Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Yesterday we looked at the question "What Can We Expect From a 14th Overall Draft Pick?". Today we bring it down a notch and look at the 15th overall slot where Gabe Gross was drafted in 2001. The results are pretty ugly.


See the article "What Can We Expect From a 14th Overall Draft Pick?". Nothing has changed except now we're looking at 15th overall picks.

Recall that I created 5 groups to divide the 30 players into:

Group 1 - Never Reached The Majors
Group 2 - Less Than 5.0 WARP3 in first 6 seasons
Group 3 - Between 5.0 and 9.9 WARP3 in first 6 seasons
Group 4 - Between 10.0 and 19.9 WARP3 in first 6 seasons
Group 5 - 20.0 or more WARP3 in first 6 seasons

The Groups

Group 1 - Never Reached The Majors

18 Players of 30 = 60%. Average WARP3 = 0.0
Year	Player	        POSN	TEAM	Games	WARP
1965 Scott McDonald P BAL 0 0.0
1968 Ralph Rickey OF CHC 0 0.0
1969 Alvin Mcgrew OF CLE 0 0.0
1970 Gary Polczynski SS CIN 0 0.0
1972 Brian Vernoy P CHC 0 0.0
1974 Kevin Drake OF HOU 0 0.0
1975 Otis Foster 1B BOS 0 0.0
1977 Paul Croft OF MIN 0 0.0
1978 Bob Hicks 1B STL 0 0.0
1980 Don Collins P STL 0 0.0
1982 Steve Swain OF HOU 0 0.0
1983 Wayne Dotson P DET 0 0.0
1984 Kevin Andersh P PIT 0 0.0
1986 Kevin Dean OF MON 0 0.0
1987 Brad DuVall P BAL 0 0.0
1989 Kiki Jones P LAD 0 0.0
1991 Tyrone Hill P MIL 0 0.0
1994 Jayson Peterson P CHC 0 0.0

PSN stands for the position the player was drafted at (and not necessarily played in the majors), TEAM was the team that drafted him, GAMES were the number of games he played in the majors up to and including the 2003 season, and WARP is the WARP3 he recorded in the first six seasons of his major league career.

Twice as many 15th overall draftpicks missed the majors as 14th overall picks. There are huge sample size issues here so take that fact with a grain of salt. Unlike 14th overall draftpicks, 15th overall draftpicks are still missing the major leagues with alarming regularity. Chase Utley, Gabe Gross, and Scott Kazmir picked in 2000, 2001, and 2002 respectively all look to turn the trend around.

Group 2 - Cup of Coffee / Journeyman

3 Players of 30 = 10%. Average WARP3 = 0.6
Year	Player	        POSN	TEAM	Games	WARP
1967 Jim Foor P DET 13 -0.5
1981 Tim Pyznarski 3B OAK 15 0.1
1990 Adam Hyzdu OF SFG 221 2.1

Only Adam Hyzdu had any sort of major league career and that was after bouncing around the minor leagues for a decade. Two thirds of the players in this 30 player sample played 15 games or less in the majors.

Group 3 - Decent Major Leaguers

2 Players of 30 = 7%. Average WARP3 = 6.8
Year	Player	        POSN	TEAM	Games	WARP
1992 Sean Lowe P STL 255 6.1
1973 Mike Parrott P BAL 119 7.5

Parrott had a great year with the Seattle Mariners in 1979 going 14-12 with a 3.77 ERA. The next year he went 1-16. No, that's no a typo. Young pitchers will break your heart.

Group 4 - Good Major Leaguers

2 Players of 30 = 7%. Average WARP3 = 15.7
Year	Player	        POSN	TEAM	Games	WARP
1985 Willie Fraser P CAL 239 12.8
1993 Chris Carpenter P TOR 157 18.5

Both of these guys pitched for the Jays, though Fraser for only very briefly. Like many players on these lists Carpenter would be in a higher category if not for injuries.

