Obviously, the Major League Baseball draft differs heavily from other sports amateur drafts as far as seeing results immediately. Most teams don’ determine their decisions in the draft by what their highest level club needs, so often fans will have to wait three or four years before they can start to see the fruits of their clubs front office’s labor. However, thanks to some folks much smarter than I, we have data available to estimate the average Wins-Above-Replacement levels of picks based upon where they are selected, what position they play, and what level of play they are advancing from. Using Alex Pedicini’s post over at HardballTimes, we can apply this study to the Cardinals top picks of the ’10 draft .
If you don’t feel like checking out Pedicini’s post, here are the WAR/year averages of each player selected in the first, second and third rounds from the 1992-1999 drafts…
College hitters– 1.336 WAR/year
High School hitters– 1.204 WAR/year
College pitchers– .649 WAR/year
High School pitchers– .878 WAR/year
College hitters– .773 WAR/year
High School hitters– .672 WAR/year
College pitchers– .087 WAR/year
High School pitchers– .084 WAR/year
College hitters– .115 WAR/year
High School hitters– .424 WAR/year
College pitchers– (.023) WAR/year
High School pitchers– .058 WAR/year
With St. Louis having five picks in the first three rounds, their total would be something around 1.9 WAR, but that would be counting Tyrell Jenkins as second round talent. Jenkins, a player who would have surely been selected in the first round had signability not been an issue, adds nearly a full win if he is grouped into first round talent-average.
Let’s see how St. Louis faired against the rest of the National League Central. Since we gave Jenkins the first round value treatment, we will do the same for the rest of the division if they selected a player outside of the first round that qualifies in the first thirty of Keith Law’s most recent Top 100. I’m giving teams Scouting/Player-Development departments the benefit of the doubt for questionable selections outside of the first round. Though, maybe I shouldn’t, considering Ed Wade is in play here…
St. Louis– 2.73 WAR/year (5 picks)
Houston– 2.56 WAR/year (5 picks)
Reds– 2.22 WAR/year (3 picks)
Pittsburgh– 1.87 WAR/year (3 picks)
Chicago– 1.67 WAR/year (3 picks)
Milwaukee– .107 WAR/year * (2 picks)
* Milwaukee failed to sign their first round selection.
This is not an indicator for how the Cardinals did in the draft as a whole. If I had more time, resources, and brainpower, I might be able to pull something off like that. Looking at the picks on a piece of paper, they did well, in my opinion, but we cannot forget the importance of player procurement that can turn late round picks into legitimate prospects, but hopefully this gives you a picture of how the Cardinals appear to have done at the top of their draft, based on historical studies.