06/08/2004 10:42 PM ET
Top pick lands in the NL West
By John Schlegel / MLB.com
The Padres stayed at home for their No. 1 overall pick, the Diamondbacks feel like they got one of those top picks themselves at No. 15, and the rest of the NL West went about its business pretty much as expected in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft.
The Padres shook up the draft from the start by selecting shortstop Matt Bush out of local Mission Bay High School, and the Diamondbacks took potential top pick Stephen Drew midway through the first round to highlight the division's action in the two-day draft.
The Giants predictably went after a bunch of arms, the Rockies went heavy on position players up top and the Dodgers proved they're not just a draft clone of the A's because their new GM with Oakland ties is in place.
Here's a glance at the NL West's selections in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft:
|Padres GM Kevin Towers (left) introduces Matt Bush during a press conference Monday. (Lenny Ignelzi/AP)
Diamondbacks draft picks
The Diamondbacks went into the draft seeking college pitching, especially since they'd selected college hitters with their first three picks in 2003.
But when it came their turn at No. 15 they couldn't resist taking Drew, arguably the best position player prospect in the draft. Baseball America ranks Drew as the second-best five-tool talent and the best pure hitter among college draft-eligibles.
"We were a little surprised that he fell to us," Diamondbacks scouting director Mike Rizzo said, knowing signability is the reason so many other teams passed on the Scott Boras client.
The Diamondbacks happily stuck with a college position player with their second pick, taking right fielder Jonathan Zeringue out of LSU in the second round. Then they went back-to-back on college pitchers with right-handers Garret Mock of Houston and Ross Ohlendorf of Princeton.
The Diamondbacks stayed in the college ranks for their first 19 picks and chose 41 players overall, including 10 from JCs. They took only eight high schoolers.
Arizona selected 21 pitchers, 14 right-handers and seven lefties; four catchers; 14 infielders and 11 outfielders.
Rockies draft picks
The Rockies knew they wanted Chris Nelson, and Nelson definitely knew they wanted him. Turns out they indeed wound up with each other.
Before taking him with the ninth pick overall on Tuesday, the Rockies invited Nelson to Coors Field for a workout last week, and he wowed them with his power, living up to the mini-Gary Sheffield comparisons.
After Nelson's selection, the Rockies focused on college players, especially early on, taking 35 total among their 50 picks. Starting with second-rounder Seth Smith, a big right fielder from Mississippi, Colorado took 24 collegians among their first 30 picks. Smith (6-3, 215) was the backup quarterback to Eli Manning at Ole Miss.
They also selected as their third-round pick Auburn right-hander Steven Register, who at 6-1, 170 pounds has been compared in body type to another Auburn product -- Oakland right-hander Tim Hudson.
Nelson became the second straight position player drafted by the Rockies in the opening round and third overall, joining Todd Helton (1995) and Ian Stewart (2003). Colorado used five of its first six picks on position players.
Colorado selected 29 pitchers and 21 position players overall in the two-day draft.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Dodgers draft picks
Maybe the Dodgers' draft will convince people that GM Paul DePodesta knows much more than just the A's way of doing things. Like he said all along since he took the job, he has an open mind.
While the A's focus almost exclusively on college players, the strategy obviously is different for a large-market team like the Dodgers that can afford to not only develop players but keep them.
That has been scouting director Logan White's approach the last couple of years and it remained the same this year. Four of the top six picks by the Dodgers were high schoolers, starting with their two first-rounders -- left-handed pitcher Scott Elbert and second baseman Blake DeWitt.
Elbert, out of Seneca, Mo., rushed for almost 2,500 yards as a junior but dropped football as a senior to concentrate on baseball. The left-hander is rated second by Baseball America among high schoolers in being close to Major League ready. DeWitt, also from Missouri, is a left-handed hitting shortstop projected to shift to third.
Of the 52 players selected by the club, 25 are pitchers (eight left-handed and 17 right-handed), 13 are infielders, nine are outfielders and five are catchers. They took a division-high 22 out of high school while 30 came out of the college ranks, including 14 from junior colleges.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
Padres draft picks
When the Padres selected Bush as the top overall pick, they passed on several college prospects who were projected as possible top picks.
It was only in the waning days before the draft that it sounded like the Padres were considering Bush, a standout at Mission Bay High in San Diego the club has been familiar with for a few years now. Most thought they'd take Jered Weaver or another college pitcher, but the Padres went for the hometown kid.
"Bush has one of the best arms I've ever scouted," said Padres director of scouting Bill "Chief" Gayton, in his 20th year in the business of scouting players. "He's a player who's a local talent that you rarely get an opportunity to bring into your system."
The Padres went heavy on the prep players up top, picking Michigan standout catcher Billy Killian in the second round and Daryl Jones of Westchester in L.A., a first baseman with power potential, in the third. They then went very strong on college players toward the end of the draft, picking up draft-and-follow candidates and selecting 16 players out of junior colleges.
Out of 49 total picks, the Padres took 36 from colleges and 13 from the prep ranks. They took 27 pitchers (21 right-handers, six left-handers) and 22 position players (eight outfielders, 13 infielders, one catcher).
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Giants draft picks
The Giants didn't make a selection until the second round, No. 70 overall, after losing their first-round pick to Kansas City as compensation for signing outfielder Michael Tucker.
But they felt good about picking up Florida State outfielder Eddy Martinez-Esteve in the second round and Long Beach State outfielder John Bowker in the third.
"Under the circumstances, I thought we did rather well getting them in the first two picks," Giants VP of player personnel Dick Tidrow said.
Martinez-Esteve, a hitter expected to transition well into using wood bats, was the first non-pitcher the Giants selected as their top pick since 1998. After Bowker, the Giants stayed with a college position player with their third pick, Central Florida outfielder Clay Timpner.
After that, it was about stockpiling arms, particularly of the college variety. In fact, the Giants barely dipped into the high school pool of talent, taking just eight prep players and 41 out of colleges. The Giants drafted 30 pitchers, one catcher, 12 infielders and six outfielders with their 49 picks.
John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.