Thursday, June 14, 2012

Is it Drafty in Here? Looking at the 2012 Draft

I had been in a discussion on MCC regarding the Giants draft strategy, or lack thereof, by many commenting in that thread.  One of the strategies that has been discussed in a number of places (including Baseball America) is the punting of high single digit draft picks by selecting seniors who would sign for low bonuses (I read on BA that one was in the 4 figure range, which is pretty low, I'll admit, and they noted this here; Fangraphs had an article on this with charts showing the disparity).

One of the things I learned in researching for this blog post is that every team can over spend by 5% of their budget before the penalties really kick in (start losing draft picks).  So the Giants over slot for Shilo McCall does not necessarily impact any other selection, as his was only about $75,000 over.  And the biggest one, Stratton, was exactly for slot.  And the BA Draft Pool calculator currently says the Giants appears to have signed all of their 22 draft picks for slot so far, except for Shilo, as his deal represents how much they are over right now.  With a 75% penalty, that adds on $55,800 to the cost of signing Shilo, which would mean that the Giants, if they get everyone else for slot, basically paid the same amount for Shilo as they had offered to McCasland.


Shouldn't Things Even Out

A lot of people are lauding the fact that some teams drafted seniors to clear up assigned bonus space in order to draft and sign high school players in the early teen rounds and denigrating the Giants for not following a similar strategy.

What I don't get is shouldn't the talent even out?  Because these other teams are drafting seniors in the late single digit rounds who would never be drafted that early otherwise, they are missing out on talent that are being drafted then in those rounds.  They would have to be under by a lot of picks to build up to a conceivably better high school player.  But assuming that all teams are paying at the same rate for talent, this should mean that as long as a team is at or under their allotted budget, they are buying the same amount of talent.  Even accounting for the extra $100K that a post-10th round pick gets "free", that is not much upside on even the Giants low $4.1M slotted budget.  Four such H.S. picks gets you $400K extra spending, only 10% over for the Giants, much less for other teams with higher slotted draft budgets.

So far, I'm seeing teams sign players mostly for slot value, but there are a number of them over already, and just a few under, saving maybe $25-50,000 per pick.  I suppose once the seniors bonuses come out, they will be much less, but I don't see how this strategy yields much for the effort put into it.

Giants Spending

One of the contentions was that the Giants are entering an era of lowered spending (i.e. being cheap), akin to the pre-Neukom Magowan era.  However, the Giants, to my mind, has never really been cheap, in terms of the draft, except for the years it punted draft picks, for which I blamed Magowan.  In my research of the early 2000's, I found that except for one season (I believe it was the year Linden was drafted), the bonuses paid were always in line with the five picks before and after, excluding outliers where a team might have paid way overslot for a prospect.  Futhermore, when it came to their top picks, they typically paid overslot to them.

Baseball America released some stats on spending on-line.  In one, they ranked by size the total spending on bonuses from 2007-11, covering 5 years.  The Giants spent $33.2M, which ranked them 13th.  And the top 3 are up there (Pirates, Nats, Royals) because they have had to pay some very expensive bonuses to get their #1 overall (or top 5) draft picks signed.  While the Giants averaged $6.6M per year spending on bonuses, compared to #4 Red Sox who spent $8.8M.  But they were an anomaly in that they did devote more money to the draft (of course, it helps that they pull in probably $100M more in revenues than the average team),  Compared to #5 Orioles and #6 Rays ($8.2M and $8.1M), they were within $1.5M.  Plus the Giants spent more than $2M apiece on Villalona and RafRod in that period too.

So while not one of the high spenders, they certainly weren't one of the bottom feeders (White Sox averaged  $3.7M and was less by a wide margin; if they were above by the same margin, they would jump from 30th to 22nd, and $116,000 more would put them into 20th.).

In 2011, when they got a back of first round draft pick and only one supplemental, they were 17th in the majors, but in a big middle where they could jump to 14th by spending $500K more, roughly.  Still, they were generous for the most part with their picks:

  • Panik:  slot $1,116,000; signed for same
  • Crick:  slot $717,300; signed for $900,000, over by $182,700 or 25%
  • Susac:  slot $411,300; signed for $1,100,000, over by $688,700 or 167%
  • Oropesa:  slot $258,300; signed for $550,000, over by $291,700 or 113%

Now, of course, the Giants could not spend over if they wanted to.  But did they go further and punt this draft?

High School Does Not Equal Better

One contention has been that the Giants blew it by not drafting high school players in rounds 11-20 when other teams were.  So I decided to dig into the high school class draftees starting with round 11.  I just don't get it.

What was pointed out to me was that teams were drafting BA top ranked players who fell past the 10th round early in the teen round, and thus picking up better draft pick than had they drafted them in the single digit rounds.  And they were right, there were a lot more seniors drafted in these rounds than before, but were they the steals everyone paints them out to be?  Not if you go by BA's Top 500 rankings.

In round 11, out of 10 high school players drafted, only four of them were ranked on BA's Top 500 list (which basically covers picks to round 14-15).  That means six of them were players that BA thought should not be drafted in round 11, a huge overdraft.  Out of the remaining four, only two of them were Top 100 prospects (with expected slot bonuses based on BA rank of $954,800 and $481,100).  Out of the remaining two, one was basically right there (drafted 341; ranked 370) and the other was a pick up of an earlier talent, but he was ranked 291 (roughly 8-9th round talent) so getting him in the 11th round isn't that big a win for any team.  And he was slotted for $127,600 and signed for $125,000, so the D-backs now are overslot by $25,000 instead of right around slot.

