The first round of the MLB draft is today at 4 PM PST on MLB Network. The San Diego Padres pick ninth and have been connected with quite a few prospects, namely Kolbrin Vitek and Michael Choice.
With a new regime in place – Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod, Jaron Madison, etc. – it does not make a lot of sense looking at the Padres past drafts to assess what they are going to do this year. What is more important is the track records of the new guys in charge and their philosophies on the draft.
Anyway, use this thread to discuss anything draft related throughout the day. Please feel free to jump into the discussion. We’ll have full coverage of the Padres first round selection, as well as some of the picks tomorrow.
Here are a few links:
Kevin Goldstein will be chatting throughout the draft at Baseball Prospectus.
Friarhood has some nice profiles on a lot of the first round prospects.
The MLB draft is tomorrow, televised on MLB Network at 4 PM PST. The San Diego Padres select ninth in the first round and then not again until 59th.
The Mock Draft: Attempting to predict what all 30 teams are going to do in the first round. Generally fun, generally sort of useless and hard to do. Good for discussion, though. Below, I have listed, from difference sources of various credibility, a few mock drafts:
|Keith Law||Karsten Whitson, RHP, HS|
|Baseball America||Kolbrin Vitek, 2B, Ball State|
|Kevin Goldstein||Nick Castellanos, 3B, HS|
|Minor League Ball||Michael Choice, CF, UT-Arlington|
|Jon Heyman||Zack Cox, 3B, Arkansas|
|MLB Bonus Baby||Kolbrin Vitek, 2B, Ball State|
There are more at the Mock Draft Database.
The name I’ve heard most is Kolbrin Vitek, the 2B from Ball State, but that surely doesn’t mean the Padres will take him. If they do, it sounds like a position change is a no-brainer, and that he will be targeted for center field.
From what Jed Hoyer and company have said, and based on their track records, it appears that the Padres are going to take the “best player available.” Not a bad philosophy when, you know, the idea is to get a good baseball player. In all seriousness, I have a lot of faith that the front office is following a good process here. We will have to wait and see if the results follow.
Tom Krasovic notes in his recent column that Matt Bush is trying to make a comeback with the Tampa Bay Rays:
Rays personnel say they wouldn’t be surprised if Bush, one of the most disappointing top picks in draft history, rises to the major leagues later this season. Now in Single-A, Bush has thrown only three innings but clocked well into the 90s. Time will tell if Bush’s comeback from alcohol abuse will hold up, but the Rays are encouraged by the 24-year-old’s overall progress. Baseball’s answer to Ryan Leaf, Bush was drafted first overall by the Padres in 2004 and quickly found trouble off and on the field.
After being selected first by the San Diego Padres in the 2004 draft, as Kras mentions above, Bush struggled mightily in the Padres system, hitting .219/.294/.276 in 812 MiLB PAs. You probably know the story. The first pick never reached AA ball. The Padres attempted to convert Bush to a reliever in 2007. It started well – 16 strikeouts in 7.3 innings – but ended abruptly, with Bush needing reconstructive elbow surgery.
With the draft fast approaching, what have we learned from the Matt Bush pick?
- It is hard to evaluate young players and project what they will become. While Bush was not the consensus top pick, he was still a highly regarded prospect, who probably would have went somewhere in the early-to-mid first round had the Padres not taken him. In the minors, Bush didn’t just struggle, he completely fell on his face.
- Don’t let money get in the way. While completely ignoring signing bonuses would be silly for a small market team – or a rational team – it is dangerous to select a player and bypass better prospects, especially early in the draft, just so you can save a few bucks.
- Top picks get many chances to succeed – or fail. Bush struggled with the bat, then had arm troubles on the mound, then had troubles with alcohol and the law. While it is great to see him get another chance, it also shows that top picks get many opportunities. Imagine if he was drafted in the 15th slot; he’d probably be out of baseball right now.
Though the rule 4 amateur draft may not receive as much national publicity as, say, the NFL variety, its importance is certainly understood in baseball circles. In an age where massive payroll disparities exist between franchises, the easiest way for financially-challenged teams – like the San Diego Padres — to compete is to out-draft, and out-develop, the big spenders.
