Since Chicago Cubs fans specialized in waiting patiently during their 108-year championship drought, it makes sense that the nine years between the 2007 MLB Draft and their magical World Series championship season don’t seem like an eternity.
But that draft, while relatively short on big-time talent, especially in the first round, produced three core members of the 2016 cursebusters, even though the team selected none of them in ’07. Anthony Rizzo (Boston), Jake Arrieta (Baltimore) and Jason Heyward (Atlanta) all had their names called by other teams that year, but each found his way to the North Side and played a big role in the Cubs’ title run.
There were some highlights in the rest of the draft, including David Price, Madison Bumgarner and Mike Moustakas. The Marlins grabbed Giancarlo Stanton in the second round, a pretty good move. But the big story in 2007 was the Cubs’ bounty — albeit indirect. It seems fate was preparing Chicago for 2016 almost a decade in advance.
(This article is just one of many features found in Athlon Sports’ 2017 Baseball Preview magazine, which is now available for purchase online or at newsstands everywhere.)
2007 MLB Draft Revisited
1. Rays: David Price, LHP
Vanderbilt / Tampa Bay (’08-14), Detroit (’14-15), Toronto (’15), Boston (’16)
Although the 2012 Cy Young Award winner has bounced around the American League, that is due more to contract issues than his pitching. Price is a front-line starter who has led the AL in ERA, innings pitched and games started twice and in strikeouts once. In 2012, he posted a 20–5 record with a 2.56 ERA and skinny 1.10 WHIP. He has a career .651 winning percentage and has started at least 30 games in six of the last seven seasons. All-Star Games: 5
2. Royals: Mike Moustakas, SS
Chatsworth (Calif.) HS / Kansas City (’11-16)
A stalwart on the Royals’ 2015 World Series championship team, Moustakas moved from short to third before reaching the majors and was the Royals’ regular at the position for four seasons before he tore his ACL in May 2016. He had his finest season in ’15, when he hit .284, with 22 homers and 82 RBIs — all career highs. In the Royals’ World Series win over the Mets, Moustakas hit .304, after driving in five runs during Kansas City’s ALCS win. All-Star Games: 1
3. Cubs: Josh Vitters, 3B
Cypress (Calif.) HS / Chicago Cubs (’12)
Although Vitters was chosen to play in the 2009 Futures Game, his MLB career was a brief one. He spent 36 games with the Cubs in 2012 and hit a meager .121 with a paltry .395 OPS. He spent the 2013 and ’14 seasons with the Cubs’ AAA Iowa affiliate and hit 11 homers in ’13. But he was out of baseball in 2015 before signing with Bridgeport of the Atlantic League in 2016. All-Star Games: 0
4. Pirates: Daniel Moskos, LHP
Clemson / Pittsburgh (’11)
Moskos made steady progress through the Pirates’ organization and made it to the majors in 2011, when he went 1–1 with a 2.96 ERA in 31 appearances. He was waived by the Pirates in 2012 and has spent the ensuing seasons in the White Sox, Dodgers and Padres organizations, along with stints in Mexico and China. All-Star Games: 0
5. Orioles: Matt Wieters, C
Georgia Tech / Baltimore (’09-16)
Early in his career, Wieters was one of the majors’ steadiest backstops, and his 20-plus homers in 2011, ’12 and ’13 demonstrated his value at the plate, too. But Tommy John surgery curtailed the two-time Gold Glover’s appearances in 2014 and ’15, and in 2016, he had his worst season (.243/.302/.409), even though he made his fourth All-Star team. All-Star Games: 4
6. Nationals: Ross Detwiler, LHP
Missouri State / Washington (’07, ‘09-14), Texas (’15), Atlanta (’15), Cleveland (’16), Oakland (’16)
After beginning his career as a starter and hitting a high-water mark in 2012 with a 10–8 record, Detwiler moved to the bullpen and has experienced varying degrees of success during his three seasons there. He has worked mostly middle relief and has bounced around the majors the last two years. All-Star Games: 0
7. Brewers: Matt LaPorta, OF/1B
Florida / Cleveland (’09-12)
LaPorta’s four-year majors stint consisted largely of backup outfield and first base work, with some occasional starting assignments. He hit 12 homers for Cleveland in 2010 and 11 the following season. After spending 2013 and ’14 as a part-time player in the minors, LaPorta retired at the beginning of the 2015 campaign. All-Star Games: 0
8. Rockies: Casey Weathers, RHP
The hard-throwing righty’s career was put in jeopardy almost from its professional outset, when Weathers underwent Tommy John surgery 16 months after being drafted. He has bounced through four organizations and never advanced higher than AA ball as a reliever. All-Star Games: 0
9. Diamondbacks: Jarrod Parker, RHP
