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There has been some talk of comparisons of farm systems, drafting, etc. recently and the Jays weren't listed as being one of the better organizations. But does this hold up when one digs into data?

I took bWAR from Baseball Reference's draft pages by team by year for 2010 to 2022. 2010 had a total of 827.7 bWAR for every player drafted combined, 2011 938.6 then it went down from there to a low of -0.5 for 2021's draft (that obviously will change drastically as players develop). I figured this was the easiest way to see if the Jays are a top organization or a bottom feeder.

Note: BR does a summary but includes 'did not sign' players which is quite annoying. However, it is better than any other method and pulling those out would've taken a LOT longer to put together. I'd love to pull all the draft data but they don't have a method that I know of to just pull it and toss it into Excel where I could juggle it 1001 ways. I also checked FanGraphs but they don't have anything for draft summaries that I could find (please let me know if there is a good draft section there). The Baseball Cube has some more data but nothing like WAR to allow one to quickly compare drafts regardless of pitcher heavy or hitter heavy. Onto the data...

First the overall summary for all 30 teams sorted by total bWAR all players drafted (signed or not) with total players who reached the majors for each club.
TeambWARPlayers who Reached
Blue Jays253.584
Red Sox159.567
White Sox150.255

Note: in 2010 the Jays are credited with 29 WAR for drafting Kris Bryant who sadly didn't sign, and 29.6 in 2011 for drafting (but not signing) Aaron Nola. For comparison the Red Sox got 30.5 in 2012 for not signing but drafting Alex Bregman. Every team has a few in there, but the Jays had 2 big ones but most are minor guys worth under 5 WAR.

Gotta say, I was surprised to see the Jays as #1 here. When I went into this I was expecting middle of the pack to be honest. I was also surprised to see how poorly the Yankees do even with Aaron Judge (37 WAR) on their list - sub 100 WAR over the past 13 years yet they still have a great rep for some reason. The Angels being dead last was no shock to anyone I'm sure as that explains how they could spend a fortune, have 2 dead lock HOF'ers in their prime, and still be a sub 500 team. The Astros doing so well was no surprise either. They had top picks for a few years in this window and used them well by drafting/signing Alex Bregman 30.5 and Carlos Correa 39.5 among others.

Of course, many here will say that is just showing how good AA was and not the current crew so lets cut down to 2016-now.

TeambWARPlayers who Reached
Blue Jays26.819
Red Sox7.511
White Sox3.120

Jays do drop ... all the way to 4th. The Cardinals move to their rightful #1 slot (they historically are known to be great at drafting and developing) with Cleveland and the Dodgers right there. One can quickly see why the Pirates, Nationals, Rockies and Rangers are having so many troubles right now given they all are 2.6 or worse in WAR produced so far from the drafts of 2016 to now. Hard to contend if your farm only gets you backup players at best. The Astros dropped a lot without high picks to help them anymore, but all of this will look very different in 5 more years I'm certain.

So to see how drafts go I did one more chart - each year how many players made the majors so far and how much WAR total has been produced by all drafted players from that year.


The 2010-2011 period is pretty close to done now, although a few players are still kicking and doing well but I suspect rankings from those years won't shift much at this point (a few guys over 50 WAR from then like Mookie Betts) More recent years clearly are going to change a LOT, 2017 to now I'd say is the 'completely in flux' time frame with sub 100 WAR each year and sub 200 total for those 6 drafts vs over 200 WAR for every draft before it. One thing that is clear to me is if you don't get 20-30 WAR out of a draft you did a poor job that year, and sub 10 is a horror show. Some of the Jays nightmares are 2005 and 2006 - both sub 10 WAR, 2006 at 1.9 (Travis Snider is the only reason it wasn't negative). Ugh. But the Angels have AVERAGED worse than 6 WAR per year since 2010 (best was a 27.0 in 2011, their next best was a 15.9 in 2015). For comparison Bo Bichette alone is at 12.9, and in 2013 the Jays flopped with their first 5 rounds but still got 32.8 WAR total thanks to later picks like Matt Boyd and Kendall Graveman and current Jays Jansen & Mayza. That 2013 draft shows how critical a good scouting team is - $500k+ each to 3 guys Rowdy Tellez, Jake Brentz, and Patrick Murphy (none at 2 WAR) while Graveman & Boyd totaled under $100k for bonus money.

Sadly International Free Agents aren't listed at Baseball Reference, but they are at The Baseball Cube which is where the Jays have really shined over the years (Tony Fernandez, Carlos Delgado, Kirk, Vlad, and many others) and hopefully continue to in the future. I'll have to try to make a summary of that sometime - but it'll be much harder as I'll have to combine multiple sites to get results. Sigh.

As to current depth/quality that is a LOT harder to measure as it is all guesswork based on scouts and evaluators estimates of future value. I remember in the 80's the Brewers were #1 in evaluations year in/year out for awhile but didn't win much (drafted Gary Sheffield, BJ Surhoff, and a few others but were out of the playoffs from 1983-2007 despite it), twice cracking 90 wins but in the pre-wild card era that wasn't enough. A strong farm and draft is critical but they are dang near impossible to accurately evaluate until 5+ years after they happen, which is too late as most of they people who made it work (or not) are long gone by then.

Bottom line? Jays based on objective measurements are a very good team at drafting/developing those draft picks. Best in the AL East it seems at the very least, and with a case to be best in the majors since 2010.
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Michael - Saturday, January 14 2023 @ 04:08 AM EST (#426168) #
This gives a good first look/first estimate but to track the full value I think you need to:

* Not count players that don't sign.
* Not counting any -WAR players/seasons.
* Only count the length of time that you have a player pre-FA (possibly shifting to only capture part of the time during arbitration, you really want to know the captured value, I.e., the amount of money you are saving from not needing to pay FA money - although if you sign a player to an extension early during the pre-FA time you should get that partial credit until the expiry of that contract as well because you leveraged that exclusive underpay window to capture some of the FA years, but the partial credit is it only matters how much you are underpaying market rate for the value).
* Giving some credit to people that "sell high" by trading prospects before they (don't) make it to the majors (something AA generally did well, even if many falsely call that "selling the farm").

Ideally you'd also find some way to split the difference between drafting and developing. I generally think the Jays don't do quite as well developing (not terrible, but not one of the top teams in the game), but have done very well drafting (and trading).
Magpie - Saturday, January 14 2023 @ 05:26 AM EST (#426169) #
I remember in the 80's the Brewers were #1 in evaluations year in/year out

Wss it Baseball America that was forever hyping the Brewers' prospects? I remember it year after year - Randy Ready, Dion James, Billy Joe Robidoux, Glenn Braggs and on and on. They were supposed to be stars. Either the Brewers were really bad at developing talent, or none of them were really that promising to begin with. I do recall their minor league teams played in some pretty great hitters parks.
Glevin - Saturday, January 14 2023 @ 09:21 AM EST (#426172) #
The problem here is that the Jays had way more draft picks in the 2010-2012 than other teams. I think 13 first rounder and supplemental picks in three years. Most other teams had 3-4. The Jays got some good players but I wouldn't say they drafted well.
lexomatic - Saturday, January 14 2023 @ 10:21 AM EST (#426174) #
The problem here is that the Jays had way more draft picks in the 2010-2012 than other teams.

Volume counts though. If you want to talk about % of players reaching... that's different.
I seem to recall the Jays were up there in the 80s and 90s when looked at (with less sophistication). They graduated lots of players. Them and Dodgers.
grjas - Saturday, January 14 2023 @ 12:18 PM EST (#426175) #
Interesting analysis showing a totally different conclusion than the article. I suppose it depends on which objective data is used.

As grist for the mill, I'll throw out one other approach to measuring- "are your star players ones that grew up in your minor leagues". I looked at 3 big years for the team, and picked the 5 best pitchers and fielders by fWAR, then largely by memory (which is always scary) counted the number who played most of their formative years in the Jays system. It shows the 80s teams on top- no surprise- and the 2015 team with only 1 of 10 coming up through the system. Again no surprise as AA's best expertise at the time was winning trades. But it may help to explain the "perception" in the other article.

I forget how to post tables (told you my memory was bad), so hope this readable....

1985 Jays (7 total)
Pitchers top 5 WAR
Stieb, Alexander, Key, Lamp, Clancy- 3

Batters/fielders top 5 WAR
Barfield, Fernandez, Moseby, Mulliniks, Bell- 4

1992 Jays (5 total)
Pitchers top 5 WAR
Guzman, Morris, Key, Ward, Stottlemyre- 3

Batters/fielders top 5 WAR
Alomar, White, Winfield, Olerud, Lee (!!)- 2

2015 Jays (1 total)
Pitchers top 5 WAR
Price, Buehrle, Estrada, Dickey, Hendriks- 0

Batters/fielders top 5 WAR
Donaldson, Bautista, Encarnacion, Martin, Pillar- 1

2022 Jays (5 total)
Pitchers top 5 WAR
Gausman, Manoah, Stripling, Romano, Berrios- 2

Batters/fielders top 5 WAR
Bichette, Springer, Chapman, Kirk, Guerrero- 3
John Northey - Saturday, January 14 2023 @ 02:07 PM EST (#426180) #
Michael, I agree on how it'd be nice to get those other factors mixed in but that would require much better access to raw data than BR provides at this time. Ideally it'd be limited to the first 6 years of ML service for each player, plus factor in bonuses and draft position as well.

The credit for 'selling high' I see as a trade thread which would be quite fun to put together but even more complex (need years of control for each player at the time of trade and how they did during those years, then how do you factor in guys who were traded for, then traded again or released). If I ran a ML team these are things I'd have done for sure to help measure how effective we are vs the league and how effective each GM is in trades - if one has a weakness for toolsy prospects I'd want to see how they do in those trades for example before I engage them in trade talks (ie: if they are pushing hard for a guy should I worry that I am undervaluing him or should I be happy he is overvaluing him).

Split between draft and developing - best way would be to see how guys you drafted did relative to the draft they were from - ie: you drafted a guy #16 but he was ranked #30 going in, and 10 years later is #15 in WAR from the draft - you drafted poorly (lowly ranked) but developed well (did better than expected) in theory. Using that though gives the Jays tons of credit with guys like Orlando Hudson (drafted and signed in the 43rd round, 30.9 bWAR) 12.6 bWAR as a Jay, then a big part of a trade for Troy Glaus and Sergio Santos with 3 years of control left during which he added 10.5 more WAR for a net of 23.1 bWAR during his pre-free agent years, but the trade brought in from Glaus 7.6 WAR before being traded for Scott Rolen who added 7.4 more WAR here, before being traded for Edwin Encarnación, Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart. EE added 2.3 WAR before being traded to Oakland who let him leave as a free agent, then he signed here again (invisible on his stat sheet as it was all in the offseason). All others in those trades were negative WAR guys outside of Miguel Batista who was part of the trade to get Glaus (Arizona got 2.3 WAR from him in one year of control, then he left as a free agent). So how does one parse that? Does Hudson count as a 30.9 WAR guy (career), 12.6 (what he gave the Jays), 23.1 (pre-free agency), or 20.2 (first trade plus value to Jays) or 29.9 (factoring in all trades related) and do you reduce the trade value due to Batista being part of it? Should we add the rest of EE's time as a Jay ignoring the brief time he was off the Jays books (as if he wasn't here before that odds are he wouldn't have come back so easily)? Oy vey, what a tangled web there. And that is just 1 player.

You can see why I tried to do a simple method. Perfect world I'd do a draft/development thing (merged as splitting them is hard - did you draft a guy early because you knew he was better than others thought or did you just go cheap and your development team did a great job? Or were you just damn lucky?) based on the first 6 ML seasons only. Deals like AA is doing in Atlanta (long term cheap deals) is a different skill, as is being rich like the Yankees so they can resign Judge for example at market rates. Trades are a whole other ballgame as shown above. Also drafting but not signing guys can also show your drafters were doing a good job but you just couldn't budget for the guys for whatever reason (Hudson was drafted twice by the Jays for example, and the Jays were smart enough to see guys like Jim Abbott in the 80's and Kris Bryant in the 10's were good to chase but just couldn't get the deal done, while sometimes they do chase and get the guy like with Tellez in the 30th round).
John Northey - Saturday, January 14 2023 @ 08:54 PM EST (#426189) #
Just digging into the Baseball Cube - I paid for a full year premium membership to see what it unlocked (fairly cheap at $20 US a year). All time the Jays have signed 62.09% of their draft picks, 59.1% were in college, 39.6% in high school (missing are a handful of unknowns). 63% of their college picks are from division 1 teams (A's at 68% are #1, Atlanta at 50% are last), 23rd for D2 (8.1%), 15th for D3 (2.3%), 26th for NAIA, 18th for junior college (23%). 2,034 picks total, 75 in the first round over 46 years (same as Cleveland over 58 drafts, Seattle has only 51 picks in round 1). Clearly it wasn't just AA who horded first round picks here.

A few interesting stats. If I was willing to pay more I could get all picks for all years with signed/unsigned/etc. as a CSV file but I'm not willing just yet ($26 to get it) but someday I'll probably give in as doing it team by team from BR via copy/paste would be a LOOOOONG job. No WAR though so I'd still need to figure out a solution for that.
lexomatic - Sunday, January 15 2023 @ 11:10 AM EST (#426193) #
No WAR though so I'd still need to figure out a solution for that.
You'd have to do year by year league stats, but I might still have a spreadsheet that will auto-calculate that for you. I used to do league defense/offense stats for a baseball MMO out of curiosity.

John Northey - Sunday, January 15 2023 @ 02:16 PM EST (#426198) #
Does anyone either have or know of a map for BBRefID to FanGraphsID or to RetroID or to LahmanID? I have LahmanID to BBRefID to RetroID, but not to Fangraphs and FG has the ability to download a list of players and their WAR (big files but it is there). Is there a way to get BR player ID with that WAR? If I could either map FG to one of those or get BR playerID with WAR by year that would be perfect. Can you do that if you pay for BR? Don't want to pay unless I know what I can get.
Joe - Friday, January 20 2023 @ 11:53 AM EST (#426269) #
John, I asked in the Effectively Wild patron discord, and Michael Mountain pointed me at one resource:
Cross-references are provided against several identifier systems:

key_uuid: The primary key, providing the most stable reference to a person. Guaranteed not to be re-issued to a different person in the future.
key_retro: The person's Retrosheet identifier.
key_mlbam: The person's identifier as used by MLBAM (for example, in Gameday).
key_bbref: The person's identifier on Major League pages on
key_bbref_minors: The person's identifier on minor league and Negro League pages on
key_fangraphs: The person's identifier on (Major Leaguers). As fangraphs uses BIS identifiers, this can also be used to match up people to BIS data.
key_npb: The person’s identifier on the NPB official site,
key_sr_nfl: The person's identifier on
key_sr_nba: The person's identifier on
key_sr_nhl: The person's identifier on
key_findagrave: The identifier of the person's memorial on
John Northey - Thursday, January 26 2023 @ 05:05 PM EST (#426408) #
Thank you Joe - finally found time to sit down and pull that, it was exactly what I was looking for!
John Northey - Friday, January 27 2023 @ 08:04 PM EST (#426424) #
Using the data merge via those tables and taking all players in FanGraphs lifetime WAR I was able to quickly see a few things...
  • Most offensive year of birth: players born in 1968 had offense of 1640.7 vs Defense of -697.6 - clearly players born then (Roberto Alomar, Mike Piazza, Frank Thomas, Jeff Kent, Sammy Sosa, John Olerud, Jeff Bagwell, etc.) were more focused on offense than defense (played the core of their careers in the 90's during the PED era).
  • Those born a decade later (1977) were best for defense 1394.1 - vs -1872.2 for offense (Carlos Beltran, Lyle Overbay, Brian Roberts, Eric Chavez, Orlando Hudson, etc.). Note how I didn't find anywhere near the quality of player for the defense group vs offense.
  • Baserunning top is 1981: 243.2 (O: -999.9, D: 196) players like Ben Zobrist, Curtis Granderson, Justin Morneau (kind of a weak year, very poor hitters but they could run)
  • But the highest WAR for a single year of birth was 1964 at 742.4 - O:391.2, D:246.4 R: 27.9 (Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Barry Larkin, Will Clark, Ozzie Guillen, etc.) - these guys tended to start in the mid 80's and back then all-around skill was demanded, you had to be good on offense and defense and baserunning.
  • Worst year for fWAR (100+ players) is 1996 (still early on in their career) at -5.9 fWAR, followed by 1995 at 9.
Just a fun quick take from merging the numbers. Hopefully I'll figure out how to integrate the draft into it and other things.
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