Developing home grown talent is vital because a players first six years are spent under team control, at a tremendously discounted rate. Let us take, for example, an average player and estimate how much surplus value he’ll accrue in his first six years under team-control:
|Year||WAR||Est. Salary||FA Salary||Surplus Value|
To clarify, we have an average (2 WAR) player. His Free Agent salary is estimated by multiplying his WAR by the marginal value of a win (~$4.5M in 2012 and escalating $.5M each year). His actual salary is estimated by near-minimum totals for his first three years, and then using the 40%-60%-80% scale, which models how much arbitration-eligible players are paid, when compared to their FA value.
So, if a team can draft and develop an average player, not at all a superstar, it is looking at $40+ million in surplus value over the players first six years – in other words, a tremendous asset to the organization. This is a player that will provide three years of average play for peanuts, and then another three years of average play at 60% of his market value. Overall, this club gets $69 million worth of production for $25.3 million. Add in a signing bonus, minor league salaries, and some developmental fees, and you’re still looking at a great value.
If a team can draft a star player like Evan Longoria, well, it is that much better off. Longoria has already netted the Rays some $50+ million in surplus value in his first two seasons. The Rays went on to sign Longoria to an extension that could be worth $44 million over nine years. They have their cornerstone player locked up at a very reasonable price, thanks to the draft and MLB’s salary dynamics.
Dollars and sense
The draft might sound perfect for its efforts in leveling the playing field between big market and small market franchises. That is its intent, but there is at least one small problem. There is no slot-requirement, and some players that may be top talents are bypassed by small market teams because of signability issues – teams are concerned that, after drafting the player, they won’t be able to sign him to a deal.
A good example is the 2007 draft. Back in the infancy of this blog, as Rick Porcello continued to go unselected (due to aforementioned $ concerns, not talent) , I was hoping the Padres would pick him at #23. The Padres passed, taking Nick Schmidt, who signed at estimated slot money — $1.26 million. Porcello fell into the hands of the Tigers five picks later, who signed for $3.58 million — $2.4 million above slot-recommendation.
Of course, I understood that the Padres were unlikely to take Porcello. After all, they weren’t the only team that passed on him, and they didn’t exactly have that kind of money to throw at a prep pitcher – even, a very good one. However, my theory went that, yes, they would be spending a few million dollars more than desired, but the potential value Porcello could provide later on would be well worth it.
Porcello debuted with the Tigers last year and, conveniently for this article, delivered a league-average season (1.9 WAR). He was worth approximately $8 million in surplus value. He has struggled a bit this season, but his peripheral numbers actually look fine (sans the K-rate), and the Tigers have a solid pitcher locked up under team-control.
It doesn’t work like that every time, kid
The draft is an inherently risky process. Trying to evaluate young players and project what they will become in four or five years is both art and science – and a lot of headaches. Sure, there’s a correlation between draft slot and WAR, but it isn’t a great one. There are no-brainers (A-Rod, Longoria, Strasburg), but there are also countless busts (ie, no-brainers that didn’t work out). The obligatory Matt Bush mentioned comes now.
The Padres may very well have thrown $3.6 million Rich Porcello’s way, if they knew exactly how he was going to develop. But, perhaps their analysis concluded that there was, maybe, a 40% or 50% chance that he wouldn’t give them any MLB value. In the end, maybe he was too risky. Nobody wants $3.6 million to go to waste, especially when there are plenty of other attractive options to choose from.
The draft is critical for all teams. But if the Padres – and other small-mid-level market teams – want to compete, it is almost essential that they draft and develop well. Producing home grown players would give the Padres a (cheap) core to build around, allowing them to add to it with some good trade acquisitions and solid free agent signings. The past era of Padres baseball has been filled with a mixed bag of drafts – some good, a lot not so good. But overall, they missed out too many times when they had a plethora of high picks.
It is critical that this regime not only evaluate talent well, but also not be afraid to spend the extra dollar. If the Padres are confident in their ability to evaluate a draft class – and they should be, with all the brainpower in the front office – then they shouldn’t be worried about spending that extra money. In the long run, it will be money well spent.