Group 5 - Very Good/Great Major Leaguers

5 Players of 30 = 17%. Average WARP3 = 31.8
Year	Player	        POSN	TEAM	Games	WARP
1988 Royce Clayton SS SFG 1661 26.6
1976 Leon Durham 1B STL 1072 28.3
1979 Scott Garrelts P SFG 375 28.5
1966 Richie Hebner SS PIT 1938 35.3
1971 Jim Rice OF BOS 2107 40.3

You can get Hall-of-Fame or at least near Hall-of-Fame talent in the 15th overall slot, as Jim Rice shows us. I often forget that Clayton was a pretty decent player when he first came up with the Giants. The 15th overall slot has produced only one very good/great player after Scott Garrelts was drafted in 1979. Only 17% of the players in this sample can be classified as very good or great major leaguers, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Kazmir or Gross join their ranks one day.

Craig Burley wondered if the performance of 15th overall draft-picks have improved over time. To see, I broke the 30 years down into 6 distinct groups:

65-69 3 1 0 0 1 6.96
70-74 3 0 1 0 0 9.56
75-79 3 0 0 0 2 11.36
80-84 4 1 0 0 0 0.02
85-89 3 0 0 1 1 7.88
90-94 2 1 1 1 0 5.34

Where GROUP1, GROUP2 etc. indicate the number of players in each group.

Unlike the 14th overall picks, there does not seem to be any general trend over time. The entire 1980-1984 group played only 15 games in the majors, all of them by Tim Pyznarski. The 1995-1999 group may end up being worse than that. Right now they have a collective negative WARP3.


We saw in the previous articles that the average 14th overall draftpick records a WARP3 level of 8.9 in his first 6 seasons, a level only slightly higher than the performance of Dave Berg in his first six seasons. Here the average was even lower at 6.85. Using the average is rather misleading as 60% of the players had a WARP3 of 0.0 as they never made the majors. The fact that only 5 players of 30 were in the very good/great group and only 2 more can be considered good major league players is more telling. While we still need to examine other mid 1st round slots it appears that many of us expect far too much out of middle of the 1st round picks.

15th Overall Draftpicks Since 1965

Year	Player	        POSN	TEAM	Games	WARP
1965 Scott McDonald P BAL 0 0.0
1966 Richie Hebner SS PIT 1938 35.3
1967 Jim Foor P DET 13 -0.5
1968 Ralph Rickey OF CHC 0 0.0
1969 Alvin Mcgrew OF CLE 0 0.0
1970 Gary Polczynski SS CIN 0 0.0
1971 Jim Rice OF BOS 2107 40.3
1972 Brian Vernoy P CHC 0 0.0
1973 Mike Parrott P BAL 119 7.5
1974 Kevin Drake OF HOU 0 0.0
1975 Otis Foster 1B BOS 0 0.0
1976 Leon Durham 1B STL 1072 28.3
1977 Paul Croft OF MIN 0 0.0
1978 Bob Hicks 1B STL 0 0.0
1979 Scott Garrelts P SFG 375 28.5
1980 Don Collins P STL 0 0.0
1981 Tim Pyznarski 3B OAK 15 0.1
1982 Steve Swain OF HOU 0 0.0
1983 Wayne Dotson P DET 0 0.0
1984 Kevin Andersh P PIT 0 0.0
1985 Willie Fraser P CAL 239 12.8
1986 Kevin Dean OF MON 0 0.0
1987 Brad DuVall P BAL 0 0.0
1988 Royce Clayton SS SFG 1661 26.6
1989 Kiki Jones P LAD 0 0.0
1990 Adam Hyzdu OF SFG 221 2.1
1991 Tyrone Hill P MIL 0 0.0
1992 Sean Lowe P STL 255 6.1
1993 Chris Carpenter P TOR 157 18.5
1994 Jayson Peterson P CHC 0 0.0
1995 Andy Yount P BOS 0 0.0
1996 Matt Halloran SS SDP 0 0.0
1997 Jason Dellaero SS CWS 12 -0.6
1998 Clint Johnston 1B PIT 0 0.0
1999 Jason Stumm P CWS 0 0.0
2000 Chase Utley IF PHI 96 3.4
2001 Gabe Gross OF TOR 0 0.0
2002 Scott Kazmir P NYM 0 0.0
2003 Brian Anderson OF CWS 0 0.0
2004 Stephen Drew SS ARZ 0 0.0