Norwell (Ind.) HS / Arizona (’11), Oakland (’12-13)
Parker’s story is a sad one indeed. After going a combined 25–16 during the 2012 and ’13 seasons with the A’s, he was scheduled to be the team’s 2014 Opening Day starter, but less than three weeks before the season began, he underwent his second Tommy John surgery and missed that season and all but four games of the next. All-Star Games: 0
10. Giants: Madison Bumgarner, LHP
South Caldwell (N.C.) HS / San Francisco (’09-16)
One of the best pitchers in the game, Bumgarner has won 15 or more games four times in his career and was victorious in 18 twice. Bumgarner is a money pitcher who has an 8–3 postseason record with a 2.11 ERA. His most memorable performance came during the 2014 World Series, when he posted a 2–0 mark with a 0.43 ERA in three games and threw five scoreless innings of relief in the deciding game against Kansas City. All-Star Games: 4
11. Mariners: Phillippe Aumont, RHP
Ecole secondaire du Versant (Canada) / Philadelphia (’12-15)
Aumont’s primary claim to notoriety is his spot in the package of players that Seattle sent to the Phillies for Cliff Lee in 2009. Aumont saw limited action with the Phillies out of the bullpen over parts of four seasons, but after spending all but one game of 2015 and ’16 in the minors — with little success — he retired. All-Star Games: 0
12. Marlins: Matt Dominguez, 3B
Chatsworth (Calif.) HS / Florida (’11), Houston (’12-14), Toronto (’16)
Dominguez has flashed power, with his 21-homer, 77-RBI performance with the Astros in 2013 the apex of his career. Since then, his output has dropped, and since 2014 he has spent most of his time in the minors. Last season, he played five games with the Blue Jays. All-Star Games: 0
13. Indians: Beau Mills, 1B
Mills lasted five years in professional baseball, but he never reached the majors. He spent parts of two seasons in Class AAA but never proved to be a consistent enough hitter to play big-league ball. In 2012, he retired to raise bulls. All-Star Games: 0
14. Braves: Jason Heyward, OF
Henry County (Ga.) HS / Atlanta (’10-14), St. Louis (’15), Chicago Cubs (’16)
The four-time Gold Glover has seen his offensive production decline over the past few seasons, and his .230 average in 2016 was particularly disappointing. But he remains one of the best defensive outfielders in the league and was a fixture on the Cubs’ World Series championship team. Heyward smacked 27 homers in 2012 and hit .293 in ’15. All-Star Games: 1
15. Reds: Devin Mesoraco, C
Punxsutawney (Pa.) HS / Cincinnati (’11-16)
Mesoraco is one of baseball’s more interesting stories of the last few years. Despite spending much of the beginning of the 2014 season on the DL, he ended the season with 25 homers and 80 RBIs and made the NL All-Star team. After the season, he signed a four-year, $28 million deal with the Reds, but hip and shoulder problems limited him to a combined 39 games the next two seasons. All-Star Games: 1
16. Blue Jays: Kevin Ahrens, SS/3B
Memorial (Texas) HS
Ahrens spent nine seasons bouncing around the Toronto and Atlanta organizations without ever reaching the majors. He never surpassed the Class AA level and struggled to hit consistently, although he did rap 41 doubles for the Braves’ Class A affiliate in Lynchburg in 2014. Ahrens spent 2016 playing for Lancaster of the Independent League. All-Star Games: 0
17. Rangers: Blake Beavan, RHP
Irving (Texas) HS / Seattle (’11-14)
Beavan showed some talent as a starter and was 11–11 in 152.1 innings for the Mariners in 2012 but was not able to replicate that success in the ensuing seasons. He made a total of 13 starts over the next two seasons and bounced between Seattle’s and Arizona’s minor-league affiliates and the majors before spending 2016 with Bridgeport of the Atlantic League. All-Star Games: 0
18. Cardinals: Pete Kozma, SS
Owasso (Okla.) HS / St. Louis (’11-15)
Kozma was the Cards’ everyday shortstop in 2013 but hit only .217 for the season. He spent part of 2014 and much of ’15 with the club but could never generate enough consistency at the plate. He signed with the Yankees as a free agent in 2016 and spent the season at Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre. All-Star Games: 0
19. Phillies: Joe Savery, LHP
Rice / Philadelphia (’11-13), Oakland (’14)
After going 16–6 in AA and AAA in 2009, Savery was considered a top prospect. But he struggled as a starter after that and ended up seeing limited action with Philadelphia and the A’s for four seasons, primarily as a reliever. He signed with Chicago in November 2014 but was released before the beginning of the season and retired. All-Star Games: 0
20. Dodgers: Chris Withrow, RHP
