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Success in the draft is a key component of the “plan” for the low budget Blue Jays; “poor” teams cannot afford to sign top free agents and must develop them themselves. JP Ricciardi is a former scout; was Director of Player Development in Oakland; and lists player evaluation as one of his strengths. JP, and his team, must utilize their player evaluation skills to draft and develop major league talent to strengthen the Blue Jays from the inside. The Jays would like to emulate Oakland’s success in the draft; when JP was working for Oakland they drafted Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito and Eric Chavez.

I have heard that the Blue Jays minor league system was weak after the Gord Ash era, but is a lot stronger now, but what does that mean to the future of the Jays? I had a number of other questions in my head. Were the Ash-era drafts really bad? How good do the JP drafts look? How do these drafts compare to other successful teams? In this article I will look back and evaluate some of the Blue Jays past drafts. I will also look at the draft success of three other low budget teams who reportedly have strong minor league systems, the Oakland A’s, the Minnesota Twins and the Cleveland Indians. I started this article looking for answers to the draft questions but as I answered one question another would arise, and I tried to answer those questions too. As a result this piece is a little rambling but I left it “as is” to show the development of my thoughts.

The Draft

You might not realize that draft odds are a bit like the lottery. Each year teams select forty to fifty players in the draft, supplement them with a number of free agents from North and South America, sign 30 or so players in the Caribbean, and expect that one or two of them make it as major league regulars. That is a 1% to 3% success rate, and those are tough odds. A string of three above average drafts would give you six major league regulars and provide a strong, cheap base for your team; three poor drafts can set your team back for years.

In order to evaluate a draft we have to have a benchmark, we need to know how successful a draft should be. The most detailed study I have seen was published last winter by “Philly Sox Fan” on the Sons of Sam Horn web site. Philly Sox Fan studied draft results from 1987 to 1992 and he found that, on average, 155 players, or roughly five players per team, made the major leagues from each draft. Of those 155, twenty nine, or one player per team per year, had a “useful” career. The other four had short appearances in the big leagues or held on for a while despite poor numbers. Of the 29 useful players that make the major leagues each year three of them are “great” players and twelve are “very good” players, giving a team a 10% chance each year of drafting a great player, and a 40% chance of drafting a very good player.

Bryan Smith, on his Wait Till Next Year web site, recently looked at the 1999 draft and found 93 players, or approx 3 per team, had made the major leagues. Again some of those players only made the big leagues for a cup of coffee.

Bryan also studied the 2000 draft and, in that case, the number of major league players was lower, 73. However some of the class of 1999 and 2000, such as the Blue Jays Dustin McGowan, have not yet made the big leagues. The high school players selected in 1999 and 2000 are 23 and 22 respectively so the numbers of major leaguers will go up as more players arrive. For 1999 and 2000 Bryan had a lower total of major leaguers than Philly Sox Fan, but as his study is relatively recent, more players from those drafts will make it, but many of those will be fringe players. So the benchmark I will use is one useful, or regular, player per draft. Therefore if a team’s draft produces a solid major league player that would be an average draft. If it produces an all-star that would be very good, (approx. 40% chance) and if it produces a perennial all-star that would be excellent (approx. 10% chance).

I looked at the Blue Jays drafts from 1997 to 2003. Because I was using more recent drafts I could not use a scientific method of evaluating the career of these players as most of their careers are just starting. So I subjectively assessed the players as either (a) major league regulars; (b) major league part time players (includes relievers); (c) a player who gets called up for a cup of coffee in the major leagues; and (d) players who still rate as prospects. I have put relievers in the “part time” category as they have smaller influence on a team’s performance, and a reliever is generally drafted as a starter but cannot make it in that role.

1997 Draft

Vernon Wells was selected in the 1st round, #5 overall, and is a major league regular
Mark Hendrickson was picked in the 20th round and is also a major league regular
Orlando Hudson was selected in 43rd round and is a major league regular.

Summary: The Jays had a very successful 1997 draft, three regulars is as good as it gets.

1998 draft

Felipe Lopez was the Jays first pick. Felipe has still not established himself as an everyday player so I will tag him as a part time player.
Jay Gibbons was the Jays 14th pick. Gibbons has had a couple of good seasons with Baltimore after being a rule 5 selection. Again a part time player.
Bob File was picked in the 19th round, Bob is a cup of coffee player
Frank Gracesqui was picked in the 21st round and finally made the big leagues with the Marlins this year, another cup of coffee player

Summary: The Jays 1998 produced two part time players and two players who made it for a cup of coffee, not a successful draft, quantity cannot replace quality.

