Thursday, November 26, 2015

Down on the Farm: Another Way of Looking at the 2011 Draft

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!  Here is some reading to pass the time while the turkey is in the oven.

When we reviewed the Giants 2011 draft, we got to see how the drafted players were progressing in their careers, but did not have the context of how other team's prospects are doing.  To review all 1500 draft picks is too long and laborious in undertaking for this blogger.  Instead, I reviewed all of the first round draft picks plus added in any names I recognize from later rounds as having played in the majors or else players still in the minors but considered top prospects.  This is a quick and dirty study, so i'll say upfront that I may well be missing an important name here and there.  I do think it helps give a general idea of the relative strength of the Giants draft compared to other MLB teams:

1.  Pirates:  Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA.  2015:  19-8, 2.60, 204 IP, 8.74 K/9, 1.90 BB/9, FB 95.5 MPH, 5.4 fWAR(Total MLB fWAR= 10.2).  Cole is not quite in the top tier of MLB pitchers, but he's dang close and may well achieve that distinction as soon as 2016.  His career fWAR of 10.2 is by far the most of any 2011 draftee, so the Pirates made the right pick.  Josh Bell(Round 2) and Tyler Glasnow(round 5) are the two other draftees most likely to make a future impact with Glasnow, in particular, being one of the likely top 5-10 prospects in baseball.

2.  Mariners:  Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia.  Hultzen started his pro career strong, but soon fell victim to injuries.  He has just 43.2 IP over the past 3 seasons and was DFA'd off the Mariners 40 man roster last week.  DFA'd prospects have worked their way back onto 40 man rosters before, but right now the future does not look bright for this #2 overall pick.  Other Mariners 2011 draftees of note include SS Brad Miller(Round 2), RHP Carter Capps(Round 3S) and RHP Carson Smith(Round 8).  Smith is the team's current closer.  Miller and Capps are in other organizations.

3.  D'Backs:  Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA.  2015:  11-12, 4.55, 176 IP, 8.69 K/9, 4.04 BB/9, FB 92.7 MPH, 1.8 fWAR(Career fWAR= 2.8).  Bauer was billed as a bigger, stronger version of Tim Lincecum.  He has suffered from command/control issues from the start.  He reportedly clashed with D'Backs coaches and was traded to Cleveland where he finally turned in a decent MLB season.  Unlikely to be any Cy Young Awards in his future.  The D'Backs also had the #7 overall pick in the draft with which they drafted RHP Archie Bradley.

4.  Orioles:  Dylan Bundy, RHP, HS.  AA:  0-3, 3.68, 22 IP, 10.23 K/9, 2.05 BB/9.  Dylan Bundy was once considered one of the elite pitching prospects in baseball.  Then TJ came knocking on his door and his recovery took longer than expected.  He was quite good in his return to action, but was shut down early in the AFL this fall due to shoulder pain.  I did not recognize any other names from the O's 2011 draft, so Bundy and his shoulder may be all that stands between them and coming up empty for the draft.

5.  Royals:  Bubba Starling, OF, HS.  2015:  AA:  .254/.318/.426, 10 HR, 366 PA.  AFL:  .274/.350/.440, 4 HR, 5 SB.  Big OF with some tools.   Continues to have a high ceiling but has yet to break out.  Continues to have significant bust potential.  His current numbers suggest a fringy MLB career.  The only other name I recognize from the Royals draft is OF Terrance Gore(Round 20) whose MLB career may consist of pinch-running in the postseason.

6.  Nationals:  Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice.  2015:  MLB:  .264/.344/.363, 5 HR, 355 PA, fWAR 0.9(Career fWAR= 8.9).  Rendon has been very good when healthy which has not been very often.  There are no other names I recognize from the Nationals draft.

