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Over the years the Jays have had many first round picks that worked out (Halladay) and many that didn't (Beede). But what if the Jays took the guy who came after their #1 pick - IE: instead of Romero they drafted Troy Tulowitzki. How often did the Jays make the right choice, and how often the wrong one?

Stats via

Wins are defined as most WAR, in case of guys making majors vs other one not that counts as a win if the guy got 100 or more games in. Sub 100 games it really didn't matter except with starting pitchers (30 starts should work). Bold indicates 'winner', no bolding indicates 'no decision' due to neither doing anything in the majors of note. A guy with negative WAR can be worthwhile if he had a good year or two.

Year: drafted (results) next pick (results)
Early Years (Pat Gillick mainly)
11 picks, 2 wins (Moseby, Cerutti) 7 losses (many ugly) 2 no decisions - very ugly period for the draft with just 30 WAR while the missed pick in '81 had more than that on his own while the missed '77 pick was almost there on his own.
1977: Tom Goffena (SS-never reached majors) Dave Henderson (OF 1538 games, 27.3 WAR, 108 OPS+, All-Star, 946 OPS in playoffs over 141 PA)
1978: Lloyd Moseby (CF-led in most Jay areas when retired 24.1 WAR) Hubie Brooks (1600 games, 10.6 WARRF/3B/SS) both All Stars
1979: Jay Schroeder (CA-never reached majors) Brad Komminsk (OF - 376 games, 637 OPS)
1980: Garry Harris (SS-never reached majors) Ken Daley (RP-3.0 WAR over 385 games)
1981: Matt Williams (P-10 games) Kevin McReynolds (OF-31 WAR over 1500 games)
1981b: John Cerutti (P 6.0 WAR over 229 games) Dave Anderson (SS 3.2 WAR over 873 games) [compensation for Roy Howell]
1982: Augie Schmidt (SS-never reached majors) Jimmy Jones (RHP 153 games negative 3.1 WAR) - Dwight Gooden went shortly afterwards
1983: Matt Stark (C-13 games) Ray Hayward (LHP 19 games) [Roger Clemens drafted #19, Stark #9]
1984: no pick (lost due to signing Dennis Lamp)
1985: Greg David (OF-never reached majors) Randy Nosek (RHP 5 games)
1986: Earl Sanders (RHP-never reached majors) Mike Fetters (RHP 7.3 WAR over 620 games)
1987: Alex Sanchez (RHP 4 games) Jack Armstrong (RHP All-Star 0.7 WAR) Craig Biggio went shortly after
After all that futility (Cerutti & Moseby only ones worthwhile) something changed.
14 picks, 5 wins 5 losses 4 no decisions - better, but needs improvement, 90-100 WAR net. Johnny Damon the only big loss.
1988: Ed Sprague (3B 2.8 WAR, All-Star 1200 games) Rico Brogna (1B -1.9 WAR 848 games)
1989: Eddie Zosky (SS 44 games) Scott Bryant (OF-never reached majors)
1990: Steve Karsay (RHP 9.9 WAR over 358 games) Lance Dickson (LHP 3 games)
1991: regular pick lost for signing Ken Dayley (see 1980)
1991a: Shawn Green (RF 29.4 WAR over 1951 games) Eduardo Perez (1B 754 games 0.2 WAR) - via losing Buddy Black
1991b: Jeff Ware (RHP 18 games) Bobby Jones (RHP 6.4 WAR over 245 games) - via losing George Bell
1991c: Dante Powell (SS 70 games) Scott Hatteberg (CA/1B 8.3 WAR over 1314 games and a book) via losing Buddy Black
1992: Todd Steverson (OF 31 games) Dan Serafini (LHP -1.0 WAR over 105 games)
1992a: Shannon Stewart (OF 19.8 WAR over 1386 games) Benji Grigsby (RHP never reached majors) via losing Tom Candiotti
1992b: Brandon Cromer (SS-never reached majors) Johnny Damon (OF 50.9 WAR so far over 2389 games) via losing Tom Candiotti
1993: lost regular pick to sign Paul Molitor
1993a: Chris Carpenter (RHP 29.6 WAR over 339 games) Alan Benes (RHP 0.6 WAR over 115 games) via losing Tom Henke
1993b: Matt Farner (OF never reached majors) Kelcey Mucker (OF never reached majors) via losing David Cone
