Thursday, October 08, 2009

Giants 2010 Draft Thoughts

A poster on McCovey Chronicles discussed the Giants 2010 pick, analyzing how 24th picks in the past fared (BTW, as reported in Baseball America, the Giants pick 24th in 2010 :^). Below is part of my answer there, regarding signability picks, that I wanted to post here as well:

And I totally agree about making signability picks with not just the #24, but going forward. That's the MLB today and there seems to be more and more of those in recent years, so it wouldn't stick out as unusual. The Giants would be remiss not to budget money for doing that, much like when they signed Ishikawa for nearly $1M in the later rounds. People were upset about not getting Porcello in the Alderson slot but you could not justify to Bumgarner's people paying Porcello $3.5M when you are only giving $2M to Madison. I like Bumgarner more than Porcello, I think Sabean and company made the right decision on who to pick there.

But now, we have no such restraints and it is much more common today to do stuff like that. Hopefully the Giants are keeping (hear this Neukom?) some budget aside for any possible signability selections in the early rounds, so that we can pick up somebody like Casey Kelly that Boston signed, for the picks after a winning season.

Heck, the money we saved this season on payroll and draft (combined, they were much less than in 2008, by $5-10M, plus didn't sign any Latin bonus babies) should just be put aside and fund rainy day signability picks, plus money should be set aside every year for that. If the Giants hope to build a dynasty during the 2010's - and they have a great base to build from - they will need to feed the prospect making machine with talent.

The only consistent ways to get prospect talent is to 1) lose big time, so that you get a Top 10 pick and ideally a Top 5 pick, 2) sign top international free agents, both Latin and abroad, and 3) when you don't have a high pick in the first round, use your first picks to try to sign signability picks. Once you start winning, 1 is no longer an option, so the team needs to keep investing, and that's the key word here, INVESTING, in the future. Not that this rule cannot be bent once in a while to sign a free agent that you need to be competitive that season, because, as shown above, you ain't losing much, but the general guiding priniciple is the need to keep feeding talent into the farm system.

Using business terms that Neukom should understand, consider this to be your R&D budget. The best companies, particularly technology companies like Microsoft, devote a large portion of their budget to R&D, because it is your pipeline of future products/prospects. This was not really possible in the MLB until the past couple of years, because teams were not doing that regularly plus, more importantly, amateurs weren't playing this game much either, so there were not that many falling, but with the Yankees and Red Sox shoving the door wide open on this practice, the leading MLB teams going forward are those who are willing to budget for these signability buys.

Not that throwing $2-3M on a signability pick is going to guarantee you a good prospect - that would be the MBD (Matt Bush Disorder) where you think the guy is good just because you gave him $2-3M - so you must still have good scouting, but if your scouting is good, they should be able to pinpoint a few signability plays for their first pick every season. I have seen picks down to the 4th round (I think it was the Angels and Harvey a couple of years ago) that were based on signability, so the Giants need to be prepared to pull the trigger when the opportunity presents itself.


  1. Thanks, for your input, OGC. Your draft order insights make a ton of sense. While having the Giants pick in the upper third is exciting and makes for great blog material, winning is way better. The only way to have the best of both worlds in the draft and in having a winning record is just as you point out about specifically planning for and targeting signability prospects.

  2. It's weird to see the G's picking so late. Seems like it's been forever. Maybe the Molina situation will net us an additional 1st rounder.

  3. I think the conditions are right for getting a pick for Molina:

    * he has a good reputation for handling a pitching staff.

    * he has some reputation for being a good defensive catcher.

    * he has been a good hitting catcher the past few years, though his drop in 2009 is a pause for caution, but his 20 HR and 25 doubles are good signs.

    * he ended the year strong, hitting .267/.308/.446/.754 in the second half vs. .264/.269/.439/.708 in the first half. Plus he hit very well in August (.873 OPS) and pretty good in September (.766 OPS), late in the season.

    * His poorest months coincide with him welcoming in his first child: May, June, and July.

    That would be attractive to a playoff contending team that needs a good catcher, and which would be willing to give up a pick for him.

    And good thing, because Molina wants a pay raise over his $6M salary.

    I've see the Mets mentioned. Boston could be interested, Varitek had a down year, for the second year in a row, and three out of four. I think Boston is done with him, and I don't see them putting Victor Martinez back there either.