7.  D'Backs:  Archie Bradley, RHP, HS.  2015  MLB:  2-3, 5.80, 35.3 IP, 5.80 K/9, 5.55 BB/9.  Comp pick for failing(purposefully, IMO) to sign Barrett Loux in 2014.  Bradley is a big hard throwing kid who has struggled with command/control issues.  Still has a high ceiling, but slower to realize it than expected and has big time bust potential.  2 other names I recognize from the D'Backs draft are LHP Andrew Chafin(Round 1S) and RHP Evan Marshall(Round 4).

8.  Indians:  Francisco Lindor, SS, HS.  2015 MLB:  .313/.353/.482, 12 HR, 12 SB, 4.6 fWAR.  Lindor has always been an elite defensive SS.  His offensive debut was unexpectedly strong.  If he can build on that, he could be THE pick of this draft.  The Indians better hope he is, because I do not recognize any other names from the Indians draft.

9.  Cubs:  Javier Baez, SS, HS.  2015 MLB:  .289/.325/.408, 1 HR, 80 PA, 0.5 fWAR(Career fWAR= -0.3).  Baez has hit dingers in bunches in the minors, but his 30%+ K rates seem to have caught up with him in the majors.  He is probably not a MLB SS either and has no clear position to play.  High ceiling, high bust potential.  I was surprised to not find any other names I recognized in this Cubs draft.

10.  Padres:  Cory Spangenburg, 2B, JC.  2015 MLB:  .271/.333/.399, 4 HR, 9 SB, 345 PA, 2.1 fWAR.  Some things to like here, but Spangenburg's power has never developed which probably does not endear him to Padres GM AJ Preller.  Has played 3B more in the majors.  The Padres also had the 25'th overall pick in the draft taking RHP Joe Ross.

11.  Astros:  George Springer, OF, Connecticut.  2015 MLB:  .276/.367/.459, 16 HR, 16 SB, 3.7 fWAR(Career fWAR= 5.3).  Likely future 30/30 guy if he can keep the K's under control.  Nice pick for the "Stros.  Other 2011 draftees I recognized were RHP Nick Tropeano(Round 5) and 3B Matt Duffy(Round 20).  Tropeano is now in the Angels' organization, traded for Hank Conger.  Matt Duffy is not Matt Duffy!

12.  Brewers:  Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Texas.  2015 MLB:  9-8, 3.77, 119.1 IP, 8.07 K/9, 3.54 BB/9, FB 91.9 MPH, fWAR 1.6.  Jungmann fits the Brewers mold of low ceiling high floor pitchers.  Could develop into something more, but profiles as a #3-4 SP.  The Brewers also had the #15 overall pick with which they took LHP Jed Bradley.

13.  Mets:  Brandon Nimmo, OF HS.  AAA:  .264/.393/.418, 3 HR, 5 SB, 112 PA.  Big OF with some tools who popped up late in the draft out of Wyoming.  Some things to like here, but still has a ways to go.  High ceiling/High bust but more likely something in-between, much like Bubba Starling, a very similar prospect.  Other 2015 Mets draftees I recognize are RHP Michael Fulmer(Round 1.5) and RHP Logan Verrett(Round 3).  Fulmer was traded to Detroit in the Cespedes trade.

14.  Marlins:  Jose Fernandez, RHP, HS.  2015 MLB:  6-1, 2.92, 64.2 IP, 10.99 K/9, 1.95 BB/9, FB 95.9 MPH, 2.1 fWAR(Career fWAR= 7.8.  Strong return from TJ surgery. One of the best pitchers in baseball when his sophomore season was interrupted by the UCL tear.  Rumors of discord with Owner Jeffrey Loria seem to be getting smoothed over.  The only other 2015 draftee whose name I recognize is C Austin Barnes(Round 9).  He was traded to the Dodgers in the Dee Gordon trade.

15. Brewers:  Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech.  2015 AAA:  2-4, 9.00, 26 IP, 5.19 K/9, 3.46 BB/9.  Well, he's at AAA, but I'm not sure there is anything else positive to say.  His numbers at each stop have been less than impressive.  I do not recognize any other 2015 Brewers draftees.