The amateur draft takes place on June 7th, and the San Diego Padres select 9th (and not again until 59th). The draft is arguably the most important event all year for a franchise; the opportunity to add an Evan Longoria, Joe Mauer, or a Jake Peavy to an organization entices teams to spend a lot of their resources on a (hopefully) successful draft.
This will be the first draft for Padres GM Jed Hoyer, Assistant GM Jason McLeod, and Scouting Director Jaron Madison. MLB Bonus Baby has a good preview, including some info on the guys mentioned above.
There’s been some talk that the Padres are very interested in Ball State 2b/RHP Kolbrin Vitek, spurred by a tweet from Jim Callis. Vitek has smashed 15 homers this year, and according to College Splits has a .356/.447/.702 park/schedule adjusted line. Vitek hit .357/.436/.646 in his first two seasons at Ball State. Here’s some nice scouting video of him.
Seems like 9th might be a bit high for Vitek, as it does not appear like he has a ton of defensive value. He can hit a little, though.
Feel free to discuss anything regarding the draft here.
by Myron Logan
I was thinking about the amateur draft the other day – both its impact on a major league franchises success and how proficient (or not) the Padres have been at it. I thought we’d take a look at each draft, year by year, starting in 2000 (because its recent enough to be somewhat relevant, but enough time has past to evaluate it). We’ll work upwards until recent years, and revisit later years if the series has any success.
Anyway, here’s my initial format. I’m going to split the draft up into three arbitrary sections: the top, the middle, and the rest. The top will consist of the first 300 picks, the middle will be the next 300, and the rest will be everybody after that (generally around an additional 600 picks). I’m also going to split each section into four groups: high school hitters, college hitters, high school pitchers, college pitchers. I’m going to place any player drafted out of a college, be it a junior college or as a junior, in the college bucket, just to simplify things a bit.
I will also provide a total WAR figure for each section, if any players drafted reached the bigs, so we can get a sense of the value they contributed to the major league club. And of course I’ll add some commentary. That’s the format for now, we’ll revise if needed. Suggested are of course always encouraged. (note: I’m not counting unsigned players: more on that in the commentary that follows).
|2000 Draft||Picks||MLB||WAR||HS bat||HS arm||C bat||C arm|
There admittedly is not much context to these numbers, but I think they are still somewhat useful. We’ll gain a little bit of context, at least in terms of the Padres organization, as we go through the series.
The Padres drafted Mark Phillips, a left handed HS pitcher, in the first round (9th overall). Phillips responded with a 5.35 ERA in his rookie ball debut. His strikeout and home rate rates were tremendous throughout his minor league career, at 8.7 and .4, respectively. He simply could not harness any control, posting a walk rate approaching six. He disappeared from pro ball in 2003, but reappeared in an independent league in 2007 with Newark. He showed he was the same Mark Phillips, striking out one an inning and allowing just two homers in 32 innings, while walking almost eight batters per nine.
Phillips was a major disappointment, but the Padres second pick, a third basemen from Cal, Xavier Nady, has turned in a solid, if not spectacular, major league career. Nady has hit .280/.335/.458 in almost 2500 plate appearances.
The Padres fourth pick, a high school outfielder out of Louisiana, is a familiar name: Mewelde Moore. He has since gone on to have a pretty nice career in the NFL as a running back. In the minors, however, he struggled mightily, spending three seasons in rookie ball, and hitting .210/.294/.284. He did show glimpses of running back speed with ten steals in only 50 career games. While it is sort of a funny story, it is one heck of a miss for a fourth round pick.
In the 13th round, San Diego selected Justin Germano; so far he has logged 205 major league innings and a 5.27 ERA.
The Padres did select Chad Cordero, a RHP from Don Antonio High School in California, in the 27th round. However, they did not sign him. He was drafted by the Montreal Expos a few years later, where he went on to be a very good closer.
Overall, obviously, it is tough to come to too many conclusions based on this brief analysis. But, for the most part, this was not an extremely productive draft for the Pads. To put that first pick into perspective, five out of the top ten picks in 2000 did not reach the majors, so it’s not an absolute disaster. However, after Phillips came a bunch of better-looking options like Chase Utley, Adam Wainwright, and Kelly Johnson. Sure, hindsight is 20-20.