Midland Christian (Texas) HS / Los Angeles (’13-14), Atlanta (’16)
Withrow proved himself to be a solid middle reliever for the Dodgers, before Tommy John surgery derailed him. He was traded to Atlanta but missed the 2015 season. After spending the first part of ’16 in the Braves’ farm system rehabbing, he pitched in 46 games and posted a 3.58 ERA. All-Star Games: 0
21. Blue Jays: J.P. Arencibia, C
Tennessee / Toronto (’10-13), Texas (’14), Tampa Bay (’15)
Although Arencibia spent three years (2011-13) as the Jays’ primary catcher, he never really distinguished himself with the bat and has been primarily a minor-league backstop since. He spent last season in the Rays’ farm system. All-Star Games: 0
22. Giants: Tim Alderson, RHP
Horizon (Ariz.) HS
There was actually a point when San Francisco was wondering whether Alderson would be better than Madison Bumgarner. That was back when Alderson was a combined 23–7 in the minors during the 2008-09 campaigns. But Alderson regressed, became a middle reliever, bounced around several organizations and in 2016 was playing for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League. All-Star Games: 0
23. Padres: Nick Schmidt, LHP
Elbow surgery early in his career may have torpedoed Schmidt’s hopes of reaching the majors. He posted a 33–34 record during seven minor-league seasons, and though he reached AAA, he never took the next step. He was out of baseball after the 2014 campaign. All-Star Games: 0
24. Rangers: Michael Main, RHP
DeLand (Fla.) HS
After struggling on the mound during his first five minor-league seasons but showing some promise at the plate, Main shifted to the outfield, where he found some success at the A and AA levels in 2012 and ’13. But he never became a good enough hitter to advance and was out of the game after 2013. All-Star Games: 0
25. White Sox: Aaron Poreda, LHP
San Francisco / Chicago White Sox (’09), San Diego (‘09), Texas (’14)
After beginning his professional career as a starting pitcher, Poreda moved to the bullpen and saw time during two seasons as a middle reliever. In 2014 with Texas, he had a 2–1 record with a 5.91 ERA in 26 appearances. Poreda pitched the last two seasons for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan. All-Star Games: 0
26. A’s: James Simmons, RHP
Although Simmons reached AAA ball several times while in the Oakland and Washington organizations, he never made it to the majors. Simmons posted a 39–37 record during eight minor-league seasons and spent 2016 with York of the Atlantic League, going 11–9 with a 4.37 ERA. All-Star Games: 0
27. Tigers: Rick Porcello, RHP
Seton Hall (N.J.) Prep / Detroit (’09-14), Boston (’15-16)
For years, Porcello teased Tigers fans with his potential. He had some good seasons in Detroit, including when he went 14–9 in both 2009 and ’11, as well as a 15–13 season in 2014. But his ERA was almost always high, and he pitched to contact. He struggled in ’15 after being traded to Boston but was great in 2016, winning the Cy Young after going 22–4 with a 3.15 ERA, a career high 189 strikeouts and a career-low 1.009 WHIP. All-Star Games: 0
28. Twins: Ben Revere, OF
Lexington Catholic (Ky.) HS / Minnesota (’10-12), Philadelphia (’13-15), Toronto (’15), Washington (’16)
Revere has proven himself to be a solid defensive outfielder who can hit for a relatively high average but lacks any kind of power. Revere possesses good speed, although he is known for taking circuitous routes to fly balls at times. His career .285 batting average was hurt by a .217 performance in 2016 with the Nationals. Revere signed with the Angels in the offseason. All-Star Games: 0
29. Giants: Wendell Fairley, OF
George County (Miss.) HS
Fairley kicked around the Giants’ organization for five seasons, never rising above the Class AA level. He showed some ability to hit, but he had no power to speak of. His best year came in 2010, when he hit .292 with 46 RBIs for High-A San Jose. San Francisco released him after the 2012 season. All-Star Games: 0
30. Yankees: Andrew Brackman, RHP
NC State / N.Y. Yankees (’11)
Brackman played basketball and baseball for the Wolfpack but chose to concentrate on the diamond. He spent the large majority of his six-year pro career in the minors, with a three-game stint with the Yanks in 2011 his only MLB experience. Though he allowed only one hit and no runs in 2.1 innings pitched, New York sent him back to the minors. He was out of baseball after the 2013 season. All-Star Games: 0
Other Notable Selections
Todd Frazier, SS
Cincinnati (Rd. 1 – Supplemental) / Rutgers
A two-time All-Star with the Reds, Frazier was part of a three-team deal in December 2015 that sent him to the White Sox, for whom he slugged a career-high 40 homers and drove in 98 runs.
