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To contend in the major leagues you need a successful farm system, or at least one that finds gems once in awhile.  Be you the Yankees or the A's you need homegrown be they for trades or stardom.  How have the Jays been doing?

WAR isn't perfect, but it is a nice quick way to see if the Jays have developed much of anything.  2 WAR = solid season, 10+ WAR = decent career, 20+ WAR=all-star at some point, 60+ = HOF

The Jays drafts since 2000 have been weak.  WAR for all players each year drafted by the Jays plus the top WAR and all over 5.
2000: 1.7 - top is Dustin McGowan 1.5
2001: 6.5 - top is Gabe Gross 4.7
2002: 1.7 - top is Dave Bush 3.5 (5 were negative)
2003: 42.9 - top is Aaron Hill 24.9, then Shaun Marcum 13.4, then Ryan Roberts 5.8 (didn't sign...err, actually did thanks for the correction)
2004: 16.5 - top is Casey Janssen 7.5, then Adam Lind 6.3
2005: 9.4 - top is Ricky Romero 9.7
2006: 0.3 - top is Travis Snider 1.9
2007: 7.4 - top is Brett Cecil 4.0 (JPA also this year 2.9)
2008: -2.2 - 'top' is David Cooper  at 0 (all others who reached are negative)
2009: 9.7 - top is Yan Gomes 3.7
2010: -1.0 - 'top' is Sean Nolin -0.3 (Sam Dyson also reached and is -0.7)
2011: -0.2 - Kevin Pillar is the only one to reach
2012 + 2013: no one yet

So over the past 14 seasons the Jays have produced 1 star (Hill), 1 decent career (Marcum), and a handful of 1/2 decent players (Romero, Janssen, Lind) while the rest were easily replaceable. A 2B, 2 starting pitchers, a closer and a DH.  I think that explains a lot of the current issues.

Meanwhile you can see form the Rays, ignoring 1st round picks (as they had quite a few top 5 picks thus not a fair comparison) over the same time period you see...
Nothing since 2007 (the 08-13 drafts haven't got a single WAR yet), but before Matt Moore 4.2, Desmond Jennings 8.7, Alex Cobb 5.3, Jeremy Hellickson 6.8, Tommy Hunter 5.7 (DNS), Ike Davis 5.5 (DNS), Wade Miley 5.0 (DNS), Kris Medlen 10.1 (DNS), John Jaso 7.6, Jacoby Ellsbury 21.0 (DNS), Jason Hammel 6.3 (drafted a couple of times by the Rays before he signed), Mike Pelfrey 5.2 (DNS), Jonny Gomes 5.0, James Shields 23.8, Luke Scott 12.2 (DNS).  Remember, this is skipping their first round picks (which included BJ Upton, Evan Longoria, and David Price).  Matt Moore doesn't fit the 5+ but will by mid-season 2014 I suspect (might by the end of April).  While nothing has reached from the 08-13 drafts (with 1+ WAR at least) I suspect we'll see more soon as they are known for leaving guys on the farm until they are really ready.  Yeah, a few really good guys didn't sign but at least their scouts found them and said 'lets try' (Dave Bush was also a DNS for them btw).  Over those same drafts the Jays had a 5+ WAR guy in just 3 seasons totaling 6 players.  The Rays had 14 plus 3 high end first round picks - remove the DNS's and you have 7 plus the 3 first rounders.  Think about that - the Rays drafted nearly 3 times as many solid ML players as the Jays did over that stretch despite a much lower budget (thus the high DNS list) and even removing the DNS's you get more guys skipping round 1 than the Jays got.  I'd say that is pretty damning when looking back on the JPR era and the tail end of the Ash era.  Far too early to judge the AA era, as the Rays haven't had any success over that time frame either (yet).

What about the Orioles, the team that leapfrogged the Jays recently? Jim Johnson (10.5), Nick Markakis (23.5), Casey Janssen (DNS obviously), Will Venable 11.8 (DNS), Matt Wieters 13.1, Manny Machado 8.1.  Not a wow record with just 4 who signed but 3 (4 counting DNS) with 10+ vs the Jays 2.  Not a great record but still one could argue it is better or equal to the Jays due to higher quality at the top. 

The Yankees who always draft after the Jays and have lost picks due to free agents signings?  Tyler Clippard 8.8, Chris Davis 7.8 (DNS), Phil Hughes 6.3, Brett Gardner 19.3, Austin Jackson 19.1, Doug Fister 14.7 (DNS), David Robertson 9.7, Ian Kennedy 9.2, Joba Chamberlain 7.1. Total of 9 players, 7 who signed.

