Sunday, June 30, 2013

Your 2013 Giants: Top 11 Picks

The following profiles are available at this linky from MLB.com, Giants Draft Tracker, but for those who are lazy, I've copied the text down below, as well as highlighting what I think are key points.  Very worth going to link if you want to see video too.  Also included Perfect Game info as well.

As has been noted all over about the picks, they were mostly under the radar overdrafts, so, for example, many of them were not even profiled by Perfect Game on their website, many profile info were from their high school scouting notes. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Your 2013 Giants: Draft Results

I'm so glad about the new CBA.  Prospects sign so much faster now that everything is slotted.  Now we just have to wait for Boras to find the next loophole and exploit it...

At his link is all the players the Giants drafted in this season's amateur draft.  Also, Shankbone followed the draft at his most excellent blog, You Gotta Like These Kids.  This one talks about the Giants and how they avoid consensus thinking.  Look around his June 2013 posts and there will be a bunch of great discussions about the draft and his analysis of a variety of rounds.   DrB also covered the draft, day one here, day two here and day three here.   There is also the BA list with signings and other info, at their Giants site.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

2013 Giants: May PQS

This post has the Giants Pure Quality Start scores for the month of May 2013, PQS as defined in Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster annual book and they published the details here (unfortunately, they removed the article; this link gets you at least to the PQS definition, read down to middle for details). I wrote on this first in 2006 and have compiled their stats on a regular basis, so I'm continuing it this season for continuity and historical comparison (there is the "PQS" label that you can click to see the old posts on this). Regular readers can skip to the next section.

This is the Quality Start with a sabermetric DIPS twist, and it gets really easy to calculate once you get used to it. I don't think it's the end all or be all, but then nothing really is that. It is, as I like to say, another piece of the puzzle. A dominating start is scored a 4 or 5 and a disaster start is scored a 0 or 1. DOM% is the percentage of starts that are dominating, DIS% is the percentage of starts that are disasters (any start under 5.0 IP is automatically a 0, or disaster).

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

2013 Amateur Draft

This draft is considered mediocre:  BA noted, "Scouts rate the overall crop of talent as mediocre, just as they did coming into the season.  Several of the best college arms ... have taken a step backward."  Here are some draft resources currently on the web:
Most of all, check out all the great content and discussions at Shankbone's You Gotta Like These Kids blog.

ogc thoughts

What I'm coming to realize is that trying to even get a glimmer of an idea of who the Giants might draft this far back in the draft is an impossible task:
  • Someone actually listed Brown as the guy the Giants might pick, but that was in his first mock, Brown was never mentioned again, by him or anyone else. 
  • Panik did not show up on anyone's list, though perhaps that was a factor of many of the names associated with the Giants were drafted just before him.  In any case, most saw Panik as a later round pick (Giants still signed him for slot; they have been accused of being cheap, but first round picks have generally signed at or above slot). 
  • Stratton was expected to go much earlier, falling to the Giants, as many teams didn't follow what the draft experts thought was the ranking of prospects, but that's hard enough to project for the first ten picks overall, let alone in the 20's where the Giants have been picking since being competitive for the playoffs again. 
As Haft noted in his article:  "Don't try to guess along with them. Just when you think they'll draft a college infielder, they'll take a high school pitcher."

In so many ways, the dominos of picks ahead can affect who is available, and also in so many ways, the Giants way of ranking prospects is much different from the experts, resulting in most of their picks being selected at least a round if not more ahead of where they are ranked by BA.   There is no way to wrap your head around all the various possibilities. 

Still, it is fun to look at the names and, like lottery tickets, allow fans to dream "what if" possibilities.  It also gives you a list of names to look for when our pick comes up.  I know that compiling all the mock drafts of the first round has made it more enjoyable for me, keeping score of which expert nailed it or not (BA's Callis and MLB's Mayo are usually pretty good at getting almost all of the first ten picks right, and often into the teens, with their final list released the day of the draft, but there is always a team or two who goes off the board for someone not expected in the first round, and the dominos fall, ruining predictions).

Here is a list of prospects "selected" (some were just plain 100-400-500 rankings but most were mocks; I included all iterations of the experts mocks) at the 25th pick:
  • Chris Anderson, RHP
  • Alex Gonzalez, RHP
  • Hunter Harvey, RHP
  • Michael Lorenzen, RHP-OF (Posey and Belt were pitchers too)
  • Tim Anderson, SS
  • Jon Denney, C
  • Matt Krook, LHP
  • Hunter Green, LHP
  • Bobby Wahl, RHP
  • Eric Jagielo, 3B
Other names I've seen associated with the Giants include:
  • Alex Balog, RHP
  • Marco Gonzales, LHP
  • Aaron Blair, RHP
  • Oscar Mercado, SS
  • Nick Ciuffo, C
Also, Baseball America has their ears closest to the ground regarding scouts' and teams' thoughts (though they have complained about the Giants lack of cooperation in providing information relative to other teams) and noted in their third mock, "The Giants appear focused on pitchers...", listing a number of pitchers linked to the Giants in some way, Krook, Balog, Harvey, Gonzales, and Aaron Blair.