Your thoughts?
What Can We Expect From a 15th Overall Draft Pick? | 35 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 11:38 AM EDT (#41050) #
It seems that a good player (Richie Hebner, Jim Rice, Bull Durham...) about once every 4-5 years in the 15th slot. It's way too early to tell about the 2000-2004 guys; I'd bet that two of them turn out well.

The 1998 pick was Clint Johnston, of 2004 Charleston fame.
_Moffatt - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#41051) #
The 1998 pick was Clint Johnston, of 2004 Charleston fame.

Cool. I didn't make the connection. I entered all these names into Excel, so there's probably a couple more typos floating around. I'll fix that one.
_Jordan - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 11:53 AM EDT (#41052) #
Johnston was actually drafted by the Pirates (and spent four bad years) as a pitcher before the Jays picked him up and converted him to first base. That backstory and his offensive output this year, despite his age, makes him slightly more interesting than your average journeyman.

Great job, Mike!
_Mick - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 12:07 PM EDT (#41053) #
Richie Hebner was drafted as a shortstop? Well then, perhaps that presages Russ Adams' destiny as a tubby, slow corner infielder and DH who digs graves in the offseason.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#41054) #
It's funny Mick that you made the Hebner-Adams connection. When I saw Richie's name, as one of the best of this lot, I thought "Hey, Adams could equal Richie's career, easily". Of course, Adams doesn't have the arm for third base, but he's got enough of a bat and overall defensive ability to have a Hebner-quality career.
_Moffatt - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#41055) #
Richie Hebner was drafted as a shortstop?

I went back to the Baseball Cube to make sure I didn't make a typo. I didn't. According to the Cube Hebner was drafted as a shortstop.

I don't think I mentioned it in the articles, but three cheers to the Baseball Cube for their invaluable draft databases.
Pistol - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#41056) #
Group 1 - Never Reached The Majors
18 Players of 60 = 30%. Average WARP3 = 0.0

Mike - I think the 30 and 60 are reversed here.
_Moffatt - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 12:27 PM EDT (#41057) #
Mike - I think the 30 and 60 are reversed here.

Fixed. Thanks.
Thomas - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#41058) #
I suppose people were saying the same things about the 1994-1999 crew, but I agree with Mike about the 2000-2004 guys.

Drew, if he ever signs, was a top talent in the draft and had a very fine college career. Anderson's always been thought of as a solid pick and we all know about Kazmir and Gross. Utley's no slouch either, and was third in the IL in batting in 2003 with a .323 average. He hit 26 doubles and 18 homers and slugged .517, finishing with an OPS of .907. This Phillie (not Pirate) could well turn into a fine player.
_Moffatt - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#41059) #
Note to self: Drink more coffee when proofreading article.

Thanks for the corrections guys. 'Tis appreciated.
Pistol - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#41060) #
Just got through it, nice job Mike.

Seems Jay fans were spoiled with all the successes in the 90s.
_Mick - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#41061) #
Thanks for the corrections guys. 'Tis appreciated.

Sure thing. Speaking of which, isn't it "Moffat"?
_Mick - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#41062) #
a Hebner-quality career.

