Friday, October 3, 2008

Missed Opportunity

Evan Longoria launched solo home runs on the first two post-season pitches he saw yesterday afternoon, and proceeded to add an rbi single in his third at-bat. One might be asking, what type of missed opportunity is that? The Rays hit the jackpot, didn't they? That they did, and they did a great job of locking up their investment to what is surely going to be a steal of a contract barring injury. Longorio is signed to be with the Rays for 9 seasons (including this one) for a total of around $45 million. If they choose not to exercise his 3 option years, it would be a 6-year pact for a total of $18 million. Having Longoria for a total of $5 million per season is an absolute heist for the Rays and I couldn't give more credit to Andrew Friedman and his staff for having the forsight to lock up such a talented player despite the inherent risk involved.

So, after all that...what is this missed opportunity I allude to? Longoria went 3rd overall in the 2006 draft, behind Luke Hochevar and Greg Reynolds. Neither of these players has been nearly as promising and the top 10 hasn't really panned out as we might have expected. The three best players from that top 10 would have to be Longoria, Tim Lincecum (10th-SF) and Clayton Kershaw (7th-LAD). Brandon Morrow (4th-SEA) was rushed to the big leagues, but still has shown considerable promise, and Andrew Miller (6th-DET) has yet to harness the command and control to make himself a dominant pitcher. I don't completely fault the Royals for taking Hochevar #1 because they were working on a budget, and despite being a Scott Boras client, he was willing to sign for a somewhat reasonable amount ($5.3 million), despite coming off a nasty negotiation with the Dodgers, and pitching in the Independent League with somewhat diminished stuff. I am stunned though that the Rockies didn't take Longoria with the second overall pick. They had just drafted Troy Tulowitzki, also of Long Beach State the previous year, and could have had a dominant hitting and fielding pair on the left side of the infield for the next 6 years if they took Longoria. Instead they opted to continue to try to develop their own pitching by drafting the underachieving Reynolds, who had a low k-rate for someone with his size and stuff. Imagine what the Rockies could be if they were playing with Tulo and Longoria on the left side of the infield.

While the draft is riddled with missed opportunities (look at Ricky Romero going 6th in front of Tulowitzki in 2005) this must be a particularly hard pill to swallow because no one looked at Reynolds as being the better prospect than Longoria, except apparently Colorado. win some and lose some right? After all, Colorado was able to nab Dexter Fowler in the 14th round in 2004...

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