In round 12, out of 13 high school players draft, only five of them were ranked on BA's Top 500 list.  That means that eight of them were players that BA thought should not be drafted in round 12.  Out of the remaining five, none of them were Top 100 talent.  The highest was 162 (drafted #373; roughly round 4 level) with a slot of $262,000, which means that team theoretically should go over slot by $162,000 in order to sign him.  The next was 203 (drafted #385; roughly round 5 level) with a slot of $176,000 (or $76,000 over).  The other three were around where they should have been or was overdrafted.  #336 was selected with pick #389, #344 was selected with pick #390, and #489 was selected  with pick #392 (basically three rounds ahead).  In other words, BA thought that they should be no more than $100K anyway.

Where is the plundering by these teams?  I see maybe two actual steals (the two Top 100) that could not have happened earlier and thus this strategy did work for them.  But for the rest, they were for high school players who should have been drafted right around where they were suppose to be anyway.  And for the two OK deals (ranks 162 and 203), by waiting until then to draft them, now they have to pay overslot to get them, theoretically (if their pay was determined by BA's ranking).

Meanwhile, the teams that did not draft cheap seniors get the pick of the players sitting around not getting picked by these teams that are punting picks in rounds 6-10.

Also, studies of the draft (BP did one long ago, and Baseball Analysts did one a few years back) found that the value return from college players are much higher than that for high school players, up to 40% better value, and that seems to hold even for picks far in the back of the draft.

Giants Thoughts

Maybe I'm just too dense, but I don't see how this strategy works of punting picks in the high single digit rounds in order to draft high school players who fell in the draft because their monetary demands had outstripped the slots at some point.  I had suspected that there were few of these actual HS prospects but my research was so eye-opening, at least to me.  And I see the budget as a zero sum game, so unless you can bundle a bunch of these under-slot senior deals into a $1M prospect in rounds 11-20, I think things just evens out and you hadn't really accomplished much with your draft.

As we can see in rounds 11 and 12, it worked like this for exactly two teams, and one happened with the very first pick of the 10th round when Hunter Virant was drafted, and the other late in the 10th round when Trey Williams was drafted.  There were two others selected way after they should have been, based on rank, but they could have been actually drafted in the mid-single digits rounds for roughly the same amount and not count against your slot budget, as they do now, so I count those as even at best (if the pick they punted covers the overslot) and poor if they end up going over slot budget.

For the other 18 high school players, BA's Top 500 ranking suggests that they were huge overdrafts for the most part, though there were four who were basically ranked where they were selected (if I give a wide range).  And I cannot imagine that there were more of these hidden nuggets left to draft in rounds 13 and later, it had already dried up before round 12 began.

Furthermore, sabermetric studies of the draft has found that "College players are a better bet than high school players, although this advantage has decreased through the years."  So these teams are bucking sabermetric evidence that high school players return less value, as well as bucking BA's Top 500 ranking that these players should not even be selected in these rounds.  In other words, they better know what they are doing if they are going to draft high school players.

Now, one could argue that the Giants did not take advantage of these available players in rounds 6-10.  There was only one high school player drafted in that range, and another complaint was that many of them were relievers, of which we have an abundance.  I don't know prospects well enough to make a judgement on that.  But even the draftniks I talked with did not bother to tell me why the players the Giants drafted were not interesting talent, basically it was accepted that the prospects the Giants drafted were not good, and that's that, move on.

Personally, I have nothing against drafting relievers.  People forget that Russ Ortiz was a college closer who they used as a reliever until they decided that he should be starting and he was able to make the conversion.   And if the reliever is close to being a major league pitcher, even if only as a middle reliever, that is still more value than most draft picks ever return to their team, the vast, vast majority of them never make the majors and a large portion of the ones making the majors get no more than a cup of coffee in the majors before returning to the minors.

As long as the Giants think that they can do something with the pitcher that can be valuable, I'm all for it because the odds of any of these players contributing anything at the major league level is very low.  There is nobody with the consistent ability to identify talent that will become a good player in the majors once you get out of the early parts of draft.  And really, the odds probably gets bad as soon as the back of the first round of the draft, based on the percentages I've found in my studies of the draft.

However, the Giants player personnel department appears to know pitching pretty well.  So given their success so far in rebuilding the Giants - look at how young the team is today, and how young it has been getting with each successive season - I am more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.  And as long as Stratton or Agosta turn out to be valuable pitchers for us, I would count this draft as a good draft, it simply is not that easy to find players via the draft, so you have to celebrate the successes, don't get your dauber down with the large failure rate, and keep on plugging away by investing in it.

If these people are right and the Giants are being cheap going forward, then shame on the owners, this would convince me more than ever that we need new, deeper pocketed owners.  But if it is a one year blip, or not even that, I'm not going to sweat it.  Anytime you can add a prospect who is a college pitcher who looks like he can be a #2 starter for you, that is a big win to me.

This is like the time where the Giants had a choice:  buy a bunch of mediocrities and hope for the best  or buy Vlad and figure out the rest along way.  They should have went for excellence.  Instead they gathered a bunch of mediocrities.  After looking at the analysis of the 11th and 12th rounds, I don't see any excellence there, only mediocrities, and the Giants following this strategy of drafting seniors 6-10 to pay more for 11-20 would have been a play for mediocrity.

Maybe the Giants could have done more in the latter stages of the draft.  With a #2 starter in your pocket, that's like working like mad to try to get your 99 class grade in school to 100.  If the Giants wanted to put that effort in, fine, but I am not holding it against them for taking the apparently easier route either, and I'm certainly not giving this overall draft a C or below grade just because of it.  A Stratton has to be considered an A grade, no matter what else happens in the draft, in my opinion, as always.