16.  Dodgers:  Chris Reed, LHP, Stanford.  Frank McCourt reportedly did not want to spend money on the draft, so he wasted the money he did spend.  Reed pitched 4 AAA innings for the Marlins this year.    He had unimpressive numbers in the Dodgers organization.  I did not find any other names I recognized from the Dodgers draft list.

17.  Angels:  CJ Cron, 1B, Utah.   2015 MLB:  .262/.300/.439, 16 HR, 404 PA, 0.5 fWAR(Career fWAR 0.2).  Cron hit reasonably well in his first extended MLB experience.  He has a bat that will hit for both average and power.  He's a big body who is limited to 1B and DH defensively.  Other names from the Angels draft list I recognize are OF Zach Borenstein(Round 23) and C Jett Bandy(Round 31).

18.  Athletics:  Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt.  2015 MLB:  14-7, 2.73, 208 IP, 7.31 K/9, 2.55 BB/9, 3.8 fWAR(Career fWAR= 8.4).  Quintessential Moneyball pick.  While teams higher in the draft order chased 5-tool HS studs and flame throwing pitchers jonesing for TJ surgery, Solid Sonny Gray who had more than adequate velocity and great command to go with it.  If the A's could afford to draft Sonny Gray, the Dodgers certainly could too, and Gray was the better prospect by several orders of magnitude.  The only other name of the A's draft list I recognize is RHP Blake Treinen(Round 7) who is in the Nationals organization now.

19.  Red Sox:  Matt Barnes, RHP, Connecticut.  2015 MLB:  3-4, 5.44, 43 IP, 8.16 K/9, 3.14 BB/9, FB 94.7 MPH, -0.4 fWAR.  The K/9 and velocity would suggest there is more here than the ERA would lead you to believe.  The Red Sox also had the #26 pick and took Blake Swihart with it.

20.  Rockies:  Tyler Anderson, LHP, Oregon.  2014 AA:  7-4, 1.98, 118.1 IP, 8.06 K/9, 3.04 BB/9.  Anderson missed the 2015 season, presumably spending the time with TJ.  Has pitched very well when healthy.  Other names I recognize from the Rockies draft list:  SS Trevor Story(Round 1S), SS Taylor Featherston(Round 5).  Featherston was taken by the Angels in last year's Rule 5 draft and spent the season stashed on their bench.

21.  Blue Jays:  Tyler Beede, RHP, HS.  As we all know, Beede did not sign and was drafted #15 overall by the Giants in 2014 after a college career at Vanderbilt.  Other BJ's draftees from 2015 include LHP Daniel Norris(Round 2), RHP Anthony DesSclafini(Round 6) and OF Kevin Pillar(Round 32).  Norris and DeSclafini were traded out of the organization for David Price and Jose Reyes respectively.

22.  Cardinals:  Kolton Wong, 2B, Hawaii.  2015 MLB:  .262/.321/.386, 11 HR, 15 SB, 2.3 fWAR(Career fWAR= 3.9)  Somewhat disappointing numbers after a late season splash in his 2014 MLB debut.  2016 will be a pivotal season in his career.  Interestingly, the only other name I recognize from this Cardinals draft is RHP Seth Maness(Round 11).

23.  Nationals:  Alex Meyer, RHP, Kentucky.  2015 AAA:  4-5, 4.79, 92 IP, 9.78 K/9, 4.70 BB/9, FB 95.6 MPH.  Big, tall dude.  Meyer has struggled with command his entire minor league career.  He is now in the Twins organization where he may have a future in the bullpen. Meyer was the Nationals second pick in this draft.  I did not see any other names I recognized from their draft list.

24. Rays:  Taylor Guerreri, RHP, HS.  2015 AA:  3-1, 1.50, 36 IP, 7.00 K/9, 2.00 BB/9.  Like many fireballing HS pitchers, he missed some time for TJ, but the numbers suggest he may still be a high ceiling prospect.  The Rays also had picks 31 and 32 in the first round of this draft.