A bright spot was the selection of Xaiver Nady, who was probably the best pick in the second round of any MLB team. Nady went on to have some decent years in San Diego, then was converted into Mike Cameron in 2005.
After Nady, though, there was really nothing else. Of course, as alluded to above, there’s a lot missing here. One, is context; how good are most major league drafts? Two, there are a bunch of other potentially important factors ignored, like players that were used in trades, or valuable minor leaguers that provided something to the organization.
Anyway, we’ll look at the 2001 draft soon, and see how this one looks in comparison.
by Mike Rogers
Last winter I took three separate looks at the San Diego Padres 2008 draft. I had started adjusting college offensive statistics for parks and strength of schedule to get a better feel for the true talent levels of the players drafted. You can see my methods here in an article that Myron Logan and I penned for Baseball Analysts. I haven’t changed much except the weightings in my “Score” column since that article. My “Score” is a hodge-podge formula that weights adjusted wOBA, adjusted Isolated Power, a small speed score, K and BB%’s, and runs above average. The runs above average is above the average hitter in that particular conference using the conference’s average park and strength of schedule ratings.
Unfortunately for me, the 2009 draft wasn’t as loaded as the 2008 draft was with college bats. Furthermore, the Pads didn’t take as many college bats this passed June as they did in 2008, so my scope of adjusted numbers isn’t as high as my previous breakdown. But, let’s not drag this out any more. Presented in the order by which they were drafted, here are the college bats the Padres took last June (and signed) that are in my current system (which includes 13 conferences that are the ACC, SEC, Sun Belt, Big West, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 10, MAC, WAC, West Coast Conference, Moutain West, Conference USA).
Evaluations after the jump. . . Continue reading
by Daniel Gettinger
Earlier in the week, Ben Davey asked whether the draft was fixable. His post not only touched on a number of his concerns, but has also began to generate some interesting discussion in the comments.
Today at Fangraphs, Dave Cameron put forth a draft reform proposal that I believe should be seriously considered. Rather than tweak the current system, Cameron suggests we just get rid of the entire thing.
He proposes replacing the draft with an auction similar to free agency. Based on where teams finish in the standings, they would be allocated a budget they could not exceed. The team would then be free to allocate the money in the manner they see fit. International players would be included in the auction.
As Cameron explains:
The top tier teams who have been winning recently would receive small sums of money that would essentially take them out of the running for the premium talents. Given that the teams that finished in the bottom half would likely be willing to bid ~60-70% of their budgets on the top guys available, the Strasburgs of the world would probably command bonuses in the $7 or $8 million range, which the winning teams would not be able to match.
By giving each team a player acquisition budget, you also open up new strategies for teams to pursue. Like the international crop a lot more than the American kids? You could sign practically everyone you want with $10 or $12 million and skip the domestic players entirely. Want to load up on the best kids from your home state? Sign them all if you want. Think your team needs an infusion of pitching immediately? Bid on college arms and college arms only.
Cameron also proposes using revenue sharing dollars to create the budgets. He notes that teams spent $160 million on signing their picks this year, so major league baseball could take something like $200 million from revenue sharing to make up the budgets for the auction.
I am still not sure what to think about that element of his proposal. Cameron makes a good point when he writes that using revenue sharing money would ensure a “massive part of the revenue sharing money did not go into the pockets of the owners.” At the same time, the whole point of revenue sharing is to help smaller market teams that are not capable of generating the same level of revenue as larger market teams. This system re-allocates revenue sharing dollars away from low-revenue teams, and towards low-win teams (there is however a good amount of overlap between the two).
Even if revenue sharing dollars were not used, I think some form of this system could work. There are bound to be logistical issues, and because the total pot is capped, there is an element of unfairness towards the players. But, this system is highly efficient in allocating talent, provides an advantage to the teams with the worst records, and subjects international players to the same process as those from the US and Canada. I like it!
by Ben Davey
This seems like a weird sentiment to pose when for the first time in awhile the Padres actually signed ALL of their 1st 10 round picks, but the fact of the matter is the draft is severely flawed. I am not just talking about the insane bonuses that are given or signability issues, but almost EVERY aspect of the draft, which makes me wonder… “Is it fixable?”