Of course, one could say that anyway.  The Giants have drafted more pitchers than hitters in just about every draft Sabean has overseen as GM (haven't gone through all of them, but since I can remember sfgiants.com press releases announcing the numbers regarding the Giants draft had more pitchers than hitters, I don't recall one where they picked more hitters).  And the vast majority of first round picks by the Giants have been pitchers, especially after some early and bad misses like Torcato and Arturo. 

According to an interview with Haft on sfgiants.com, John Barr, their head of scouting and the guy who has been running the draft for the Giants since the Posey draft in 2008:
... said that this is a particularly unpredictable Draft that could result in eight to 10 players who intrigue the Giants still being available when they make their first selection with the 25th pick in the opening round.

"This year you're going to end up seeing some surprises, because I think there are a lot of differences of opinions on a lot of the players," Barr said.

Consequently, Barr indicated that the Giants will be flexible and ready to adapt when their turn arrives.

"It's not an easy one to try to map out," he said. "We'll get the best player we possibly can, whether it's a position player or a pitcher."
Other names that pop out to my gut as I've been reading all these mock drafts are as follows:
  • Ian Clarkin, LHP
  • JP Crawford, SS
  • Jonathan Crawford, RHP
  • Phil Bickford, RHP
  • Rob Kaminsky, LHP
  • Kyle Serrano, RHP
  • Dustin Peterson, SS
  • Andy McGuire, SS
Of course, the mere act of listing any name pretty much eliminates them most probably.  :^)

Relax:  the Draft is a Crapshoot

Most of all relax and enjoy the draft as entertainment.  People take too big a view of the draft.  Sure, it is important to the future of your franchise, but most people take the draft too seriously, as if it is life and death.  And sure, it is for your franchise, ultimately, but there is no way for you and anyone else to know whether that is true in that bubble of time, it will be years before it becomes crystal clear what that draft meant for your team.  The draft is a crapshoot where you take your best shots and most likely will fail, horribly, with almost every single pick of that draft.  It is not like you can even expect your first round pick to be any good, let alone the rest of the picks.

The problem of most of the draft analysis that has happened since I first published my draft analysis is that they follow the Baseball Prospectus analysis, looking at average player value, or Baseball America analysis, whether they made the majors or not, when instead, you should be looking at whether or not the player turns out to be a good player, which is what my study did. It does not matter to look at the average when the population is not a bell curve. Kind of like how batting average is no longer the metric of choice, the average misses a lot of information that should be accounted for.

And the vast, vast majority of the first round picks in the back of the first round never become a good MLB player, heck, they are lucky just to make the majors and be useful, let alone good. It does nobody any good to make the majors, Brian Bocock made the majors, so did Randy Elliott. And you can't win with the Gregor Blanco or Dan Gladden or Larry Herndons of the world, if they are leading the way, though he's an OK complementary (or useful) player. You need the good players, like Cain, Posey, Bumgarner, Lincecum, who lead the way towards competitiveness and hopefully championships.   And you don't find that many of them drafting in the last third of the first round.

So Giants fans should set their expectations low for this pick, just as they should have for the picks the past few years once we started winning and getting later picks, and hope for the best. My study showed that about one in ten back of first round picks ever becomes a good player, two of them becomes a useful player, which means seven of them never amounts to anything substantial in terms of an MLB career.

That means in ten years of such picks, you can expect to find one good player. Cain is that one in ten so far, Lowry is one of the two useful ones, probably. Hopefully the Giants can beat the odds, and find that next one soon (Cain was drafted in 2002, 11 years ago, and he's the only one during Sabean's GM era, though hopefully one among Brown or Panik turns out; luckily he hit homers with Lincecum, Bumgarner, and Posey), but they are tough odds, something most draft experts don't acknowledge when discussing the amateur draft.

This is not like the basketball draft where you can find a starter for next season somewhere in that first round or football where you can find starters throughout the draft, even late in the draft (Bill Walsh once found over a handful of next season starters in one draft). In baseball, you are lucky if you develop a starter two seasons after the draft, and most take 4-6 years years to make the majors, let alone start in the majors.   So not only is it hard to identify who the future major leaguers are, it normally is years later before you are able to figure out whether the pick was a good player or not.

So while I can appreciate the enthusiasm over the draft, I don't understand why people get so angry over it, odds are, we'll all wrong about any particular prospect, any particular draft pick. Even the #1 pick overall has a pretty bad record behind it, less than a coin flip, and it just gets worse, fast, as it is substantially below a coin flip by the 6th pick, and under 10% after the first round ends. 

Once, I was severely "beaten up" at a Giants watering hole because I had the temerity to say that everyone was making a mountain over a molehill out of the Giants not trying some of the draft budget money shenanigans that other teams did in last year's draft.   When they should have chillaxed, as the Giants did the manuevering in the international players arena, picking up a top prospect in Gustavo Cabrera, and even then, the history of international signings aren't that good either.  As even there, for every Sandoval, there are dozens more misses, as RafRod appears to be, among many others. 

So enjoy the process and have hope for the future, but don't get too hung up over it, as most likely, he's going to be a bust.  Not to be a downer, but that's the reality of the situation.  Still, most are not clearly a bust, like Brown and Panik, for a number of seasons, keeping hope alive for a while, so that is the upside to the situation. 

Go Giants!

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