The Red Sox who like the Yankees would draft later than the Jays? Freddy Sanchez 15.6, Kevin Youkilis 32.5, Kelly Shoppach 8.1, Jon Lester 27.6, Ricky Romero (DNS of course), Brian Bannister 5.1 (DNS), Jonathan Papelbon 19.7, David Murphy 10.9, Dustin Pedroia 38.1, Jacoby Ellsbury 21.0, Clay Buchholz 14.6, Jed Lowrie  7.6, Jason Castro 5.6 (DNS), Justin Masterson 11.0, Josh Reddick 9.0, Brandon Belt 8.0 (DNS).  Wow. 16 players (including DNS) or 12 not including DNS. 

An interesting exercise as I thought the Rays would have even more, but geez did they draft a lot of guys who they just couldn't afford to sign.  Imagine if the Jays with their larger budget had the Rays draft team for the 2000's.  Just reminds me, once again, that the Jays (and others) are nuts for not raiding the Rays system of coaches, scouts and anything else they can grab.  Of course, maybe they do try but the Rays spend in that area thus making it harder.

For overall WAR produced you get...
Red Sox: 273.5 - yikes, brains plus cash = wow
Rays: 237.3 - remove the first round picks and you still get 155.8, cut top DNS and you get 91.1
Yankees: 130.8
Orioles: 103.1
Jays: 92.7

So to get the Rays down to the Jays level you have to remove all Rays DNS (and not the Jays DNS's) plus remove all Rays first round picks.  Ouch.  FYI: the Rays had no extra picks from 2000 through 2009 and actually didn't have a 2/3/4 pick in 2000 as they went on a free agent frenzy and signed Juan Guzman (paid $12 mil for 1 start lasting 1 2/3 IP), Steve Trachsel (traded for Brent Abernathy), and Gerald Williams (release 1/2 way through first year in Tampa) - no wonder they stopped signing 'type A/B' free agents.  Imagine if they used that cash to sign those guys who DNS'ed over the years.  Thus the Rays (+10 picks in 2011, +3 in 2010, +1 2013 so net +11 from 2000-2013) had fewer draft picks over that time frame than the Jays did (extra picks = 2 in 2000, 2 in 2004, lost one in 2005, lost 2 in 2006, gained 5 in 2007, 2 in 2009, 6 in 2010, 5 in 2011, 4 in 2012 = net +23).  Yankees were +3 2001, -2 2002, +2 2004, +1 2008, -1 2009, +1 2012 = net +4 (sign a free agent, lose a free agent happened in a lot of years).  Red Sox were -1 2002, +2 2003, -1 2004, +3 2005, +4 2006, +1 2007, +2 2008, +2 2010, +3 2011, +2 2012 = net +17.

As many of us knew the Jays did a poor job in the 2000's (so far) in drafting and developing talent. The Rays could give the Jays an extra 25 first round picks over that time frame and still be competitive in WAR produced despite having a habit of leaving their prospects on the farm longer (thus not having as many man-years to count for recent players).  Anytime you wonder why the Rays keep going to the playoffs and the Jays don't it sure isn't 7 year deals, it is drafting.  The Red Sox meanwhile lap the field with cash, good drafts, and a very smart front office. The Jays were right to try to steal talent from them, just happened to pick the wrong guy.  The Sox right now have just Pedroia signed for over 5 years (through 2021) after dumping some in 2012 (Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford).  Seems they are leaning towards avoiding except for very special cases too.

Bottom line? The Red Sox and Rays are clearly the class of the field, while the Jays, Orioles and Yankees try to figure out how to make the draft work for them. The Jays, Rays and Red Sox were aggressive in getting extra picks while they were out there and the results of that should be visible in a few years.  The Red Sox were double in WAR of anyone but the Rays, producing an extra (from 2000-2009, 2010 to now hasn't produced much for anyone yet) 18 WAR a year vs the Jays - think about that for a minute.  The Rays beat the Jays by 14 WAR a year.  To make that up the Jays would need to sign Roger Clemens (as he was here) plus Roy Halladay at his peak to compensate for how the Red Sox are doing, or 'just' two Roy Halladay's to cover up the spread between the Jays and Rays.  Add those 18 wins the Red Sox have on the Jays and the Jays would've been in the playoffs this year.