While I was briefly tempted to fire off a quick smart-aleck respons to that image, look at some of the 900+ comps o Hebner according to

Jim Tabor (964)
Gary Sheffield (946)
Robin Ventura (940)
Chet Lemon (941)
Dusty Baker (938)
Ken Keltner (933)
Andy Pafko (928)
Gus Bell (927)
Ben Oglivie (914)
Johnny Callison (912)
Chet Lemon (904)
Bobby Thomson (902)

I think even the most negative of Jays fanswould have to be pleased with a Sheff-Robin-Lemon career player, or even a NebjiO-Keltner-Pafko career.
_Mick - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 01:44 PM EDT (#41063) #
WHile "NebjiO" sounds like a cool nickname, obviously this should have read "BenjiO" in reference to Ogilvie.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 02:09 PM EDT (#41064) #
Hebner was actually a little better than I remember- his career line was .276/.352/.438. His top comps according to BR- Andy Pafko, Gus Bell, Ben Ogilvie, Johnny Callison and Chet Lemon, flatter him a bit. COMN for the BR page; Sheffield is a far, far better player than Hebner. He was an average defensive third baseman, who hit a little better than average for the position.

He made a solid contribution to the 1971 World Champion Pirates, but he was the sixth best position player on the team, behind Stargell, Clemente, Sanguillen, Robertson and Cash. Here are the stats for the team.

I can easily see Adams hitting .280/.360/.390 for his career, while playing good defence at second or in centerfield. That would be a more valuable contribution than Hebner's.

My point in all this is not that Hebner wasn't a good player. He was. It's just that people sometimes say that a GM should take a "high risk/high reward" pick in the 1st round. If once every 5 years you get a Richie Hebner, Russ Adams looks better and better, as his "reward" is actually on the high side for his draft position.
_Lefty - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 02:49 PM EDT (#41065) #
The numbers from the past two days regarding 14th and 15th picks of the first round is very interesting. You very often see many major leaguers making it after being taken in the later rounds.

I think at the end of the day where you pick is not so important as to who you pick in whole draft. Ofcourse with the exception of the top 1 - 10 picks overall. It seems to me to be a bit of a lottery in terms of injury and potential developement margins.
_Jordan - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#41066) #
What these results really represent to me is the importance of not gambling with your mid-first-round draft choice. It's difficult enough to find any future major-leaguer in the draft, regardless of round, but it's critical that you don't waste your first-rounder altogether, as so many of these teams did. Far from criticizing "safer" choices like Adams and Gross, I think fans should be happy that the Jays didn't roll the dice on a player for whom "high upside" and "projectability" are simply code words for "hasn't done anything yet."

Yes, Alex Rios is turning out great -- but two years ago, he was considered a wasted pick, and had he not accepted instruction about his approach at the plate, he might be another Joey Lawrence today. Look at Miguel Negron, taken just a year after Rios for the same budgetary reasons, but still finding his way at High-A Dunedin. Gambles are called gambles for a reason.
_Dean - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 04:15 PM EDT (#41067) #
Jordan, Roy Halladay & Vernon Wells are what?

Joe Lawrence was jerked around from SS to 3rd to catcher and then to 2nd base. He is a text book example of how not to handle a prospect.

To develop a farm system that will provide players to enable the Jays to challenge the Yankees will require some gambles and some luck. Drafting guys who project at draft time to be the 2nd coming of Walt Weis is not going to field a team to challenge the Yankees.
Craig B - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#41068) #
John Manuel of Baseball America on the Blue Jays 2002 draft... this is a lengthy quotation, but deserves to be read at length.

Mike from Exton, PA asks:
I was very surprised to see the Jays draft ranked so highly. Adams, Bush et al look like solid safe picks, but I don't see a lot of upside. IMO a top ranked draft ought to have a coulpe guys who project to be frontline starters or middle of the order hitters or middle of the diamond All Stars. I guess you can stretch and say Adams could be an All Star, but I don't see anybody else. The JAys top 3-4 picks could all hit their ceilings and the Jays draft still wouldn't be as good as some other team who gets "only" one real superstar quality player.

