Illinois Times – Chows 2009 draft did not generate a play-off birth or any sure-fire franchise players, but it did help change the face of the Chows and will be responsible for almost a third of Illinois’ returning players. Here is a round by round look at the draft one year later.
Round 1 – Edinson Volquez – Volquez had a mixed rookie season for Illinois going 13-12 but posting a 5.43 ERA. His 219 strikeouts in 213 innings showed why Sherlag thought Volquez has the stuff to be a front of the rotation starter. Unfortunately Volquez has had offseason surgery and will only have a limited role for Illinois in 2010.
Round 2 – Traded for David DeJesus – Once it was apparent that Illinois was not postseason bound in 2009, Sherlag packaged DeJesus, Marmol and Carlson to DFW for a first round pick. It is hard to determine what portion of the trade value was attributable to DeJesus, but the first round pick should help Illinois in 2010 and beyond.
Round 3 – Traded with Billy Butler to get Aubrey Huff. Huff had a fantastic first two blocks for the Chows before being dealt to VFS for a 2nd and a 5th. Essentially, Illinois traded Billy Butler and a 3rd for a 2nd and a 5th – seems like a wash. Sherlag was able to gamble on contention in 2009 without hurting 2010.
Round 4 – Jesse Carlson – Another cog in the trade with DFW – Carlson put up nice numbers for Illinois before the annual fire-sale.
Round 5 – Kosuke Fukudome – Fukudome did not pay many dividends in 2009, but should be a nice player for Illinois in 2010. He will now be rated in CF and RF and posted an OPS of .828 and an OBP of .387 vs RHP in MLB this season.
Round 6 – Francisco Cordero – Another Chow pick that will pay dividends in 2010. Cordero was the Reds closer all season and posted 39 saves, a 2.16 ERA and only gave up 2 HR in 66 innings of work. He should be a late inning reliever for Illinois and will likely set-up Nathan.
Round 7 – Chad Bradford - Bradford put up a 2.57 ERA for the Chows before being dealt for Kouzmanoff – a deal the Chows made due to usage concerns after trading away Huff and Tulowitzki. Kouzmanoff is unlikely to be kept by Illinois but has an outside chance of remaining a Chow or being dealt due to his great defense at 3B.
Round 8 – Martin Prado -- Prado is another sure keeper for the Chows in 2010. He became the Braves full-time 2B in MLB last season and will probably become the same for Illinois next year. He finished the year with an OPS of .822 for the Braves and figures to have a very strong card vs. LHP. He will also provide Morandini some flexibility being rated at 1B, 2B, 3B and possibly RF.
Round 9 – Marcus Thames – Thames will not be kept and did not have a good 2009.
Round 10 – Dennis Sarfate – Another pick that will not be kept next season.
Round 11 – Jesus Flores -- Flores started off on fire in MLB but then suffered a season ending injury. If he is somehow uncarded, he may be the Chows IR guy, but most likely he will not be kept due to his limited usage.
Round 12 – Mark Ellis – Ellis had a nice season for Illinois and took a lot of AB from Kelly Johnson by the end of the season. He is unlikely to be kept next year.
Round 13 – Trever Miller – Posted a 2.82 ERA for Illinois last season but will not be retained.
Round 14 – Micah Owings -- will not be retained next season.
Round 15 – Michael Bourn – Bourn was a successful late flier pick for the Chows. He will be retained and has a decent card against RHP. Bourn stole 61 bases in MLB last season while playing a good CF. His OBP of .362 against Righties will give him a chance to be on-base enough to use his speed.
Synopsis – Illinois will keep Volquez, Fukudome, Cordero, Prado and Bourn. Additionally, De Jesus, Huff and Carlson were turned into 2/3 of a 1st, a 2nd and a 5th. While this draft does not yield any superstars, it gave Illinois some nice players, improved their OF defense and gives the team a little more depth and flexibility.