Saturday, December 4, 2010

Why the Anti-Draft Plan Works.

After looking at the way Kenny Williams runs his teams in Chicago yesterday, and looking back on how poorly the Indians drafted when John Farrell was developing players for them, I thought I should look at the draft over the last decade.

All Stars:
-Adrian Gonzalez (1)
-Chase Utley (15)
-Adam Wainwright (29)

Useful Regulars:
-Rocco Baldelli (6)
-Kelly Johnson (38 Comp round)
-Dustin McGowan (33-Comp)
-Dustin Moseley (34-Comp)

Only 8 of the top 40 (about 20%) players chosen in 2000 made any significant contribution to a Major League Club in the last decade.
On to 2001:
All Stars:
-Joe Mauer (1)
-Mark Prior (2)
-Mark Teixera (5)
-David Wright (31-Comp Round)

Useful Regulars:
-Gavin Floyd (4)
-Casey Kotchman (13)
-Gabe Gross??? (15)
-Aaron Heilman (18)
-Mike Fontenot (19)
-Jeremy Sowers (20)
-Jeremy Bonderman (26)
-Noah Lowry (30)

There were 44 players taken in the first round of 2001. This time 12 players were considered worthy of mention. (27%)

All Stars:
-Zack Greinke (6)
-Prince Fielder(7)
-Joe Saunders (12)
-Scott Kazmir (15)
-Nick Swisher(16)
-Cole Hamels(17)
-Matt Cain(25)
**It makes me sad to know that we drafted Russel Adams with pick 14. 5 future all-stars were taken after him.

Useful Regulars:
-BJ Upton (2)
-Jeff Francis (9)
-Jeremy Hermida (11)
-Khalil Greene (13)
-Royce Ring (18)
-James Loney (19)
-Denard Span (20)
-Jeff Francoeur (23)
-Joe Blanton (24)
-Sergio Santos (27)
-Mark Teahen (39-Comp)

Wow. The '02 first round really produced. 18 of 41 draftees contributed at the ML Level. (44%)

All Stars:
-Nick Markakis (7)
-Aaron Hill (13)
-Chad Cordero (20) Yes, he was once an all-star, look it up if you don't believe me...
-Chad Billingsley (24)
-Carlos Quentin (29)
-Adam Jones (37-Comp)

-Delmon Young (1)
-Rickie Weeks (2)
-Paul Maholm (8)
-John Danks (9)
-Ian Stewart (10)
-Lastings Milledge (12) *Now that's he's been non-tendered, I could see him as a Jay...*
-Conor Jackson (19)
-David Aardsma (22)
-Daric Barton, Mitch Maier, Matt Murton and Jarrod Saltalamaccia were also first rounders, though their usefulness is debatable. 18/37 made it to the show. (48%)

All Stars:
-Justin Verlander (2)
-Jered Weaver (12)
-Phil Hughes (23)
-Huston Street (40-Comp)

-Phil Humber (3)
-Jeff Niemann (4)
-Billy Butler (14)
-Stephen Drew (15)
-David Purcey (16)
-Josh Fields (18) *I'm being generous here*
-Gio Gonzalez (38-Comp)

12/41 made it from the '04 draft. A pretty poor showing (29%)

All Stars:
-Justin Upton (1)
-Ryan Zimmermann (4)
-Ryan Braun (5)
-Ricky Romero (6) *Not yet, but soon*
-Troy Tulowitzki (7)
-Clay Bucholz (42-Comp)

-Alex Gordon (2) and Jeff Clement (3) are debateable
-Wade Townsend (8)
-Mike Pelfrey (9)
-Cameron Maybin (10)
-Andrew McCutcheon (11)
-Jay Bruce (12)
-Chris Volstad (16)
-Cliff Pennington (21)
-Jacoby Ellsbury (23)
-Matt Garza (25)
-Colby Rasmus (28)
-Travis Buck (36-Comp)

19/48 made it this year, a whopping 39.5%. A lot of quality though.

All Stars
-Evan Longoria (3)
-Tim Lincecum (10)

-Luke Hochevar (1)
-Brandon Morrow (5)
-Clayton Kershaw (7)
-Drew Stubbs (8)
-Max Scherzer (11)
-Travis Snider (14)
-Ian Kennedy (21)
-Daniel Bard (28)
-Emmanuel Burriss (33-Comp)
-Chris Coghlan (36-Comp)
-Joba Chamberlain (41)
-Chris Perez (42)

13/44 (29.5%)

The 2007 draft has not yet had time to be properly analyzed. That draft has already contributed 2 All Stars (David Price (1), Jason Heyward (15)) and a handful of players have reached the Majors (Weiters, Bumgarner, LaPorta, Arencibia, Porcello) but there are still players like Mike Moustakas that are in the upper minors and can change the entire perspective on the class. 2008-9-10 all face similar analysis issues.

That said, there is more than enough data to provide a sample size that is workable. Generally speaking, about 30-40 percent of first round (including comp round) players seem to make it to the Major Leagues. If you were running a team, that means that you only have to "get it right" in the first round once every 3 years. (oddly that's about all a hitter in baseball needs to do to be a hall-of-famer...)

Which means that giving up a first rounder isn't really a big deal. I no longer oppose any type-A free agent signings, because I'd bet that they work out much more often than the pick would anyway.

As a follow up, I was looking into top prospect rankings. I had hoped that they would have similar results as the draft: NOT SO. I'll post some information on top prospect lists in the coming days, but those tend to work out MUCH better.


  1. Victor Wang has done some excellent work on prospect rankings vs. future performance and economic value. It is now one of the basis of the fangraphs folks' transaction analyses.

  2. I actually have read some of Victor's work. I based some of my prospect values for the Jays system on his data. Have a look here: