Feb 7, 2011

2011 MMDA 1st Round in Review

1. Jason Heyward - rf - Spokane Hooded Crows. Crows GM Steve Frediani adds the next (Ken Griffey Jr, Barry Bonds, insert left-handed power-hitting phenom here) to a Spokane outfield already studded with stars of all ages. Vernon Wells, Vlad Guerrero, Andre Ethier, Adam Lind… Batting practice at Hoodie spring training promises to be spectacular! (Just don’t park your car too near the right field fence...)

2. Buster Posey – c - Finger Lakes Fungoes. Jeremy Tiermini’s inaugural MMDA pick is suitably enough a franchise player. A 23 year old middle of the order bat who also happens to be a catcher with a -2 arm? Sounds like an excellent way to start.

3. Mike Stanton – of - Fighting Irish. Is it any surprise the Fighting Irish picked the most famous alumnus of – where else – Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, CA? Nepotism aside, MMDA scouts believe the 6’5” Stanton has light-tower power, and is likely to develop into a perennial 35-40 HR power source. At the risk of hyperventilating, picture Ryan Braun - only with a glove!

4. Carlos Santana – c - NorthWest Stars. Oye como va… Tired of crooning “You’ve got to change your evil (low OBA) ways” to Miguel Olivo and Pudge Rodriguez, Stars owner Ray Ross hopes to pull off some draft black magic by nabbing Carlos Santana early. While there is no doubt Santana swings a smooth axe, his damaged knee will require a healer before he and Ray can harmonize “I’m Winning” in 2012.

5. Starlin Castro – ss - Fighting Irish. The first non-Notre Dame pick by the Irish is a 20-year old free-swinging shortstop from the islands. While the youngster’s erratic arm may cause the occasional Missile Crisis in the seats behind 1b, it is Castro’s sweet bat the Irish will wish to place in a humidor, so they can enjoy it in years to come.

6. Neil Walker - 2b - California Roadrunners. Is this the pick that signals the end of the Aaron Hill Era (tm)? The selection of a slugging 2b was immediately accompanied by an anonymous outcry of “Seriously?!” Rumors that the agonized scream came from Hill’s agent remain unconfirmed at this time. Also unconfirmed are rumors that Mike Siddon is pounding the phonelines, looking for a taker for last year’s Roadrunner homerun leader (Hill had 20 longballs, 5 more than fellow California infielder Juan Uribe.)

7. Stephen Strasburg – sp - Mohawk Valley Jive. As we stated last year when Brad Bergesen became the answer to “who is worth so much more than Francisco Liriano that a trade needs to be cancelled,” well, this is what all the excitement was about. This year’s exciting scandal involved a tanking accusation about a team that didn’t even end up with a first round pick, and a player that didn’t end up getting picked in the top 5 players. As in 2010, Baseball America editor Matthew Eddy benefitted when a formerly hyped pitching prospect’s stock fell on draft day, and a golden arm fell concurrently into Eddy’s lap. Last year it was David Price who was the right pick. In 2011 it was Stephen Strasburg who went from BA Prospect Cover Girl to modestly priced Jive farmhand. Rumors that Strasburg felt a little twinge in the elbow while helping carry Eddy’s couch up the stairs in that new apartment are unconfirmed.

8. Madison Bumgarner – sp - Northwest Stars. Having struck out with last year’s 1st round pitcher selection (Rick Porcello, #3 overall in 2010, 6-13, 5.05) in 2011 Ray Ross eschewed Crash Davis’ advice to Nuke Laloosh. Yes, strikeouts may be fascist, and groundballs may be more democratic. But the blitzkrieg of breaking stuff Madison Bumgarner can unleash on opposing MMDA hitters does have a certain je ne sais qua.

9. Austin Jackson – cf - Wilmington Razorbacks. With his nickname of A-Jax and his 1 range, Austin Jackson scours centerfield, cleaning up deep flyballs, gappers, and shallow sinking liners with equal vigor. If one is of a more literary bent, however, the Ajax nickname could take on a more somber note. In Homer’s Iliad, Ajax fought nobly and well. But ultimately his one fatal flaw (pride in the Iliad; a high strikeout rate in MLB) causes him to impale himself on his own sword. Can the 2011 MMDA version of Ajax avoid impaling himself with his own weapon, the baseball bat?

