a player to be a successful enough draft pick to make this list, he must be worth protecting on even an excellent team for
a couple years. (Obviously, I am assuming Chien-Ming Wang will not blow out his arm or have a disastrous second-half.) I call
this kind of player a gem. If the player has an even larger impact for a longer amount of time, I classify him as a star.
Part of the fun of making this list was deciding who to
put on and who to leave off. Of course a good researcher has a more concretely
stated set of criteria, but I confess I winged it – looking for a meaningful dividing line as I went along, but I do
think I found one. It is surprising to see Melvin Mora amongst these names and he is among the players listed with
the least impact. However, the infielder posted a .931 O+S in ’04 following it up with .818 in ’05 before declining.
Borderline arrivals are Kazmir, Bedard, Wang, Swisher, Rios, Granderson, and Hanley Ramirez. They each look foolproof to me.
candidates to make this list mid-season next year: King Felix, Jered Weaver, Kinsler, Markakis, Upton, perhaps, even Alex Gordon and Delmon Young if they take off the second half of this
season and keep it up next season – or Huston Street
if he recovers 100%. We will have to wait for Liriano’s recovery. You can be so sure about a young player that you feel
safe to include him even if he hasn’t done quite enough to merit inclusion, but be wrong. I included Bobby Crosby when
I revised this study a couple years ago. However, he just hasn’t had much impact – and, now, I have strong doubts
he ever will. Matthews and Cuddyer are proving they aren’t one year wonders, but I’ll wait another for another
full year of solid playing before counting them as gems. If Beltre has a great second half as he did last year, it would be
time to include him. However, he is still a disappointment as the cross-over top overall pick of 2005. Edgar Renteria will
soon be 32. Let’s see if he can keep up his resurgence with the Braves before adding him to this list. Raul Ibanez had
his one impact season last year at 34. The rest of his seasons are generic for a corner outfielder – very borderline
as a protectee. David DeJesus is a reliable generic centerfielder. He hasn’t hurt his owners, but he has to improve
some to make a significant impact.
a gem or a star? Although, Bonderman has improved each year he has pitched including so far in 2007, it appears Verlander
has zoomed passed him into stardom. During their World Series last year I referred to Bonderman over Verlander or Rogers as
the “ace” of their staff, yet, I am not quite ready to bestow upon him the distinction of “star”.
Another steady improver Eric Bedard appears be star bound, but it is too early to declare him such.
Dye and Magglio Ordoņez are two outfield sluggers who have been protected since 1999, but could easily have been dropped and
redrafted this decade. After yo-yoing between Kansas City and Omaha, Dye suddenly blossomed to give K.C. two years of significant impact. He steeply declined
for his next three seasons. Injuries played some part in this decline. In 2004, then 30 coming off a .514 O+S – yes,
.514 – he was faithfully protected. Dye rewarded the Oakland
fans and his shockingly faithful Scoresheet fan with a decent-but-still borderline protect-able .793 season. Traded to Chicago’s better hitting environment Dye improved to .845 in 2005.
Last year was apparently an extraordinary career year at age 32 when he hit 1.007 – almost double his productiveness
at age 29. Ordoņez’s decline was more clearly injury related. Previous to his 2004 knee injury, Ordoņez was consistently
one of the top outfielders in the American League. This year at age 33, he is better than ever!
you have fun looking over my color-coordinated list. The first thing you might notice is that there are a good smattering
of successes from every type of pick. If anything stands out, it is that there are a surprisingly high number of fourth round
picks (round 17).
inconceivable that a 2nd and/or 3rd round pick is worth less than a single 4th round pick.
With so few successes to work with, I chalk that up to normal fluctuation in statistical distribution. However, there also
happened to be a large number of fourth round successes in our league during the 90s, so there might be something about our draft patterns that lead us to making a particularly wise choice on the 4th
9 (2 21s, no 25)
R30-35 3 (unlimited rookie protects started in 2002)
R36 0 (first round of May
R37-39 3 (1 each)
R40 4 (July draft)
we say R14 = R15,16, & 17 combined?
after the first round in the teens is worth three picks in the 20s combined?
other pre-season pick is as good as a May supplementary pick?
round July picks rock, but the rest are pretty useless?
no, probably, and no. First, we are looking at too small of a sample. Second, we are only looking at the cream of the crop.
