05/04/2004 3:45 PM ET
So, how's it going?
A look at 2003 first-rounders in their first full season
1. Tampa Bay | Delmon Young | RF | Charleston (A)
The number one overall pick in the 2003 draft was a late signing for Tampa Bay. Young played for two weeks in the Devil Rays' Instructional League after he signed and showed promise as a hitter. The 6-foot-2 200-pounder concluded 2003 playing for the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League, where he batted .417 with a home run and seven RBIs. He also had a .625 slugging percentage in 15 games to help lead the Solar Sox to the AFL title. Young is currently playing for the Devil Rays' Low-A affiliate, the Charleston Riverdogs. The Adolfo Camarillo (Calif.) High School product is known for his explosive bat speed and contact from a short stroke. Young drives through balls with good extension and has a natural loft for towering home runs.
2. Milwaukee | Rickie Weeks | 2B | Huntsville (AA)
The right-handed second baseman reported to the Brewers' Rookie League affiliate after reaching an agreement with the Brewers on a signing bonus of $3.6 million. Weeks played in just one game before he was moved up to Beloit in the Low-A Midwest League. He played in 20 games with Beloit, hitting .349 with a home run and 16 RBIs before he was recalled to Milwaukee on September 12. He made his big-league debut on September 15, and in seven Major League games, he had two hits in 12 at-bats. In 2004, Weeks was hitting .333 in his first 15 games for the Brewers' Double-A affiliate, the Huntsville Stars. The speedy second baseman is looking to continue his torrid hitting from the 2003 Arizona Fall League, where he hit .319 (23-72) in 20 games with a home run and 15 RBIs and was 9-for-10 in stolen base attempts. Weeks has a lightning-quick bat and a quiet approach at the plate. An explosive runner with base stealing ability, Weeks has a live, athletic body similar to Gary Sheffield. The Brewers feel Weeks has great a makeup and is a five-tool player.
3. Detroit | Kyle Sleeth | RHP | Lakeland (A)
Sleeth didn't sign his $3.3 million signing bonus with Detroit until August 10. The late signing didn't allow him a chance to throw a competitive pitch for the Tigers in 2003. Needless to say, the Tigers aren't concerned with his ability to compete. There's little doubt that his arm, pitches (fastball, curve, slider and changeup), command and delivery are all there. He began the 2004 season at the Tigers' High-A affiliate in Lakeland, striking out 16 and walking three over his first 17 innings pitched.
4. San Diego | Tim Stauffer | RHP | Lake Elsinore (A)
The right-hander made his pro debut April 11 for the Padres' High-A affiliate in Lake Elsinore after signing for $750,000. Stauffer did not pitch for the organization in 2003 after doctors told him that his shoulder joint was weak from wear on his labrum and rotator cuff. Stauffer reported to Lake Elsinore and began working with team trainers to rehabilitate his shoulder. On the mound, Stauffer continually tweaks his offerings, adding a few miles an hour or taking a few off. He'll throw his fastball anywhere between 87 and 93 mph, and run it up to 95 when he wants. It moves quite a bit -- especially late -- getting in on the hands of right-handers. He also throws a knuckle-curve that moves like a slurve and a changeup with plenty of life as well. During his college career at the University of Richmond, Stauffer added a two-seam fastball and a cut fastball with slider action and 90 mph velocity, and he unveiled a big, 12-to-6 breaking curveball his junior year.
5. Kansas City | Chris Lubanski | CF | Burlington (A)
The speedy center fielder signed a $2.1 million signing bonus and started his career with the Royals' championship-winning Arizona Fall League club, where he hit .326 with 4 home runs and 27 RBIs and recorded a .452 slugging percentage in 53 games. This season, Lubanski has moved up to Burlington in the Low-A Midwest League. Lubanski was the Royals' first first-round position player selection since the team took Dee Brown in 1996. The 6-foot-3 185-pounder hit .522-6-38 his senior season in HS and was chosen the Gatorade national prep player of the year. He has been clocked at running 60 yards in 6.35 seconds. Kansas City feels Lubanski is a plus defensive player who will hit for average and power and steal bases as well.
