4”, 225-pound behemoth from advancing beyond Triple-A.
In 2003, Stokes looked like a top prospect, named as the Florida State League All-Star DH after smoking 31 doubles and driving in 89 runs in 121 games. He even showed a bit of speed that season, swiping six bases, but he was caught four times, and that’s clearly not part of his skill set.
The following season, Stokes was promoted to Double-A, where he displayed improved patience and better power numbers. He moved up to Triple-A last year, but the season was a developmental washout as injuries limited him to a mere 46 at-bats.
Heading into this season, he was still viewed as a very solid prospect, but somewhat lost in a very deep Marlins’ organization that had added a ton of talent in all its salary-dumping deals.
Stokes had an excellent Spring Training with the Marlins this year, batting .324 with a 901 OPS, and got off to a nice start at Triple-A, but he started to struggle and then a back injury knocked him out again and he hasn’t seen any action since the end of May. He was batting only .246, with just a .324 OBP and .410 SLG before the injury — hardly the numbers of a top-notch prospect. Still, even though it seems he’s been around forever, Stokes is just 24 years old and if he can get past these injury issues, there’s a serious power hitter waiting to emerge.
Final Analysis: Inconclusive.
42. Tagg Bozied, 1B, Minnesota Twins: Bozied apparently just did not want to sign with the Twins. This marked the second time Minnesota drafted him, also picking him out of high school in 1997 in the 50th round. He vastly improved his draft status after a season in which he bashed 14 homers for the University of San Francisco.
Well, Bozied’s draft gamble didn’t pay off, as he slipped to the third round in 2001. But at least he got what he wanted and stayed in California, by signing with the San Diego Padres. We’ll recap Bozied’s career to date when we review the 2001 draft in an upcoming column.
Final Analysis: Unable to Sign.
43. Bobby Hill, 2B, Chicago Cubs: Hill is a player we’ve written about in this space recently. Unfortunately for him, he was labeled as the Spikes Up Aging Minor Leaguer of the Week, hardly an envious title.
To his credit, at least Hill has managed to carve out somewhat of a major league career, appearing in 249 games over four seasons. But he’s displayed no pop (.350 SLG) and has struck out 100 times.
Now a non-roster player toiling at Triple-A Portland in the San Diego organization, Hill is having a strong year, but continues to strike out too much (45 times in 65 games) for a guy with no power (.389 SLG).
Now 28, Hill’s best case scenario is as a utility infielder, but his inability to play shortstop will limit him even in that modest role.
Final Analysis: Somewhat disappointing to date given the hype and expectation.
44. Mike Tonis, C, Kansas City Royals: Tonis was picked in the 52nd round by the Mets in 1997, but opted to attend the University of California. Good choice. A 1040 OPS and selection as Pac-10 All-Star catcher in his junior year earned him a spot in the second round and an $800,000 bonus from the Royals.
Injuries have ravaged Tonis’ career and sapped him of much of his power. He did manage to reach the bigs and get six at-bats in KC back in 2004, but he was designated for assignment shortly thereafter.
The following spring, he decided to try his hand at pitching, but that clearly did not pan out and, according to Craig Brown, CREATiVESPORTS.com’s Royals’ expert, Tonis had to undergo Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2005 campaign. Brown says that Tonis is on the roster at Idaho Falls and is on the DL. Tonis is still just 27, so maybe there’s a chance he’ll still emerge, but we have no idea what his skill level as a pitcher would be, especially after TJS.
Final Analysis: A flop as a position player and highly doubtful as a pitcher.
45. Peter Bauer, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays: Bauer is another player who spurned a deal out of high school and opted for a college career instead. The Mariners took him in the 14th round in 1997, but he went to the University of South Carolina and an MVP performance in the Columbia Regional of the College World Series really helped his stock – and earned him a decent $800,000 signing bonus from the Jays.
Bauer struggled in four seasons in the Toronto organization, never getting beyond Double-A. The Marlins claimed him in the Rule 5 draft in 2003 and he showed modest improvement in the Florida organization in 2004, even reaching Triple-A for one start.
He began 2005 in the Marlins’ system, but before long his substandard performances in Triple-A had him banished to the Astros’ Double-A and Triple-A teams where he actually pitched well. But Houston released him in April and near the end of May, he caught on with the Sioux Falls Canaries of the American Association. But earlier this month, Bauer was even cut by his Indy league team.