Brett Cecil, LHP
Toronto (Rd. 1 – Supplemental) / Maryland
Cecil has made the switch from starter to middle reliever for the Jays and has become a workhorse, appearing in 60 or more games three times. He was an All-Star in 2013, when he went 5–1 and struck out 70 in 60.2 innings. He signed with St. Louis this offseason.
Sean Doolittle, 1B
Oakland (Rd. 1 – Supplemental) / Virginia
Although drafted as a position player, Doolittle has switched to relief pitching for the A’s and has been a powerful part of the bullpen. In 2014, he was named to the AL All-Star team and saved 22 games.
Josh Donaldson, C
Chicago Cubs (Rd. 1 – Supplemental / Auburn
Now a third baseman, Donaldson has been one of the majors’ biggest power sources. A three-time All-Star for the A’s and Toronto, he slugged 41 homers and led the MLB with 123 RBIs in 2015 and hit 37 and drove in 99 in ’16.
Jordan Zimmermann, RHP
Washington (Rd. 2) / Wisconsin Stevens Point
The two-time All-Star won 19 games for the Nats in 2013 and was 14–5 the next season. He has a career 79–57 record and signed a five-year deal with Detroit before the ’16 season and went 9–7.
Giancarlo Stanton, OF
Florida (Rd. 2) / Notre Dame (Calif.) HS
One of baseball’s most feared sluggers, Stanton signed a gigantic 13-year, $325 million contract in 2014. He led the NL in homers that year with 37 and despite battling injuries the last few seasons is a three-time All-Star with five seasons of at least 27 dingers.
Freddie Freeman, 1B
Atlanta (Rd. 2) / El Modina (Calif.) HS
A two-time All-Star, Freeman had his finest power season in 2016, when he hit 34 homers and drove in 91. His OPS of .968 was a career high, as were his 102 runs scored.
Jonathan Lucroy, C
Milwaukee (Rd. 3) / Louisiana-Lafayette
Even though Lucroy has played in two All-Star Games, Milwaukee traded him to Texas during the 2016 season as part of a rebuilding project. Lucroy finished fourth in the 2014 MVP balloting after hitting .301 with a majors-best 53 doubles.
Jake Arrieta, RHP
Baltimore (Rd. 5) / TCU
Arrieta went 10–8 for the O’s in 2011, but he struggled the next season-plus, and Baltimore dished him to the Cubs. He won the 2015 Cy Young Award with a 22–6 record and went 18–8 for the World Champions in ’16.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Boston (Rd. 6) / Stoneman-Douglas (Fla.) HS
It’s hard to believe both Boston and San Diego traded Rizzo, who has hit 95 homers over the past three seasons and led the Cubs to the 2016 World Series title. They did, and Chicago is thankful.
Lucas Duda, 1B
N.Y. Mets (Rd. 7) / USC
Although a stress fracture in his lower back limited Duda to just 47 games in 2016, he had been a big producer the two previous seasons, slugging 30 and 27 homers and topping .825 in OPS both years.
Matt Moore, LHP
Tampa (Rd. 8) / Moriarty (N.M.) HS
Moore was 17–4 during an All-Star season for Tampa Bay in 2013, but Tommy John surgery limited him to just 14 starts in 2014-15. He was traded to San Francisco during the 2016 season and finished with a 13–12 record.
Greg Holland, RHP
Kansas City (Rd. 10) / Western Carolina
In the 2013-14 seasons, Holland was one of the majors’ most imposing relievers, posting a 1.32 ERA and saving a total of 93 games. But he struggled in 2015, thanks to a torn elbow ligament, and underwent Tommy John surgery, forcing him to miss 2016 and lose his spot on the KC roster.
Stephen Vogt, OF
Tampa (Rd. 12) / Azusa Pacific
It took until 2012 for Vogt to reach the majors, and it wasn’t until the A’s purchased him from Tampa Bay that he started to produce consistently. He has been at his best the last two seasons and has been an All-Star both years.
Mitch Moreland, 1B
Texas (Rd. 17) / Mississippi State
Moreland has been a steady power source for the Rangers, topping 20 homers three times and knocking in 85 in 2015. Last season, he won his first Gold Glove.