6. Chicago (NL) | Ryan Harvey | OF | Boise (SS)
The power-hitting outfielder began his pro career after agreeing to a $2.4 million signing bonus last year. Harvey reported to the Mesa Cubs of the Arizona League and he posted a .431 slugging percentage with a home run and seven RBIs in 14 games. After picking a college right-hander in the first round of the draft the last two years and three of the last four, the Cubs changed gears by selecting the 6-foot-5 outfielder. Harvey went sixth overall even though he missed a chunk of the prep season recovering from a right knee injury. The Cubs believe they have a five-tool player with raw power, size and strength. Compeltely healthy, he remained in Extended Spring Training this year and will probably head to Boise in the short-season Northwest League.
7. Baltimore | Nick Markakis | OF | Delmarva (A)
Although he went 12-0, posting a 1.68 ERA while recording 160 strikeouts in 97 innings at Young Harris (Ga.) Junior College, the Orioles drafted the left-handed Markakis as an outfielder. Markakis is currently playing for the Orioles' Low-A affiliate at Delmarva. The Orioles believe that Markakis will develop into a power hitter. He's got a nice swing and he centers the ball consistently. The JC standout, who signed for a bonus of $1.8 million, is very athletic with a quick arm. The Orioles watched several games of Markakis as a pitcher and as a player and feel like he was the best selection. Markakis reported to Aberdeen, the Orioles' short-season affiliate after he was drafted and he batted .283 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 59 games.
8. Pittsburgh | Paul Maholm | LHP | Lynchburg (A)
Maholm reported to Williamsport, the Pirates' Class-A affiliate, after he signed a $2.2 million signing bonus with the Pirates. He went 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA in eight starts and he struck out 32 batters in just 34 1/3 innings pitched. This season, Maholm has jumped up to the High-A Carolina Legue and handled the leap well through his first four starts. The former Mississippi State hurler's best pitch is his curve, but he also has excellent command of a sinking fastball that reaches 92 mph, a slider and a changeup. Maholm has the pitchability to be effective at the Major League level. The Pirates feel very strongly that Maholm had a lot of things working in his favor having pitched against very advanced competition in one of the premier conferences in the country, the Southeastern Conference.
9. Texas | John Danks | LHP | Clinton (A)
The first-round pick of the Rangers in 2003 signed for $2.1 million. Danks joined the Rangers' Rookie League club and went 1-0 with an 0.69 ERA in five games last summer. He is currently pitching for Clinton, the Low-A Midwest League affiliate of the Rangers, where he amassed 21 strikeouts against only three walks over his first 11 1/3 innings. The lefty has an excellent build and an aggressive mentality and mound presence. Danks uses both sides of plate with his fastball and is not afraid to throw inside. He has a comfort zone 89-91 mph fastball with a hard, arm side run and late sink down. Danks has a 3/4 curveball, a knee-buckler with quick sharp strike zone bite.
10. Colorado | Ian Stewart | 3B | Asheville (A)
This big 6-foot-3, 200 pound third baseman began his career with the Casper Rockies, the Rookie league affiliate of Colorado after reaching an agreement on a $1.95 million signing bonus. He batted .317 with 10 home runs and 43 RBIs and posted a .558 slugging percentage in 57 games. The left-handed hitter is currently playing for the Rockies' Low-A affiliate in Asheville where he had two homers and 11 RBIs through his first 18 games. He has power potential with the bat and the energy to play the game. The Rockies think he can develop as a third baseman, has a chance to hit with power and is a good fit for their ballpark.
11. Cleveland | Michael Aubrey | 1B | Kinston (A)
The hard-hitting lefthander out of Auburn has a medium frame and is strong from head to toe. Aubrey has good mechanics and hitting approach. The Indians signed Aubrey to a $2.01 million signing bonus and they see a player with future average power and the ability to drive the ball to all fields. He makes all the plays at 1B and has the ability to play outfield. The Conference USA player of the year is a very smart kid with a tremendous work ethic. Aubrey started his professional career at Lake County, the Low-A affiliate of the Indians in 2003. He batted .348 with five home runs and 19 RBIs and posted a .409 OBP and a .551 SLG in 38 games. Aubrey is picked up where he left off last season, hitting a pair of homers and driving in 12 runs in his first 16 games with High-A Kinston.
