Mets360 Draft series: The 2009 MLB Draft

Headlined by the best player of a generation, the 2009 draft has emerged as one of the best draft classes in the 21st century.

One of the most recognized faces in baseball today, Mike Trout already is a two-time MVP and five-time Silver Slugger. In six full seasons in the majors, Trout has finished no lower than fourth in AL MVP balloting while producing a career .976 OPS. His 55.2 career bWAR, which includes a pair of 10-win seasons, represents a value more than twice as high as the next guy drafted among 2009’s top 100. And that next guy is no slouch!

Curiously, however, Trout lasted until the 25th pick in 2009. Including the one who ultimately selected him, 22 teams pulled the trigger on other players. The Angels landed Trout only after they selected fellow high school outfielder Randall Grichuk with their first pick of the opening round. Grichuk, who was traded to the Cardinals before ascending to the major leagues, has a respectable 7.1 bWAR but probably himself wonders how he was off the board before Trout.

It’s hard to quibble with the Nationals selecting Stephen Strasburg with the first pick in the 2009 draft. Under the wing of boyhood idol and Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn at San Diego State University, Strasburg dominated in a junior season that featured a 13-1 record, 1.32 ERA and 195 strikeouts in 109 innings. It was a foregone conclusion that he would go No. 1.

Despite some injury problems, including “Tommy John” surgery early in his major league career, Strasburg has posted the best bWAR (24.8) among pitchers selected in 2009’s top 100. The Nationals were up again nine picks later and selected fellow college hurler Drew Storen, who has spent his entire career as a reliever and managed a 5.3 bWAR. He likely will miss the 2018 season following a “Tommy John” surgery of his own.

The Nationals were not the only franchise to pass on Trout multiple times, however. The Diamondbacks had back-to-back picks beginning with No. 16 and chose Bobby Borchering and A.J. Pollock. The latter has turned into a quality major leaguer, posting a career 18.2 bWAR to rank sixth among the draft’s top 100.

The last team who had a crack at Trout before the Angels’ consecutive picks was the White Sox, who went the outfielder route with Jared Mitchell at pick No. 23. Mitchell was one of two outfielders drafted ahead of Trout to never make the majors. The other was Donovan Tate, who was selected with the dreaded third overall pick by the Padres.

Here is a look at the top 100 picks from 2009 in chronological order:

OvPck Team Signed Name WAR Type
1 Nationals Y Stephen Strasburg 24.8 4Yr
2 Mariners Y Dustin Ackley 8.1 4Yr
3 Padres Y Donovan Tate HS
4 Pirates Y Tony Sanchez 0.4 4Yr
5 Orioles Y Matt Hobgood HS
6 Giants Y Zack Wheeler 2.1 HS
7 Braves Y Mike Minor 6.7 4Yr
8 Reds Y Mike Leake 14.9 4Yr
9 Tigers Y Jacob Turner -1.8 HS
10 Nationals Y *Drew Storen 5.3 4Yr
11 Rockies Y Tyler Matzek 2.8 HS
12 Royals Y Aaron Crow 2.4
13 Athletics Y Grant Green -1.6 4Yr
14 Rangers N Matt Purke -0.1 HS
15 Indians Y Alex White -0.4 4Yr
16 Diamondbacks Y Bobby Borchering HS
17 Diamondbacks via Dodgers Y *A.J. Pollock 18.2 4Yr
18 Marlins Y Chad James HS
19 Cardinals Y Shelby Miller 8.9 HS
20 Blue Jays Y Chad Jenkins 1.4 4Yr
21 Astros Y Jiovanni Mier HS
22 Twins Y Kyle Gibson 5.3 4Yr
23 White Sox Y Jared Mitchell 4Yr
24 Angels via Mets Y *Randal Grichuk 7.1 HS
25 Angels via Yankees Y *Mike Trout 55.2 HS
26 Brewers Y Eric Arnett 4Yr
27 Mariners via Phillies Y *Nick Franklin 1.2 HS
28 Red Sox Y Rey Fuentes -0.3 HS
29 Yankees Y *Slade Heathcott 0.4 HS
30 Rays N LeVon Washington HS
31 Cubs Y *Brett Jackson 0.1 4Yr
32 Rockies via Angels Y *Tim Wheeler 4Yr
33 Mariners Y *Steve Baron -0.3 HS
34 Rockies Y *Rex Brothers 4.6 4Yr
35 Diamondbacks Y *Matt Davidson -0.6 HS
36 Dodgers Y *Aaron Miller 4Yr
37 Blue Jays N *James Paxton 8.1 4Yr
38 White Sox Y *Josh Phegley 1.7 4Yr
39 Brewers Y *Kentrail Davis 4Yr
40 Angels Y *Tyler Skaggs 0.8 HS
41 Diamondbacks Y *Chris Owings 3.7 HS
42 Angels Y *Garrett Richards 7 4Yr
43 Reds Y *Brad Boxberger 2.5 4Yr
44 Rangers Y *Tanner Scheppers 1.1
45 Diamondbacks Y *Mike Belfiore -0.1 4Yr
46 Twins Y *Matt Bashore 4Yr
47 Brewers Y *Kyle Heckathorn 4Yr
48 Angels Y *Tyler Kehrer 4Yr
49 Pirates Y *Vic Black 0.5 4Yr
50 Nationals Y Jeff Kobernus -0.3 4Yr
51 Mariners Y Rich Poythress 4Yr
52 Padres Y Everett Williams HS
53 Pirates Y Brooks Pounders -1 HS
54 Orioles Y Mychal Givens 4.9 HS
55 Giants Y Tommy Joseph -0.8 HS
56 Dodgers via Braves Y *Blake Smith 0 4Yr
57 Reds Y Billy Hamilton 8 HS
58 Tigers Y Andy Oliver -0.8 4Yr
59 Rockies Y Nolan Arenado 27.4 HS
60 Diamondbacks via Royals Y *Eric Smith 4Yr
61 White Sox via Athletics Y *Trayce Thompson 2 HS
62 Rangers Y Tommy Mendonca 4Yr
63 Indians Y Jason Kipnis 20.5 4Yr
64 Diamondbacks Y Marc Krauss -1.8 4Yr
65 Dodgers Y Garrett Gould HS
66 Marlins Y Bryan Berglund HS
67 Cardinals Y Robert Stock 4Yr
68 Blue Jays N Jake Eliopoulos HS
69 Astros Y Tanner Bushue HS
70 Twins Y Billy Bullock 4Yr
71 White Sox Y David Holmberg -1.1 HS
72 Mets Y Steven Matz 4 HS
73 Brewers via NYA Y *Max Walla HS
74 Brewers Y Cameron Garfield HS
75 Phillies Y Kelly Dugan HS
76 Yankees Y *John Ryan Murphy 0.3 HS
77 Red Sox Y Alex Wilson 4.2 4Yr
78 Rays N Kenny Diekroeger HS
79 Cubs Y DJ LeMahieu 14.4 4Yr
80 Angels Y Patrick Corbin 7.7 JC
81 Nationals Y Trevor Holder 4Yr
82 Mariners Y Kyle Seager 26.8 4Yr
83 Padres Y Jerry Sullivan 4Yr
84 Pirates Y Evan Chambers JC
85 Orioles Y Tyler Townsend   4Yr
86 Giants Y Chris Dominguez -0.2 4Yr
87 Braves Y David Hale 0.7 4Yr
88 Reds Y Donnie Joseph 0.2 4Yr
89 Tigers Y Wade Gaynor 4Yr
90 Rockies Y Ben Paulsen 0.1 4Yr
91 Royals Y Wil Myers 7.4 HS
92 Athletics Y Justin Marks 0.2 4Yr
93 Rangers Y Robbie Erlin -0.1 HS
94 Indians Y Joe Gardner 4Yr
95 Diamondbacks Y Keon Broxton 2.3 JC
96 Dodgers Y Brett Wallach JC
97 Marlins Y Marquise Cooper HS
98 Cardinals Y Joe Kelly 6 4Yr
99 Blue Jays N Jake Barrett 0.9 HS
100 Astros Y Telvin Nash HS

Of first 15 picks, 13 have made the majors and nine have produced a positive bWAR. It turned out to be a trend for this draft as a whopping 63 percent of players drafted in the top 100 have appeared in the major leagues with 46 posting a bWAR greater than zero.