I think the Giants have bigger fish to fry, like how are we going to get Belt, Brown, Panik, and Hembree untracked and going good again.  That's more important than using fancy draft tricks so that you can draft high school lplayers that BA did not even rank in their Top 500.  Given what I found above, these teams obviously think that these high school players are worth more than what BA thought they were, by a large margin.  But I suspect that there will be few $1M bonus babies here, only couple of hundred thousands, which I don't think was worth all the machinations gone through just to get them.  Most teams could have drafted that one high school player earlier and gone over by the 5% max, pay the penalty and be done with it.

35 comments:

  1. Whether you agree with them or not, I am convinced from my own breakdown of the draft that the Giants selected the player they had ranked highest on their draft board, the only exception being Shilo McCall who fell due to negotiations, but they got him signed anyway.

    They had 823 players ranked. I don't know how far down that took them. It's possible they had run out of ranked players by the time they got to the late 30's and started picking names out of a hat or something. Again, no big deal as teams never sign all their draft picks and don't expect to get anything out of late 30 round picks anyway.

    Teams did not sign seniors in rounds 6-10 to spend more on rounds 11-20. Spending on rounds 11-20 is capped at $100 K just like rounds 21-40. They signed seniors in rounds 6-10 to free up money to give to prospects drafted in rounds 1-5. The other major strategy was for teams drafting in picks 1-10 of the first round to sign their players for well under slot to free up more money for rounds 2-5.

    There are several reasons why this strategy did not make sense for the Giants:

    1. There wasn't a lot of money in the #20 slot to free up for rounds 2-5. It made more sense to draft the guy who was #1 on their draft board, who also fell several slots to them based on pre-draft rankings, and go ahead and get him signed for $slot, no muss, no fuss.

    2. By the time they got to the late second round, there really weren't any prospects left worth punting later draft picks over. Looking at players available at pick #84, it is likely that Agosta was the best player available. He will almost certainly sign for $slot.

    3. The 2 players who seem to be sticking in everybody's throats are Williamson in round 3 and Blach in round 5. I'm personally not wild about Williamson's college BA, but he does fit into a pattern of the type of power hitter favored by John Barr in rounds 2 and 3, so I do believe Williamson is the guy the Giants wanted there. As for Blach, there is no one thing that really stands out about him but he seems like a solid all around pitcher and a fine pick for round 5. It is round 5 we're talking about here, after all. As for rounds 6-10, the Giants got several mid-90's arms with high ceilings a college OF who many people really like a lot and a HS player who is probably better than most of those HS players teams grabbed up in rounds 11-13.

    If you are going to punt picks, it's probably better to punt picks 35-40 than picks 6-10 anyway. The success rate for rounds 6-10 is not all that high, but it's likely a lot higher than rounds 35-40.

    In summary, the Giants did not have much wiggle room with their slot bonus pool. They probably ended up with as much or more overall talent by playing the draft straight as they would have by following the crowd and trying to game the rules.

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    1. Thanks for your astute comments and solid analysis. Basically what I was trying to say, but more concisely.

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  2. At it again I see. Well, I try to move conversations along and consider different points of view. Obviously I have some disagreements with you on this issue, but I will agree its not that big a deal, and it may indeed be a blip on the radar.

    First off, I did a blind grade review. Gints ended up with a C+ on that one. Here that is:
    http://www.mccoveychronicles.com/2012/6/11/3079072/giants-2012-draft-review-with-grades

    Second, Fla-Giant calmed down a bit, and posted his full review, acknowledging that while he was still not happy with the draft he did see some possible gems in the 3rd day. Here's that one (He is much more thorough than I am, my review was more about comparing what picks were on the board for the next round):
    http://www.mccoveychronicles.com/2012/6/13/3082315/my-full-updated-draft-review-with-new-video-links-signing-predictions

    Now, here is somebody who is not a Giants fan's review:
    http://mlbdraftinsider.com/2012/06/draft-review-san-francisco-giants/
    His conclusion:
    Here’s the positives about the Giant’s draft: outside of the Williamson pick, they didn’t have any outrageous reaches in the first ten rounds, and Stratton Agosta and Johnson could all contribute in a hurry.

    Now the bad news. There’s a very good chance that five of their first six picks all are going to pitch out of the bullpen, Williamson was no where close to a third-round talent, and they probably are only going to sign one high-school player in their entire class. If you’re the type who appreciates high-risk, high-reward players, this definitely isn’t the class for you.

    I would call that a C or C+ grade, what I put on them as well. There's a very simple breakdown of players drafted by position and college prep. MLB draft insider has done the entire NL West so you can compare the direct competition very easily.

    What stands out to me is the Giants went completely unbalanced. 1 prep, and 7 pitchers in the top 10 rounds. They are in stark contrast to the rest of the NL West.

    (Continued)

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    1. Thank your for your astute comments.

      We all have our opinions. I know mine is not the best since I don't follow the draftees as much as the draftniks like you, but I can still have my opinions and I know you respect that, plus I think you understand that my point of view is changeable, based on the facts given me.

      After the discussion at MCC - I just didn't have any more time to spend there else I would have continued - I did have some points which I did not feel were adequately explained to me or that did not make sense to me, so hence this post. Maybe someone can illuminate me.

      Yes, if you want a draft with high-risk, high-reward, this draft is probably not for you, unless they somehow figure out how to sign those preps at the end of the draft. But it could be a blip or it could be a pattern, won't really know until next season.