12. New York (NL) | Lastings Milledge | CF | Kingsport (R)
The Mets consider Milledge a legitimate five-tool player and signed him to a bonus just over $2 million. The high school speedster played in seven games in 2003 for Kingsport, the Mets rookie-level affililate. New York felt he was the best guy on the draft board when they picked, with the abilitiy to hit for power and average to go along with his ability to run and play center. Milledge broke his hand trying to bunt in a spring intrasquad game in March and was expected to be out until mid-May.
13. Toronto | Aaron Hill | SS | New Hampshire (AA)
Hill has a compact build with a quick bat and Toronto feels he has enough pop for future average power and has the ability to drive the ball to all fields. Hill has a quiet approach and stays back on off-speed pitches well. He has an average arm, makes on-line throws, has sure hands and quick strides. The right-handed hitting shortstop out of LSU signed a $1.6 million and began his career with Auburn, the short-season affiliate of the Blue Jays. He batted .361 in 33 games hitting four home runs with 34 RBIs and posted a .446 OBP and a .492 SLG. This season, Hill has jumped all the way up to Double-A New Hampshire and will eventually compete with 2002 first-round pick Russ Adams for playing time at shortstop.
14. Cincinnati | Ryan Wagner | RHP | Cincinnati Reds
Wagner became the first number-one pick of the 2003 draft to appear in the Major Leagues and the first Reds' draft pick to make his debut the same year he was drafted. He made just nine minor league appearances before he was recalled on July 19. Wagner made his debut that night vs. Houston, retiring all five batters he faced. He turned 21 years old just four days prior to his debut, becoming the youngest pitcher to appear in a game for the Reds since Rosario Rodriguez in 1989 at 20 years, 55 days old. The right-hander went 2-0, 1.66 in 17 games before the Reds shut him down after September 1st because he had thrown 115 innings since January 2003, including college and the minor leagues. In the minors, Wagner went 1-1, 2.00 in nine games overall with Chattanooga and Louisville. The University of Houston product, who signed a $1.4 million signing bonus, has a large frame and long arms. He has a no windup, using a 3/4 delivery with plus raw arm strength. Wagner has a comfort zone 90-92 fastball with hard tail and sink. He features a nasty power slurve with sharp, 3/4 bite through zone. Wagner broke camp with the big league club and will play a major role in the bullpen this season.
15. Chicago (AL) | Brian Anderson | CF | Winston-Salem (A)
The White Sox feel they have a five-tool player with a Major League body. Anderson has quality bat potential and is aggressive in all areas of the game with plus instincts. Anderson has a plus arm, plus range and the White Sox feel he is a very gifted athlete. The 6-foot-2, 200 pound center fielder has shown the ability to hit for power and has above-average speed. The right- handed hitting Anderson, who signed for $1.6 million, is currently playing for Chicago's High-A affiliate in Winston-Salem.
16. Florida | Jeffrey Allison | RHP | GCL Marlins (R)
The Marlins selected the hard throwing right-hander and signed him to a $1.8 million signing bonus. Allison has a live, athletic body and actions. He has a similar body to Jason Isringhausen and is gifted with a loose, quick arm and throws downhill. The Massachusetts product has advanced pitchabilitiy and know-how for his age. Allison began his career pitching in the Marlins' Gulf Coast League team in 2003, going 0-2, 1.00 in three starts. Allison's fastball has topped out at 97 mph with nasty movement. He has a sharp slider and a big-breaking curve. He reported late to the Marlins in 2004 after leaving for unspecified personal reasons, but will probably head back to the GCL after Extended Spring Training.
17. Boston | David Murphy | CF | Sarasota (A)
Murphy, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound outfielder and left handed hitter, has a tall, athletic body similar to ex-Major Leaguer Johnny Grubb. Murphy drives pitches to right side and makes accurate throws. The Red Sox feel the Baylor University standout has solid makeup and signed him to a $1.5 million bonus. Murphy began his career with Lowell, the Sox' short-season affiliate in 2003. The center fielder hit .346 with13 RBIs in 21 games at Lowell before he was moved up to High-A Sarasota, where he hit .242 with a home run and 18 RBIs in 45 games. He's back with Sarasota again this season.
18. Cleveland | Brad Snyder | CF | Lake County (A)
A native of Bellevue, Ohio, Snyder will begin his professional career as a center fielder. He was slow to recover from an eye infection that began bothering him at the beginning of Spring Training. The Indians expect him to join Low-A Lake County and they feel he has the arm, speed and athleticism to play center field. After signing for a $1.5 million bonus. Snyder hit .284 with six home runs and 31 RBIs in 62 games for Mahoning Valley, the Indians' short-season affiliate.