1993c: Jeremy Lee (RHP never reached majors) Jays had next pick via losing Tom Henke
1993d: Mark Lukasiewicz (LHP 41 games) Charles Rice (1B never reached majors) via losing Jimmy Key
1994: Kevin Witt (draft at SS 1B/OF in majors 146 games -0.9 WAR) Jay Payton (OF 14.7 WAR over 1259 games)
Gord Ash takes over
10 picks, 7 wins (counting McGowan) 1 loss 2 no decisions - WOW Over 100 WAR so far while none of the 'next choices' have reached 5 WAR (6 of 10 Jay picks have).
1995: Roy Halladay (RHP 59 WAR so far over 370 games) Ryan Jaroncyk (SS never reached majors)
1996: Billy Koch (RHP 6.0 WAR over 379 games in relief) John Patterson (RHP 4.4 WAR 88 games)
1996a: Joe Lawrence (SS -1 WAR over 55 games) Todd Noel (RHP never reached majors) via losing Alomar
1996b: Pete Tucci (1B never reached majors) Corey Lee (LHP 1 game in majors) via losing Alomar
1997: Vernon Wells (CF 25.3 WAR over 1489 games) Geoff Goetz (LHP never reached majors)
1998: Felipe Lopez (SS 7 WAR over 1184 games) Sean Burroughs (3B 1.1 WAR over 493 games)
1999: Alexis Rios (10.8 WAR over 1110 games) Vince Faison (OF never reached majors)
2000: Miguel Negron (OF never reached majors) Sean Burnett (LHP 2.7 WAR over 269 games)
2000a: Dustin McGowan (RHP 1.7 WAR over 76 games) Dustin Moseley (1.6 WAR over 100 games) via losing Graeme Lloyd
2001: Gabe Gross (OF 5 WAR over 657 games) Kris Honel (RHP never reached majors)
JP Ricciardi era begins
14 picks, 4 wins (Hill, Snider, JPA, Cecil) 3 losses (Adams, Romero, Cooper) 7 no decisions
Seems unfair for Romero to be a loss, but Tulowitzki was debated on by the Jays.
2002: Russ Adams (SS -1.1 WAR over 286 games) Scott Kazmir (LHP 16.7 WAR over 180 games)
2003: Aaron Hill (2B 16.1 WAR over 873 games) Ryan Wagner (RHP -0.6 WAR over 148 games)
2004: David Purcey (LHP -0.7 WAR over 87 games) Scott Elbert (LHP -0.1 WAR over 58 games)
2004a: Zach Jackson (LHP -0.7 WAR over 22 games) Justin Orenduff (RHP never reached majors) via losing Kelvim Escobar
2005: Ricky Romero (LHP 10.5 WAR over 86 games) Troy Tulowitzki (SS 23.7 WAR over 674 games)
2006: Travis Snider (OF 0.1 WAR over 232 games) Chris Marrero (OF still in minors)
2007: J.P. Arencibia (CA 0.4 WAR over 106 games) Tim Alderson (RHP still in minors)
2007a: Kevin Ahrens (3B still in minors) Blake Beavan (RHP 8 games) via losing Frank Catalanotto
2007b: Brett Cecil (LHP 3.1 WAR over 46 games) James Adkins (LHP still in minors) via losing Justin Speier
2007c: Justin Jackson (SS still in minors) Drew Cumberland (SS still in minors) via losing Frank Catalanotto
2007d: Trystan Magnuson (RHP 9 games) Mitch Canham (CA still in minors) via losing Ted Lilly
2008: David Cooper (1B 13 games) Ike Davis (1B 3.8 WAR over 138 games)
2009: Chad Jenkins (RHP still in minors) Jiovanni Mier (SS still in minors)
2009a: James Paxton (LHP not signed, in minors) Josh Phegley (CA still in minors) via losing A.J. Burnett
Alex Anthopoulos Era begins - 9 picks, none in majors for either our picks or next
9 picks already, no one in majors yet so no decisions across the board
2010: Deck McGuire (RHP in minors) Yasmani Grandal (CA in minors)
2010a: Aaron Sanchez (RHP in minors) Matt Lipka (SS in minors) via losing Marco Scutaro
2010b: Noah Syndergaard (RHP in minors) Anthony Ranaudo (RHP in minors) via not signing James Paxton
2010c: Asher Wojciechowski (RHP in minors) Drew Vettleson (OF in minors) via losing Rod Barajas
2011: Tyler Beede (RHP did not sign) Kolten Wong (2B 886 OPS in A ball)
2011a: Jacob Anderson (OF) Henry Owens (OF) via losing Scott Downs
2011b: Joseph Musgrove (RHP) Keenyn Walker (OF) via losing John Buck
2011c: Dwight Smith (OF) Brett Austin (CA) via losing Kevin Gregg
2011d: Kevin Comer (RHP) Jace Peterson (SS) via losing Miguel Olivo