Most picks turn out to be useful players helping their teams stay away from ruinous AAA players. However, I think we can see
the places where the drops in the level of picks are significant.
in mind the usefulness of those picks which do not turn out to be major impact players do vary, however. How much so, should
be my next study. Just guessing from experience (I did look into it a little a long time ago), probably not more than three-fourths
of non-prospects picked in the first ten rounds are of some help most of the season, while less than a third of the last ten
picks are. I think the supplemental picks tend to be more useful – more than half.
value of prospects who do not become gems before they are dropped are typically much less than other supplemental picks. This
is why is not prudent to conclude that we undervalue drafting prospects despite the percentage of draftees who turn out to
have a large impact is much higher than the percentage of players drafted as prospects. Not only are prospects useless while
they are in the minors (except as trade bait), they take an unknown amount of time to reach the majors and often have little
or no impact the first year or two they are no longer protectable as prospects. Of course, finding the precise success rates
and more quantitatively evaluating how we compare prospects to veterans is worthy of another study.
is the age distribution excluding the first round cross-overs:
here the data is skewed against the youngest ages, because many kids drafted might not have matured yet. However, looking
at the successes from 90s in AL Robinson, there have been only two other teenage continuously protected draftees who turned
into gems – both stars: Alex Rodriguez (18) and Derek Jeter (19).
numbers make sense considering players improve more when they are youngest and first turn professional compared to later in
their career. Of course, many players under 22 are still in university.
be that teams have a better chance of rebuilding by concentrating on players in their early 20s rather than anyone over 28.
That seems obvious, but this demonstrates it to some degree.
wanted to do a study on the effect of steroids, you could do worse than see how many players were still unprotected in Scoresheet
at 28 or older, then went on to have a significant impact during the years before rampant steroid use, vs. during that era,
vs. after that era. Separating the eras before and after rampant steroid use helps weed out some of the potential coinciding
causes of players succeeding well beyond expectations in normally declining years. As far as this decade goes which includes
the tail end of the steroid era, the distribution of successes looks quite normal.
level are the best picks snatched up from? Counting the highest levels where each prospect had graduated from before being
drafted, I get a similar conclusion. (For example, in the season before Barry Zito was picked up for good by a Scoresheet
team, he had pitched at USC, had 8 starts in Visalia in the California League comprising a 2.45 ERA, had 4 starts of 4.91
at Midland in AA, and one start in Vancouver (AAA), in which he struck out 6 in six innings giving up only a run. Five starts
above the A+ level? I would only count him as a graduate only of A+. 2005’s freshly traded pitching prospects Haren
and Kazmir, the two Japanese outfield stars, and the three cross-over stars from 2004 were not counted as they might have
been already protected if they were AL owned players from the start of their careers.)
A Minors: 2
A Minors: 7
AA Minors: 4
amateur and lowest levels of the minors, there were only 7 successes snatched up so early. Once a prospect proved himself
to some degree in the high A minors or higher, there were 15 successes. Twenty successes, however, had already locked into
jobs in the Major Leagues (but not Scoresheet) only poised to soar to a greater level. The Major Leaguers were the mode of
impact successes, but AAA is the median as there were 22 such successes from the Minors since 2000.
it look any differently for the biggest stars of this survey? The Major League picks are still the mode with 7. The median,
however, moves down to AA as there were no AAA great successes. In fact, both university pick-ups and both Rookie League draftees
went on to big stardom. (A+ had 3 and AA had 1.)
we act upon this finding? Draft those top notch prospects in their first year of eligibility, otherwise hold off until they
have a job in the Majors? You shouldn’t go by such a strict rule. Afterall, there was a nice chunk of prospects snatched
up from A+.
this isn’t a large sample. My earlier study of the same league starting in 1991 showed a distribution of gems and stars
being locked on to a Scoresheet team coming from all levels of the minors - most frequently from the AAA level, followed by
AA, then A+. The Major League numbers were a somewhat smaller percentage when you take away the cross-overs, but still far
more than any single minor league level. Yet, times have changed. Our league is far more savvy than it was a decade ago and
more. I believe the scouting reports available to us are, too. Not only do we have far more experts giving us advice, but
the old stand-by Baseball America has greatly improved. So, this recent study is
hopefully more indicative of the your league. Please, share your thoughts on scoresheet-talk or mcscoresheet.