So next time you think more cash and/or years for free agents is #1, remember how big that draft spread is and hope the Jays are investing big time in their minor league coaching plus their amateur scouting.
Jays and the Draft | 17 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
SJE - Saturday, October 19 2013 @ 09:42 AM EDT (#279892) #
Thanks,John great insight. I don't know the numbers for sure but the beginning of the end began in the late 90's. Dirk Hayhurst also had a great article relating to the same thing. Jeff Blair is always talking about "Windows to win opening and closing." I believe these windows are directly related to the success in draft and development. Everybody seems to agree that the models franchises include Red Sox, Rays, and Cardinals. I have never heard these franchises talking about 5 year plans, 3 years of contention, and the Window is closing. Tears were not shed with the losses of Pujols, Crawford, and others. If you draft and development successfully that window closing does not exist. The traded of somebody like Batista does not have to be an admission of defeat. The real question is where do the Jays go from here? They are old and in last place.
Beware of both the Cubs and Astros, their GM's have come from winning organizations and are accumulating young very talented assets.
greenfrog - Saturday, October 19 2013 @ 09:44 AM EDT (#279893) #
John, I'm glad you posted about this issue. It often gets overlooked in discussions about how the team needs to improve.

Looking at a larger sample also belies the "draft is a crapshoot" theory, which I think is often a cop-out (it may be true for individual selections or smaller samples). Over time, some organizations are demonstrably better than others at drafting and developing big-league talent.

It's also interesting that a significant percentage of the WAR obtained from the Jays' drafts over the last ten years (Hill, Gomes) is playing elsewhere, with little return for the Bluebirds.

Lastly, the poor drafts might help explain the motive for the Miami and Mets trades (and why the Red Sox passed on a trade proposal involving Reyes and JJ). Based on the historical track record, Anthopoulos may have had lower expectations for his draftees than Cherington did for his, and therefore deemed them more expendable. Of course, the poor drafts also explain why the team needed such an infusion of outside talent in the first place - and why Anthopoulos is again talking about making trades to improve the team.
Mike Green - Saturday, October 19 2013 @ 09:54 AM EDT (#279894) #
Thanks, John.  To complete the story, you do have to go back to the 90s though.  The Jays in the Ash/Wilken days arguably had the best draft record of any organization in the major leagues.  They just were pretty bad at managing the talent afterwards.   The best organizations do well at both aspects. 
Thomas - Saturday, October 19 2013 @ 10:26 AM EDT (#279895) #
A small correction: Roberts signed with the Jays in 2003.

There is a distinction between drafting talent and developing talent. While some players have undeniable talent (I don't think Mike Trout would be anyone other than Mike Trout in another organization) and some players are destined to be busts for one of many reasons, I think there are a number of players for whom being the organization that drafts them can play a significant role in nurturing or stalling their talent.

Unfortunately, this is a much harder variable to analyze and it's often easier to shorthand this in terms of analyzing drafts, but I do think it's worth noting.
SK in NJ - Saturday, October 19 2013 @ 11:37 AM EDT (#279897) #
In baseball, a team can have a top 5 MLB team and a top 5 farm system at the same time. It does not have to be one or the other. Why not do both? Works for the Cardinals, Red Sox, etc.
John Northey - Saturday, October 19 2013 @ 02:35 PM EDT (#279899) #
Good question on the Cardinals...
2000 to present total WAR: 190.9 - in 2003 they got 56 WAR (so far) with none over 20 yet to show how deep they could go, while other years were negative or near 0, seems a boom/bust cycle for them.
2000 to present extra picks: +4 2012, +2 2010, +1 2008, +2 2007, +3 2006, +4 2005, -2 2002 (to sign Jason Isringhausen and Tino Martinez), +1 2000 = net +15. 
Top players (5+ WAR) included Yadier Molina, Dan Haren, Max Scherzer (DNS), Brendan Ryan, Ian Kennedy (DNS), Daric Barton, Colby Rasmus, Jon Jay , Allen Craig , Matt Carpenter, and tons of guys in the 1-4 range too (backups, spare parts). That's how you compete year in/year out.  Doesn't hurt to be in the easiest division most years either :)

Not bad at all.  Especially given they rarely had high picks.
John Northey - Saturday, October 19 2013 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#279900) #
One other thing to note: the best teams often draft high quality players who don't sign. Why? Because they want the shot at signing them and once in awhile it works. I remember in the 80's how Pat Gillick was annoyed because he was ready to draft Bo Jackson but the Royals did it a few picks before the Jays were going to (1986 4th round, 2 picks before the Jays took Xavier Hernandez - that was a very good 4th round with 12 reaching and 4 cracking 5 WAR), which led to him drafting John Olerud in the 3rd round in 1989 (speeding up the 'faint hope' pick).  FYI: in the 3rd round of 1986 the Jays took Andy Dziadkowiec who never reached the majors.  Wonder if Bo might have helped push the Jays a bit further in the late 80's.

