M’s in Much Better Hands Now
Posted by Jason A. Churchill on May 6, 2006
In case you aren't a believer in Bill Bavasi and Bob Fontaine's abilities to judge amateur talent, check out the proof.
In the first two years, Fontaine has drafted nine players that most consider to be useful prospects, at least.
From C Jeff Clement and SS Matt Tuiasosopo to C Rob Johnson, RHP Mark Lowe and RHP Stephen Kahn, Fontaine has drafted half of the top 10 prospects in the system in just two drafts.
Add to that, LHP's Robert Rohrbaugh and Justin Thomas, OF's Michael Saundersand Sebastien Boucher, and SS Jeffrey Dominguez and it's clear as day that Fontaine can draft, even when he's only had one first round pick to work with, zero second rounders and one third rounder.
In the previous four seasons (2000-2003), the Pat Gillick/Frank Mattox years, only eight useful talents came about – in FOUR DRAFTS.
CF Adam Jones and LHP's Bobby Livingston, Ryan Feierabend and Thomas Oldham are the best of the bunch. Outfielder Jamal Strong was a useful prospect until injuries ended his run.
C Rene Rivera, RHP Rett Johnson and LHP Ryan Ketchner round out the group.
Very unexciting bunch, eh? That's the Gillick/Mattox era for ya.
Gillick and Mattox drafted 13 high school pitchers in the first 10 rounds over those four years, and only Feierabend, Oldham and Livingston have a legit chance to help the parent club.
Selecting Michael Garciaparra in the first round was a colossal mistake, especially since David Wright, Dallas McPherson and Dan Haren were all still available. Ouch.
The M's hold picks 5, 49, 81 and 111 in the first four rounds and while it's not a great draft this season, particularly at the top, the club has a real legit shot to clean house next month.
And since Fontaine can snag a first-round talent in round three and get value in rounds four through 10, it's conceivable that the M's farm system will take a rather large step forward come June.