1999 draft

Alexis Rios was the number one pick and is a major league regular, and possibly a star.
In the 14th round the Jays selected Brandon Lyon who has moved to the bullpen and has had some injury problems. I will put Brandon in the part time player role.
Reed Johnson came in the 17th round. I think Reed will end as a part time player.

Summary: The 1999 draft produced one regular and two part time players, an average draft that could be above average if Rios develops into an all-star.

2000 draft

Miguel Negron was the first round pick and he did show some promise in 2004 but is still a long shot as a prospect.
Dustin McGowan was a supplementary first round pick and is a prospect.
Raul Tablado was a high school pick in the fourth round and had a strong year in Dunedin in 2004
Mike Smith had a cup of coffee with the Jays and is still in the minor league system
Vinnie Chulk spent time with the Jays in 2003 and 2004 and I have elected to move him into the part time category, assuming he is past the cup of coffee level
Vince Perkins was an 18th round selection from junior college and is still a prospect
Ron Davenport was a 22nd round selection and is a prospect

Summary: The jury is still out on the Jays 2000 draft. So far the draft has produced one part time player and a cup of coffee player. However if McGowan, Tablado or one of the other prospects make it the draft will be at least average, and potentially excellent.

2001 draft

Gabe Gross was a first round pick, is still a prospect, and has a good chance of being a major league regular
Brandon League was selected in the second round, is also still a prospect, and also has a good chance of being a major league regular.
Michael Rouse was selected in the fifth round, and at the start of the year was the #8 prospect in the A’s system, but by season end his projection had reduced to utility infielder, per BA.

Summary: Another incomplete verdict on the 2001 draft class, although it could be very good. This was the last draft under the stewardship of Gord Ash. Overall I would say Ash’s draft results were average over the five years I reviewed, but they do have the potential to be above average. From 1997 to 2001 the Jays had one excellent draft (the first one), one average, one unsuccessful and two incomplete. The incomplete drafts have three top prospects, and if they make it then the Ash-era drafts will look better.

Additionally, when we review draft studies we see that first round picks are the most valuable. In a couple of these “Ash” years budget issues forced the Jays to pick cheaper prospects in order to mind the budget and that cost the team by forcing the Jays to “underpick”.

2002 draft, the first draft of JP Ricciardi

Russ Adams, first round selection, probable major league regular
David Bush, second round selection, major league regular
Adam Peterson, fourth round, still a prospect

Summary: The 2002 draft looks like it will produce two regulars and a part timer, a successful draft. It is amazing to see that two years after the draft we have already narrowed down the list of potential major leaguers to three. There are a few other players that still have a chance to make it, at least for a cup of coffee, Jordan DeJong, Bubbie Buzachero, Carlo Cota, maybe Brian Grant.

2003 draft

Aaron Hill, first round selection, prospect
Josh Banks, second round selection, prospect
Shaun Marcum, third round selection, prospect
Jamie Vermilyea, ninth round selection, prospect
Vito Chiaravalloti, fifteenth round selection, prospect

Summary: The 2003 draft is more uncertain than the 2002 draft. Aaron Hill looks like a major leaguer but the other four players listed are unknown, call it inconclusive, but it does look like, at worst, it will be an average draft. One year after the draft we are down to looking at five players. Longer shots are Kurt Isenberg, Justin James and Brad Mumma as a LOOGY.

To summarize, here is a chart of the seven drafts:

Regular Part time Cup Coffee Prospect
1997 3
1998 0 2 1
1999 1 2
2000 0 1 1 5
2001 0 0 0 2

2002 2 0 0 1
2003 0 0 0 5

One factor that goes into the draft is the selection of high school versus college players. High school players take four to six years to make it to the major leagues while college players can make it in two to three years. Gord Ash had a successful draft in 1997 but he was gone from Toronto before he saw the full benefit of those players. If a GM needs to build through the draft, and has a four to five year time horizon for improving the major league team, he cannot rely on high school players, they just will not be ready in time.

The most important pick is a teams first round pick; those players are the best players, have the greatest chance to make it, and are usually the first ones to arrive in the big leagues. If you mix the source of your first round picks between high school and college players you will mix your expected arrival dates. A look at the Blue Jays current system shows us the impact. The Jays have a lot of prospects at the AAA level with a mix of high school players selected under Ash such as Tablado, McGowan, League, etc., who took four to six years to develop, with college players selected by JP. If the college and high school players arrive together in the major leagues the team will get a double benefit.