      For me, potential is very nice, but there's nothing like a bird in the hand, and that's what I consider Stratton to be. That's why my grade for this draft differs from you.

      I don't know why the Giants chose who they chose. But I don't think anyone at MCC knows either, so as far as I'm concerned, people are jumping to conclusions. Just because the Giants did not do what the NL West did does not mean that they did poorly. Again, which NL West team has rebuilt itself with farm grown players?

      I have no problems with relievers, as long as the Giants think that they can be major leaguers and not cheap signs. It could be both, remember.

      The Giants need good relievers and soon. The lineup and the rotation looks like it will be good for years, assuming probabilities and that Melky can be signed long-term. But the bullpen is old and expensive, plus the young guys are injury prone (Wilson, Romo, Casilla) or poor performers (Edlefson), and really, not that young. I do like Kontos though. I'm still surprised and upset that they let go of Blackley so easily, and Hembree's struggles means he is probably not coming up soon if ever this season.

      As some on MCC noted, they could trade for these, but the way I see it, if they can draft them, what is wrong with that? Better than having to deal with another team in a trade, and you end up giving up a draft pick anyway because that's what is traded, typically, a drafted player. So what is so bad about drafting a reliever that you think can be a pitcher for you?

      And everyone admits the Giants know pitching. And that Bochy knows how to build a bullpen. So if they decided to push for relievers this season, I have no problem with that, but per your complaint, I don't want to see it next season.

      Is that a punt? I know you and others argue that, but to me, no team knows prospects well enough to discern which one will make it to the majors. One can observe all the skills, scout them on the 20-80 scale, and all that, but nobody has the key to figuring out why any prospect beyond the first 5-10 top picks will make it or not.

      As discussed, it is a volume business, and if you need relievers I have no problem with selecting a lot of them as long as they rate out to be similar in skill to other guys you also rate highly.

      Given that the reports are that it is a poor college draft but as I pointed out, that study found that college players are worth 40% more than high school players, I can see why a team might feel that college relievers might be good value in rounds 1-10. They have identifiable skills that are usually very plus, else they would not be relieving, but just not a repertoire, which is why they are relieving.

      And given that, some seniors might have better skills than the juniors available that far back in the draft, as well.

      These are potential logical reasons why the Giants did what they did.

      As you noted at MCC, we will see.

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    2. Fair enough OGC. I have to move on from this topic now. DrB is calling my statements and review a cheap shot, disingenuous and a joke. That signals that its time to call it quits. Gonna take some time off now.

      Go Giants.

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    3. Cool, I felt the same way after my MCC experience.

      Thank you for the links, it will be my weekend reading, looks like a lot of good stuff, much appreciated, saved me from digging them up.

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  3. Now, the budget under the new CBA: first, they can exceed the budget by 4.9% signing their first 10 rounds of picks without incurring any penalties. No MLB team will incur penalties this year, the only possible exception might be the Nats with Giolito but I doubt it. So the Gints have a 2012 Bonus Pool: $4,076,400. They can go over that pool limit by $199,743 before incurring penalties. Not much to work with is right.

    I do want to clarify something: once Stratton was signed, nobody at MCC was expecting a Trey Williams, Hunter Virant or Carson Kelly type player. Williams and Virant are still being negotiated, but the Cards signed Kelly for 3X slot, over 1.5MM total, at the 86 spot. The Giants don't have that flexibility. So in addition to comparing what the other NL West teams did, I think a better comparison is to look at the teams around the Giants bonus pool area: The Indians, Nationals and Yankees slightly above, and the Braves, Rays and Diamondbacks slightly below. The only other teams below are the Tigers and Angels who forfeited picks with big FA signings.

    Comparing those teams, you quickly see they followed a balanced approach as well to Prep versus College talent. Again, the Giants stand out in stark contrast. In the ten rounds, you have mixtures of pitchers and hitters, and you have prep picks mixed in throughout.

    If we stretch just a bit, but avoid going above the 5MM budget, we can include the Marlins and Phillies, two teams that took several of the players I thought were great picks. The ones I will be watching in the next five years closely. I'll list a few: The Phils 6th Round pick Cameron Perkins, 10th Round pick Kevin Brady, 13th Round pick Steven Golden, and 14th Round pick Richard Bielski. The Marlins 4th Round pick Austin Dean, 10th Round pick Ron Miller, 13th Round pick Blake Logan and 17th Round pick Garrett Keane.

    We will see how many of these cats get signed. Obviously Ron Miller is one of my white whales. The Marlins stole him in the 10th round, signed him for 200K on a 125K slot. THAT is what I want the Giants to do. A local bay area talent, Steve Golden, might be a tough sign, but the Phils took a shot there, I bet they get him. Lastly, high upside JC pitching talent can be snagged later on.

    The Giants have demonstrated the ability to grab bullpen arms late in the draft. They have also demonstrated the ability to dumpster dive for them. The fact they are content to load up on arms in the 1-10 when they don't have many true hitters and definitely not many power hitting prospects stands out as being complacent, conservative and... cheap.

    The Yanks and Braves, two of the better traditional farm systems, took big shots at the mid-range talent (NOT bonus baby): Vincent Jackson will be a hard sign, but they're going to try (Yanks). The Braves snagged NY prepster Fernalys Sanchez.

    You conclude that the Giants have bigger fish to fry. You use the lack of Top 500 BA as the barometer. Well, Shilo McCall isn't in the top 500 either. Its a yardstick, but its not a bible. There are plenty of prep players who would be right outside the 500, and they did get snagged. 100K is plenty of motivation for a lot of kids to jumpstart their dreams. You throw in 25-50K you have left over in the budget, you get your 3-5 kids with upside. The fact the Giants couldn't be bothered shows disinterest. Now it is a matter of opinion what sparks this disinterest. I doubt very much its because they're reading studies on college versus HS WAR values though.
    (Continued)

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  4. Good snag on the top end, and a very uncreative use of the rest of their resources. No big deal about that, except when it comes time to do the annual comparison of farm systems. Ours will be bottom third. We'll see next year whether its just a blip, but I predict more of the same: focus on pitching, no interest in keeping up with what other teams are doing, no big investment internationally.

    If you can't attack multiple issues at once, you're not going to be a top flight organization. Bigger fish to fry? Really? Sorry, I hold my team to higher standards than that. Not a big deal now, but let's watch and see what happens, see if this is a RDF issue or just a blip to get used to the rules.

    (Concluded)

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    1. You present it as either/or, RDF or blip. I don't see it as either. As I said many times before the draft, I don't think the new rules will affect Giants decision making much, if any. They've always operated quite close to the former slot bonus recommendations. I see this draft as the Giants continuing to do what they have successfully done in the past.

      And really, your bottom third system crack is really a cheap shot and disingenuous on your part. The Giants have a couple of first round draft choices who are currently struggling in Brown and Panik. Way too soon to give up on them, but the organizational rankings will take a hit due to their struggles. Nothing the Giants could have done in this draft would change that. For you to point to organizational ranking as the proof in the pudding is you defining an outcome predetermined to prove your point. The real proof in the pudding will come in 3-5 years when these kids should be in the show if they are going to make it.

      Who says 6 of the top 7 picks are going to end up in the bullpen? The Giants have a long history of moving pitching prospects between the bullpen and starting. What they are after in the draft is projectable arms and that's exactly what they got.

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    2. Oh, and Chris Stratton, Kyle Crick, Clayton Blackburn and Martin Agosta may well have something to say about that bottom third ranking before all is said and done.

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    3. Oh, and one more thing: That so-called "objective" scoring system is a joke. You obviously didn't like how it was going to turn out, so you randomly gave several picks zeros for no apparent reason other than to suppress the final score.

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    4. Its not a crack DrB, its a fact: all the major ratings this year called us a bottom third system. You and I defended that rating with the fact so many of our prospects are in the low minors and young. This draft will do little to change that, especially looking at how teams with money to spend stocked up. So no, I don't think its disingenuous or a cheap shot. The ratings will be bottom third again. I'll most likely defend it again this year with the hidden gems and young talent in the system. But right now we're talking about not only high profile talent (as related to rankings) but also upside. The Giants didn't have much of a shot at the high profile because of where they picked and their draft pool, and decided to ignore the upside.

      Did I say a word about Brown or Panik? Nope. And I agree, way too early to give up on them. At some point you do have to make some comparisons to other minor league systems though. I most definitely don't have a predetermined outcome, but you certainly like to chase down any criticism of the Giants, I'll say.

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    5. Wow. A joke now? That's a far cry from excellent review, which is what you posted before. Slightly mercurial today? Or was that what you wanted to say before? Good to know your true colors.

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    6. No, not mercurial. I said you jimmied the numbers by giving out bogus zeros in my review. Maybe you just missed that part.

      I think Stratton and possibly Agosta help the system a lot, but you aren't going to make any earthshaking system adjustments with one draft where your first two picks are #20 and #84. Critics of the Giants draft, including you, continue to ignore what they did relative to their drafting position and slot bonus limitations.

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    7. Completely not true. I have continued to stress the drafting position and the bonus limitation, both in my review and pretty much every time I discuss it, including here. About those grades, I explained them both on your blog when you brought it up and in the review. I also assigned extremely small point values to the back end of the draft. Finally, you continue to ignore what other teams have done. That is an important factor. The draft doesn't happen in a vacuum. A little criticism is healthy. You continue to make a mountain out of that molehill.

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    8. Sorry, but you are the one making a mountain out of a molehill by continuing to needlessly nitpick at irrelevant aspects of the draft. I am not ignoring what other teams did, but the Giants can't control what other teams do nor can they draft every good available player. I believe the Giants drafted the best available players on their draft board. If you don't agree with their choices, so be it, but there is not a shred of evidence to support your continued assertion that this draft was controlled by "RDF" budgetary constraints or that they went "cheap."

      To cite just one example that you keep harping on: Yeah, I like Ron Miller and I hope he becomes a good player. I would have liked the Giants to draft him. I, however, accept that they scouted him and did not rate him as highly as you or I. There is no reason to believe that Ron Miller will turn out to be a better MLB player than any of the players the Giants selected in the first 10 rounds.

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    9. There isn't a shred? They will most likely have the least amount of money spent in the entirety of MLB in the 11-40 rounds. That is a shred. I'll hold you to the Ron Miller quote, but I've mentioned a bunch of players, not just Ron Miller. You are obviously very offended to keep at this. It no longer feels like a conversation about facts. I'm "harping". My "objective system is a joke". I'll have you know I spelled the whole thing out, and then added it up. I wouldn't have been surprised by a score in the 60s or up to 80. I did not bend anything to a conclusion, I called it how I saw it. And this feels more personal than I'm in the mood for. I've always been square with you. If you feel the way you're spouting here, I really don't see the point in you having mentioned the review in the first place.

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    10. I like the idea of weighting the draft picks but the weights you assigned were arbitrary. I'm not saying there's anything more objective available, but would argue that it still put way too much weight on picks lower than 1-3. Secondly, the scores you gave each pick were your opinion that in places appeared to be biased by how you wanted the final score to turn out.