    The D-gers might be interested. Martin had another down season offensively, it could be the C position getting to him physically, so they might get Molina and move Martin to, say, 2B, which is where he played when drafted, or 3B, where he has played part-time in the majors, and played some in the minors as well (but not much).

    FYI, he was drafted as a 2B in 2002 at age 19, played SS/3B that year in pro ball, was converted to C in 2003, and was in the majors full-time in 2006 as a C, at age 23. I have to think that Posey is ready to start in the majors in 2010, based on what Martin did. And Martin didn't even hit as well as Posey did in the minors, at the same age.

    Ironically, the Rays might be interested in Molina, Navarro had a horrible offensive season, absolutely terrible. They have Zaun, and there is talk they might re-sign him, but he'll be 39 next season, a big risk, while Molina is only 35 next season, which is relatively young for C, some think they peak older.

    Florida could use a C but I don't think they are shelling out the money for him, if they are unwilling to pay for Uggla. Plus, I forgot, they have Paulino, who we briefly controlled this spring, so they might go with him possibly.

    Detroit might want to get Molina, Laird didn't hit that well in 2009, and their window has to be closing in a few years, they need to cash in the next couple of years.

    Texas might be willing to get Molina, as Salty had a bad season. Molina said that he would be OK with a transition over 2 seasons, and that would be what he would be doing with Salty in Texas, allowing Salty to get more experience hitting at DH and 1B, while also catching regularly.

    Brewcrew could possibly be interested. Young team overall, some young pitching staff that Molina could guide, they might be tired of Kendall, who had a poor offensive season again and is not signed for 2010.

    Plenty of teams with 1st round picks to give up for Molina who might need him. Some with some pressure to pull trigger fast, so we might not have to offer arbitration, he could sign before the deadline should a team feel pressured to get him since there are no other comparable C offensively, he's the only A available, and there are a number of teams who might want in on Molina, who have the money and the short-fuse to win now.

    I am thinking more and more, make Posey the starter, sign Jose Molina on the cheap to be backup and mentor to Posey, at worse Molina is the best defensive catcher in the majors, Posey could sit more while Molina starts, let things digest mentally, plus he could probably steal some ABs at 1B every now and then, plus he could DH.

    Meanwhile, we get two draft picks for Molina, probably 1st rounder that would allow us to sign a Type A free agent and lose our own pick. That is a lot of teams that should be interested in one way or another in Bengie.

  4. Yay @ good news regarding Bengie.

    I'm very glad that most teams looking at him will be contenders and thus with unprotected draft picks.

    Aren't the Rangers loaded at catcher?

  5. Sorry dregarx, I only looked at winning teams looking for catchers. I did not look at protected teams that might want a catcher.

    Mainly, I don't think a rebuilding team would want the Molina of today. He's headed to the back side of his career, where decline is possible. While that might scare contenders too, they have a greater need to take that risk because they need to improve at C and their window could be closing (it also depends on their strategy with their team).

    Texas does have Teagarden too, yes, and Max Ramirez. So, yes, they could chose to go young and hope one of them produces. But Molina, over the past few years has hit 100 OPS over what Salty and Teagarden hit in 2009. Now, both might improve, but at 87 wins, the team might decide that they need to go for it in 2010.

    But, the team is relatively young anyway, so you are right, they might decide to go young at C and see what happens.

    My main point is that there might be some interest on the part of these teams to pick up a catcher to capitalize on their good record in 2009, and make it better in 2010. I might be missing some young C that came to the fore in 2009, however, so that obviously would change things.

  6. Tom Hicks is trying to sell the Rangers and he's having to borrow m0only from MLB so I don't think they'll have the loot to spend on positions they can fill from within.
    Boston makes a ton of sense. I believe that Mike Lowell's contract is up so the team is likely to move Youkilis to 3rd and play V-Mart at 1st. They could also find a free agent 3rd or 1st baseman and play V-Mart at catcher.

  7. I meant money. Hicks is borrowing money.

  8. New at this, but after reading all the other comments, I would like to say that B Molina is a great catcher and the Giants should keep him, yes he might need a raise why not. but Sabastian made a alot of mistakes I think, no space to mention them here. The Giants need hitters, the team plays good in the field, but their hitting need improvement.



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