The Washington Times - September 26, 2008, 12:35AM

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September 26, 2008


It’s time to wrap up our look back at the first round of the 2003 Amateur Draft by checking in on the final 10 picks. Once again, there are some diamonds in the rough, as well as a few players you’ve probably never heard of and never will again after you’re done with this article. Let’s sneak in a little bit of trivia before we get to this week’s analysis, though. What high school shortstop from Miami was the first overall pick of the 1993 draft, and what team selected him?

No. 21: Matt Moses, 3B, Minnesota Twins

In a word? Disappointing. The Albany, Ga. product has not lived up to expectations since being selected by the Twins with the No. 21 pick. After making his way up the minor league ladder, Moses began the 2007 season with Minnesota’s triple-A affiliate but was demoted to double-A after hitting .224 in 48 games. He hasn’t improved much since, as he spent the entire 2008 season in double-A and finished with a less-than-stellar .230 average.

No. 22: David Aardsma, RP, San Francisco Giants

When you throw as hard as Aardsma does, you have a good chance at snagging a job at the major league level for a while. But when you can’t throw your 95-plus mile per hour fastball for strikes consistently, you’re probably not going to stay in one place for long. So has it been for the Rice University product. The No. 22 pick of the draft by San Francisco, Aardsma has spent time with the Giants, Cubs, White Sox and Red Sox since being called up in 2004. He is currently pitching out of the bullpen for the defending world champions after being acquired in an offseason trade. He has struck out 47 hitters in 45 1/3 innings this season in 44 appearances.

No. 23: Brandon Wood, SS, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Sporting News‘ 2005 Minor League Player of the Year set Anaheim minor league franchise marks in home runs (43), total bases (370), doubles (53) and extra base hits (101) and was the Angels top-rated prospect the next two seasons. Selected with the No. 23 pick out of Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., Wood has yet to find that type of success at the major league level, hitting just .192 in 65 games over the last two seasons. The Angels still think he’ll be a big part of their future once he gets comfortable at the highest level.

No. 24: Chad Billingsley, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers seem to have gotten themselves a steal in Billingsley. The Defiance, Ohio native has been effective at every level and is a major reason Los Angeles has just about clinched a playoff spot this season. He has posted three straight sub-4.00 ERA seasons and has a career major league record of 35-19, with 399 strikeouts in 435 2/3 innings. He is quietly establishing himself as an ace and is someone to watch over the next few years. He reminds me of a young Mike Mussina - who, by the way, has a chance to win 20 games in a season for the first time in his career against Tim Wakefield and the rival Red Sox this Sunday on the last day of the regular season.

No. 25: Brad Sullivan, SP, Oakland Athletics

Injuries have derailed this University of Houston product. The first of two straight selections by the A’s at number 25, Sullivan has a 13-5 career record in the minor leagues. His only full season came in 2006 at the Double-A level, when he showed some serious potential by striking out 137 batters in just over 176 innings while posting a 10-3 mark. The right-hander has been on the shelf all season once again, however, so his professional baseball career may be in jeopardy at this point.

No. 26: Brian Snyder, 3B, Oakland Athletics

Just like the Indians earlier in the round, the A’s seem to have missed twice in this first round. The second of Oakland’s back-to-back picks, Snyder has yet to be north of .300 in the last four years. He also hasn’t advanced past double-A, and hit a paltry .234 while splitting time between Midland and the Padres’ double-affiliate, San Antonio, in ‘08. The graduate of Stetson University needs to right the ship if he is going to extend his baseball career.

No. 27: Eric Duncan, 3B, New York Yankees

Could this be another in the long line of Yankees gaffes in the first round of the draft? Anyone remember the name Brien Taylor? A local New Jersey kid, Duncan was considered a top organizational prospect as recently as 2005 but his high strikeout totals have held him back. Besides, there’s already a pretty good third baseman with the parent club. New York has moved him across the diamond to first in hopes that he can break into the majors there, but the former No. 27 overall pick has only hit around .240 the last two seasons in Triple-A.

No. 28: Daric Barton, C, St. Louis Cardinals

Oakland found a way to squeeze a little something out of this round, at least. Barton played in 136 games for the A’s this season. The No. 28 pick was traded by the Cardinals after the 2004 season along with Dan Haren and reliever Kiko Calero in exchange for Mark Mulder. Oakland was able to convert the catcher to a first baseman and he has not seen time behind the plate for them in the majors. After a successful 18-game audition in 2007, the A’s top prospect has managed to hit just .218 this season. Whether Oakland will stay committed to Barton remains to be seen.

No. 29: Carlos Quentin, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

Whoops - looks like the Diamondbacks gave up on this guy a little too soon. A poor 2006 major league debut followed by a shoulder injury and an ugly remainder of 2007 prompted to Arizona to ship the Stanford product to Chicago. The White Sox are certainly happy they did, as Quentin was tearing the cover off the ball this season. The No. 29 overall selection smacked 36 homers and drove in 100 runs before breaking his wrist when he struck his bat with his wrist in frustration at fouling off a pitch. Quentin had a shot at American League MVP honors before the injury.

No. 30: Mitch Maier, C, Kansas City Royals

The last pick of the first round has bounced around the diamond defensively, which may have slowed his progress. The catcher from the University of Toledo was moved to third base by Royals management in 2004, and then to center field because of the potential of another prospect, Mark Teahen. While Teahen has made the full-time leap to the majors, Maier has spent the majority of the past two seasons with Triple-A Omaha. He has appeared in 30 games for Kansas City this season, hitting .289 in 76 plate appearances. The Royals are hoping he can build on that experience in 2009.    

Okay - time to answer the trivia question. The first overall pick in 1993 was none other than Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees slugger was taken by the Seattle Mariners after graduating from Westminster Christian High School in Miami. He was a shortstop until, as you might recall, he “volunteered” to move to the hot corner in order to sign with the Yankees, who already had Derek Jeter at short. His main motivation was to win that elusive world championship that he had never gotten a shot at. This is a subject for a whole other column, but it seems that everywhere Rodriguez goes, that team seems to regress almost immediately.

Tom Stad’s Amateur Hour runs every Friday here on National Pastime.

Be sure to check out our previous Amateur Hour columns: To sign or not to sign?, Summer on Cape Cod, USA Baseball, etc., Team USA; Cape stars, Stars shine on Cape, Olympics preview, Will top picks sign?, NY’s loss UCLA’s gain, Olympics wrap-up, The Alvarez saga, The 2003 draft, 2003 draft, Part II.