Saturday, June 08 2019 @ 07:18 PM EDT
Contributed by: John Northey
The Jays have been around since 1977 so they have had a lot of drafts. Which is the strongest and which the weakest? Lets see if we can tell.
First a simple table with some key information - 10+ WAR is what I hope for out of a draft (IE: Ricky Romero level who was a 9.9 WAR player in the end) vs getting decent backups (sub 10 guys) or filler.
|Year||# Drafted||Reached Majors||WAR||WAR per reached||10+ WAR ||Top 10 Rounds Signed|
A few things are clear. 20 times the Jays failed to get a 10+ WAR player out of a draft with 2012 being the most recent with a 10+'er (Stroman). Just 5 times the Jays have drafted a 50+ WAR guy - Halladay, Olerud, Stieb, Kent, David Wells are the guys (in descending order). Jimmy Key is the only guy in the 40's, 6 guys in the 30's (counting Orlando Hudson only once - he was drafted by the Jays twice) - these are Barfield, Shawn Green, Chris Carpenter, Hentgen, Hudson, and Woody Williams. 20's were drafted 10 times but 3 didn't sign (rounds 11, 17, and 23). For 20+ WAR guys who signed we see a total of 19 players or about one every other year (figuring the past few years couldn't have produced one yet). Of those 8 were in the first round (two were top 10 picks), 6 more in round 2-5, then one each for rounds 7 (Casey Blake), 9 (Barfield), 20 (Kent), 28 (Williams), and 43 (Hudson).
Highest pick ever was #2 overall - 3 times. 2 never reached the other was Lloyd Moseby.
12 times the Jays had a top 10 pick, all but one signed (Phil Bickford) - 77.6 WAR between those who did sign but Vernon Wells and Moseby were the only ones over 10 WAR (both in the 20's). 3 didn't make the majors, and 2 were negative WAR players (Matt Stark, Jeff Hoffman).
Lowest WAR ever is -2.9 from Drew Butera - a catcher drafted in 2002. He has played for 5 ML teams (not the Jays), and is still playing (Colorado). He didn't sign here. Phew.
Lowest WAR for a guy who did sign is Mike Johnson - a RHP from the 1993 draft. Mostly for Montreal. Funny thing is his only positive WAR season was his last at age 25. A 0.1 WAR season over 11 1/3 IP. He kept trying through his age 28 season. I think he then became a pitching coach.
Best by Rounds
- 1-10: Roy Halladay (duh) - everyone with 10+ WAR drafted in round 1 did sign here.
- #2: David Wells, #3 Olerud, #4 Casey Jansen (quite the drop), #5 Dave Stieb, #6 Matt Boyd (dang it), #7 Casey Blake, #8 Graveman, #9 Barfield, #10 Yan Gomes.
- 11-19: Ted Lilly (Didn't Sign), Kris Bryant (Didn't sign...dang it), then Yan Gomes (12.1 and given away). Next is Doug Mientkiewicz who also didn't sign. Lots of regrets for the Jays on the signing side in this group
- 20-29: Jeff Kent (55.9 and may get into the HOF someday), with Woody Williams also here (30+)
- 30-39: Hudson (didn't sign that year), Jim Abbott (didn't sign), Kevin Pillar (did sign)
- 40-49: Hudson signed here, Scott Erikson didn't (20+). Of the guys who reached the majors just 3 signed here, and 10 didn't. Lots of 'what the heck, he is good' drafting here.
- 50+: Chris Woodward the best that did sign (1.1), best who didn't was Chad Qualls (5.9). Only 2 signed, 9 didn't of the 11 who reached.
1980 the nightmare draft with no one reaching. That draft saw Darryl Strawberry go just before the Jays pick, next best in round 1 was Kelly Gruber. Jays had the #2 overall pick that year and blew it. Round 2 saw 3 more 10+ WAR guys, and round 3 had a 20 WAR in Danny Tartabull. Sigh. Next worst is probably 2014 so far - one of only 2 drafts with a negative WAR (other is 2002) but hopefully Sean Reid-Foley can get back here and change that. Jeff Hoffman should've been a lot better but has a 7.29 ERA in his 4 starts this year and a 7.57 in AAA. Not promising.
Best draft? By # who reached you get a few at 13 1987, 2009, 2011. By WAR the best easily is 1989 at 122.8 (Olerud/Kent) 1995 was the only other 100+ year (Halladay, Ted Lilly who DNS) while 1997 came close (98 WAR thanks to Hudson/Wells/Michael Young). Average WAR goes to 1978 (Moseby/Stieb and 2 scrubs). For getting 10+ WAR out of guys the best is 3 in a single draft done many times - 1982, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1997, 2009, 2010. 2016 has a few 'wow' prospects in Biggio, Bichette, and T.J. Zeuch but nothing yet to show for it beyond a 0.1 WAR from Biggio so far. Probably 5+ years until we know for sure on that one.
Tons more I could dig into, but the key thing to note is how quality shows up anywhere in the draft, and generally the Jays have done well at signing those they do draft, but have a few very notable misses who generally were later picks (probably attempts to get guys with tons of talent to sign if they were really, really wanting to go pro but kept it hidden to try to get a better deal ala Tellez).
Also worth looking at is GM performance...
|Drafts||GM||Players Drafted||Reached Majors||WAR||WAR per reached||10+ WAR ||Top 10 Signed/Year||Reach/Year||10+ WAR/Year||WAR/Year|
A lot harder to measure this. Atkins obviously is too soon to judge anything. AA still has kids in the minors and others who are just starting their careers. The other guys are pretty much done - a few JPR's might still be kicking but not many (he did a terrible job). Clearly Ash was very good at this one part of the job (the only part he excelled in). To be honest the biggest surprise is seeing how Gillick, despite his many lousy first round picks (skipping on Dwight Gooden, Roger Clemens, among others to draft guys who never reached) I am surprised to see he kept an average of 1.3 10+ WAR guys per year. In fact, if I go to 3 decimals Gillick is #1 with 1.294 per year vs Ash at 1.286. Both JPR and Gillick have a near miss for the 10+ guys in Romero (9.9 for JPR) and Glenallen Hill (9.7 for Gillick). So which GM drafted best? I'd go with Gillick as he did it for so long. AA might look better in a few years as his guys build up career stats and a few more sneak in for cups of coffee in the majors.