      You are right, it is wrong of me to impugn your motives but I'm not sure what to make of several zero scores coming out of the blue. What it looked like was you were going along and suddenly realized you were giving a lot of good scores and this might turn out to be a good draft grade after all and yikes, we can't have that, can we? So you popped a zero here and there to suppress the final draft grade.

      Only you know if that's not the way if happened. If it wasn't, then I apologize. It sure looked funny though.

      Lastly, I'm not sure how you concluded that the final percentage, whatever it was, was worth a C grade. I mean did you add up the scores of all the other teams and see what their percentage score was too? Again, it looks pretty arbitrary and subjective to me. What about all those seniors drafted in rounds 6-10 by other teams. I think you'd have to give them very low scores if not zeros and those picks are weighted much higher than where the Giants drafted seniors.

      So yeah, it was an interesting exercise and I commended you and still commend you for the detailed discussion of each pick. I continue to vehemently disagree with your continued assertions that the Giants cheaped out and did worse in this draft than other teams when drafting position and slot pool are taken into account.

      As for Ron Miller, what quote are you holding me to and what other players did you mention? Casey Kelly? If you want to look at a team that cheaped out, look at what the Cards did with their first rounders and supplemental picks so the could sign......Casey Kelly? You really think the Giants should have drafted Casey Kelly and met his bonus demands?

      In my opinion, the initial verdict on this draft was successful the minute they took Chris Stratton. I am confident they will get at least 1 or 2 more useful players out of it, but whatever they get, it's icing on the cake. Final verdict will have to wait a few years as there is still a long ways between Chris Stratton and the major leagues, but his combination of high ceiling and high floor is as good as anybody taken in the draft.

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    11. Sorry, I was writing that off the top of my head. I meant Carson Kelly not Casey Kelly.

      And yeah, if you are looking for a team that cheaped out, look at St. Louis' first 4 picks, 2 first rounders and 2 supplememental rounders.

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    12. You seem to be grasping at straws now. I specifically said, right above in my first comment, nobody was expecting Carson Kelly, and that the Giants didn't have that flexability with their budget. I also specifically compared what teams with our budget pool did.

      Ron Miller: he is a huge missed opportunity, and there is a reason to suspect he will be better than the 7 of the 9 players the Giants drafted before him. They decided to practically ignore the HS players. You are saying you trust the Giants evaluation and there is no reason to believe he'll turn out more than the other players. Well, I disagree with that, we'll see how it turns out. There are plenty more high upside players skipped over though.

      About my grading system: I said its not perfect in the beginning. I also went out of my way to explain each pick. Personally I thought it was quite light on the Giants cutting and running from any upside with the sole exception of McCall. I dinged them at 15, and at 30 and explained why. Their cynical exercise of snagging HS guys at the very end was doubly not impressive: first, they finally noticed the trend in MLB about 3 rounds late. Second, they have no intention of signing any of those players. Third, I didn't like the players relative to what was picked.

      If I gave all of those HS picks "average" grades that would be 12 points total. They got 3 points. So you're whining about 9 extra points here. No way no how was I going to give 5/5 and say Great Job Guys. I spelled out why. You do need to apologize, its bush league to imply I wanted a score a certain way. I made a system, pointed out its flaws, explained my biased outright and did a rating. End of story. Sorry you don't like the criticism, but I stand by it. The grade was a C+, there are interesting picks no doubt. You can continue to vehemently disagree, I don't mind that. But you'd better be more polite about it.

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    13. See this is what my problem with your analysis is: You keep throwing these little grenade phrases into it like "cynical exercise" and "cutting and running from upside." I believe this tone reveals your bias which I believe is you really are right there with the MCC crowd who dislikes Giants management and wants to make them look bad even when they are doing a good job right in front of your eyes. At the very least, it appears you are trying to play up to the MCC crowd.

      I have no problem with you saying you like Ron Miller a lot and wish the Giants would have drafted him. I feel that way too. The facts are, though, that scouting reviews on Ron Miller are mixed and the Giants drafted some guys with upside late in the top 10 rounds too, so it's unfair criticism to hold him up as an example of them "cutting and running from upside."

      I have my own pet players that I fall in love with leading up to the draft and I like to follow them and see how they turn out with whoever drafted them. That's a lot different than proclaiming the Giants to be cheap and cynical because my pet players weren't drafted by them. I realize that there are a whole lot of players out there. The Giants have a large and active scouting team that knows all those players a lot better than you or I. I've learned that my pet players don't make it any farther in the pros, on average, than the players the Giants select.

      The Giants have been as successful as any team in baseball at drafting anddeveloping a core of young homegrown players. I think they deserve the benefit of any doubt without the proclamations of them "cutting and running" and being "cynical" and "cheap."

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    14. More battle lines. Apologist or naysayer? Am I entitled to my opinion without being lumped in with a crowd? I believe I am. I participated in draft discussions at MCC, there is no denying that. But playing to a crowd there? Sorry, I state what's on my mind, and I argue to the best of my ability my points. Those terms you're latching onto such as cutting and running, those are the result of what the Giants did, not any pre-existing bias. If the draft results were different, the analysis would be different. I'm not looking to bury the Gints, and you, having participated in many, many conversations with me, should know that.

      With only 1 HS player drafted with any intention of signing, that is clear evidence of cutting and running from upside. No other team in MLB did something this drastic. In addition, when things are totaled up, the Giants will most likely have the least money spent in rounds 11-40. If I'm wrong on this, I'll admit I was wrong.