To summarize, the average draft will produce one major league regular player. Over his last five drafts Gord Ash’s results were average, potentially above average. JP’s first draft was above average, and his second draft looks promising. If a team can improve its hit rate from one regular player per year to two, they can fill out a roster over three or four years and as a result have fewer holes to be filled by free agents or through trades.

One other point to consider relates to organizational strength. Organizational strength is somewhat a false marker when you are looking for one or two players a year. The most important factor is how many future big leaguers you have in your system. A major league team could have a weak system but within its teams have four all-star prospects, and thereby would have a strong funnel for the major league team. Another team might have a system full of AAA level players who will win a lot of games but not develop into major leaguers. The Blue Jays have a deep system, but will it generate more major leaguers, we don’t know. Now I believe the Jays system is strong with potential major leaguers so this point is not directed at the Jays, but I am just warning that a strong system does not always make a strong parent.

The Jays are trying to emulate the Oakland A’s, another low budget team who has succeeded through strong drafts. The Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians are other examples of low budget teams that have succeeded in developing their own players. What has the draft record been for those teams? Is there a direct link between draft success and major league performance? Next time I will look at the draft records for the Twins and A’s over the same time frame.
A Blue Jay Draft Study - Part I | 35 comments | Create New Account
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Dave Till - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 01:24 PM EST (#238) #
A fascinating article. Two issues/questions:

1) How much of drafting is just plain old luck?

2) If some of your prospects can be traded for established players, does that improve the "success" of your draft? Adam Peterson may or may not make it, but he's already been cashed in for Shea Hillenbrand.

System depth is a factor if your GM can acquire good players for bulk prospects.
Pistol - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 01:35 PM EST (#239) #
Nice work Gerry. It's amazing how little it takes to have an 'average' draft.

2) If some of your prospects can be traded for established players, does that improve the "success" of your draft? Adam Peterson may or may not make it, but he's already been cashed in for Shea Hillenbrand.

Sure. The goal of drafting players is to improve your team. If a player is traded for someone that helps the team it would be more successful than drafting a player that never makes it out of the minors.

If Adam Peterson turns into Gagne or Prokopec in the future the impact of the draft, in terms of evaluating Peterson, doesn't change (although you can say that the team's drafting ability is better in the former than the latter).
Gerry - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 01:36 PM EST (#240) #
Thanks Dave, I do talk about luck in Part II, I do think luck does play a part.

Re: trading prospects: in this study I was just looking at the success of the draft itself. Again in Part II we will see that some teams have been successful more through trades than through drafting.
_Mylegacy - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 01:47 PM EST (#241) #
Interesting post.

I like JP's approach. Unless a HS prospect is "almost 100% for sure" you have two or three more years to study a prospect when you draft a college guy.

The Jays have a lot of players, pitchers in particular, that are/will be of interest to other teams. Guys like Peterson. These almost ready for prime time guys are a useful resevoir for trades etc. even if they don't don't make an impact in the pros.

By 07 we should know two things; one how good JP is at judging college talent and two, how the drafting of advanced players plays out over a five or so year span. I'm optimistic.

But then, arn't all jay's fans?

This year, and you heard it hear FIRST, we draft a masher. I think it'll be C Jeff Clement, 6' 1" 205 out of Southern California. I want Alex Gordon, or Justin Upton but both will be gone. Depending on what they do this spring John Mayberry Jr. or Stephen Head might just beat Jeff out.
_Daryn - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 02:00 PM EST (#242) #
2) If some of your prospects can be traded for established players, does that improve the "success" of your draft? Adam Peterson may or may not make it, but he's already been cashed in for Shea Hillenbrand.

It seems to me that as a "drafter", I would rate the Peterson for Hillenbrand trade as a floor that sets the minimum value of that draft.

The Petersen draft will always be at least the equivalent of a Sure fire starter, for one year. I don't know exactly what that is worth, but it seems to me that 1 year of Hillenbrand is worth more than two years of File.... so "Part Timer Equivalent" would be fair

If Petersens turns into a real player, then the drafter can take credit for all that too.
Gerry - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 02:36 PM EST (#243) #
The difficulty in evaluating trades can be shown by the Peterson deal, it was not just Peterson for Hillenbrand, it was Peterson plus the willingness to increase your payroll by $3.7 mil for Hillenbrand. If they were making the same salary it would not have been a straight up trade.
_Rich - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 02:52 PM EST (#244) #
Organizational strength is somewhat a false marker when you are looking for one or two players a year.