25.  Padres:  Joe Ross, RHP, HS.  2015 MLB(Nationals):  5-5, 3.64, 76.2 IP, 8.10 K/9, 2.47 BB/9, 1.4 fWAR.  Ross was the Padres second pick in this draft.  He was traded to the Nationals with Trea Turner in the 3-way that brought back Wil Myers.  Other names I recognize from the Padres draft include C Austin Hedges(Round 2), RHP Matt Andriese(Round 3), RHP Paul Quackenbush(Round 8) and RHP Burch Smith(Round 14).

26. Red Sox:  Blake Swihart, C, HS.  2015 MLB:  .274/.319/.392, 5 HR, 4 SB, 1.5 fWAR.  Swihart was the second Red Sox pick in this draft.  He is an offense-first catcher whose D has improved enough to start at the position at the MLB level.  He looks like the BoSox catcher of the future.  Other recognizable names on the Red Sox draft list include LHP Henry Owens(Round 1S), OF Jackie Bradley Jr(Round 1S), 2B/OF Mookie Betts(Round 5) and 1B Travis Shaw(Round 9).  Great haul for the Red Sox who stockpiled high draft picks and got several high level prospects who have performed up to expectations.

27.  Reds:  Robert Stephenson, RHP, HS.  2015 AAA:  4-4, 4.04, 55.2 IP, 8.25 K/9, 4.37 BB/9.  Analysts keep raving about what a great prospect Stephenson is, but the numbers have not matched the hype.  Other names from this Reds draft include LHP Tony Cingrani(Round 3) and LHP Amir Garrett(Round 22).  Garrett looked a lot like Aroldis Chapman in the Futures Game.  Cingrani pitched unhappily out of the Red bullpen in 2015.

28.  Braves:  Sean Gilmartin, LHP, Florida State.  2015 MLB(Mets):  3-2, 2.67, 57.1 IP, 8.48 K/9, 2.83 BB/9, 0.9 fWAR.  Gilmartin was traded to the Twins then the Mets.  He pitched well as a swing man/long reliever in 2015.  He could have a nice career as a Jeremy Affeldt-type lefty reliever.  Other Braves 2015 draftees I recognize are SS Nick Ahmed(Round 2) and 2B Tommy LaStella(Round 8) both of whom are now with other organizations.

29.  Giants:  Joe Panik, SS, St Johns.  Career fWAR 5.8.  We've already written up the Giants draft in a previous post.  So, what did the Giants see in Joe Panik that others did not?  The single most important tool out of the classic 5 is the hardest to recognize and is often overlooked or discounted.  The Giants recognized Joe Panik's hit tool and figured that it was good enough that he did not have to stay at SS, but as a college SS he had the athleticism to play some position well.  Great pick!  As for the rest of their draft, using the same methodology, if I was a fan of some other team, I am quite sure I would still recognize Susac, Tomlinson, Osich, Blackburn, Crick and Black.  I would probably overlook Cody Hall, Derek Law and Jake Smith.

30.  Twins:  Levi Michael, SS, North Carolina.  2015 AA:  .267/.369/.434, 5 HR, 18 SB, 264 PA.  I did not recognize any other names on the Twins draft list.

31.  Rays:  Mikie Mahtook, OF, LSU.  2015 MLB:  .295/.351/.619, 9 HR, 4 SB, 115 PA's, 1.8 fWAR.  Quite the splash for his MLB debut!  Low BB rate and high K rate suggest this might not be sustainable.  Mahtook was the second of 3 Rays first round selections.

32.  Rays:  Jake Hager, SS, HS.  2015 AA:  .271/.316/.376, 4 HR, 4 SB 490 PA.  I did not recognize any other names from the Rays draft list.