John Manuel's answer:

Mike, here's why we disagree with you. These weren't just solid, safe picks. Adams has athleticism, instincts and plate discipline. He wasn't just a safe, OBP pick, he was also a tools pick. Bush is the same, not your average safe senior guy, but a guy with serious upside. Same with Wichita State's Adam Peterson. Chad Pleiness could be a stud. 34th round pick Justin Owens has an intriguing swing, and 6th-rounder Jason Perry could be a 30-HR LH hitting 1B or LF. They could get 6-8 big leaguers out of this draft; I'm sure I didn't mention some very good prospects. That's what makes this a potentially very good draft. That draft vs. Scott Kazmir is an interesting philosophical question, but I'll take the one with 6-8 big leaguers.

That's all from this chat on December 6 of 2002.
_Jordan - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#41069) #
Dean, Vernon Wells was the fifth-overall draft choice in the nation in 1997, and with all due respect to the Jays' scouting staff at the time, he wasn't a real stretch of a pick; the remarkable thing about him is that he lasted till #5 (JD Drew and Troy Glaus went 2 and 3; Matt Anderson and Jason Grilli went 1 and 4). Remember, we're talking about mid-first-rounders here.

Halladay was a mid-first-rounder (17th overall in '95, chosen directly after Andy Yount and Joe Fontenot), and yes, he worked out great. But would we be saying that if he'd never recovered from the 10.71 ERA he posted in 2000, the worst qualifying individual ERA in baseball history? And Halladay was never all that in the minors. Here are his last two seasons at Syrcause before his promotion:

1997 20 7-10, 4.60, 22 GS 125 IP, 132 H, 53 BB, 64 K
1998 21 9-5, 3.79, 21 GS 116 IP, 97 H, 53 BB, 71 K

Roy Halladay didn't become a good pitcher until he was 24, his seventh professional season, and it was only due to a tremendous coaching effort and his own mental toughness that he came back from those depths. Halladay was the exception that proves the rule (and yes, I'm using that phrase correctly).

You need to draft according to your position, and if you have a mid-first-round draft slot, where the history of successful high-school and tools-based picks is simply terrible, you're playing with fire if you don't select a player with a pretty good track record and chance for success. The Jays did that in '01 and '02, and they did quite well.
_Dean - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#41070) #
I remember that chat and I thought John Manuel was on crack - and I'm a big BA fan. With Adams, I don't remember any comparison to Nomar that spring. Producing major leaguers is a definite sign of a good draft but since the Jays have to develop their own "stars" there needs to be some Kazmirs too.
_Jordan - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 04:53 PM EDT (#41071) #
Re Kazmir: keep in mind that he was a signability pick. On talent alone, a lot of teams would have taken him in the top five; but Boras was his agent and his demands were huge, so he fell to the first team willing to both take the risk and pay the cash, the Mets.

What's interesting about the 2004 draft isn't the number of big-leaguers -- Bush (2) is already there, Adams (1) will arrive next year, and Peterson (4) should get it back together by next fall -- but how many players are still in the Jays system. Only five of the other first 20 picks are not in the organization (including Jason Perry, who was dealt away, and Aric Van Gaalen, who never signed). Here's who's left:

3. Justin Maureau
5. Chad Pleiness
7. Brian Grant
8. Chris Leonard
9. Russell Savickas
10. Eric Arnold
11. Jason Waugh
13. John Schneider
14. Mike Galloway
15. David Smith
18. Jordan De Jong
19. Brad Hassey

And that doesn't even include late-round selections, some of them superior players, like:

22. Erik Rico
23. Bubbie Buzachero
26. Dewan Day
33. Carlo Cota
34. Justin Owens
35. Andy Torres
36. Scott Dragicevich
39. Nick Thomas

I doubt any of these guys will ever reach the majors, and Maureau and Pleiness in particular look like poor choices. But that one draft went a long way towards restocking a poor farm system with players who are still contributing to Blue Jays minor-league clubs two years later. And 2002 looks like the worst of the three Ricciardi drafts by far.
_R Billie - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 04:55 PM EDT (#41072) #
The official MLB site had a scouting report on Adams back in 2002 (COMN).