Thus the Jays failing to sign all their picks isn't necessarily a bad thing, it might just show they are being more aggressive and chasing the hard to get top talent. Lets hope, because then they should see results within a few years.
92-93 - Saturday, October 19 2013 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#279901) #
And you need to go back only one year to add one of the greatest hitters of all time, Albert Pujols.

The Cardinals have great jerseys too. There's just so much to love or hate about them, and I like when they're in the playoffs.
hypobole - Saturday, October 19 2013 @ 05:50 PM EDT (#279902) #
Jeff Luhnow was the scouting director given credit for much of the Cards recent draft success, but they also seem to have some very smart scouts and strong player development people. Their 2009 draft was tremendous - netted Shelby Miller (1st round, 19th overall), Joe Kelly (3rd round), Matt Carpenter (13th round), Trevor Rosenthal (21st round) and Matt Adams (23rd round).

Even after Luhnow left, they lose Pujols, then use the Angels 17th pick on Mike Wacha, 2 picks after the Jays chose D. J. Davis. I think of the Cards as one of the, if not the, smartest, strongest organizations in baseball. They bring to mind the saying "Luck is the residue of design".

Heyman of CBSsports just wrote an article on the Cards homegrown talent - worth a read.
christaylor - Saturday, October 19 2013 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#279906) #
It might be worth mentioning that the Jays have never, in their entire history, ever been that successful acquiring talent via the amateur draft.

John Northey - Saturday, October 19 2013 @ 09:13 PM EDT (#279908) #
Well, I wouldn't say never.  Lets check the 1990's (1990-1999)
1990: 10 WAR, top Steve Karsay 11.2
1991: 66.2 WAR, top Shawn Green34.5 + Ryan Franklin 11.8 (DNS) + Alex Gonzalez 11.1 + Chris Stynes 8.2
1992: 45.7 WAR, top Shannon Stewart 24.7 + Doug Mientkiewicz 11.8 (DNS), Jeff DaVanon 5.3 (DNS)
1993: 32.9 WAR, top Chris Carpenter 34.5
1994: 2.1 WAR, top Gary Glover 1.3 (ugh)
1995: 101.4 WAR, top Roy Halladay 64.6 + Ted Lilly 27.0 (DNS) + Ryan Freel 8.7
1996: 63.6 WAR (33 without Hudson), top Orlando Hudson 30.6 (DNS) + Casey Blake 24.9 + Billy Koch 5.6
1997: 97.9 WAR, top Orlando Hudson  30.6 (did sign) + Vernon Wells 28.8 + Michael Young 24.1 + Chad Qualls 5.9 (DNS)
1998: 13.8 WAR, top Felipe Lopez 7.5 + Jay Gibbons 5.6
1999: 46.0 WAR, top Alex Rios 27.9 + Reed Johnson 11.2 + Brandon Lyon 6.5
479.6 WAR, 449.0 counting Hudson just once

Wow.  Over 10 years averaged 44.9 WAR a year developed.  Wow.  Almost equal to the Red Sox plus Rays in the 2000's so far.  No question something went very right during that decade.  Just imagine if Ash had 1/2 a clue on how to trade or deal with free agents during that decade.
John Northey - Saturday, October 19 2013 @ 09:24 PM EDT (#279909) #
Also don't forget how the late 80's were...
1989: 122.6 WAR - John Olerud 58.0 + Jeff Kent 55.2 + Jeffrey Hammonds 8.7 (DNS)
1988: 69.4 WAR - Woody Williams 30.9 + Scott Erickson 25.1 (DNS) + David Weathers 10.9 + Ed Sprague 5.2
1987: 46.5 WAR - Mike Timlin 19.6 + Derek Bell 12.9 + Darren Lewis 10.5 (DNS)
1986: 40.3 WAR - Pat Hentgen 32.7
1985: 23.3 WAR - Jim Abbott 19.9 (DNS)
1984: 9.0 WAR - Greg Myers 7.4 WAR
1983: 8.5 WAR - Glenallen Hill 9.7
1982: 122.4 WAR - David Wells 53.6 + Jimmy Key 49.6 + Mike Henneman 13.2 (DNS)
1981: 3.9 WAR - John Cerutti 6.7
1980: none made the majors despite having the 2nd overall pick
1979: 4.5 WAR
1978: 84.7 WAR - Dave Stieb 57.2 + Lloyd Moseby 27.6
1977: 37.4 WAR - Jesse Barfield 39.4