Interesting point. Prospectus pointed out something similar in the Cardinals' approach in one of their recent annuals. They noted the Cards didn't have much minor league depth, but preferred instead to devote a disportionate amount of time and money to developing their high-ceiling prospects, such as Drew, Ankiel, and of course, Pujols. This strategy can work for them, so long as 1, they correctly identify the right players and 2, they have the cash to pay them when they get expensive. It's not without it's risks, and probably isn't a good model for the Jays to follow.
_MatO - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 02:55 PM EST (#245) #
Because of the change in draft philosophy we'll be able to evalutate the 2002 draft sooner than the 2000 draft.

It just goes to show how we overrate individual draft choices. Draft day pronouncements about how some guy is a "steal" and "what a great pick" are usually dead wrong. I must say that I get a certain amount of enjoyment following those precious Jays' picks as they progress, despite knowing that most won't make it.
_CaramonLS - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 03:12 PM EST (#246) #
As far as drafting goes I can see why JP has a hardon for college guys, but as far as pitching goes, if you can find the an HSer with the right tools, you could easily speed up or help him develop in your minor system better than college ever could.

Thats my personal opinion, I'd be drafting more HS guys than JP does, especially in the pitching dpt.
_Rich - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 03:19 PM EST (#247) #
you could easily speed up or help him develop in your minor system better than college ever could

A couple of things to keep in mind with this approach:

1. It's easier to project what a 21-year-old draft-eliglible college pitcher will grow up to be than an 18-year-old high-schooler (though still tough, it improves your odds marginally). Since the collegian is three years older, he's probably closer to what he will become, and his performance can be measured more accurately, as quality of college competition is far more level than it is for high school baseball.

2. The college pays for those 3 years of the player's development, rather than the big league club; it's more cost-effective.

3. By drafting the collegian, he can ready for the majors (if he's lucky and good) sooner, or used as a trade. David Bush is a perfect example.
Pistol - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 03:36 PM EST (#248) #
Thats my personal opinion, I'd be drafting more HS guys than JP does, especially in the pitching dpt.

History doesn't supporting this opinion.

You can make a case that HS hitters are worth going after, but high school pitchers are high risk/low return picks.
_Dean - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 04:04 PM EST (#249) #
Pistol, BA did a study last spring that showed college pitchers had a slight advantage of reaching the Majors over their high school counter parts. You need a subscription so I have not linked the article.
I think the scouting community has also changed their ways so that "raw" players are discounted a lot more now than they once were. Signing bonuses dictate that teams have to have a very good read on any player going in the 1st round.
This year with not having a 2nd round pick and the current lack of prep talent, outside of Upton, I think the Jays should stay with a college guy, just not Mayberry.
_MatO - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 04:34 PM EST (#250) #
Dean. Didn't that same study show that you were also more likely to draft a star pitcher out of college or am I confusing that with something else?

All college pitchers are former highschool pitchers. How do we take into account all the highschool pitchers that go to college but don't get drafted because of injury or ineffectiveness, thus the colleges have weeded them out for you. I don't know if there is a statistical way of expressing this?

One of the things I've noticed looking back on Blue Jay drafts pre-JP is that when drafting college pitchers they seemed to still like the raw guys. Pitchers that even after 3-4 years of college still couldn't control the strike-zone. This seems like a particularly bad investment to me.
_Dean - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 04:55 PM EST (#251) #
MatO, thae article actually had the high schoolers generating more all stars with the colleges generating more cup-of-coffee guys - the difference was slight. The study was done using 1st round picks from 90-97 and had 51% of the prep righties needing elbow or shoulder surgery within five years of being drafted compared with 46% of the college righties. I'm not looking for a pissing match, just trying to refute a blanket statement.

"Raw" players and guys with bad mechanics should be discounted at the draft table. I agree that college guys who can't throw strikes should be left past the 1st couple of rounds.
_Michael - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 04:58 PM EST (#252) #
The Jays drafting in the 90s was pretty strong. From BA (they only go back to 1992 for free) here are the top pick the Jays made in each draft. This top pick alone is enough to produce a nearly average draft class:

Year Top Pick

1992 Shannon Stewart
1993 Chris Carpenter
1994 Kevin Witt
1995 Roy Halladay
1996 Billy Koch
1997 Vernon Wells
1998 Felipe Lopez
1999 Alex Rios

That doesn't count a Delgado, Derek Bell, Shawn Green, or Alex Gonzlez who were some of our top prospects from the minors in the 90s but weren't our top draft pick these years.