So for convoluted you get Jays 3rd round pick in 2006 (used by Florida to get Torre Langley, a catcher who has 2 games in AA so far) exchanged for AJ Burnett who was lost but gained James Paxton who didn't sign so the Jays got Noah Syndergaard.

So, what does this mean?

Gillick was horrid initially, then decent before he left. Imagine how good the 80's/90's Jays would've been if Gillick took the guy after the one he did take. Not to mentions other guys he skipped who were drafted shortly after the Jays poor choice (Clemens, Gooden, etc.)

Ash, while horrid in the trade and free agent markets was amazing for the first round of the draft. That has to be one of the best records ever. No question he is the first round king of Jays GM's (so far).

JP Ricciardi was solid, his biggest mistakes on paper (Kazmir and Tulowitzki) are mitigated by Kazmir's collapse and Romero's potential ace status (could catch Tulowitzki if the stars align but I wouldn't bet on it). This story still has chapters to be written. I know Cecil doesn't have 100 games, but he is such a clear win so far I felt I should count him.

Anthopoulos is still to be decided, but it is amazing that he has had 9 first round picks in just 2 years. No other Jay GM has more than 3 in their first 2 years (Ash with Halladay, Koch and Lawrence - 2 out of 3 ain't bad). Still, it will be hard to match Moseby (Gillick's 2nd year) or Halladay (Ash's first). At one time it looked like Hill (JP's 2nd) would be hard to match as well, but not any more. With luck those 9 picks (8 signed) will have net value above any other Jays GM's first 2 years.
The First Round and What Could've Been | 26 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mick Doherty - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 12:28 AM EDT (#241697) #

One other that could still turn around is the Sean Burroughs/Felipe Lopez bout you give to F-Lop. Burroughs is back in the bigs and if good karma plays any kind of role, he could definitely catch and pass Lopez.

Very interesting take, Mags.

Mick Doherty - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 12:30 AM EDT (#241698) #
Sorru. I mean John. You should take it as an enormous compliment that as I finished reading that, I assumed it was a Magpie opus!
TamRa - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 12:34 AM EDT (#241699) #
I remember that '92 was, i believe, the first year i really looked at who we might draft and picked someone i wanted - and i wanted Johnny Damon with a white-hot passion. I was crushed when the Jays passed him up.

hypobole - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 12:43 AM EDT (#241701) #
Who actually decides who we pick? It's always attributed to the GM but is it not the director of scouting, although the GM may overrule as in the case of Rickey/Tulo.?
TamRa - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 01:15 AM EDT (#241702) #
I always heard the GM typically made the call on the first rounder then the rest were handled by the staff with his opinion being, at best, a tie-breaker.

but you hear a lot of stuff that might not be true.

John Northey - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 10:22 AM EDT (#241704) #
Well, I credit the GM as normally the GM picks who the scouting director will be thus is still at fault/credit. The old 'buck stops here' rule.

