Determining the value of draft picks


Every team and every person has a different philosophy about how their team should approach the draft, and to be honest there is no right answer. I’ve always preferred high school players because the sooner you get them into a professional system with professional instruction and conditioning programs, the better. College programs have come a long way, but those coaches can still do lots of damage (especially to pitchers). Oh sure, you’ll have to wait longer for your prize when drafting high schoolers, but that’s life.

In a piece for THT, Alex Pedicini looked at the top 100 draft picks from 1992-1999, and determined the most valuable demographics in terms of WAR. College hitters in the first round are generally the safest group, averaging 1.336 WAR per year during their first six seasons in the bigs (which their original team controls), while college pitchers are the most dangerous at just 0.649 WAR/year. That’s right, taking a high school pitcher in the first round has historically been a safer pick that their college counterparts.

Pedicini also breaks it down by draft pick (the top 20 picks are by far the most valuable) and position (corner infielders and outfielders are the safest, righty pitchers by far the riskiest). Check it out, it’s a short but very interesting read.

Categories : Asides, Draft


  1. Slugger27 says:

    teams rebuilding dont need athletically gifted position players or talented righty pitchers with upside

    the pirates and astros should just draft the best 8th inning, 7th inning, and 6th inning relievers in the 1st 3 rounds and win a title already

  2. Warren says:

    Will be of interest which MLB Team starts using a standard 5 innning starter, 6th inning guy, 7th inning guy, 8th inning guy, 9th inning guy (Closer)

  3. toad says:

    I don’t think averages are a very useful way to think about draft picks. What you want is upside.

    I’d rather see what characteristics most likely produce an average MLB WAR above whatever number than what the average is. The average draft pick doesn’t even make the majors. Only 338 of the 800 Pedicini looked at did. (Which makes his results not very useful.)

    Variance is your friend. It’s can easily be better to pick from a low-mean high-variance group than a high-mean low-variance one.

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