Be it Ash's fault or credit the 90s Blue Jay scouting, drafting, developing, trading etc. of minor league players was clearly above average.

As for what an "average" team can expect to hit with a draft consider:

There are at most 404 major league regulars (8 position players and 5 starting pitchers for each of 16 NL teams + 9 position players and 5 starting pitchers for each of 14 AL teams, using the same definition of regular as above so no relief pitcher is a regular). In reality a few position players and many starting pitchers will be filled by major league part time players. Say 74 of these slots are filled with non-major league regular players (say 2 pitchers per team (who are the 5 major league regular quality pitchers on the Toronto, Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Texas, Seattle, etc.) and half a position player per team. So that leaves about 330 players who are regular.

Of players who are major league regular quality players the average player's career is probably around 10 years. Some have careers double this, some have careers a little shorter, but if you are of quality to be a major league regular your career is going to be longer than a year or two.

If x is the number of major league regulars the average team drafts per year then you can solve for x using the following equation:

x * LengthOfAverageCareer = NumRegularsInBaseball/NumberOfTeams
x * 10 = 330/30
x * 10 = 11
x = 1.1

So assuming the 10 year career is about right and the number of non regulars temporarily holding down a regular spot is about right you see that about 1 major league regular per year is about right. I got 1.1 tweak the numbers slightly and you are probably in the 0.9 to 1.25 range. Even including closers as regulars you only add an extra 0.1. So if you have a system that produces close to 2 players per year you are very, very good. Of course in reality 4 of the worst players to count as a major league regular over 2 years may not be as good as 1 major league regular (who happens to be Arod) over the same 2 years, but within these catagories 2 per year is a fantastic hit rate.
Mike Green - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 05:17 PM EST (#253) #
Here are a few errata from the 1997-2003 drafts:

2003-There are a couple of relief prospects not mentioned: Adrian Martin, Brian Reed.
2000-Jesse Harper
1999-Matt Ford, David Hanson
1998- no 2nd or 3rd round pick
1997-Brad Hawpe had a cup of coffee with Colorado.

It's really early to close the book on the 2000-2003 drafts, but we have a good idea about 1997-1999. Incidentally, some might quibble about the characterizations of Mark Hendrickson as a regular and Jay Gibbons as a part-timer. I'm a big Lurch fan, so I won't.

Nice job, Gerry.
_Viktor Haag - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 05:21 PM EST (#254) #
There's another advantage to draft the collegian over the HS player:

4. If you think the collegian is a good bet, he'll pay off sooner to your big league club and therefore look good to ownership. As the lifespan of GMs gets shorter and shorter in professional sports, it's important for GMs to "make an impact now", and short of freaks like Lebron, it's increasingly hard to do that by drafting highschoolers.
_Dean - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 05:23 PM EST (#255) #
Gerry, it is articles such as this that keeps me coming back to this site. Thanks for mentioning Brian Grant.
_Mylegacy - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 05:52 PM EST (#257) #
Remember, guys KEEP developing even after they hit college.

Forinstance, in this years BA's top 50 Juniors (Collegians) of the first 17, 9 have never been drafted! That means not even as a HS graduate. So over 50% weren't even on the radar till now.
_jason - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 07:36 PM EST (#258) #
re the HS College debate.

Know a man whose son is a left handed pither in an East Coast college. He was drafted by the Braves in one of the higher rounds. Talking to the scout before he signed they asked for his advice. The scout said go to school. His reason being that in playing for a proffesional team, no matter how low the level, your teamates are rooting against you. Your every failure moves your teamate up the ladder. Clearly the way to becoming a team player - and I don't mean the the rah rah, lets go guys attidude, but the type of player who wants to get along with others for the good of the whole - is through the college route.
_Mike Forbes - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 07:56 PM EST (#259) #
I think in a draft where you have a top 10 pick you must take the best player available, no matter if he's in high school or college. If the best player available plays an already stacked position on your major league/AAA club (Like middle infielders in the Jays system) then there is still reason to take him, by the time the player is ready to make an impact, trades will of happened, players will of been lost to free agency and some prospects may not work out. If everyone works out and the drafted player has no place to play then it presents a nice situation for the GM to decide who's worth keeping and who's worth trading away. Or maybe the prospect is athletic enough to learn a new position.
Pistol - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 08:08 PM EST (#260) #
BA did a study last spring that showed college pitchers had a slight advantage of reaching the Majors over their high school counter parts.

