Originally Posted by camisadelgolf
I was looking at first rounders from 1994 to 2003, and here are some I gathered:
37.1% never reach the majors
23.3% provide negative WAR
That means 60.4% of first round draft picks hurt their teams. Wow. Of the first round picks who do provide any semblance of production, only about a fourth of them make even a remotely-significant impact. In other words, only 15.7% of first round picks from '94-'03 provide more than 10.0 WAR throughout their careers.
What are everyone's expectations for Stephenson? I'm not asking about what you're hoping for--obviously, all Reds fans are hoping for a shelf full of Cy Young Awards--but what do you think is a fair expectation for a high school pitcher drafted late in the first round? The odds say that he won't amount to much. Would anyone else be thrilled with Mark Prior, Brett Myers, Mark Mulder, or Jason Jennings numbers?
Which makes it all the more amazing that once Mesoraco is called up at some point this season, the Reds will have had 7 straight first rounders make the majors, 6 of whom will (hopefully) make a strong positive contribution. (Knocking on wood) I'd also be quite surprised if Grandal doesn't continue the streak, even if it's for a team other than the Reds. Let's hope Stephenson will one day eventually make it 9 straight first rounders to make the big club.
As far as your question goes, I think if you look at other high-upside HS RHP that were drafted in the later part of the first round, you're looking at names like Phil Hughes, Matt Garza (Stephenson's closest comp), Clay Buchholz, and Rick Porcello (you could also probably add Kyle Drabek, and perhaps eventually Zach Lee to this group). Stephenson is not as highly rated as Porcello (who slipped to #27 -ironically- for signability reasons) coming out of HS, but I think the other three are pretty fair comps for what to expect/hope for out of him.
Of course the downside would be guys like Michael Main and Tim Alderson, who still have time to develop into something useful. Ironically, the one guy who fits into this category that did not sign was Gerrit Cole (taken #28) in 2008. Remarkably, the washout rate for high-upside HS RHP drafted in the later part of the first round is not as high as you would think if you look at the past 6-7 years, which is one of the many reasons I am a big fan of this type of pick.