Sunday, January 31, 2016

Season 13 draft retrospective

Intro:  This is part one of my attempt to put up some draft retrospectives so we can see how good/bad some season's drafts were and who consistently nails or misses their picks.  The plan is to do three or four of these each season: for 20, 15, 10, and possibly 5 seasons prior. The first three will be based mostly on stats/accolades and, if this project goes on long enough, we can see how winners/losers have changed over time.  I will be giving a synopsis for the top five overall picks, followed by the top picks of round one, top comp picks, and top picks from the rest of the draft.  Following our top picks we will have first round flops, then a section for any pick that merits discussion but doesn't fit into the categories above.  The final sections will be best overall team drafts and a few discussion points.  I am considering value and draft position when picking winners and flops.  Your top five picks are all probably “winners”, but they all should be, so I'm not going to list them in the winners section unless they are truly exceptional.  If there is anything you want more/less of, let me know.  And if anyone is interested in doing the 5 seasons ago draft retrospective, please let me know.  That would be largely projection based and I don't have a predictive formula or easy way to move all the player data into a spreadsheet so it will likely be too tedious for me to attempt.

Top 5 picks:
Del Redondo P Los Angeles Dodgers: Awards: 5x AS.  1X WS champ.  Summary:  Still playing at 38, probably has as good of a HOF resume than season 21 inductee Bartolo Escobar, despite somehow not having any Cy Young winning seasons. Career (as of end of season 32) 207-135, 3083.2 IP 2475K 3.05 ERA.  3X 20 game winner.  11X 200+ Innings pitched seasons.  10X sub 3.00 ERA seasons.  1X 200K season.  In short, this is the resume that you want your top overall pick to have.

Nate Hood LF San Diego Padres:  Awards: 1X MVP.  4X Silver Slugger (2 @ 2B, 2 @ LF).  1X Gold Glove (LF).  6X AS.  1X WS champ.  Summary:  Power bat who could draw walks and play serviceable 2B or GG caliber LF early in his career, Hood is another success for a top five pick.  If he had the defensive chops to stick at 2B instead of shifting over to LF, I could see a case for arguing Hood as the best player out of this draft.  Stats: 2358 GP.  2261 Hits.  514 HR.  .885 OPS.  1X 50 HR season,
7x .900+ OPS seasons, 1X 1.000+ OPS season.

Artie Linebrink
SS Pittsburgh Pirates:  Awards:  3X Gold Glove (SS).  6X AS.  5X WS champ.  Summary:  Obviously, you can't knock an important cog in multiple championship squads too much, but you generally want more from a #3 pick.  Defense wasn't Ozzie Smith levels of dominant and while he hit decently for a SS, he only had a few seasons with the bat overall that would be classified as above average relative to the league. Career: 1864 games .693 OPS.

Mikey York RF Nashville Sounds:  Awards 1x AS.  Summary:  Unexciting, but consistently produced at league average or better.  Unfortunately, as someone who primarily suited up at RF, York's bat wasn't the standout bat that you would like to find in the top five.  Career: 1674 games  1645 hits  264 HR  280 SB .784 OPS

Grover Thames P Florida Marlins: Awards 1X AS.  Summary:  Workhorse pitcher who twice had seasons of over 270 IP, Thames probably rates higher for me than the previous two picks.  He was rarely, if ever, a top five SP in his league, but he was durable, had a better than league average ERA, and in fifteen seasons his lowest innings pitched total was 184.  Career: 203-174 3507.2 IP 2413 K 3.72 ERA.  1X 20 win season  13X 200+ IP seasons

First round wins:
Del Redondo P #1 overall Los Angeles Dodgers:  See above write-up.

Richie Lloyd P #18 overall Colorado Rockies:  If he had the stam/dur to pitch more innings or got stretched out as a starter more often, he would have ranked top three in this class with Redondo and Hood.  Career-wise he posted a 3.24 ERA over 1596.2 innings.  The eye opener here are his season 27-29 performances.  These were his only three seasons as a full-time SP and he pitched between 163 ad 181.2 innings posting ERAs under three each season.  Fans to wonder what could have been if he had been allowed to start.  When compared to some of the flops from the next section it really makes his draft-day fall a head scratcher.

Sammy Quevedo CF #19 overall Arizona Diamondbacks: Quevedo spent seven years as a solid defensive CF before his range tailed off his final four years leading to a total of 32 “minus” plays, compared to seven total his first seven seasons.  On his career, he played 1478 games totaling 1426 hits, 291 HR 195 SB and .781 OPS. Compare his stats to top five pick Mikey York and consider his seven seasons of acceptable CF defense and you can see why I think he was one of the best picks in the first round.

Jim Fasano C #20 overall St Louis Cardinals:  Fasano was a prototypical big power C who could handle catching duties well enough.  Eight seasons of 30+ HR, 424 career HR and a .780 career OPS is great value at #20.  Factor in an MVP, four Silver Sluggers, and 4 AS appearances and you have a solid steal.

Sandy Quinn 1B #24 overall Washington Nationals:  Quinn had a long career ending up with 2520 hits, 562 HR and an .877 OPS over 2259 games.  He gave up a few too many negative plays, but when you have six 40+ HR seasons and another seven 30+ seasons, you can get away with missing a play or two.  Quinn never made an All-Star team and only won one Silver Slugger, but his value was undeniable and was probably the second best pure hitter in the draft.

Comp rd Winners:
Connie Adams CF/2B Comp #38 overall Chicago Cubs:  Adams spent parts of twelve seasons in the bigs.  His bat was sub-par, checking in with a .641 OPS over 1640 games, but he won a Gold Glove at both 2B and CF.  Overall, his longevity and above average fielding up the middle made him a solid value.

Footsie Richard 3B/2B/OF Comp #48 Los Angeles Dodgers:  Richard was a pretty good defensive 3B his first two seasons, combining for 30 + plays over that time, but he moved all around the field.  Based on innings his primary position was 2B and he won two Gold Gloves in the outfield.  He was solid at the plate, usually good for 20-30 HR though he couldn't take a walk if you gave him traffic signals and a crossing guard.  In 1306 games he had an OPS of .724 and factoring in park effects of cavernous Dodger Stadium and you end up with another great pickup for the Dodgers.

Round 2-25 winners:
Yeico Aramboles P RD 7 #241 overall Cleveland Indians:  Playing in parts of eight seasons, Aramboles put up a couple of clunkers but also put up multiple seasons where he was better than league average.  A career 4.34 ERA over 307 innings isn't stellar, but it is solid and a huge value in round seven.

Ira Matzek C RD 10 #330 overall Pittsburgh Pirates:  Matzek played parts of eight seasons, putting up an OPS of .732 in 864 games and taking home one Gold Glove and one Silver Slugger.  Absolute steal for round 10.

Derrek Redding C RD 15 #495 overall Boston Red Sox:  Redding was a defensive catcher, but a career OPS of .673 over 874 games is better than a lot of guys drafted ahead of him. A 34.8% career caught stealing % puts him just 6 runners per 100 outside of being top five all-time.

First round flops:
Cristian Wellemeyer P #10 overall Cleveland Indians:  I almost left Wellemeyer off this list due to pitching over parts of six seasons and a solid season 20 showing resulting in a 3.71 ERA over 162.2 innings.  Overall though, Wellemeyer had a 5.01 career ERA over 586 innings, which considering his best season accounted for over 25% of his total innings means that most of his six big league seasons were pretty sub-par  One good season sandwiched by several seasons of unrealized promise are fine for a guy picked in the 30s, but not what you want to see in the top 10.

Wesley Brown P #11 overall NY Yankees:  Brown pitched 108 innings over parts of three seasons resulting racking up a 5-9 record with 18 saves and a 4.67 ERA.

Reid Finnessey
P #14 overall Anaheim Angels:  Finnessey spend 2.5 seasons as a starter and small parts of three more seasons as a we're-all-gonna-die emergency option.  Like Wellemeyer, this wouldn't be a total flop in the 30s, but this high up you should be getting more.