Plus records of who the GM is/was are far better/easier to find than scouting director records. Still, if anyone knows who the scouting directors were over the years it would be interesting to know if there was a change mid-way through Gillick's term. I know I'd have fired whoever advised on the first decades picks.
Flex - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#241712) #
The obsession with Tulowitzki is getting old. I understand he's a great shortstop. And yeah, it'd be nice to have him. But Romero is a No. 1 pitcher on an A.L. East staff! And has been for two years. And is among the league leaders in ERA. BY NO MEANS is he a loss of a pick.

Your argument on that score would have credibility if he had never made the majors, or if he had turned out to be, I dunno, Brett Cecil. Who you consider a win!
Flex - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 01:46 PM EDT (#241713) #
And I say that, John, knowing full well that you are often a voice of reason here.
John Northey - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 02:39 PM EDT (#241714) #
Well, it depends on what you are trying to measure. I was checking if the Jays pick was better than the pick after it with 100% hindsight. IE: did the Jays scouts pick the best player available at the time, factoring in that normally there are just 2 or 3 guys considered at each slot (ie: you won't pick a guy who drops to 19th with the 9th overall pick even if in the end that guy in the 19th slot was better - see Matt Stark vs Roger Clemens).

Also factor in that some years there is no talent after the first few picks, while others there are multiple HOF'ers available. In 1983 there was Clemens, Belcher (#1 overall), Plesac, Brian Holman (8.9 WAR) and the rest were sub 4 WAR which isn't much. Then you get 1985 with 4 guys over 50 WAR (Bonds, Larkin, Palmeiro, Will Clark), another in the 30's (BJ Surhoff) and 5 more in the 10's.

A good pick one year can be a mediocre or poor pick another.
Magpie - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#241716) #
I mean John.

I happily accept the compliment. And it sure would be interesting to know if anything changed in Gillick's inner circle in the late 1980s.

I believe Moseby-Brooks and Romero-Tulowitzi are the only instances of two useful players going back to back. The Jays did fine with their guy, they would have done fine with the next guy.

It truly is a crapshoot, anticipating what an 18 year old is going to be like in seven years...
Magpie - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 02:52 PM EDT (#241719) #
i wanted Johnny Damon with a white-hot passion.

I believe that's a sentence I've never before heard anyone utter.
John Northey - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#241723) #
I also happily accept the compliment from Mick re: Magpie.

I can just imagine what the late 80's could've been if things went perfectly...

Dave Henderson in CF, Kevin McReynolds DH/LF (Bell DHing for 50 games or something), Dwight Gooden & Roger Clemens in the rotation along with Dave Stieb & Jimmy Key & Ron Guidry (Gillick had a trade in place but was overruled for the one and only time), Wade Boggs (Gillick said he almost took him in the Rule 5 draft one year) at 1B or 3B while Brooks is at the other.

Of course, if things went as bad as possible (ie: Gillick chickened out in Rule 5 drafts) then no Gruber/Bell/Upshaw among others. I'll take it as it worked out. :)
Glevin - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 07:02 PM EDT (#241732) #
"The obsession with Tulowitzki is getting old. I understand he's a great shortstop. And yeah, it'd be nice to have him. But Romero is a No. 1 pitcher on an A.L. East staff! And has been for two years. And is among the league leaders in ERA. BY NO MEANS is he a loss of a pick."

It's just the way this particular thing is. It isn't a measure of good picks or bad picks or how good of a drafter the GMs were, just Jays pick versus pick after. Nobody thinks Gabe Gross was a better pick than Ricky Romero even though Gross was a win and Romero a loss.
Ryan Day - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 09:22 PM EDT (#241736) #
2005 could have been worse - they could have taken Jeff Clement. Or Alex Gordon, who looks like he's finally found his groove, but has still had a rather disappointing career for a guy who was considered so polished when he was drafted.
greenfrog - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 09:36 PM EDT (#241738) #
2005 could have been *far* worse. Romero looks like a great pick at this point. Whether you consider him a #1 or 2 starter, he's having an excellent year and is really anchoring the Jays' staff. The 5 year/$30.1M contract (plus 2016 club option) is looking pretty team-friendly.
John Northey - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 10:29 PM EDT (#241741) #
Another method (that avoids the Romero issue) is listing those who cracked 10 WAR vs those who got to the majors vs those who never did.