In retrospect, and thumbing through the BA archives, I did overstate things.

I've been working on some things looking at early to mid first round picks and the results look good for HS hitters, bad for HS pitchers, with college hitters and pitchers in the middle.

I haven't sliced things fully, but I suspect in the first round the HS pitchers that are doing well are the ones at the very top of the draft that seem more like a sure thing (relatively speaking) - the Kerry Woods of the draft.
_John Northey - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 09:21 PM EST (#261) #
Thinking of the draft it really shows how Epy Guerrero was vital to the Jays of the 80's/early 90's. The Jay drafts were horrid under Gillick to put it mildly but the Dominican pipeline provided a ton of top players and prospects (Bell via the Rule 5, noticed by Epy and recommended to be taken ASAP, Fernandez, Garcia, etc.) to compensate.

I think JP is putting together a good plan now though. He is seeing how Ash's high school picks are all maturing now and will mix nicely with the college picks he made while being within budget. Thus, he now is starting to look seriously at high school picks with the hope they'll be ready in 4-6 years as the current group gets too expensive. In 2-3 years he'll start up the college drafts again to mix in. Thus, a peak for the Jays around 2006-2009, a brief lull while prospects get mixed in, followed by another strong period. Keep following that thread and you can keep pushing high peaks with (hopefully) short lulls.

What killed the Jays in the 90's was the draining of the system under Gillick due to very poor drafts until near the end, plus trading any good prospects as fast as they came to get those beautiful two WS wins, followed by Ash going for the high school players rather than trying to build up something quick via the draft, plus more trading of prospects for guys who helped the Jays get to 3rd year in, year out rather than suffering for a year or two with the prospects.

Lets hope this high school, followed by college, repeat method works.
_R Billie - Monday, February 07 2005 @ 09:59 PM EST (#262) #
It's good to hear that the Jays are open to high school prospects in the draft again. It makes sense as the low minors in particular (Rookie, Low-A) are getting packed with mid-range college prospects, most of whom probably do not have a chance to make an impact at the big league level. That said as things stand now it looks like the draft favours college players beyond Upton. Things could change in the next three months.

I think when dealing with hitters you have to trust your scouts to be able to identify young hitters with the bat speed, physical strength, and mental approach to develop into something special. With pitchers there are a lot more variables but I tend to believe the BA study that shows the results are close to even with a slight edge to college pitchers in success rate.

In both the hitter and pitcher cases though, what's important is not so much where they come from (high school, college, international) but the aptitude and instinct they show for the game before they even get into a pro game. Some guys just have it, the ability to identify pitches, to anticipate a defensive play, to spot their fastball or already have control over offspeed stuff, etc.

Sometimes the tools are so ridiculously good that you make an exception as the Dodgers have done with Joel Guzman. Of course it's easier when you have the bigger budget to take those kinds of risks.
_joemayo - Tuesday, February 08 2005 @ 01:25 AM EST (#263) #
great work Gerry. that was a very enjoyable read!

anyone think there's a chance that the jays take wade townsend with their pick? he's definitely a low risk/high return type and is also a signable guy now with all our extra money. he seems to have a good head on his shoulders (debatable due to the '04 draft fiasco with the O's) and the mental toughness to be an above average starter in the majors. i guess it depends on who's taken in the top 5 but i for one won't be disappointed if jp takes him.

COMN for a good BA article on townsend.
Pistol - Tuesday, February 08 2005 @ 08:57 AM EST (#264) #
anyone think there's a chance that the jays take wade townsend with their pick?

I think there's a very good chance. The Jays under JP have taken players with excellent performance records and Townsend certainly fits that. These numbers below would be better if you were to adjust for park and competition.

Year ERA Inn K/9 BB/9 HR/9
2004 1.80 120.1 11.1 3.4 0.4
2003 2.20 118.2 12.5 3.5 0.2
2002 2.28 51.1 9.0 3.9 0.7

BA has him ranked 8th in this draft class right now so it looks like there's a chance he'll be available at #6. As this offseason has shown, the cost of mediocre free agent pitching is high so loading up on pitching isn't a bad idea.