COMMENT: Slender build. Lively body, similar to Nomar Garciaparra. Puts ball in play. Gap power, hits occasional long ball. Quick release. Feet and hands work properly.

The comment is on Russ' body type, not potential as a player.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 04:55 PM EDT (#41073) #
The funny thing is that probably the best draft of the last 10 years, Albert Pujols, was a 13th round selection out of a community college. Now, that's what I call a low risk/high reward pick. If JP, Jon Lalonde and crew see someone they perceive to be a Pujols and want to spend a 13th round pick, they have my enthusiastic support.

Look at it another way. Seven teams drafted outfielders with the 15th overall pick. Six teams got nothing for their pick and one team got Jim Rice. With that kind of success ratio, a small market team cannot succeed.
_MatO - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#41074) #
Dean, I think Nomar was picked 12th overall out of college in 1994. If you look at his first two seasons in the minors they're not a heck of a lot better than Adams or Hill. In fact they're very similar to Hill's this year and at the same level(Hill already has more HR). Now I don't know if Hill will break out like Nomar did in his third season and neither do you. Nomar certainly wasn't NOMAR after 2 seasons in the minors. Any projections for Adams or Hill are similarly premature. It's just as silly as saying that Adams was a safe pick. As Mike's research shows there is no such thing at that point in the draft. As the draft over and over illustrates you simply don't know what a player's upside is.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 04:58 PM EDT (#41075) #
Jordan, I'd bet that one of the 2002 drafts you've listed makes it. I have no idea whom- Bubbie Buzachero, Chris Leonard and Jordan DeJong seem to be possible- but somebody probably will.
_Jordan - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#41076) #
Mike, you may well be right, though I'm sure you mean as a supporting player rather than a more substantial talent like Bush or Adams. Leonard might yet prove me wrong, but he's had major surgery and he'll be 24 in October; I have to think the odds against him are very high.
_Dean - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 05:17 PM EDT (#41077) #
Vernon Wells was not considered as a 5th overall talent by many but the Jays did their home work on him - and got lucky as you do with any draft- and the same goes with Doc and Rios, the Jays were considered to have over-drafted them at the time.
Yeah Roy's numbers in AAA were something, for being 20 and 21. He was rushed.
I'm a fan of Adams, I just don't think you can build a winner by continually drafting an "Adams" every year with your 1st round and especially when the 5 or 6 major leagurers as predicted by John Manuel fail to appear. Petersen may still get there so there may be 3 players from the 2002 draft in the show, which is good. But I don't think any will be perennial all-stars. I think Brian Grant will be the fourth player from the 2002 draft in the show:)
_Nigel - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 05:18 PM EDT (#41078) #
As a longshot to make the majors I like Cota more than Buzachero or De Jong. Compare Cota to O-Dog in their High A stops in Dunedin (O-Dog was just over a year younger than Cota was, which shouldn't be underestimated):

O-Dog - .285/.354/.399
Cota - .299/.360/.453

It will be interesting to see what Cota does next year.
Pistol - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 05:30 PM EDT (#41079) #
I think what's also forgotten with the 2002 draft is that it was considered pretty weak, at least at the top.
_Jordan - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 05:37 PM EDT (#41080) #
As Mat points out, the similarities between Hill and Garciaparra are actually rather startling. Here are their numbers at similar points in their development:

Age 21
Player Level AB BA/OBP/SLG 2B 3B HR BB K
Nomar High-A 105 .295/.351/.419 8 1 1 10 6
Aaron High-A 119 .286/.343/.345 7 0 0 11 10

Age 22
Player Level AB BA/OBP/SLG 2B 3B HR BB K
Nomar AA 513 .267/.342/.384 20 8 8 47 35
Aaron AA 426 .275/.361/.392 21 1 9 56 53

I'm also not expecting a Garciaparra-like breakout for Hill; everyone who's seen him expects 20-HR, not 30-HR power down the road, and Garciaparra really leaped ahead at age 23 (he batted .343 with a .733 SLG in 172 Triple-A at-bats that year before getting the call).

