Baseball Christmas

The annual baseball draft begins today. You can follow the draft on or

I always look at Draft Day as the baseball equivalent of Christmas Day. All 30 teams get to unwrap the presents under the tree. Only it kinda works the way it did in my house growing up. Our parents gave us the Sears catalog, told us how much we could spend, and we chose what our presents would be.

Baseball organizations know how much they can spend, and they know what’s in the catalog by scouting all that amateur talent in high school, junior college and four-year universities. Some can spend more than others, with the Yankees being the Montana Max in the baseball version of Acme Acres.

I opened my copy of Florida Today and found the top story in the Sports section was quoting Angels scouting director Eddie Bane about the draft. (It was an Associated Press story.) Mark Whicker at the Orange County Register suggests the draft will determine how history will view the trade of Casey Kotchman and Stephen Marek for the privilege of renting Mark Teixeira for three months, although as I’ve commented several times the problem with that deal was the Angels could have moved Kotchman in a winter deal for a starting pitcher who wouldn’t leave after a cursory pass through the clubhouse.

You’ll find web sites all over the Internet — some professional, some amateur — claiming to tell you who the Angels will choose today. The truth is that none of them know. Not even the Angels know, because many of the top prospects they lust after could be gone by the time they pick. The Angels have five picks before the first round — #24, #25, #42, #44 and #48 — but it will be years before we can form an intelligent opinion about how well they selected.

I was glad to see Whicker reaffirm what I’ve said over the years, that Moneyball was a flop, but that’s a subject for another day.


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