Jays 1st rounders over 10... [this is what you want to get]
4 by Gillick (Moseby, Green Stewart, Carpenter)
3 by Ash (Halladay, Wells, Rios)
2 by JP (Hill & Romero)
0 by AA (gee, what a shock after just 2 years)

1st rounders who reached majors but didn't get 10 WAR...
[generally viewed as livable, although this should be divided into 'did OK' and 'called up']
12 by Gillick
5 by Ash
8 by JP
0 by AA

1st rounders never in majors (yet) - aka 'DOH!'
9 by Gillick
2 by Ash
4 by JP
9 by AA

So the score is...
Gillick: 4 wins - 12 OK - 9 total waste
Ash: 3 wins - 5 OK - 2 wasted
JP: 2 wins - 8 OK - 4 wasted
AA: far too early to judge (none reached yet)

Gillicks = ugggly
Ash = solid, more 'woohoo' than 'doh'
JP = decent, could be very good depending on Snider, Arencibia, and Cecil.
AA = who knows
TamRa - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 10:30 PM EDT (#241742) #
Or Alex Gordon, who looks like he's finally found his groove, but has still had a rather disappointing career for a guy who was considered so polished when he was drafted.

there's another guy i really REALLY wanted them to pick.
hypobole - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 11:22 PM EDT (#241746) #

One thing to be considered when evaluating AA's picks is that a couple of factors are in play that weren't with other drafts. 

Most of us know of the debate in 2005, with JPR overruling the scouts on whether to take Rckey or Tulo. Do you think there was any debate at all whether to take Syndergaard or Raunado last year? Even if the Jays considered Raunado the better talent, it would have made no sense to take him with an unprotected pick, not knowing how high his demands would go (or if he'd be healthy enough to be worth signing).

The other is that with multiple picks, value  seems to make sheer talent less of a consideration than in the past, with cost playing a large role. The Musgrove pick is a prime example.  Mind you, this was also part of JPR's drafts when slot recommendations were adhered to. Whereas, with the Gillick drafts, I believe they always, or at least almost always, simply took the guy they felt had the best chance of being a productive major leaguer.

John Northey - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 11:41 PM EDT (#241749) #
That is what makes Ash's drafts all the more amazing. During his time the Jays were known for making picks based on cost. Rios was one, Wells another as I recall. Just amazing to be on a tight budget (Canadian dollar worth 60-70 cents US during stretches iirc) and making it work.
John Northey - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 11:45 PM EDT (#241750) #
Another method I'll put together someday is to figure out net value of all picks for the Jays and compare it to someone else, probably the team who picked after the Jays that year.

For example, 1995: 4 major leaguers, 65.8 WAR (59 from Halladay) vs the Mets (picked 18th vs Jays 17th) - 43.6 WAR from 7 major leaguers (AJ Burnett in 8th round, Aaron Rowand in the 40th plus a batch of replacement level guys). Jays win but if only they noticed AJ and Rowand eh?
hypobole - Monday, August 22 2011 @ 12:08 AM EDT (#241751) #
For most draft picks the real value of their WAR lies in the first 6 years. After that, those with high priced extensions may continue accumulating WAR,but may not be worth their cost. In my opinion a 3 WAR player making 20 million really isn't providing any real value to his team.
smcs - Monday, August 22 2011 @ 01:04 AM EDT (#241752) #
Another method I'll put together someday is to figure out net value of all picks for the Jays and compare it to someone else, probably the team who picked after the Jays that year.