      In this review, one more time, I clearly state its going to get nitpicky, and if you want a summation they drafted 2 very good pitchers at the top who should move fast. But I am going to disagree with you on deserving the benefit of the doubt. I said cheap, and I said cynical, but notice I didn't throw anything your way. You have continued to throw grenades at me, the latest being yet another "groupthink" type deal: "mcc crowd player". Well, I'd hate to see what you would say about me when its something that is a big deal, this is just a nitpicky draft review. And I'm not throwing myself down the stairs on any of this, I'm just stating that I"m disappointed the Giants didn't do more, it would have been very easy, for not much money, to do more. Personally, I think that's a reasonable position. I strongly suspect its because of financial concerns, shaving the farm system because they can't shave their big league payroll without scrutiny. I've also said they can change this up, and its a blip. If you don't agree, I'm fine with that. But the personal digs, I'm just not impressed with those at all.

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    15. No, it's not what the Giants did in the draft. It's your analysis of what they did in the draft seen through a prism of MCC type bias and yeah, I do think you played to the crowd over there.

      As for rounds 11-40, I don't think it's necessarily smart at all to spend $100 K on every pick in rounds 11-40 just because you can. That's an aggregate $2.5 M on a pool of players that might produces one useful MLB player if you are lucky. Yes, I do think there might be better ways to spend that money. I do not believe the Giants are any less likely to get at least 1 useful MLB player out of their pool as they would have by spending all $2.5 M. As for all the angst over the last 4 picks, well, that's just laughable.

      Maybe you aren't looking to "bury the Gints", but you have been fed information, real or imagined, about their ownership group that biases your analysis and it shows through time after time in your comments.

      Delete
    16. Strawman: By exaggerating, misrepresenting, or just completely fabricating someone's argument, it's much easier to present your own position as being reasonable or valid.

      I never said that it would be realistic nor wise to spend 100K a pick on 11-40. You really are grasping at straws. And have throughout this thread.

      Fed information? Imagined? OK, we are done here.

      Delete
    17. 1. You are the one who has made a huge issue about the Giants not spending enough on rounds 11-40. All I'm saying is rounds 11-40 may not be the best investment for paying top dollar since the return, at best, is dismal.

      2. You have said repeatedly that you know someone who knows someone in the Giants ownership group and have hinted that what you have heard is not complimentary. I believe that bias shows through repeatedly in your comments that include phrases like "cynical", "cheap" and "cut and run from upside."

      I'm not exactly pulling this stuff out of thin air here.

      Delete
    18. Again with the strawman argument, trying to redefine what I said into something different. Did I ever say top dollar? No, I said they were cheap. The amount of money is laughable in the backdrop of professional sports. It's my opinion, and we'll know more later.

      You're responded at various points with: cheap shot, disingenuous, a joke, and now fed information, real or imagined.

      This whole discussion has gone on way too long. OGC shares your opinion and we were able to wrap it up, in a wait and see what happens. You have decided to take this to a personal level and attack my viewpoint itself and throw some choice words my way. That is a huge issue, who cares about the draft. Why is this so important that you roll like this? I'm beginning to understand why you don't want to be involved with a forum and want to be off by yourself. Is a different viewpoint that intolerable to you? Is the difference of a B to a C grade on your favorite teams draft worth going to the interwebz mattresses?

      Yes, I have some connections. I know some things about our players that would make Bacci drool. I don't share practically anything. I have leaked out a few things, and it has involved the minority partners being not big picture, to my dismay. So what? If this offends you so much, you should have said something right away. Instead you question the veracity of it. Well, what do you think MY response is going to be to that?

      Now you didn't have any problem with any analysis I did as long as it agreed with your world view. The fact you're throwing some pretty vehement bidness my way tells me you are really offended by this. Let me tell you, I never had any intention to offend you. I have strong opinions and I stick to them. You know I'm not going to back down from this, and you know there is going to be a consequence to questioning my veracity. Its a shame its over such a small matter.

      Delete
    19. Don't have time to say more than this.

      I see many of DrB's points, but I get why Shankbone's is teed off, as DrB didn't have to bring in those words that clearly set Shankbone off.

      I wish I can make things better, but don't have any idea how to approach that, nor the time, I actually should be working right now...

      Hope you two have a great Father's Day, in any case!

      And to all other fathers reading this.

      Delete
    20. Shankbone,

      I have never questioned your veracity. If you go back and check, I have never said you did not hear whatever you heard about the Giants partners. Only you know the source well enough to know how much stock to put in it, but I am absolutely not accusing you of making it up.

      My only problem with your approach is the use of certain judgmental phrases such as "cheap", "cynical" and "cut and run from upside." I just think that possibly some things you have heard about Giants ownership has made it more likely you would draw those conclusions, in other words, biased you. We all have our biases. That is different than questioning truthfulness which I have never done in your case.

      In the process of trying to articulate that I may have used some judgmental phrases myself which I apologize for both to you and OGC.

      I really don't care about you giving the Giants a C or C+ grade on the draft. I think it's a B and it's OK to have our differences of opinion. I just wish we could leave it at that without ascribing ulterior motives like "cheap", "cynical" and "cutting and running from upside." It is possible to believe that the Giants picked who they thought were the best players on their board and disagree with how they ranked them without accusing them of being "cheap", "cynical" or "cutting and running from upside."

      That is all I'm asking for here.

      Again, apologies to both you and OGC if I overstepped a boundary in trying to articulate that.

      Delete
    21. I'll put it another way:

      If you say the Giants drafted X number of college seniors, that is a statement of fact.

      If you say the Giants drafted too many college seniors, that is a statement of opinion.

