- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 11, 2009

There is no bigger crapshoot in professional sports than baseball’s first-year player draft. Scouts spend years evaluating high school and college ballplayers, trying to peg the next big star, but more often than not they are dead wrong in their analysis.

The scouts, though, did get it right in 2005. Four years later, that star-studded class is being hailed as perhaps the best ever. Twenty-two of the 30 first-round picks have reached the majors. Fourteen are everyday position players or reliable pitchers in the majors. Three (Justin Upton, Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Braun) were All-Stars last month. And there are only a couple of legitimate busts (Wade Townsend and C.J. Henry) in the group.

Here’s a look back at that first round:

PickPlayerTeamPos.What happened?

1. Justin Upton, Arizona, OF — Reached majors at 19; All-Star at 21 is having a big season for Diamondbacks.

2. Alex Gordon, Kansas City, 3B — Missed most of this season with a hip injury but is still a serviceable third baseman.

3. Jeff Clement, Seattle, C — Stuck at Class AAA and was traded to Pirates two weeks ago.

4. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington, 3B — The face of the franchise and an All-Star having a breakout year.

5. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee, 3B — Rookie of the year in 2007 is now a perennial MVP candidate.

6. Ricky Romero, Toronto, LHP, — 10-5 with a 3.66 ERA for Blue Jays as possible AL rookie of the year.

7. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado, SS — Went to World Series as a rookie; now a mainstay in Rockies’ lineup.

8. Wade Townsend, Tampa Bay, RHP — Released by Rays last week after battling several injuries.

9. Mike Pelfrey, N.Y. Mets, RHP — Won 13 games last season, looks like a legit major league starter.

10. Cameron Maybin, Detroit, OF — Traded to Marlins in Miguel Cabrera deal; almost ready to burst onto scene.

11 Andrew McCutchen Pittsburgh OF Flashing immense skills as a rookie; hit three homers vs. Nationals on Aug. 1.

12 Jay Bruce Cincinnati OF Big masher is battling his way back from a wrist injury.

13 Brandon Snyder Baltimore C With Matt Wieters already at catcher, O’s are trying him at first base at Class AAA.

14 Trevor Crowe Cleveland OF Speedy outfielder getting his first crack in majors.

15 Lance Broadway Chicago RHP Bounced between majors and Class AAA; was recently traded to Mets.

16 Chris Volstad Florida RHP Big right-hander looks like a keeper in Marlins’ rotation.

17 C.J. Henry N.Y. Yankees SS Didn’t make it in baseball; now a point guard for Kansas Jayhawks.

18 Cesar Carrillo San Diego RHP Good numbers at Class AA; struggling at Class AAA.

19 John Mayberry Texas OF Traded from Rangers to Phillies; made big league debut this season.

20 Mark Pawelek Chicago Cubs LHP Released by Cubs this spring; now at Class A with Reds.

21 Cliff Pennington Oakland SS Back and forth between Oakland and Class AAA; hoping to be a utilityman.

22 Aaron Thompson Florida LHP Traded to Nationals for Nick Johnson; currently at Class AA.

23 Jacoby Ellsbury Boston OF Dynamic leadoff man and center fielder for Red Sox.

24 Brian Bogusevic Houston LHP Bust as a pitcher; converted to outfield and could be next Rick Ankiel.

25 Matt Garza Minnesota RHP Traded to Rays in 2008 and was key member of pennant-winning rotation.

26 Craig Hansen Boston RHP Supposed to be great Boston closer but traded to Pirates and now injured.

27 Joey Devine Atlanta RHP Good reliever traded to Oakland; has missed ‘09 after Tommy John surgery.

28 Colby Rasmus St. Louis OF Impressed as rookie center fielder for Cardinals but has tailed off in past month.

29 Jacob Marceaux Florida RHP Putting up average relief numbers for Marlins’ Class AA team.

30 Tyler Greene St. Louis SS First taste of majors this season with Cardinals.

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