The best of the group not named Trout is third baseman Nolan Arenado, who lasted until the Rockies at the 59th pick. One of the game’s most well-rounded players, Arenado has three campaigns with at least 130 RBI and five Gold Gloves in as many major league seasons.
Another steal beyond the first round was fellow third baseman Kyle Seager, who has produced 26.8 bWAR since being the 82nd overall pick by the Mariners. With Seager and Dustin Ackley, who went second overall, Seattle drafted two of the top 10 players in terms of bWAR in 2009’s top 100.
Here’s a look at the top 100 sorted by bWAR:

OvPck Team Signed Name WAR Type
25 Angels via Yankees Y *Mike Trout 55.2 HS
59 Rockies Y Nolan Arenado 27.4 HS
82 Mariners Y Kyle Seager 26.8 4Yr
1 Nationals Y Stephen Strasburg 24.8 4Yr
63 Indians Y Jason Kipnis 20.5 4Yr
17 Diamondbacks via Dodgers Y *A.J. Pollock 18.2 4Yr
8 Reds Y Mike Leake 14.9 4Yr
79 Cubs Y DJ LeMahieu 14.4 4Yr
19 Cardinals Y Shelby Miller 8.9 HS
2 Mariners Y Dustin Ackley 8.1 4Yr
37 Blue Jays N *James Paxton 8.1 4Yr
57 Reds Y Billy Hamilton 8 HS
80 Angels Y Patrick Corbin 7.7 JC
91 Royals Y Wil Myers 7.4 HS
24 Angels via Mets Y *Randal Grichuk 7.1 HS
42 Angels Y *Garrett Richards 7 4Yr
7 Braves Y Mike Minor 6.7 4Yr
98 Cardinals Y Joe Kelly 6 4Yr
10 Nationals Y *Drew Storen 5.3 4Yr
22 Twins Y Kyle Gibson 5.3 4Yr
54 Orioles Y Mychal Givens 4.9 HS
34 Rockies Y *Rex Brothers 4.6 4Yr
77 Red Sox Y Alex Wilson 4.2 4Yr
72 Mets Y Steven Matz 4 HS
41 Diamondbacks Y *Chris Owings 3.7 HS
11 Rockies Y Tyler Matzek 2.8 HS
43 Reds Y *Brad Boxberger 2.5 4Yr
12 Royals Y Aaron Crow 2.4
95 Diamondbacks Y Keon Broxton 2.3 JC
6 Giants Y Zack Wheeler 2.1 HS
61 White Sox via Athletics Y *Trayce Thompson 2 HS
38 White Sox Y *Josh Phegley 1.7 4Yr
20 Blue Jays Y Chad Jenkins 1.4 4Yr
27 Mariners via Phillies Y *Nick Franklin 1.2 HS
44 Rangers Y *Tanner Scheppers 1.1
99 Blue Jays N Jake Barrett 0.9 HS
40 Angels Y *Tyler Skaggs 0.8 HS
87 Braves Y David Hale 0.7 4Yr
49 Pirates Y *Vic Black 0.5 4Yr
4 Pirates Y Tony Sanchez 0.4 4Yr
29 Yankees Y *Slade Heathcott 0.4 HS
76 Yankees Y *John Ryan Murphy 0.3 HS
88 Reds Y Donnie Joseph 0.2 4Yr
92 Athletics Y Justin Marks 0.2 4Yr
31 Cubs Y *Brett Jackson 0.1 4Yr
90 Rockies Y Ben Paulsen 0.1 4Yr
56 Dodgers via Braves Y *Blake Smith 0 4Yr
14 Rangers N Matt Purke -0.1 HS
45 Diamondbacks Y *Mike Belfiore -0.1 4Yr
93 Rangers Y Robbie Erlin -0.1 HS
86 Giants Y Chris Dominguez -0.2 4Yr
28 Red Sox Y Rey Fuentes -0.3 HS
33 Mariners Y *Steve Baron -0.3 HS
50 Nationals Y Jeff Kobernus -0.3 4Yr
15 Indians Y Alex White -0.4 4Yr
35 Diamondbacks Y *Matt Davidson -0.6 HS
55 Giants Y Tommy Joseph -0.8 HS
58 Tigers Y Andy Oliver -0.8 4Yr
53 Pirates Y Brooks Pounders -1 HS
71 White Sox Y David Holmberg -1.1 HS
13 Athletics Y Grant Green -1.6 4Yr
9 Tigers Y Jacob Turner -1.8 HS
64 Diamondbacks Y Marc Krauss -1.8 4Yr
85 Orioles Y Tyler Townsend   4Yr
3 Padres Y Donovan Tate HS
5 Orioles Y Matt Hobgood HS
16 Diamondbacks Y Bobby Borchering HS
18 Marlins Y Chad James HS
21 Astros Y Jiovanni Mier HS
23 White Sox Y Jared Mitchell 4Yr
26 Brewers Y Eric Arnett 4Yr
30 Rays N LeVon Washington HS
32 Rockies via Angels Y *Tim Wheeler 4Yr
36 Dodgers Y *Aaron Miller 4Yr
39 Brewers Y *Kentrail Davis 4Yr
46 Twins Y *Matt Bashore 4Yr
47 Brewers Y *Kyle Heckathorn 4Yr
48 Angels Y *Tyler Kehrer 4Yr
51 Mariners Y Rich Poythress 4Yr
52 Padres Y Everett Williams HS
60 Diamondbacks via Royals Y *Eric Smith 4Yr
62 Rangers Y Tommy Mendonca 4Yr
65 Dodgers Y Garrett Gould HS
66 Marlins Y Bryan Berglund HS
67 Cardinals Y Robert Stock 4Yr
68 Blue Jays N Jake Eliopoulos HS
69 Astros Y Tanner Bushue HS
70 Twins Y Billy Bullock 4Yr
73 Brewers via NYA Y *Max Walla HS
74 Brewers Y Cameron Garfield HS
75 Phillies Y Kelly Dugan HS
78 Rays N Kenny Diekroeger HS
81 Nationals Y Trevor Holder 4Yr
83 Padres Y Jerry Sullivan 4Yr
84 Pirates Y Evan Chambers JC
89 Tigers Y Wade Gaynor 4Yr
94 Indians Y Joe Gardner 4Yr
96 Dodgers Y Brett Wallach JC
97 Marlins Y Marquise Cooper HS
100 Astros Y Telvin Nash HS