      If you say the Giants drafted too many college seniors because they are "cheap", "cynical" and were "cutting and running from upside", that is an accusation.

      It's the accusation I am taking umbrage at.

      Again, I apologize for making accusations in the process of trying to articulate that.

      Delete
    22. DrB, you don't need to apologize to me, I have no problem with people expressing their views, as long as they articulate the reasoning why, and you have been always very good at that.

      I was just noting that clearly he took umbrage at what you said.

      Delete
    23. I know neither of us woke up and said "lets go get in a pissing match", but that's what just happened. It is not enjoyable or illuminating. There might be 3K Giants fans who participate on some level across the web. There might be 300 who care at all about the draft. There might be 3 people in the world who care enough about the Giants to get into this discussion, which gets back to the "Hill of Beans" quote OGC and I discussed in that MCC thread. While I respect what you put down DrB, I would urge you to be more respectful of other points of view.

      It is possible that what the Giants did - draft one HS player with any expectation of signing, draft 7 pitchers in the first 8 rounds, and draft the most college seniors in MLB at a different point in the draft from the trend in MLB - was simply picking the best players on their board. There is of course the chance that one of the longshot late round picks makes the show. It is also possible that this strategy was motivated by a dictated budget and a very conservative approach, but there is a contrarian element to it that is interesting. As I have stated many times, it is quite possible this will be an extremely successful draft extremely quickly. But I'm not debating the 1st or 2nd round picks, I'm evaluating the rest of the picks drafted versus the rest of MLB. If you want to disagree with me, do it respectfully, or feel free to ignore me. I hope you both are right and I'm wrong, believe me, I root for the Giants success every time.

      I'll take the accusation towards the Giants ownership and my choice of words under advisement, and I'll watch out for the cynical comments. I accept your apology. If I could offer up any constructive criticism, I would say you should watch out for putting up strawman arguments. I'm a contrarian, and I speak my mind, sometimes that lands me in places I don't really want to be. I contribute some good stuff (hopefully) in a few blogs I like. I don't want to be a guy who gets in arguments, but sometimes it just unavoidable.

      I hope you both enjoyed a good father's day. Thanks to OGC for being a voice of reason, and Go Giants.

      Delete
  5. One more example: I am not wild the Mac Williamson pick in round 3 and have said so several times. I just don't believe that players who don't crack a .300 BA in college have a good enough hit tool to make it in the pros. I am not going to call the Giants "cheap", "cynical" or say they are "cutting and running" from upside because I am not thrilled with Mac Williamson. There are differences of opinion on Williamson. Grabusky had him ranked at #144 in his final top 250 and had him ranked as the #50 player available on Day 2, which is right where the Giants took him.

    So, even though I would have selected someone else with that pick, I recognize that the Giants probably see what Grabusky's sources see in him and took him because they believe he was the best choice at that spot.

    Believe me, I learned my lesson when I threw myself down the stairs over Madison Bumgarner. And to think I wanted Beau Mills instead.....! Jason Heyward still might ultimately prove to have a better career than Bumgarner, but imagine if the Giants had Heyward and the Dodgers had Bumgarner and Kershaw in the same rotation! Yeah, I've come to trust the Giants judgement on these things. That does not make questioning individual picks like why they took Mac Williamson or why they didn't take Ron Miller off limits, but it certainly should mute criticism until they are proven to be wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Live and learn, right DrB?

      The way I see it, nobody will ever be 100% right, we will always get some details wrong, but as long as we see the Big Picture and get that right, I think that is the goal for any analyst. I think we both individually got that Big Picture for a number of years now (as well as a few others).

      About Mac, I think he's clearly an overdraft, he was pick 115, which is high even for Grabusky. Even worse by BA ranking.

      But this is nothing new. The Giants have always drafted the guys they wanted, in the order their internal ranking has them. Schierholtz, Lincecum, Bumgarner, Brown, Panik, even Cain was considered an overdraft, though not by a lot (meaning more than a round) but still.

      We have no reason to believe that they deviated from that M.O., which is to your point here, one year of doing something different does not prove a pattern of anything.

      I've also come to trust the Giants judgement as well, particularly since John Barr joined the team. So while I can see complaining about any pick that you want, this is not something new, they have always "think different" when it came to the draft, we need to see how everything plays out before we start labeling it one thing or another.

      Delete
    2. Well, I'll say this: your title "Is it drafty in here?" sure did hit the spot. Just not quite how you intended I guess.

      I'll give the "Trust the Giants" one credit and one credit only: their ability to evaluate pitching. It is a strong suit, and their ability to coach up said pitching makes it even stronger. So maybe its two credits, but its not a get out of jail free card towards evaluating everything else.

      Its important to re-evaluate at different times. Lefty Malo has a "three levers" trade analysis that I like - when it happens, short term and long term. Drafts are hard, with the final evaluation can go on a dozen years later even.

      I've been in a few discussions with Fla-Giant about the Barr MO, and the pattern, and the fact one year doesn't mean a lot. And I've readily agreed that this could just be a wait and see year. I'm hoping this isn't the first or second barometer for something else, a de-emphasis on the minor league system, because it has born a lot of fruit recently. Time will tell. Good discussion topic, even if it got sideways OGC, both in your posts here and the MCC thread. Cheers.

      Delete
    3. I was going to try to reply to all the threads above, but maybe I should not do that, I think enough has been said.

      I totally agree with the three levers concept, I didn't realize he had that, but that's basically what I've tried to convey whenever discussing trades, that some trades make sense when the deal is done, but it just didn't work out.

      Delete

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