Yanks’ recent drafts grade out as middle of the pack

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Every year Jim Callis at Baseball America grades each team’s draft based solely on the quality of players they signed, and over the last four seasons (2005-2008), the Yanks’ drafts grade out as middle of the pack with a 2.63 GPA (tied with the Padres and Cardinals for 15th overall). Things would have been much worse if not for the epiphany draft of 2006, which rated as a pure A in Callis’ book. Both the 2007 and 2008 hauls were considered C’s, while 2005 came in as a C+. Obviously, the Yanks would have received a boost had they signed Gerrit Cole in 2008, probably pushing that draft up to at least a B.

The two best drafting clubs during that time have been the Giants and Red Sox, both of whom sport a 3.50 GPA. The Astros bring up the rear with a 1.25 GPA. I think they put you on academic probation for that.

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Guest Post: Parrying with Jon Heyman's HOF ballot
Open Thread: Global World Series?
  • Steve H

    On one hand middle of the pack looks good as they were drafting late every year and couldn’t get big time impact guys (with little to no concerns).

    On the other hand they can and have paid over slot to get high impact guys with signability concerns. Even at that though, they still don’t have a shot at the Uptons/Wieters/Strasburgs of the world though.

    As a fan I’m ok with middle of the pack.

    • Bob Stone

      I agree, although it bothers me that Boston scored higher and they are oviously drafting low like the Yankees. What are they doing that the Yankees aren’t?

      • steve (different one)

        the Sox draft well, but they had a million picks in 2005 from letting Pedro and Lowe walk

        • steve (different one)

          5 picks in the top 57 spots.

          Ellsbury, Hansen, Lowrie, Buccholz, Bowden

    • Lanny

      No one here should be ok with middle of the pack. With the Yankees resources they should be near the top every yr. Esp with their ability to go over slot and target high value prospects in every round. Just because they cant get a Strasburg doesnt mean they cant get 5 over slot arms.
      They and everyone shouldnt be content with middle tier. You see what a difference having a good and fertile system is. The last 2 yrs they were able to make numerous trades without touching any of their top valued prospects. You got to keep that going. There can be no down yrs.

  • Hughesus Cristo

    They should figure out what went right in 2006, and start doing more of that.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      What went right in 2006: Luck

      • Steve H

        Ok, so they should start being lucky more.

      • Lanny

        Luck? With their resources and ability to go over slot luck shouldnt be involved. Their scouts should be better than everyone else. If not you find ones who are and hire them.

        • king of fruitless hypotheticals

          I need to start working with them as an associate…I really think that if I were scouting the local area high schools it would greatly improve their drafts…

  • AndrewYF

    How do they rank the quality of the drafts? By what rankings they give the prospects that were signed from those drafts?

    I have no idea how you can grade a draft from 2 years ago. Most of those players haven’t even gotten to AA yet. Even 5 years ago, those players are either still in AAA, or 1st-or-2nd-year players.

    The best way to grade drafts is 10 years down the line. The Sox’s 2005 haul may look impressive now (the first five picks all have made the majors in some form or another), but Buchholz is still more likely to flame out than ever become a major league regular, and Jacoby Ellsbury will now be one of the lighest-hitting LF-ers in the league (non-Brett Gardner division). Craig Hansen’s major league career is likely over, and Jed Lowrie has shown almost nothing at the major league level. Same with Bowden, who will be lucky to approach even half of what Jeff Suppan has done.

    Could do the same exact analysis with the Yankees’ 2006 haul.

    All this shows is that Baseball America likes Giants and Red Sox prospects more than any other systems’. It means nearly nothing as to how well the teams actually draft, or how valuable those players they drafted will become.

    • Reggie C.

      We’re watching two different games if what you fail to see is Grady Sizemore Upgrade 2.0 in Jacoby Ellsbury.

      /Gammons’d

    • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

      Ten years may be a bit too much. You need at the very least, six years, in my opinion.

      But let’s give credit to the Sox—they draft well. There’s no harm in saying it. You can nitpick with some of their players and make the same argument with any farm. Ellsbury, even with his defensive woes, is still a pretty good leadoff hitter and has a good chance of getting better. Lowrie is still young and has little experience, ditto for Bowden. They have talent in Kalish, Anderson, Kelly, Westmoreland, Reddick, Rizzo, Renfroe.

      This is a silly article, but have a little prospective.

      • Ed

        Ten years may be a bit too much. You need at the very least, six years, in my opinion.

        To fully judge a draft, that’s probably reasonable.

        A really strong draft usually stands out well before then though – the Yankees 2006 draft class is already amazing based on the results so far. Several more players from that draft could hit the majors soonish, and there’s a few that have only touched the majors that could become significant.

        • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

          Yeah, there are degrees and odd cases. No doubt. The Rockies class of ’09, for instance, looks to have a lot of 1st-round-talent players in it. That, for me, would merit a strong grade, but some element of sustained analysis is another part of the equation, a part I think largely removed when data is quantified in such a manner, particularly so when there is no explained rubric.

        • AndrewYF

          But what does it really mean to have a ‘really strong draft class’? To have well-regarded prospects, how they do in the majors be damned?

          Remember that everyone was falling over themselves to praise the Oakland A’s drafts in the early decade. Turns out, they kinda sucked.

          • Chris

            The A’s drafts were actually pretty good. They averaged more than one good major leaguer per year from 1997 through 2004.

            1997: Hudson
            1998: Mulder, Laird, Byrnes
            1999: Zito, Ludwick
            2000: Harden
            2001: Bonderman (didn’t sign Ethier)
            2002: Swisher, Blanton, Mark Teahen
            2003: Ethier
            2004: Street

            • AndrewYF

              Averaging one major leaguer from 2001 to 2004 is not much to brag about. Remember that in 2002, they had 7 picks in the first 39. Let that sink in for a moment. To come out with only Swisher, Blanton and Teahen(who sucks) is an abject failure.

              Yet the onset of ‘Moneyball’ and the deserved fame of Billy Beane in constructing amazing ballclubs on a shoestring budget made everyone severely overrate the A’s draft classes, thinking that everything Beane touched turned to gold.

              It’s why we need time and perspective to adequately judge draft classes. We now have that with the A’s of the early decade. We do not with the draft classes covered here.

              • JAG

                To be fair, most teams have a lot less success than to average 1 major leaguer every draft. Admittedly, there was a lot of talent in 2002 (Jon Lester, Jonathan Broxton, Brian McCann, Joey Votto all went in the 2nd round, Curtis Granderson and Elijah Dukes went in the 3rd, and Josh Johnson went in the 4th), but can you really expect the A’s to strike gold with all their picks? They took Swisher over Cole Hamels and James Loney, and Blanton over Matt Cain. Did that end up being wrong? Possibly, the A’s sure would have a superb pitching staff if they had Hamels and Cain. But Swisher was a great talent too, and Blanton was highly regarded as well. I don’t think a 42.8% success rate is all that bad, to be honest. Sure, if an A’s fan with a time machine could go back, the A’s could have built a truly monster team with that draft. But that’s kind of a lot to expect.

                -JM

              • My Pet Goat

                This is the issue with blanket praise for the Red Sox in regards to their draft acumen. Theo’s shop is (or was, Jack Z is the new sheriff in town) the ‘it’ front office, and there’s a lazy short-hand that accompanies analysis of their moves. What concerns me is not so much are-the-Red-Sox-good-at drafting vs are-they-the-greatest-drafting-team-ever… no what concerns me is whether or not Oppenheimer is a one-hit wonder. The low-upside, high-polish types (Kennedy, Bleich, will I offend if I say McAllister) make decent trade fodder, and the Yanks seem content to have their farm system serve that purpose, but certainly there’s some benefit to drafting, talented caucasian young men with bushy goat-tees.

      • Bob Stone

        I agree. Six years sounds about right. And, as I replied to Steve H above, I am impressed with the Sox drafts given that they have low picks like the Yankees.

        Nitpick: I think you meant perspective.

        • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

          Yeah. I fumble on that one sometimes. Thanks, Bob.

    • t

      While I do agree somewhat, I would assume it’s based on how the prospects are doing now. Obviously a lot of guys can break out or fall off but right now the 08 draft pics are nothing special.

    • Lanny

      It’s not an exact science you know that right? It is BA’s predictions. They really like SF and Bos. It’s not like they are getting paid by those teams to inflate their prospects. They are a trusted independent source.

  • http://twitter.com/JamalG_BB Jamal G.

    Counting just the 2006-2008 drafts, the Yankees have had a total score of eight, or a three-year average of 2.66. Compared to the league-average score of 2.65 over the same timeframe, the Yankees’ draft score was 0.004% above the league average. WIN.

    • http://pendingpinstripes.net Greg F.

      Now adjust it for draft position and give me GPA+?

    • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

      Quantifying drafts arbitrarily over a sample too small to even distinguish real player value? LOSS.

    • Camilo Gerardo

      like your style

  • AJ

    Damn the Red Sox and their damn good scouting department.

    Meanwhile, sorry it’s off topic…MLBTR – Chien-Ming Wang is telling friends he’s prepared to move on from the Yankees, according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. Abraham says Wang should be ready to join an MLB rotation in May.

    • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

      Open thread starts at 7. You can’t say four inconsequential words on topic and then spring that. Besides, that qualifies as “submit a tip” (hint, hint).

  • Camilo Gerardo

    Jesus Montero, How are we going to catch up to the red socks and their amateur scouting!?!? maybe copy their propaganda style?

    • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

      Teams can be good at things without it being propaganda or a media-conspiracy.

      A better argument involves admitting when an opponent has strengths or points of merit.

      • AndrewYF

        That’s true. For example, the Red Sox identify good American amateur prospects a bit better than the Yankees. They also have not signed as many type-A free agents over the same period, so they have had more chances to get a good player in the early rounds.

        At the same time, the Yankees blow the Red Sox (and most everyone else, for that matter) out of the water when it comes to identifying worthwhile Latin American prospects.

        • pat

          Interesting to note, we’ve only had 1 draft in the past 20 years where we didn’t had a first round pick. 2 if you want to count last year having the protected picks.

          • pat

            *didn’t have.

        • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

          It would seem that the Yanks do a better job with Dominican/Venezuelan IFA. That tide may be changing with the Sox’s seemingly renewed interest in the IFA market (or, more accurately, Latin American talent). Iglesias, Chapman could throw them right back into the thick of things (I know they’re Cuban).

          They do have Pimentel, Roman Mendez, Oscar Tejada as some really toolsy, talented DR kids. Probably not on the same level as the Montero, Ramirez, DeLeon, Sosa level, but they could be good.

    • Lanny

      Can some of you actually give credit to the Sox and their scouting and drafting?

      I know some of you want to trash them at every turn but try to be objective.

  • pat

    I don’t think all A’s are created even.

    Sox got an A in 2005 for Bard/Masterson/Kalish/Reddick/Lars.

    Come on, gimme a freaking break. 2 relievers 2 guys whop havent’t hit in AA or AAA and Kalish who is a decent prospect. That’s an A?

    Our A in 2006 was for Joba/IPK/DRobb/Melancon/ZMac/Betances and to a lesser extent Russo/Dan McCutcheon/Colin Curtis.

    IMO Joba is more valuable than all of those Sox guys. Which group would you rather have?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Holy shnikees, way to mix draft classes.

      The Sox got Ellsbury, Buchholz, Bowden, Lowrie, and Craig Hansen in 2005. They also drafted (but didn’t sign) future first rounders Pedro Alvarez and Allan Dykstra.

      Bard, Masterson, Lars, Reddick, and Kalish was 2006.

      • crawdaddie

        Do you think BA is fair with their grades?

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          I believe so.

          • crawdaddie

            I don’t, I think this site gives too much credit to BA and guys like Keith Law.

            • Accent Shallow

              Are you saying that there are scouts whose opinions you prefer, or that all MiL enthusiasts (Sickels, Kevin Goldstein) are full of it?

      • pat

        Hahah, and 2006 was the year they got a B+ not an A. Oops. Misplaced indignation FTL!

      • Reggie C.

        Theo must be kicking himself for not seeing through the Alvarez selection to completion. That might be why he gave Westmoreland a seven-figure signing bonus at the end of the day.

        • pat

          They took Laporta in 2005 too.

          • pat

            SHIT make that 2006.

      • king of fruitless hypotheticals

        yeah that’s what Pat meant–if both those classes are A’s, then one of those A’s was community college and one was not…

    • AndrewYF

      The Sox got a B+ for that group of players, which was 2006.

      My problem with these grades is that the Sox probably would have gotten an A for this same group of players one year ago. What changed? Well, Anderson imploded, and Masterson proved to be not much more than a reliever.

      Such is the way with prospects. Until they hit the major leagues, you have almost no idea what they are going to become. Perspective and time is needed in order to grade draft classes effectively. We have neither yet.

      What I liked much better was the WAR values for team’s draft classes, many years (I think at least 10?) past those drafts. Much, much more useful than seemingly completely subjective grades.

  • crawdaddie

    I agree that the grading by BA is too subjective especially since they originally gave high grades to the Red Sox when those classes were drafted in 2005 and 2006. To go back now and revise those high grades is something BA would want to avoid because it would mean they were wrong in some regard.

  • T-Bird

    Thanks to the LA picks for making up for some questionable picks. I blame Oppenheimer for the mediocrity. Too many Chris Smith’s and not enough Casey Kelly’s.

    • steve (different one)

      i get that these were just examples, but the Yankees took Gerrit Cole instead of Casey Kelly.

      it’s not like they passed on Kelly to take Justin Pope.

  • Lanny

    The loss of Cole will be felt for a while.

    • AndrewYF

      Unless Heathcott lives up to his potential.

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