The Mets only had one pick in the top 100 and chose Steven Matz at No. 72 out of nearby Stony Brook University. Matz has shown glimpses of being a front-line starter but had a 2017 to forget, posting a 6.08 ERA in 13 starts before undergoing elbow surgery.

Including Matz, the 2009 draft has produced 24 players to record a career bWAR of at least 4.0. The only draft in this series with more players at 4.0 bWAR or higher was 2008 with 27. Considering the series began with a 2000 draft that had only 11 players manage at least 4.0 bWAR, it could be perceived that scouting dramatically improved as the decade drew to a close. Of course, the 22 organizations that passed on Mike Trout might disagree.

2 comments for “Mets360 Draft series: The 2009 MLB Draft

  1. Pete from NJ
    February 17, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    I enjoy your spreadsheet presentation of draft years. Great statistical analysis just by looking at the WAR for the top 30 players taken in the draft, showing just how much personal phycology, luck and circumstance plays into the final results. Example: only 1/3 of the players have a WAR higher than 5.

    Just thinking on giving up a draft choice for a free agent signing should be a small part of any equation.

    • February 17, 2018 at 7:10 pm

      Thanks for the kind words. We’re going to look to do a more comprehensive look starting next week at these 10 drafts.

      One thing that needs to be considered is that when you “hit” on a draft pick, you really get a lot of excess value. There’s got to be factored into the equation.

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