Normally by this time of year, I’m knee-deep in draft hype. I regret to say I am woefully behind this year, and I really have no excuse with all the great draft coverage out there. To help me catch up, I thought I could look at a couple of recent mock drafts and see what the prognosticators are prognosticating.
The godfather is stepping in with some early draft knowledge. Word to your respective mothers.
There’s a new SBN blog out there that’s worth subscribing to in you RSS thingy called MLB Bonus Baby, a site dedicated to all things MLB draft. Mock drafts are fun, and usually wrong, but it gives us something to talk about. In Andy’s latest mock, he has RHP Matt Harvey going to the Cards.
I remember Harvey from the 2007 draft, and seem to remember we all sort of wanted him. He was sort of our Shelby Miller before we had Shelby Miller. Here’s some video of him in action:
And here’s his stat line via collegesplits.com
His scouting report, in a nutshell: 92-95 fastball, putaway curveball, developing change.
In 24 hours we had 197 legit ballots, a great turnout. (I deleted 16 ballots. Those were sent consecutively, with Allen Craig getting nothing but 1′s and Pete Kozma getting nothing but 5′s. Coincidently, this was right after I tweeted on some of the early returns. To whoever you are, you smell).
I’ve closed the balloting, here are the averages for each hitting prospect. Remember, everything but offense was factored in the poll. This is how confident you are that these players will hit enough to be at least major league average during their team-controlled years.
So as a community we like Allen Craig’s chances the best to be at least an average big-leaguer. This could spell bad news for the Thudwick Fan Club, but good news for the payroll come 2011.
We also felt pretty good about David Freese’s chances to be our 3B for the foreseeable future, which represents a darn good return on the charred remains of Jimmy “be still my heart” Edmonds.
Jon Jay is such a good defender that he doesn’t really have to hit a lot to be a valuable player, I think of him as David DeJesus light. His trouble, along with Daryl Jones, (who we also feel pretty good about), is that they have no place to play with this team. Maybe they can win out over Craig for the open spot in RF coming 2011, but I think their throwing arms could be enough of a deterrent to the club to do nothing more than use them as 4th OFers, or package them in a trade.
Robert Stock was the one surprise of the group, it seems the community has generally a fuzzy feeling about him. Is this because of his Appy League performance, or a result of the offensive threshold being so low for catchers, or both? The good news is Stock comes with a back-up plan, but we’re thinking he might not need it.
Tommy Pham on the other hand might want to start thinking about a Sergio Santos career-path, because we’re not feeling so hot about his chances, even after a resurgent second half. He still could go all Daryl Jones 2008 on us all yet, but no one is holding their breath.
I’m a little surprised Tyler Greene didn’t do as well. I guess his 2009 season flew under the radar more than I expected. His offensive floor to be a 2-WAR player is just a .326 wOBA. I know it was one year, but a .390 wOBA in Triple-A from a player who has long-tantalized with TOOLZ. I think I gave him a 3, so I can’t complain, but I think Greene might surprise us. He has been an errors machine this spring, so maybe that’s what is fresh on everyone’s mind.
Anyway, here’s the sheet I used to derive what the player’s wOBA would need to be for 2-WAR for your perusal. Many thanks to Bryan Smith, who was discussing these ideas and others with Marc and I as the FanGraphs team was hashing out their Top 100. (95% credit goes to Marc for the top 100)
erik in Prospect Confidence Polls, tags: Aaron Luna, Adron Chambers, Allen Craig, Daniel Descalso, Daryl Jones, David Freese, Jon Jay, Mark Hamilton, Pete Kozma, robert stock, Ryan Jackson, Shane Robinson, Steven Hill, Tommy Pham, Tyler Henley
I’m sorry that we skipped the FR Reader rankings this year. That was lame of me. In order to make it up to you, the reader, I thought we’d try something a little different. This idea was inspired by Bryan Smith’s article at FanGraphs and some of the cool stuff he does. (Bryan is very smart).