Obviously things can change with another season of college baseball to be played between now and the draft, but at this point, based on who's likely to be available when the Jays pick, I'd guess they'd either take Townsend or Stephen Head.
_MatO - Tuesday, February 08 2005 @ 09:37 AM EST (#265) #
Dean. I wasn't trying to bait you. I just remembered some study that came to that conclusion at BA. Unfortunately I don't remember what that study was exactly about.

It's true that the drafting under Gillick in the 80's was pretty bad. Also the 1993 and 1994 drafts were abysmal. But Eppy Guerrero was highly overrated. Who did the Jays produce out of the Dominican?
Tony Fernandez and Junior Felix. That's about it (there are some minor guys like Liriano). I can't think of one pitcher. The Dominicans on the Jays were mostly traded for (Garcia and Guzman) or Rule 5 like Bell who was inexplicably left off the 40 man by the Phillies. In the early 90's the Jays fired Eppy and I think with good reason. What the Jays were really brilliant at was finding talent already playing pro ball.

Expansion draft- Whitt, Clancy, Iorg, Cerrone, Ashby
Scrap heap- Alexander
Trades - McGriff, Garcia, Guzman, Mulliniks, Fielder, Ward
Rule 5 - Bell, Gruber, Upshaw
FA compensation - Henke
Craig B - Tuesday, February 08 2005 @ 10:36 AM EST (#266) #
Eppy Guerrero was highly overrated. Who did the Jays produce out of the Dominican?

Epy's entries in SABR's "Who-Signed-Who" Database... (not a complete listing). Remember that Epy ran the Dominican camp but was also essentially the whole Latin America scouting department.

Luis Pujols (for Houston)
Damaso Garcia (for New York)
Rafael Santana (for New York)
Tony Fernandez
Jose Mesa
Nelson Liriano
Geronimo Berroa
Sil Campusano
Pedro Munoz
Tony Castillo
Francisco Cabrera
Junior Felix
Luis Sojo
Domingo Cedeno
Carlos Delgado
Robert Perez
Carlos Almanzar
Giovanni Carrara
Sandy Martinez
Kelvim Escobar
Abraham O. Nunez

That's about five careers' worth of players for the average scout, in only sixteen years. For example, Bill Moore, who Elliott made such a big deal out of in his recent column, has these entries for his ten years in Toronto :

Chris Woodward
Mike Young
Jay Gibbons
Reed Johnson

And that's a very good scout.

Epy's not a scouting superstar by any road (though he was instrumental in developing the modern style and profile of Latin American scouting and player development), others (in Latin America and elsewhere) have much more distinguished records. But he was good.
_MatO - Tuesday, February 08 2005 @ 12:15 PM EST (#267) #
OK. Forgot about Mesa. Most of these guys were marginal players (Berroa had a few good years) and none contributed during the 80's other than Fernandez and Felix. Delgado is Puerto Rican and I was thinking of Dominicans (have to check if there was a Puerto Rican scout at the tiome) but OK give him credit for that. Escobar I could swear was signed after Eppy was gone.
Gitz - Tuesday, February 08 2005 @ 12:37 PM EST (#268) #
Berroa had a few good years

Berroa would have more good years if somebody had given him a chance to play before he turned 28. Definitely one of my favorite players, a fun hacker who knew what he was doing up there -- a rich man's Tony Batista, if you will.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 08 2005 @ 01:08 PM EST (#269) #
Pedro Munoz didn't have a great career, but he put up some valuable pre-free agency numbers for a small market club. Funny that one of his BR comp's is Jay Gibbons.

I agree with Gitz. Berroa could definitely hit. He'd have put up a lot more than 4 good years if he had been given a shot before age 29. Rich man's Tony Batista, perhaps. Maybe a thin Calvin Pickering?
_MatO - Tuesday, February 08 2005 @ 01:39 PM EST (#270) #
The funny thing is was he really only 28/29?
Craig B - Tuesday, February 08 2005 @ 06:23 PM EST (#271) #
Epy was head of Latin American scouting. Essentially, he was the Blue Jays LatAm scouting department. If a player was going to be signed/drafted out of Puerto Rico, it was Epy's guy.
_MatO - Tuesday, February 08 2005 @ 11:30 PM EST (#272) #
Epy is listed as signing Escobar in the summer of 1992 but he is not listed as a Blue Jay scout for that year, meaning he was fired in 1991. I don't get that.
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