10. Jeremy Hellickson – sp – Easton Dobermans. For the 3rd consecutive year, Steve Alterman went to the SP well in the first round. While 2009 1st rounder (9th overall) Max Scherzer hasn’t developed quite as well as hoped (10-12, 5.81 in 30 starts in 2010,) 2010 #3 overall Tommy Hanson has showed promise (7-8, 4.26 in his inaugural campaign.) Scouts believe Hanson will likely remain the big dog in the Doberman pack for quite some time. But fans of the smallish (6’1”, 185 lb) Hellickson like to quote the old saw, “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

11. Colby Lewis – sp – Jersey Blackhawks. Fresh from the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, Lewis brings his consecutive strikeout crowns in the Japanese Central League to a Blackhawk rotation already replete with former bonus babies Justin Verlander (13-13, 3.24, 282 k’s) and Brett Anderson (7th overall in 2010, 16-9, 4.46.) Blackhawk owner Eric Campbell hopes a revived Lewis can have MMDA hitters fishing for his breaking stuff.

12. Domonic Brown – of – Mohawk Valley Jive. With the retirement of Gary Sheffield, the move of Adam Dunn to 1b, and the implosion of 2010 1st rounder (#12 overall) Nolan Reimold, the Mohawk Valley outfield is in need of some redecorating. While Brown may not yet be ready to join Curtis Granderson and Chris Young as the prime power/speed threats on the Jive, few doubt his day is coming. And soon.

13. Pedro Alvarez – 3b – Montreal Miracle. Ever since Chipper Jones left town, the hot corner in Montreal has been something of a hot potato (or potatoe, if you happen to be Dan Quayle.) Finally tired of Mark Teahen’s mediocrity, Kevin Kouzmanoff’s vodka-fueled flailings at the plate and Eric Chavez’s complaints that somebody took the handicap parking spot again, Miracle GM Steve Beard finally invested a prime pick in what he hopes will be a long-term solution at 3rd base. With any luck, it will be a while before the answer to “who’s on 3rd” will again be “I don’t know.”

14. Daniel Hudson – sp – Finger Lake Fungoes. Having already fingered a receiver with pick #2, Jeremy Tiermini assembled a complete and powerful 1st round battery with the selection of Daniel Hudson. The young power pitcher figures to eventually slot into the upper half of the MMDA Hudson Hall of Fame, above Luke and Charles. Where he eventually stands in relation to Tim is a subject of much hope in the Finger Lakes.

15. Justin Smoak – 1b – Northwest Stars. As in 2010, Stars GM Ray Ross held the 15th overall pick. Last year he used it on CF Dexter Fowler. This year he went with another switch-hitter in Smoak. The selection makes a great deal of sense in the Northwest, as the incumbent Stars 1b is the somewhat underwhelming Lyle Overbay. If he catches fire in MLB 2011, look for Smoak over the 1b bag in Northwest in 2012.

16. Jhoulys Chacin – sp – Yankee Clippers. The Clippers, who were without a 1st round draft pick, added the first of a pair of pitchers to a staff that managed the 2nd lowest runs against figure (678, trailing only NorthEast’s 613.) Jhoulys joins 2nd cousin Gustavo as the second of the pitching Chacins to take the mound in the MMDA.

17. Jaime Garcia – sp – Yankee Clippers. Garcia is the 2nd step in refreshing a Clipper rotation that will soon be in need of new blood. With Andy Pettitte, AJ Burnett, Carlos Zambrano, Tim Wakefield, Freddy Garcia, and Kyle Lohse all having seen better days, Garcia and Chacin could play prominent roles in the Clippers fortunes as soon as 2011.

18. Logan Morrison – dh – NorthEast Huskies. A left-handed stick whose best position is “batter’s box,” Morrison figures to complement Jim Thome’s long-awaited return to active duty in the MMDA this year, and eventually to take over his role as a copious producer of the Three True Outcomes.

19. Jose Tabata – of – Montreal Miracle. The Tabata selection wrapped up the Miracle’s sweep of the top 2 Pirates prospects in the draft, and touched off a grass-roots movement to change the Miracle 7th inning stretch song to the Flight of the Conchords song of damning with faint praise. A lyric sample: “I bet you are definitely in the top 3 / good looking girls on the street / depending on the street.”

20. Drew Storen – rp – Cape Cod Breakers. The son of former XM Radio baseball talkshow host Mark Patrick lets his fastball do the talking for him. In the great tradition of the Breakers building depth, Storen figures to set up for uber-closer Mariano Rivera in the near term, but unlike incumbent lady-in-waiting / Molotov cocktail Bobby Jenks, the young fireballer Storen likely actually has the stuff to be Mariano’s eventual successor.


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