Please click on this poll and enter your input on some of our hitting prospects. This poll is designed to seehow confident Future Redbirds readers are on a prospect’s ability to be an average big leaguer during their first six full seasons. The wOBA presented for each prospect is the minimum based on their defensive position and skill for them to be a 2 WAR player, or a major league average regular. DO NOT CONSIDER IF THE PLAYER IS CURRENTLY BLOCKED. And remember, this is what you think the player is capable of averaging during their first six major league seasons, or in other words, when they are under team control.
For those of you not hip to wOBA, well, get with it. wOBA is the new and improved OPS. Instead of just combining slugging and on-base percentage, wOBA takes the run values of offensive events and then scales it to a rate that is scaled to on-base percentage. You can read up on wOBA here and here and here.
To give you some frame of reference, Albert Pujols had a .449 wOBA last year. NL average is about .335. To give you further frames of reference, Nate McLouth had a .350 wOBA last year. Billy Butler had a .369. Ryan Sweeney had a .330. Cristian Guzman had a .301. Adam LaRoche had a .357. Orlando Hudson had a .342. Got it? Good.
Again, the reason why I picked the wOBA for each prospect is based on the minimum requirement based on their position and defensive skill to be at least two wins above replacement player, or in other words, an average player. For their position, I took the position they currently play, or what Baseball America pegged them for, as in the case of Steve Hill. (Catcher was a nice idea, at least). Their defensive skill is hidden, but it comes from their CHONE projected defensive runs above average. If a projection wasn’t available, I just went with their scouting report and fudged a number. This explains a bit why Ryan Jackson’s offensive threshold is so low.
You can skip any player if you’re not quite sure, but try and answer as many as possible. It’s on a scale of 1-5, 1 being not confident at all, while 5 would be that you feel very confident the player will hit for that minimum batting requirement on average during their first six seasons in the majors.
Thanks for your input.
Poll away. <——–Um, yeah. Go here.
Allow me to explain his low batting averages. One fact we all know about, that he left school early and started his college baseball career at the tender age of 17. It was expected that there would be a learning curve for Stock.
Two, his up and down luck when it comes to his batting averages of balls on play:
Over this time he averaged 159 at-bats per season. There’s a lot of randomness that can happen over the course of 159 at-bats. Felipe Lopez hit .385 in 156 at bats in his last stint as a Cardinal. Hanley Ramirez once hit .230 over a span of 174 at-bats.
Is Stock a good hitter or a bad hitter? In time we’ll find out. In the meantime, I’d go more by what the scouting reports say than handfuls of at-bats per season at the Division 1 level and rookie ball level while he was teenager. By making any judgments calls now (good or bad) based on his stats apart from what trained eyes say, you’re going to come up with some fuzzy assumptions.
The Baseball America staffers did something I think is kind of neat, a prospect dream draft. If a player was in this year’s handbook, they were available to draft. The Cardinals had only 8 players drafted, tied with the Yankees and Nationals for the 2nd lowest amount of players drafted. The Astros just had four. Snarketty, snark snark.
Notably absent: Daryl Jones.
Compare this draft to BA’s prospect rankings for the organization:
1. Shelby Miller, rhp
Drafted but not in top ten: Francisco Samuel.
Lesson: Fastball velocity is a lot more appealing than a low-ceiling, high-floor player like Descalso. Stock was also taken over Descalso.
I’m still not sure why no DJ Tools. I am starting to think we’re the only ones excited about him, which in turn makes me less excited about him, I think.
erik in draft reviews, tags: draft grades, Jeff Luhnow
I must have missed this from about a month ago, but Jim Callis of Baseball America put together a “grade point average” for the last four draft grades Baseball America has given out. This should give us an indication how the Luhnow era is going. Go to the link if you would like to see how the all major league teams, but for our purposes let’s look within the NL Central to see how the Cardinals did against their division rivals.
