Draft someone capable of outdoing Hambone
added 6/6/2001 by Raymond Desadier
Instead of rambling over Greed Hampton handing us over a defeat, I'm going to keep the wrap-up short. It is obvious that Wade Miller still lacks the Big League edge it takes to be an ace as evidenced by his 6th inning crumble after getting 2 outs. With stuff as good as his, he should not have been beaten so badly, even if he was due for a bad outing.
Now for the main attraction - today's draft. I can't say that I'm too pleased with the Astros first round pick but as the draft goes, only time will tell. I think the real reason that Tennessee shortstop/second baseman Chris Burke was the Astros first selection in the 2001 draft is fate. After all, the Astros' first pick in 1981 was Curtis Burke, and then 10 years later they drafted John Burke first in 1991. I guess you could call it the Burke Trend.
Even if the hand of fate was controlling the minds of the Astros brass you still have to wonder why they would pass on Kenny Baugh, a solid pitcher who just happens to be a hometown kid from a hometown university? Why would you pass on any pitcher for that matter?
There are two ways to look at this, with the most obvious being that they should have went with Baugh. Our last first round Owl (Lance Berkman) has served us quite well. Out of 13 pitchers the Astros have used their first pick on (not including Brad Lidge (1998) or Robert Stiehl (2000) since they are still climbing), 10 of them have reached the pros (77%). The most successful of the 10 are JR Richard, Floyd Bannister and (Billy Wagner}. Only half of the 18 position players (excluding Mike Rosamond (1999)) picked first have reached the pros with only Craig Biggio, Phil Nevin and Lance Berkman to speak of. One must also consider that good movement on pitches and velocity tends to come natural whereas good hitting and defense can be taught to a certain extent. A raw talent second baseman drafted low will be more coachable and will probably be the better player since a highly touted prospect "knows everything".
The other perspective would be that the Astros are due for a little luck when it comes to their drafted position players. Also, if Burke is truly the next Todd Helton, a former Volunteer whose numbers he has paralleled in his Junior season, what a fitting replacement when Craig Biggio sends his dirty helmet 5 year priority mail to Cooperstown. This makes it a sentimental pick, one worthy of smiling over.
But here in the real world, sentiment doesn't count for much. We'll just see who is making headlines five years from now. Perhaps neither of them will.