All told, he managed 31 wins in six minor league seasons, but never made the majors. Definitely a failed pick here by the Jays.
Final Analysis: Flop city, baby.
46. Dane Sardinha, C, Cincinnati Reds: We’re sensing a trend here. Sardinha was also drafted out of high school, by the Royals in 1997 with the 59th overall pick. He chose the academic route as well, heading to Pepperdine, taking home the WCC Player of the Year Award in his final season, while also bagging First-Team All-American catcher honours. That performance bumped Sardinha up 13 spots on the draft board three years later when the Reds grabbed him.
Unfortunately, Sardinha’s opportunities have been limited by a complete inability to hit. The 27-year-old Honolulu native has appeared in exactly two games with the Reds – one in 2003 and another last year – when they needed a catcher. He’s 0-for-5 in his career, but at least he can say he made the majors.
You would have thought he’d get a chance this season, given Jason LaRue’s surgery in March, but with David Ross now in the system, there was no need to employ Sardinha at the big league level. He did get a much longer than usual look at Spring Training this season (30 at-bats), but with just a 711 OPS, again his bat held him back.
Sardinha is currently playing with the Triple-A Louisville Bats, where he continues to swing a wet noodle (actually, he’s even less effective this year with a 520 OPS through 141 at-bats). In his minor league career, he had managed just 35 homers in 1,685 at-bats with a .234 BA, .275 OBP and .351 SLG heading into this season.
Clearly, without at least some offensive chops, Sardinha is doomed to a career as a Triple-A catcher who will serve as a very occasional emergency catcher in the majors.
Final Analysis: Big disappointment considering his college success.
47. Jason Young, RHP, Colorado Rockies: Yep, you guessed it. Young was another player drafted out of high school (by Texas in 1997 in the 29th round) who opted for collegiate life, heading to Stanford. He enjoyed a solid career with The Cardinal, highlighted by a 1999 sophomore season that bagged him Pac-10 all-star honours and a spot on the All-American second team.
Young’s excellent college career really boosted his draft ranking, but didn’t exactly earn him a huge bonus (just $275,000). He rocketed through the Rockies’ system, reaching Triple-A by the middle of his second year. And by the end of his third pro season, 2003, he reached the bigs, but with less than stellar results (8.44 ERA in 21 1/3 IP).
Young’s career has kind of gone downhill from there. In 2004, he had injury issues and won just five games at Triple-A, while struggling badly in his two starts with the Rox (0-1, 12.96). Things got even worse last season as he suffered through a 6.39 mark in 21 games (20 starts) and 105 2/3 IP despite winning nine games with Triple-A Colorado Springs. It was bad enough for Young to wind up on the waivers. Now, generally speaking, leaving Colorado is fantastic for any pitcher, but the 26-year-old was picked up by the pitching-rich Cleveland Indians’ organization. He pitched marginally better at Triple-A Buffalo to finish out the 2005 season, but hasn’t seen the big leagues since his 2004 debacle. After the season, the Tribe removed him from the 40-man roster.
Young hasn’t even pitched this season, and according to sources at the Bisons, he was not re-signed by the Indians. If any of you Cleveland fans out there know what became of him, please drop us a line.
Final Analysis: Well, at least Young made the Show. It wasn’t pretty, and he lasted about as long as Neil Smith’s tenure as the Isles’ GM, but he made it.
48. Chad Petty, LHP, Detroit Tigers: Detroit shelled out $600,000 for Petty, an 18-year-old lefty out of an Ohio high school. Unfortunately, the Tigers never quite got a return on their investment as Petty couldn’t advance past High-A ball.
Of course, he had some help in disintegrating. After a good start to his pro career, things went downhill for Petty after the Tigers let the soft-tosser throw 161 1/3 innings as a 20-year-old in 2002 in the low-A Midwest League. Petty never quite recovered from that abuse, and arm troubles led to ineffectiveness, and ultimately his ticket out of baseball.
Midway through 2003, Detroit moved him to the Brewer organization in the Alex Sanchez deal. After the trade, Petty went 0-10, 7.41 for High-A High Desert. Uh, yeah. Needless to say, the Brew Crew was not impressed, and released him just before the 2004 season.
Petty caught on with the Cardinals organization for the 2004 season, and shifted to the bullpen, where he pitched marginally better, but not good enough to get a sniff of Double-A. The following year, Petty pitched briefly in the Independent Frontier League, but he was absolutely shelled in a pair of starts with Chillocothe.