So the Cardinals were slightly below league average, while the Cubs and Astros were rather odious. Odious is putting it mild for the Astros, who were the worst of the worst. When handing out draft grades, Baseball America is looking for bottom line results; guys who made it to the majors and are producing, or hot prospects that they strongly believe will make it. It’s not a scouting director’s fault if his team goes cheap, and they surely don’t have any control over when their team picks.
To try and account for this, let’s fudge around a bit to try and neutralize. I’m sure there’s probably a better way to do this, but for now I’m simply going to divide each teams original GPA by their average amount spent and then multiply that by a new budget that will be the same for each team. The average team in the NL Central was $5M.
If there’s one thing the Reds have done well, it’s drafting players. With these “neutralized” rankings, the Cardinals have done as well, per dollar as the Brewers, who are well known for their strength in drafting players. The Pirates have had to spend a little bit more money, being they draft a lot higher than your average team due to their perennial stenchocity. They’ve had some painfully bad whiffs. (Daniel Moskos over Matt Wieters, anyone?)
To help you adjust in your head a little more, here is where the team had its highest draft picks during this span.
The Pirates had the most high draft picks due to their perennial poopiness, and really have had little to show for it. The Reds and Brewers also have benefited from picking in the top half of the draft.
Finally, here is the amount of Top 200 picks each team had to choose from with each year.
No wonder we liked the 2005 draft so much. Not only did the Cardinals go “high ceiling” in that draft, they had a lot of picks to play with that year. As it turns out, the Cardinals have had more picks than their competitors, but it hasn’t really helped them in the rankings.
What can you say about the 2007 draft for the Astros? They had no 1st or 2nd round pick, because Ed Wade just had to sign Carlos Lee for 6-years, $100 million. And he just had to sign a 40-year old Woody Williams. Both players helped the team go 73-89 that year, job well done. The Astros didn’t have a pick until the 3rd round, and they didn’t sign that pick, or their 4th round pick. This super-work apparently gets you a two-year extension from Drayton MacLane.
I know this isn’t a perfect way to look at things, but hopefully it gives you an idea of how Luhnow has played the cards he’s been dealt.
(Credit where credit is due, I pretty much stole this post idea from FutureSox.com)
erik in Prospect rankings, tags: Brett Wallace, Scott Bittle, shelby miller
Shelby Miller made the list, ranking 50th overall. Miller was the lone Cardinal representation. In other news, the Cardinal team color will remain red.
Brett Wallace ranked 27th.
In other news, Scott Bittle is probably toast. Take it away, Strauss -
Yep, he’s fried.
You may have seen Luhnow’s recent conversation with Joe Strauss. Luhnow went on the defensive regarding the latest prospect rankings out there, most of which have been thrashing his farm system. Specifically he called out Keith Law, saying -
In defense of Luhnow, Joe Strauss isn’t nicknamed El Diablo without reason. He has made no bones about his doubts in Luhnow’s ability to draft top-shelf talent. It could be Strauss has got under his skin, and as a card-carrying member Hyperventilating Prospect Geek Fraternity, I understand. I say this tongue-in-cheek. From my dealings with Strauss over twitter, he can be condescending and just plain ornery at times, but overall he’s pretty reasonable and I’d say is a good guy. (I can’t believe I just typed that!) I’m glad he speaks his mind, even if I don’t always agree.
But it’s not just Keith Law that is dumping on the Cardinals’ farm system. Everyone is. Baseball America, Kevin Goldstein, John Sickels, you name it. The system is understandably down after all the trades, trades that helped the Cardinals win a pennant. What Luhnow should be saying, while being careful not to knock his players, is “When I took this job, the Cardinal farm system was ranked near the bottom of the pack every year. We made some trades that helped our team win the NL Central, and we could not have done that without our ability to draft and acquire top-end talent. I am confident that within time, that I can again rebuild the farm system back to respectability. I’ve done it before”.