19. Arizona | Conor Jackson | OF | Lancaster (A)
Jackson had a very impressive debut in 2003 after signing for $1.5 million. He set a modern-day Northwest League record by hitting 35 doubles for the Diamondbacks' affiliate in Yakima. Overall, he hit .319 with six home runs and 60 RBIs. He posted a .410 OBP and a .533 SLG. Jackson picked up where he left off this year with High-A Lancaster, hitting .304 with with three home runs and 11 RBIs through his first 19 games, all while making the adjustment from third base to the outfield. He has good bat speed with a short, compact stroke. The California-Berkley product is a contact hitter with power to all fields. Jackson's selection by Arizona made him the highest Cal player drafted since 1966.
20. Montreal | Chad Cordero | RHP | Montreal Expos
The former Cal-State Fullerton standout reliever became the second player from the 2003 draft to appear in the Major Leagues. The 6-foot, 195-pound right-hander signed a $1.3 million bonus after he was drafted and began his career with the Expos' High-A affiliate in Brevard County, where he went 1-1, 2.05 in 19 games with six saves. He was brought up to the Major Leagues on August 30 and made his debut September 3. Overall with the Expos in '03, Cordero went 1-0, 1.64 with one save in 12 games. Cordero has a three-quarters delivery and changes his release point on his fastball for deception. He has a live, quick arm with a heavy fastball with bore life and a sharp late-breaking slider. Cordero has good mound presence and poise and gets his whole body into pitch. He may be the closer of the future, but will likely be broken in slowly. Cordero allowed just two runs over his first nine relief innings in 2004.
21. Minnesota | Matthew Moses | 3B | Quad Cities (A)
The left-handed hitting third baseman batted .385 with 11 RBIs in 18 games for the Twins' rookie-level GCL club last year after signing for $1.4 million, showing quick hands and power to all fields. Moving up to the Low-A Midwest Legue this season, Moses started well, hitting well over .300 with two home runs and eight RBIs in his first 10 games. Moses has a muscular, athletic build on a large frame with a quiet hitting approach and quick stroke. Moses has line drive power and loft to finish. Defensively, he has easy actions in the field and on-line throws that carry with plus potential.
22. San Francisco | David Aardsma | RHP | Fresno (AAA)
The hard throwing right-hander out of Rice University began the 2004 season in the Giants bullpen before being sent down to Triple-A on April 21. Aardsma appeared in seven games for the Giants before being optioned. He won a spot with a solid Spring Training, finishing 0-1, 2.08 in 10 gamesr. Aardsma signed for $1.4 million before playing for the Giants' High-A affiliate in San Jose last summer, where he went 1-1, 1.96 with eight saves in 18 games. He struck out 28 batters in 18.1 innings for San Jose. Aardsma has a large frame and throws with a three-quarters delivery with a quick, easy arm. He has late hop to his fastball, which he throws 92-94 with the ability for more down the line. A future closer, Aardsma works fast and throws strikes.
23. Anaheim | Brandon Wood | SS | Cedar Rapids (A)
Anaheim's first round pick in the 2003 draft signed on with the Angels for $1.3 million and then started his career with the Angels' rookie-level Mesa club in the Arizona League. He hit .308 with 13 RBIs in 19 games for Mesa before he was moved up to Angels' Pioneer League club in Provo, where he hit .278 with five home runs and 31 RBIs. He posted a .475 SLG in 42 games for Provo. The hard-hitting shortstop continued his hot hitting in 2004, posting a .524 SLG and driving in 15 runs through his first 18 games for Low-A Cedar Rapids. Wood has a large, lean frame and is wiry strong. He has short stroke with plus bat speed and projectable raw power. The 6-foot-3 and 185 pound shortstop has plus instincts and soft hands.
24. Los Angeles | Chad Billingsley | RHP | Vero Beach (A)
After signing with the Dodgers for $1.3 million, the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder reported to Ogden, Los Angeles' rookie-level club, where he went 5-4, 2.83 in 11 starts. This season he made the jump up to High-A Vero Beach and struck out 21 in his first 16 IP. The Dodgers feel Billingsley's got a power-pitching arm with great command. He has a fastball that sits in the 91-93 mph range, a two-seamer, a Major League curveball and a hard slider that comes in at 83-84 mph.