That was last summer. There has been no reports on Petty since then, so ostensibly, he’s out of baseball. The final tally was 24 wins in six minor league seasons. Needless to say, Petty doesn’t represent Detroit drafting’s finest hour.
Can anyone confirm what’s become of him?
Final Analysis: Major dud.
49. Xavier Nady, OF, San Diego Padres: Nady was also originally picked out of high school (St. Louis made him its fourth round pick in 1997), but he went to the University of California instead. It was a prudent move as Nady had a stellar career at UC, capped by a 19-HR, 59-RBI, .329 junior season that landed him third-team All-American status and a cool $1.1-million bonus from the Padres.
Nady, an infielder in college, had the rare distinction of playing a game with the Padres before he ever played in a minor league game (he even went 1-for-1 and scored a run, to boot). Switched to first base as a pro, his career got underway in earnest in 2001, with a tremendous debut at High-A Lake Elsinore (524 at-bats, 96 runs, 26 homers, 100 RBI, six steals, .379 OBP, 906 OPS), an effort that bagged him High-A All-Star honours as a first baseman.
He returned to High-A in 2002, but after an impressive 45-game display of power (.580 SLG), the Padres deemed Nady ready to jump all the way to Triple-A. Nady justified their faith by continuing to show good power (10 HR in 85 games and 315 at-bats), but his strike zone judgment (20 BB/60 K) made it evident that he needed a bit more seasoning.
In 2003, Nady stepped up his power at Triple-A, recording an OPS of 800 despite hitting just .265 through 136 at-bats. It was good enough for San Diego to finally make him a regular in the majors. Nady certainly didn’t embarrass himself in his rookie season, scoring 50 runs in 110 games, but his power didn’t translate to the Show as he only managed nine home runs.
The following year, Nady missed a fair chunk of the season because of injury, but he proved he was now too good for the minors, driving in 70 runs in just 74 Triple-A games and 291 at-bats while batting .330 with an OPS of 1020. Just sick. However, he didn’t do much in his 34 games with the Padres, and his inability to draw a walk (just five), was a big part of his lacklustre batting average.
Last season, Nady shifted to the outfield and acted as the Padres’ fourth outfielder and he began to show his potential, scoring 40 runs off of 85 hits (including 15 doubles) with a 760 OPS in 124 games and 326 at-bats.
In November, however, his tenure with the Padres came to an end when they peddled the oft-injured outfielder to the Mets for Mike Cameron. Nady made an immediate impact in New York, winning the right field job after a huge Spring Training performance. He opened the season strong, batting .311 with six homers and 11 RBI in April. In May, however, Nady went into the tank and ended the month on an even sourer note when he had to undergo an emergency appendectomy. That cost him about three weeks off the schedule, and while he was strong over the last couple of weeks of June, Nady has struggled recently.
Given the lack of competition, it’s hard not to declare Nady as the best player taken in the second round of 2000, but despite occasional flashes, he has yet to fully deliver on his potential. Well, Nady is now 27 years old, so it’s time to watch him closely for the rest of this season for signs of a true breakout. In our opinion, the lack of plate discipline is what continues to hold him back.
Final Analysis: We’re just starting to see what he can do and it’s exciting. Great pick this low in the draft.
50. Jared Abruzzo, C, Anaheim Angels: Abruzzo signed for $687,500 out of a California high school, but after showing promise early in his pro career, petered out as a prospect.
In his pro debut in 2000 in the Pioneer League, Abruzzo walked 61 times against 58 strikeouts, recording an OPS of 846. He flashed modest power in his early years, but his batting average was never quite up to snuff.
Abruzzo reached High-A in 2002, but was demoted back to Class-A the following year, before bouncing back to High-A in 2004. By then, however, he had been passed on the Angels’ depth chart by Jeff Mathis and later Mike Napoli, so he found himself in the Texas organization last season. Abruzzo finally reached Double-A in 2005, but hit a woeful .209.
Abruzzo was re-signed by the Rangers at the end of the 2005 season, but has not appeared in the minors this year. Sources at the Frisco Roughriders say he was sent down before last season ended, so they lost track of him. They also said they believe he had season-ending surgery this year, so that would explain why he hasn’t appeared on the radar.
Final Analysis: Not looking good.