Alex Marrero P #17 overall Texas Rangers:  Even giving leniency for a slightly hitter friendly park, when half of your seasons probably resulted in negative value then it is safe to say you are not meeting expectations.  5.10 ERA over 1140 career innings, he spent his last two seasons collecting $11 million while riding around in a minor league bus.

Trent Goodwin OF/2B/3B #23 overall Minnesota Twins:  Goodwin spent six seasons in the bigs, of which only one was solidly above average at the plate.  Combine this with a defensive profile that didn't quite suit any up the middle positions and you have a guy who didn't provide much positive value.  Interesting tidbit:  Like Marrero Goodwin spent two seasons collecting over $10 million to play in the minors.  The contracts were signed one season apart by the same team: the Texas Rangers.

Paul Wall P #29 Detroit Tigers:  I don't know how a guy with a career ERA of 6.50 winds up playing parts of ten ML seasons and collects over $16 million to do it, but Wall managed just that.  Maybe it was the career 8.38 minor league ERA that sold everyone?

Billy Griffin P #34 overall Milwaukee Brewers:  Griffin was the last of the true first round picks and as such he will be our last season 13 flop.  Griffin spent parts of two seasons in the Bigs compiling a 5.40 ERA over 41.2 innings before retiring at 29.

Intriguing picks:
Ronald Giles CF #13 Kansas City Royals:  Giles is an interesting case in wasted talent.  He made four All-star teams, won one Gold Glove in CF and was a two time Silver Slugging CF; he accomplished all of this despite playing just six full seasons.  Overall, he played in 1,016 games posting an OPS of .745.  I have been purposefully ignoring ratings for the bulk of this project, but looking at his range, he probably could have had another 5-6 productive seasons up the middle. Given the chance, Giles probably would have put up numbers that would place his performance somewhere around Linebrink's within the context of this draft class.

Best Draft:
Los Angeles Dodgers:  They win this one handily.  In addition to being winners in round 1 and the comp round, 2nd round pick Cap Sullivan just missed making the cut for later round winners.  Sullivan compiled a 4.10 ERA over 296.1 innings.  Had he spent more time in the Bigs or produced at a slightly higher level he would have cracked the list.  It should be noted that third round pick Cory Magee spent parts of seven seasons in the majors as a defensive specialist, but his bat was bad enough that he likely produced negative value.

Honorable Mention:
Arizona Diamondbacks:  Really the Dodgers were the only true winners in this draft. San Diego and Washington also were considered here, but the Diamondbacks get the spot because Quevedo was just that good.  Based on performance and position, I can see an argument for having Quevedo as high as the third best player out of this draft.  In addition to him. The Dbacks got value in the third with Glenallen Nicholson.  While Nicholson only played 320 games over parts of six seasons (and never in a Diamondbacks uniform), his production ended up being above league average and that made him a valuable fourth outfielder for several seasons.

Discussion points:
1)  Del Redondo vs. Bartolo Escobar:  Escobar has the awards, record, walk rate and slightly less pitcher friendly parks.  Redondo has HR rate, k rate and arguably had more seasons as a dominant #1.  You can have one of them in their prime, based purely on stats and not ratings; who do you take?

2)  Ronald Giles:  In six seasons as a full time CF he went to four All-star games, won a Gold Glove, and two Silver Sluggers. Based on his ratings, he could have had at least five more seasons in CF without being a huge liability.  If given those seasons as a full time CF, what does his career look like and where does he end up in this draft class?

3)  Richie Lloyd:  Lloyd spent three seasons as a full-time SP, his age 32-34 seasons.  He could only go about 5 innings a start, but it added an extra fifty or so innings per season.  If Lloyd were a rookie on your team right now, how would you use him going forward?  Is he a starter for you, maybe a closer or set up, or do you tailor your bullpen to him in an attempt to get him to vulture 20+ relief wins a season while maximizing innings?

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