Friday Links: Ichiro, New Commissoner, Draft

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The Yankees and White Sox continue their four-game series later tonight, so here are some links to help pass the time before the long holiday weekend.

Ichiro Wants To Pitch
Ichiro Suzuki has adapted to his new role as an extra outfielder very well so far, and he told David Waldstein that if the opportunity arises, he’d like to get back up on a mound at some point before his career ends. He pitched in the 1996 All-Star Game in Japan (video above) and would like to give it another shot. “Fastball and slider, but like all Japanese pitchers, the splitter is my bread and butter,” he joked. “If they need 100 pitches, I would have to get stretched out.” Obligatory “he couldn’t be worse than Alfredo Aceves!” joke goes here. Needless to say, Ichiro pitching needs to happen before the end of the season.

Reinsdorf Unhappy With Search For New Commissioner
Bud Selig is retiring after the end of the season, yet the search for his replacement has been unusual, according to Michael Schmidt. No search firm has been hired, a list of internal and external candidates has not been put together, and most meetings and interviews have happened in secret. The belief is Selig wants MLB COO Rob Manfred to take over, and ChiSox owner Jerry Reinsdorf is not happy because he feels the owners should conduct the search for the next commissioner since they have the most at stake. Reinsdorf has long been a Selig supporter but he’s also been very outspoken about labor relations and making sure things are fair for both sides. He’s right when he says Selig should have little input into the next commissioner because Selig has little to lose.

The Value Of Draft Picks
Over at Hardball Times, Matthew Murphy put together an in-depth analysis looking at the value of draft picks in today’s age, as teams get better at scouting and developing players (part one, part two, part three). There is some pretty gory math in the first two parts, but the third is a nice and neat recap. Long story short: the first five picks of the draft are insanely valuable (duh), but after that there’s very little difference in expected production between picks 6-10 and, say, 20-30. (The Yankees pick 55th overall this year and the expected value of that pick is about $4.5M in 2014 dollars.) There are a lot of teams who would benefit on the field from forfeiting a pick in the back half of the first round to sign a qualified free agent that aren’t doing it. Draft picks are both super important and overvalued.

Unofficial 2014 MLB Players Census
The folks at Best Tickets put together an unofficial census of 2014 MLB players. It includes things like salary information, number of years in the league, player size, countries and states of origin, race data, education levels, age distributions, all sorts of fun stuff. Check it out. I was (very) surprised to see which state produced the most big leaguers per capita.

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  • Mantle28

    Love reading stuff like this. Thought you guys would enjoy this

    • TWTR

      They are really good. I like the Walter White reference, btw.

    • jjyank

      I saw that yesterday. I gotta say, I had to check the link like three times to make sure it wasn’t an Onion article. Pretty funny.

    • Lukasz

      Btw the candy is pretty good, it’s like a better version of starburst…if you haven’t tried it yet, I recommend buying a package

    • RetroRob

      CC and Kelley are the most addicted and they’re both on the DL. There has to be some relation!

  • Edb

    I figured Tim Brosnan would be in line to replace Bud. He handles all the contracts and network deals right now. Only thing is he doesn’t have any experience dealing with the players.

  • Matt DiBari

    Forget Aceves, could Ichiro be a worse trainwreck lefty than Thornton?

  • jjyank

    Huh, South Dakota. I guess that’s just a function of a small population, still still. Would never have guessed that.

    • ALZ

      It is most likely an anomaly. When you are talking of 3 players, if you have 1 fewer it completely changes it.

  • jjyank

    I was initially surprised by the salary/race breakdown. But it makes sense when you think about it. A lot of Asian and Hispanic players are guys that are signed to MLB deals with high salary because they’re true free agents and, a lot of times, are older/more experiences. Guys like Tanaka, Darvish, Cespedes, Chapman, etc. And most white players are drafted and make the MLB minimum for three years before they even hit arbitration.

    • ALZ

      But most latin players are signed for way less. I wonder if it has a large part due to positions. I would think that a large portion of relievers are white, and I also wonder if there are certain populations that might be more willing to take extensions, that will change their earning power.

    • pft

      But blacks have higher salaries than whites and they are also drafted and make the minimum for 3 years, as do most non US hispanics not from Cuba

  • Ethan

    I really enjoyed the post on Draft Pick valuation. I’d be really interested in seeing some of the models/data sets that he worked with.

  • Kenny

    Jeter for Commish! Rivera for Commish! Some anti-Selig for Commish! Give the SOB a farewell tour and keep him out of the office until a new guy is chosen.

  • ALZ

    Not really surprising to see SD. You are talking about extremely small samples, and SD has well under a million people. If they had 2 mlers instead of 2 their stats would be completely different. Change that for California and there no real difference.

  • John

    Active players from San Pedro de Macoris:

    – Daniel Cabrera
    – Robinson Cano
    – Johnny Cueto
    – Alfonso Soriano
    – Jose Valverde
    – Junior Lake

    Population: 195,000

    Probably by far the city with the most players per capita. And good players too.

    • Dos Mas

      Johnny Cueto
      Pedro Ciriaco

  • Yan Solo

    So Selig is looking for his very own Dmitry Medvedev, huh? Good to know, Bud! Hope that door hits you real hard on the way out after they make sure you don’t handpick the next commissioner behind closed door secret meetings.
    Never been a big Reinsdorf fan, but I agree with him here. Bud’s input on the next commissioner should be the last input considered for the next commissioner.

    • pft

      Bud has some skeletons in that closet and needs his own man to succeed him. He also has dirt on most of the owners and MLB in general so owners fear offending him. My money is on Bud, he will be the hidden hand behind baseball for years to come

  • Brian in MA

    What stands out to me in that little census piece, on average players make more money NOT going to college, than going to college. Now obviously the decision to go or not is very dependent on individual situations (apparently Gerrit Cole came from a wealthy family, so money wasn’t an issue for buying him away from college). But if you are a really good player coming out of high school whose draft stock is falling because of a potential college commit, it might behoove you to drop the commitment and go pro.

    Of course, that skew could also be because those who don’t go to school have 3 years to earn money that you otherwise lose in college. But also potentially you get to the big leagues (and big money) 2-3 years sooner.

    • pft

      I think its because elite players skip college and get drafted and signed out of HS (Arod, Trout, etc), and they make the most money and skew the numbers. Those who are less certain about their future in baseball know they need a college degree to fall back on, and while many of these players are very good not as many are in the elite class.