I love Karsten Whitson as a pitcher. He was drafted ninth overall yesterday by the San Diego Padres.
It was a great pick by San Diego, who realize while playing in spacious Petco Park, their future will always be in pitching and defense.
Whitson is a superb high school pitcher who has great command of three pitches, including a mid 90’s fastball, nice breaking slider and an above average change-up.
He goes right after hitters and appears to have a good feel for pitching. He reminds me of Zack Greinke, another Florida high school pitcher taken in the first round back in 2002 by the Kansas City Royals.
When he was then GM of the Montreal Expos, current New York Mets GM Omar Minaya passed on Greinke in 2002, taking Clint Everts right before Greinke was selected. Minaya also passed on Whitson yesterday.
Minaya blew it again. A guy supposedly known for his scouting acumen, Omar bypassed the best pitcher available yesterday when he selected the Mets first round pick. Minaya had the No. 7 overall pick, taking college pitcher Matt Harvey instead, who people have claimed could step in the Mets bullpen this season.
Another in the line of “save my job” moves by Minaya.
One knock on Whitson has been his lack of consistent quality competition, but he performed well last season in the Aflac All-American game.
This video shows Whitson striking out the 2010 No. 1 pick, Bryce Harper on three pitches. Harper is the second hitter to face Whitson in the video:
It is only one batter, but a really good hitter, and it shows the command Whitson has over his fastball and off-speed pitches.
In about three years, many teams will look back and say, “How come we did not draft Whitson when we had the opportunity?”
That quote could come from Omar when he is no longer a member of the Mets front office.