But it is an excellent comparison for showing that (a) Hill is doing really well for his age and level, and (b) a player's eventual performance can sometimes far outstrip his minor-league showing.
Gerry - Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 05:45 PM EDT (#41081) #
We can debate all we like about prospects but in the end it is not an exact science. Here are some points:

1. Although first round picks, on average, do better than later rounds, there is no guarantee that a first round pick will be a major leaguer, and that means high school or college picks. There are tons of examples of first round picks who crash and burn and there are later round picks, such as Pujols, who become all-stars. Just llok at Mike Moffats work over the last week for proof.

2. It seems probable that Russ Adams will be in the major leagues either in September, or in 2005. That makes him an average pick for his position in the first round. The Jays did not lose on Adams, right now they are at break-even. There is no guarantee that an alternate pick, even a high school pick, would have made the big leagues. The minor league system exists to get guys to the big leagues, but once they get there there is another major step, that brings me to #3.

3. There is still a lot of variability between expectations for top prospects and their performance as major leaguers. Over the winter we looked at the top prospects according to Baseball America from some of the nineties and many of those players never had success at the major league level. Other players become stars even though they are not highly touted.

The minor leagues are a good test of ability but they do not have the advance scouting, videotapes, and sharp eyed coaches as in the major leagues. One of the biggest elements in the success of a prospect is their ability to adjust to the opposition and to eliminate their weaknesses. It is hard to measure that adaptability in the minor leagues. A player rushes through the minor leagues, spending half seasons at each level. The opposition see him play six to ten times and may build a picture but the coaches may not see a weakness and the pitchers might not be talented enough to exploit a weakness. Then the player reaches the big leagues and the scouting becomes more intense, and the pitchers better able to execute a plan. Even in the big leagues it can take up to a year to develop a "book" on a player. That explains, in part, the sophomore slump.

Look at Chad Hermansen. He was highly touted before coming to the major leagues. Hermansen hit 60 home runs in two AAA seasons at ages 21 and 22. A sure thing? That is about al close as you get. Look at Brian Giles, he was not highly rated in the minor leagues, now he is an all-star.

Bottom line, my rant says that Russ Adams was a good choice and the Jays should be happy he has made the big leagues. If he is adaptable and can eliminate his weaknesses he could be an all-star.

BTW the same applies to Gross and Rios, they are not guaranteed to be future all-stars either. For a history lesson look at Eric Hinske.

Finally when I spoke with Marty Pevey he was hopeful that both Gross and Adams would thrive at the big league level. He described them both as "athletes". By that he means they have the athletic ability to adjust and use their talents to work through the challenges. So put me in the optimistic camp.
_MatO - Thursday, August 19 2004 @ 10:37 AM EDT (#41082) #
Just as an addendum, Todd Walker was selected 8th overall in the same draft as Nomar and played at the same level, in the same league at the same time and age as Nomar. His second season was far superior to Nomar's batting in the .330's with 21HR in the EL. I doubt that Minnesota would have traded him straight up for Nomar at that point. Even BA dropped Nomar as their top Red Sox prospect after his second year. You just never know do you?
_Mick - Thursday, August 19 2004 @ 02:37 PM EDT (#41083) #
You just never know do you?

Joaquin? Is that you?
_From The Batgir - Thursday, August 19 2004 @ 03:23 PM EDT (#41084) #
Joaquin? Is that you?

No, my name is Johan Santana, and I would like to make love to you.
What Can We Expect From a 15th Overall Draft Pick? | 35 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.