Well, some bad years but some 'WOW' years - twice going over 120 WAR (or more than the Jays have done from 2000-2013 so far).  Net of 572.5 WAR over 13 years or 44 a year developed (including the many DNS).  Yeah, the Jays were pretty good at drafting pre-JPR but his era was a black hole and we can just hope AA's drafts are more Gillick/Ash than JPR.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, October 19 2013 @ 09:36 PM EDT (#279910) #
A.A.'s draft legacy will lie with his 2011, 2012, 2013 and future drafts. I don't know how well he drafted in 2010, so I hesitate to include it.

Other teams try to acquire prospects, with early picks, that can make the majors almost immediately, while Teams like Toronto pick the best available athletes.

Stroman and Pillar are our hottest movers. But who else is close, I don't know? I just don't think you get front of the rotation pitching without the Pitcher having upper 90's stuff at the draft. I don't think you get big power without the prospect having it to start with.
lexomatic - Sunday, October 20 2013 @ 11:41 AM EDT (#279916) #
Are people including draftees who didn't sign? I don't think that's legitimate at all.
It's fair to list them if you're talking about scouting, but the team didn't develop those players so why include those values in the totals?
What am I missing?

smcs - Sunday, October 20 2013 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#279917) #
Are people including draftees who didn't sign? I don't think that's legitimate at all.
It's fair to list them if you're talking about scouting, but the team didn't develop those players so why include those values in the totals?
What am I missing?

It's really difficult to pick out those that did sign and those that didn't sign. It's one of the, like, 3 flaws with bbref.
John Northey - Sunday, October 20 2013 @ 01:11 PM EDT (#279918) #
Part of the issue is how hard it is to pull out those who didn't sign via the method I'm using (Baseball-Reference's draft board and WAR).  I do take note of DNS but I think DNS players are worth noting as it shows the team did notice the player and take a shot at signing them.  Unsignable players who end up signing happen a fair amount over the years.  John Olerud was viewed as unsignable when the Jays drafted him, as was Bo Jackson 3 years earlier.  A couple of guys the Jays drafted last year were thought to be difficult if not impossible signings too - Brentz, Lauer, Tewes and Tellez - but they signed Tellez and Brentz.  I see it as being a smart club to draft and try to sign top talent, and thus worth adding in how those players did.  The Jays were one of the few to see Jim Abbott as a ML pitcher despite having just one arm back in the 80's and it is a shame they didn't sign him but the fact they tried is important.  The best clubs draft the best players and then try to figure out how to sign them.  Signability factors in, as that will determine if you go for the guy in round 1 or wait a few and hope to steal him later thus maximizing your talent base.  Those 4 tough signs were from rounds 11/17/22/30 - those are not rounds that produce high end talent normally. 

Jays Round 11: 7 players made it to majors, highest WAR is 2.5 for Willie Blair
Jays Round 17: 3 reached the majors, best is Reed Johnson 11.2, others were pitchers for 122 games 54-54 record with 2 saves with a net negative WAR
Jays Round 22: 4 reached, best Aaron Small 1.6 WAR
Jays Round 30: 2 made it, 144 games pitched net negative WAR none over 0.

Basically, once you are past the first few rounds the odds of getting a gem are low so smart clubs take risky picks - guys who might not sign - and try to sign them.  I see that as a plus.  Better to draft an 'unsignable' and maybe waste your 11th round pick than to go with a safe guy who will max out in AA.  If he signs you could have a gem (ala Orland Hudson a 43rd round pick).  If not at least you took a shot at a Scott Erikson or Jim Abbott type (and kept 29 other teams from having a shot).

If I could easily filter out the DNS's I'd provide a figure for that as well.  I manually did it for the Rays above, but generally it is too difficult (time consuming) to do it.
SK in NJ - Sunday, October 20 2013 @ 01:38 PM EDT (#279919) #
AA's draft picks have usually focused on high school talent, so it will be a long time before we start seeing what kind of drafts he had. Even his 2010 draft, which was 3+ years ago, hasn't developed any MLB players unless you count the cup of coffee for Nolin and Dyson. Although we might see Syndergaard, Woj, and Nicolino in the Majors at some point in 2014 for other teams.
Jays and the Draft | 17 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.