33.  Rangers:  Kevin Matthews, LHP, HS.  Has had shoulder issues and has never gotten traction on his pro career.  Just 8.1 IP in 2015.  The only other recognizable name from the Rangers draft is RHP Jerad Eickoff(Round 15) who was traded to Philly in the Hamels trade and made is MLB debut with the Phils.

There were 4 teams who did not have first round draft picks in the 2011 draft:  Phillies, Yankees, Tigers and White Sox.  I will list the recognizable players from each of those teams draft list:

Phillies:  3B Cody Asche(Round 4), RHP Ken Giles(Round 5).

Yankees:  1B Greg Bird(Round 5).

Tigers:  C James McCann(Round 2).

White Sox:  SS Marcus Semien(Round 6).


Comments:  It probably takes at least 10 years before you can fully evaluate a draft, but 5 years is a pretty decent window where you can get a pretty good idea of where things are headed.

Ranking these drafts in terms of the impact on MLB talent/production, regardless of draft position or numbers of picks I would probably go:

1.  Red Sox
2. Pirates
3. Giants

If you define draft success as getting at least 1 player who makes a meaningful MLB contribution, 19 out of 30 teams would meet that criteria with several more still having a chance to meet it down the road.  If you up the stakes and say you need at least 1 player with 2+ fWAR or 2 players who make a meaningful MLB contribution the number goes down to 14, less than half, with several teams still having a chance to join that group.

The higher a team drafts, the more likely they are to land a star player, but it is by no means a guarantee.  Some of the worst results in this draft were from teams drafting in the top 10 or even top 5 which may partly explain why they were drafting that high.  Multiple first round picks increases your chances of success, but also is no guarantee.

Teams that can consistently get 2 or more contributing players out of their drafts have a significant competitive advantage over the rest of the league.

Pre-draft prospect rankings appear to be poor predictors of future success after being drafted, although in general, odds are way better for first rounders than any other rounds.  Once you get past the second round, it is actually quite uncommon to draft a contributing player, let alone an star player.


  1. Good thing the Giants didn't mix up the Duffy's like they did with Bond, although I always thought that they drafted two Bond (s) to replace one Bonds...

    I love these two write-ups on the 2011 draft. I wonder if 2011 is an exceptional year in terms of talent. If you were to do the same for a few drafts, it would give a good idea of how good 2011 is, and get a sense of which teams are really good at drafting.

    Fun reading. Thank you again for your work, and Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Thanks for all of that research. I never thought all of those picks were from 2011. That goes to show how our scouting has improved. We might not have the strongest prospects of this draft but the fact is that 4 of our picks are at the MLB level (Panik, Osich, Tomlinson and Susac) with Panik being an All Star. Most of the teams on this list might not even produce 1 player let alone 4. Also, the book is still open on Blackburn, Black, Law, Hall, Smith, Crick and McCormick. I see at least 2 or 3 of those reaching the majors with the Giants or another team. Crick is an unknown but if he gets any type of control down he could be a true ace. We should have sold high on him a few years ago in a trade but there is still hope for him. This year could be the deciding factor whether he will make it or not.

  3. Thanks Dr. B. Love this analysis.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving! Fun read... The 1st round had some nice talent.. I remember the big reason why the Giants drafted Ricky O was that John Barr saw the homer he hit against Cole.. Hultzen had a bright future, too bad the injuries got to him.. The Padres might regret that Wil Myers trade given his injury history, giving up a promising arm like Joe Ross and SS prospect Trea Turner.. I know what burns some Pads fans is giving up Turner, despite SS being a weakness on the big league roster.. I wasn't too excited about Joe Panik at the time, thinking he might be a bust like another middle infielder drafted in the 1st round Manny Burris.. Panik is a prime example of good scouting and development by the Giants.. It must be tough to uncover good players in the Northeast where bad weather makes it tough on scouts to see these players perform regularly.. I believe another all star MLB player from the Northeast was drafted #25 overall by the Halos: Mike Trout.. This looks like a strong draft for the Giants with 4 players making contributions last year, and a handful led by Blackburn knocking on the door..