Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Closing time for college closers?

A couple of seasons ago, drafting college closers early was all the rage.

The thought process was success in high-pressure college environments would equal a swift move through the minors and quick assimilation into major league bullpens.

For a while, the theory was sound. Washington's Chad Cordero was in the majors the same year he was drafted by the then-Montreal Expos. Ditto for Cincinnati's Ryan Wagner that same year.

Huston Street was in Oakland within in a year of his drafting and was the 2005 AL Rookie of the Year.

Since then, the trend has been hit or miss, mostly miss. Joey Devine of North Carolina State fame never panned out for Atlanta and was traded with another minor league pitcher for Oakland's Mark Kotsay. J. Brent Cox (now J.B. Cox) hasn't moved as quickly through the Yankees farm system as many thought he would after he was stellar following Street at the University of Texas.

Then there's David Aardsma from Rice, who will be looking for work with his fourth team after the Chicago White Sox designated him for assignment after the club signed Octavio Dotel.

Remember, in June, Colorado drafted Vanderbilt closer Casey Weathers at No. 8 overall. Is he the guy to buck the trend? We should have our answer by the end of 2008.


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