It's always interesting to see where the team's first pick of the last draft lands in any given year. Their placement on this list tends to say a little about the prospect, a little about their perception, and a whole lot about the strength of the system.
In 2012, in a system highlighted by Ryan Lavarnway and Will Middlebrooks (Xander Bogaerts was present as well, but still quite the uncertainty), Matt Barnes entered at seventh. One year later, with the Three B's leading the way and the likes of Cecchni, Owens, and Swihart making their way into the top-10, Deven Marrero debuted all the way down in twelfth place. Last year, Trey Ball came in at number ten, just behind Mookie Betts (who at that point had the one-year wonder red flag holding him back) and just ahead of Anthony Ranaudo, Christian Vazquez, and Manuel Margot.
Generally speaking, the first pick provides something of a dividing line. Above them are the players who seem likely to make the jump to being MLB regulars within the next couple of years and the high-ceiling guys in the minors who have given fans a reason to take note beyond a few positive scouting reports. Below them are the players with promise but lackluster results, or those who seem more of a long shot to make the majors. The unknown quantity that is the first pick goes right in between.
So here's Michael Chavis rounding out our top 10 this year. And, sure enough, the trend seems to have held. Of the nine players above him, only Manuel Margot and Rafael Devers will start in the lower minors, and those two have the enviable combination of hype and results after big 2014 seasons. And, not to take any wind out of any sails, but below him there's an assortment of lower-level prospects still looking for a real breakout year and a few upper-level players likely destined for bench/relief duties.
As for Chavis himself, so far the one thing we can say about him with certainty is that he's obsessed with the number 11, which means you all have messed up mightily by not slotting someone else in ahead of him. But what's done is done. Other than that, he's an infielder who won't wind up at first base, has good power, and one heck of a contact bat, albeit one that didn't really show through in his first professional experience. A good year from Chavis in 2015 promises fast movement up the rankings--this is the sort of profile that people love to dream on, after all--but for now he remains in limbo, tagged with the careful optimism of a first pick.
- Blake Swihart, C
- Henry Owens, LHP
- Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP
- Rafael Devers, 3B
- Manuel Margot, OF
- Brian Johnson, LHP
- Garin Cecchini, 3B
- Matt Barnes, RHP
- Deven Marrero, SS
- Michael Chavis, SS