In other sports a player is drafted and before mini-camp starts he is signed. Baseball is the only sport where the draft happens in the middle of the season. Heck, when the draft happens some of the players are still playing in the CWS. While this is already a slight problem it wouldn’t be a big deal if they were signed within a week of the draft. Instead we have long holdouts. and players who might as well have been drafted in the offseason because of the number of games they get in. I know that Tate, Williams, and Sampson are all going to Peoria, but for example Eugene has already played 57 games this year. That means that some draftees will have probably played in 60 games before our #1,2, and 4 picks play 1 game.
Even when they do arrive in Peoria and finally play, there are only 9 games left in the season! Let me repeat: there are 9 games left in the season as of August 18th.
But is their a way to fix this aspect of the game? MLB did attempt to do something about this a couple years ago when they got rid of the draft and follow players, but what they really needed to do is move the signing date to make it within a few weeks of the draft. Make it the same day as the all star game (just a thought), but if you make it in mid July (or earlier) you force teams, advisers, agents, and players to start working right from the beginning.
We heard for over a month that Strasburg, Tate, and Ackley were not offered more than the initial contract that they were given when they were drafted. That is an entire month that they could have played, but instead were sitting around, unsure if and when they would sign. Force the teams to sign the players early, because like most of us it seems teams love to procrastinate.
Which brings me to my next thought. The commissioners office. Their slot bonuses are completely ridiculous because no one is forced to sign for that amount of money. In football if the #4 pick signs for 10 mil and the #6 pick signs for 8 mil, chances are the #7 pick will sign for right around 9 mil.
In baseball you can have 6th round picks getting paid more than 1st round picks. There are players who give ridiculous demands, and if they are not met, the player seems to have little problem with not signing.
Of course this is because unlike football or basketball, the MLB can draft high school players. Because of this you have high school kids who would normally go in the first few rounds, but fall back to the mid rounds because of signability issues.
The thought then becomes will a team draft them knowing it might be a wasted pick unless they offer him 1st round money. But at the same time, if you can get a 1st round talent in the 8th round isn’t that considered a steal?
Demands of the agent, players, and issues signing players before the deadline is arguably the biggest problem with the draft and something that I dont think they can fix. If Bud Selig does make the signing bonuses extremely rigid then we will see a LOT fewer high school prospects, as those taken after the first few rounds can only be offered peanuts and will go to school in hopes of being a higher pick in a few years while earning their education.
If they limit how much a team can spend in total for the draft that would hurt the teams picking high in the draft and prevent them from doing much more. Strasburg signed for 15 mil, which alone is more than some teams spent. If there was a cap then Strasburg might be the only player signed by Washington this year (outside of rounds 20+), or they just are not able to offer him anywhere close to the 15 mil and he goes back in the draft next year.
Meanwhile, teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, etc… might have only signed their 1st round pick for a mil, which would then give them the opportunity to sign and draft more high school prospects or players with high demands, thus actually making it better to draft in the lower rounds.
I know there are a lot of other things to talk about including passing on players because of money, not being able to trade picks, and well, a bunch of other stuff. But since I was talking about slot money I figured I would just mention the flaws of Bud Selig.
A lot of players including Sampson were, for all intensive purposes, signed a week or two ago, but Selig made it so that the signing wouldnt be official until the last day. Why? Because players signing for over slot money give other players leverage to ask for more money.
In that aspect it makes sense but at the same time, when there are only 2 weeks left in the minor league season, how important do you think doubling the number of games would have been for a lot of these minor league players? I know Selig doesn’t like it but for the sake of the players who do sign, they need to announce it when it happens and not hold off.
There are a lot of things wrong with the draft, and despite that, the draft has steadily become more and more hyped over the past few years.
Five years ago when the Padres drafted Matt Bush, everyone who reads this might have known maybe 5-10 other players in the draft. But now, at least speaking for myself and many others, I knew almost every name in the 1st round and many of those in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.
The draft is becoming a bigger spectacle which IMO is good for baseball, but MLB needs to make a lot of changes when the new CBA is put in place in the next 18 months. Hype the spectacle, hype the event, but dont let almost 2 months of nothing happen before the creme of the crop are signed and finally play.