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!

34 comments:

  1. John Sickel's (Minor League Ball) Top 50 Hitters: http://www.minorleagueball.com/2013/6/5/4399960/2013-mlb-draft-top-50-hitters-on-johns-draft-board

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  2. I don't disagree with any of this. It's always good to take a step back and take a breath of reality about the draft.

    On the other hand, the Giants have done a remarkable job with the draft over the last 7 years starting with the Lincecum draft of 2006. Even top 10 picks are not sure things and the Giants hit HR's 3 years in succession with Timmy, Bummy and Buster. Zack Wheeler from 2009 may well turn out to be a HR too, but that's a whole other discussion.

    What is even more remarkable is what they have done with later picks. As you said, you get a good player late in the first round every 10 years or so and it falls off exponentially after that. Yet, the Giants got 2 very valuable relievers in the late, late rounds in Romo and Wilson.

    Then you come to Brandon Crawford(4'th round) and Brandon Belt(5'th round). Do you realize how rare it is to get one starting player out of the 4'th and 5'th rounds? Yet, the Giants graduated 2 from those rounds almost simultaneously!

    So yeah, it's a crapshoot, but teams that work hard and scout well can "bend the curve" and increase their odds. If they can get just 1 more useful player out of each draft than the average MLB organization, they end up with a huge competitive advantage.

    One more thought. In addition to the above mentioned successes, Brian Sabean has been very adept at trading former draftees for useful veterans. He has been intensely criticized for this but these trade led directly to the 2 World Series championships. Lopez, Ramirez, Freddy Sanchez, