Monday, October 25, 2010

John Farrell: Player Developer

SInce everyone has been raving about what a great "player development guy" John Farrel is, I thought I'd take a look at his track record with the Cleveland Indians from 2001-2006. I'll try to put together a separate piece on his success with Boston's pitching staff.

The first thing that I noticed when examining this period of time within the Indians organization, is that their draft record was HORRENDOUS during this era. I mean, brutal. In the 2001-2006 first rounds, the team managed to take only 3 major league players (I guess so far, but really...) they were: Jeremy Guthrie (1st round '02), Jeremy Sowers (1st round '04) and Kevin Kouzmanoff (6th round, '03) I should mention that they also managed to get some replacement-level relievers, but I'm not counting them. Based on how terrible the drafting was, it comes to me as a great surprise that the team ever ranked highly on organizational health surveys conducted by the likes of Baseball America, Sports Illustrated and ESPN.

Not only was the team highly ranked, but they even managed to top the lists. Credit needs to go to some shrewd trades, and excellent international free-agent signings. It's funny how well that seems to line up with Alex Anthopoulos' plans.

For reference, here is a list of players that spent at least parts of some seasons in the Indians' minor league systems during Farrell's time as director:

Victor Martinez (International Free Agent (IFA))
Fausto Carmona (IFA)
CC Sabathia (aready in the majors, but not a bad reference point)
Cliff Lee
Grady Sizemore
Brandon Phillips -these three were all collected in a 2002 trade for Bartolo Colon. If Farrell can claim ANY input into this deal, he is automatically an unparalleled genius...
Kevin Kouzmanoff (Draft, see above... Included mostly for his value as a 6th rounder)
Ryan Ludwick (Developed later)
Milton Bradley
Coco Crisp
Brian Tallett (couldn't resist)
Shin-Soo Choo (from the Mariners)
Franklin Gutierez (went to the Mariners)
Casey Blake (After the Blue Jays had written him off)
Luke Scott
Ryan Garko

obviously there's been a lot of talent go through the system, and it isn't really fair to give all the credit to Farrell, but if he was running the ship, it was a very, very good ship. Especially considering how little he got from the Draft.

Speaking of the draft, that is the only possible area for concern. Either the Indians scouting team was completely inept, or there was a disconnect in the way top-level draft picks were managed. COnsidering how little the Indians were able to get out of their drafts, it does beg the question: Why did so many of these players not turn out?

I would say for that reason alone, Farrell can only be graded an A- for his time in Cleveland. A good grade, and it's too bad that the team didn't draft better, or he could have had an A+


  1. Nice Blog! Thanks for the bit about the Manny piece, I corrected it and should have thought of it first! I'll be checking in and I hope you enjoy writing posts as much as I do!

    Btw, I'd wait on giving Farrell a grade until he actually Manages a half season. Then we can see how he handles the game, rotation, pen, and the bench. For now though, just because he kept Butterfield and Walton on board, I'll give him a big fat A!!!

  2. I was only grading his time as a plyer development manager. Sometime today, I'm going to grade his work as pitching coach.