You'd also run into problems with players that signed vs. players that didn't. Some would be pretty obvious (JD Drew, Jason Varitek, Luke Hochevar etc.) but some wouldn't jump off the page (Brad Hawpe and Chad Qualls were drafted in the same year but neither signed with the Jays). Plus, at a certain point (probably around the 4th round), it becomes sheer dumb luck in choosing players. The Jays 1989 draft looks pretty good with John Olerud and Jeff Kent, but their first three picks were Eddie Zosky, Mike Moore and Brent Bowers. If they really thought Jeff Kent was going to make it to the majors, let alone be as good as he was, they wouldn't have passed on him 20 times.
John Northey - Monday, August 22 2011 @ 05:10 AM EDT (#241755) #
Good point smcs. However, part of the trick is to consistently pick good guys with later picks and then sign a few.

For ugly you get the 1980 Jays draft - 25 picks, none made it. 1979 was also weak (no one above 3.1 WAR), 1981 a few made it but only Cerutti had any kind of career. Then in 1982 you got 10+ers David Wells & Jimmy Key (2nd & 3rd round) plus Mike Henneman (27th didn't sign) plus Pat Borders and Ed Vosberg (didn't sign). 1983 was Glenallen Hill and a batch of September call ups. 1984 Greg Myers (3rd round) and 4 replacement level guys. 1985 Jim Abbott (didn't sign) and 4 replacement level guys. 1986 Pat Hentgen (5th round) and 10 replacement levels.

You get the idea. The Jays back then would find some talent in later rounds but had a nightmare signing them (Henneman, Vosberg, Abbott) and found a few gems early on. 1978 had Stieb (drafted as an OF) and Moseby. 1977 had Barfield and Danny Ainge (yes, the basketball star who had a 533 OPS in MLB). The Jays in Gillicks time was after athletes first, hoping to shape them into real ballplayers. Some worked (Stieb) some didn't (Ainge).

Ash's weak drafts in the 1st round often had highlights later. 1996 with Koch #1 followed by Casey Blake in the 7th and Orlando Hudson in the 33rd (didn't sign that year) and Josh Phelps in the 10th. 1997 had Wells #1, Mike Young #5, Hudson #43 (did sign) and Hendrickson #20. '98 was weak with 'just' Lopez #1 and Jay Gibbons #14 for guys over 2 WAR. 1999 saw Rios & Reed Johnson (17th) & Brandon Lyon (#14) over 5 WAR. No question, Ash's crew found talent and got it here.

Good teams do draft guys they can't sign because they see talent and take a shot at getting it. As you say, post the first few rounds it becomes a crapshoot but it is up to the teams to aim high in those and then (as Ash did) sign them.
Jonny German - Monday, August 22 2011 @ 09:07 AM EDT (#241760) #
If they really thought Jeff Kent was going to make it to the majors, let alone be as good as he was, they wouldn't have passed on him 20 times.

Maybe. It depends on how much credit you give them for having an idea of what the rest of the teams think of a particular player and whether or not he'll drop. By way of analogy, I drafted Mark Buehrle in the BBFL this spring in the 15th round and as I expected he's performed more like a 10th-round pitcher. You could say I should have drafted him earlier if I thought he would be that good, but I was confident he would drop and thus was able to use my higher picks on other guys I liked.

Not that 1 good pick was enough to save my team from another year of cellar-dwelling...
bpoz - Monday, August 22 2011 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#241780) #
JP can look better too. 2008 AJ Jiminez, Thames & Farquar, Cooper. 2009 Marisnick, D Huschison & C Jenkins.

Gillick is the League? champ of rule 5.
John Northey - Monday, August 22 2011 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#241781) #
Agreed on Gillick as the Rule 5 champ, although 2 pretty good guys were found by other GM's over the decades - Roberto Clemente (obviously no Jays GM could've gotten him) and Johan Santana (picked by Florida in winter of 99/00 who immediately traded him to Minnesota with cash for Jared Camp, a career minor leaguer).

Gillick got George Bell, Willie Upshaw, Kelly Gruber, Manny Lee, Jim Acker, along with some useful guys like Jose Nunez. Still, it is hard and there are very few regulars or future stars who are found in that draft.
The First Round and What Could've Been | 26 comments | Create New Account
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