Draft day, woo!
Andrew Miller falls to the M’s over signability concerns! Please oh please oh please!
So cross your fingers, pray to your diety or dieties of choice, and listen to the quite boring broadcast starting at about 10am our time.
At the PI, Andriesen says the team’s “expected to take a college pitcher“.
Now, with the high cost of signing a top pick, most teams stick with college-seasoned players with their top picks, particularly when it comes to pitchers.
It’s close: last year’s first round was 58% college players (28/48 by my count) and 2004 was about the same (25/41).
Jason Churchill’s got a Farm Report column at the PI on the drafts that manages to offer a nice summary of what happened, and quotes some anonymous dudes.
Or, if you want a longer piece that bares its teeth, try the Seattle Times: “M’s off target in recent drafts” takes the M’s to task for poor drafting over the last n years. Includes this quote:
“There is some depth, but I really don’t see a lot of high-end-type guys,” said Deric McKamey, author of the 2006 Minor League Baseball Analyst. “As far as having some standout players who are going to be stud major-league players, I just don’t see it. There just seems like a lot of backup infielder types, middle relievers, that sort of thing.”
I have a hard time believing that McKamey said that, just like that, without additional context. Really, just in Tacoma there’s Asdrubal Cabrera, Adam Jones, that one guy Jim likes… has a famous brother? I forget. Then there’s some guy raised in Australia who hits like a maniac. Not that Jones, to take one, isn’t without risk, but he’s certainly a high-reward player. Jones’ upside is a stellar defensive centerfielder who hits for scary power. If that’s not a possible stand-out, I’m not sure what is.
Anyway. It’s got fun quotes like
“Well, consider that since the Mariners selected Gil Meche in the first round in 1996, they have not drafted a single player in the first round who is currently on their roster.
They have drafted only one other player in the first round Ã¢â‚¬â€ pitcher Matt Thornton, picked in 1998 and now with the White Sox Ã¢â‚¬â€ who is on a big-league roster anywhere.”
1997 – Ryan Anderson
1998 – Matt Thornton
1999 – Heaverlo (supplemental 1st round)
2000 – no pick
2001 – Michael Garciaparra (supplemental)
2002 – John Mayberry
2003 – Adam Jones (supplemental)
2004 – no pick
2005 – Jeff Clement
If I may, that’s kind of a harsh statement. The value of a pick drops dramatically after the first few picks, and because the team was signing free agents by the bushel, they didn’t get many true first round picks. Now, whether that strategy was good or not, we can debate, and certainly they didn’t get any value out of later picks, either (I’m sure if you’ve read USSM for more than a few weeks you’ve come across us slagging the Gillick-Mattox drafts). The Times article mentions this a ways into the article, but it seems like as a quick, top-level stat, it makes it seem like the Mariners had almost 10 years of quality first round picks and came away with nothing, when they didn’t get that.
So, for fun…
Best Players Drafted After Failed M’s Picks
A horribly unfair retrospective
1997 – ugh. Adam Kennedy, maybe?
1998 – Brad Wilkerson
1999 – not alot
2001 – David Wright
2002 – Uh, Jeremy Reed, who went in the second round? I’m reaching here
… and that’s with full hindsight
Also contains a nice quote from Bavasi:
“I’ve said before that no matter what free agent you sign at the major-league level, they will never have the true impact they could have until you have a minor-league system supplying the club with a core of players,” Bavasi said. “When you sign a [Jarrod] Washburn and you’re throwing him on top of the heap you have, all of a sudden his impact is felt at a greater level as opposed to signing guys like that and catching up with the farm system. … The free-agent market will always be important to major-league clubs Ã¢â‚¬â€ we’re not swearing off that Ã¢â‚¬â€ but scouting and player development will always be the lifeblood.”
I don’t understand what that Washburn sentence means, but I entirely agree with the larger sentiment there.