25. Oakland | Brad Sullivan | RHP | Modesto (A)
Oakland was surprised when the University of Houston standout was available at No. 25 in the 2003 draft. Sullivan didn't disappoint Oakland as he went 1-0, 3.18 in six games for Class-A Kane County after signing a $1.3 million bonus. Sullivan started the 2004 season at Modesto, the A's High-A affiliate, where he had some control problems over his first four starts. His key pitches are a darting sinker and a nasty slider, but the former college strikeout king also throws a four-seam fastball, a curve and a change.
26. Oakland | Brian Snyder | 3B | Kane County (A)
Oakland also had the 26th pick in the first round, picking up compensation because the Giants signed free agent Ray Durham. With that pick, the A's selected the Stetson University third baseman. Snyder didn't waste any time reaching an agreement for $1.3 million and getting his career started. He played in 44 games for Vancouver of the Northwest League and hit .253 with a home run and 17 RBIs. The hard-hitting Snyder began 2004 playing 3B for Kane County in the Low-A Midwest League. Oakland believes Snyder is a pure hitter who's going to hit more home runs as he matures.
27. New York (AL) | Eric Duncan | 3B | Battle Creek (A)
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound third base draftee reported to the Yankees' GCL club after signing a $1.2 million bonus with New York. Duncan was a top performer in the rookie-level league, hitting .278 in 47 games with two home runs and 28 RBIs. Duncan performed even better when he was moved up to the short-season Staten Island Yankees, hitting .373 in 14 games with two home runs and 13 RBIs. In 2004, Duncan got off to a great start with Low-A Battle Creek, hitting over .300 with a SLG over .500 and an OBP well over .400 in his first 19 games. He has an aggressive, smooth stroke and his bat is quick and compact. The ball jumps off his bat and he has home run power to all fields from a small uppercut. He shows all the signs of having pull power. Duncan has an average arm with carry and has a pro approach to game. The Yankees feel the power-hitting infielder from Seton Hall Prep has tremendous makeup and will be able to stay at third base.
28. St. Louis | Daric Barton | C | Johnson City (R)
The last two catchers the St. Louis Cardinals drafted number one were Terry Kennedy ('77) and Ted Simmons ('67). St. Louis hopes the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Barton is as good as those backstops. Barton was one of three catchers the Cardinals selected in the first eight rounds of the draft. Barton, who signed for $975,000, reported to the Cardinals' Rookie League club in Johnson City. Barton hit .294 in 54 games with four home runs and 29 RBIs, posting a .420 OBP. Barton has a strong, compact durable physique with a quick, live bat and excellent extension. He projects plus power with a home run type swing and is an aggressive hitter. It's unclear whether his future is at catcher, but he has a quick, compact arm action with good carry and he'll stay behind the plate. St. Louis believes they got one of the premier hitters in this draft and feel Barton has the chance to be an above-average hitter and run producer. He's on the Johnson City roster again while getting ready at Extended Spring Training.
29. Arizona | Carlos Quentin | OF | Lancaster (A)
Arizona joined Kansas City and Oakland as the teams with two first round picks in 2003. Quentin, who signed a $1.1 million bonus, had Tommy John surgery after he helped lead Stanford to College World Series. He missed the remainder of the 2003 season, but he has begun his pro career in 2004 playing for Arizona's High-A affiliate in Lancaster. He hit three home runs with eight RBIs over his first 18 games. The D-backs feel Quentin is very disciplined at the plate, with a great on-base and slugging percentages. They feel he has all the tools offensively, with good running skills and should be an above-average outfielder defensively.
30. Kansas City | Mitch Maier | 3B | Burlington (A)
The Royals had the 30th selection of the first round of the 2003 draft, compensation from the Braves for signing free agent pitcher Paul Byrd. The Royals used the pick to get Maier from the University of Toledo. After signing for $900,000, he certainly didn't disappoint the Royals as he hit .350 in 51 games for the Royals' Arizona League championship club. Maier moved up to Low-A Burlington to start 2004, and picked up nine extra-base hits in his first 16 games. Maier's bat is advanced with power potential, but the real reason he's in Low-A is he's still learning how to play third base after catching throughout college.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.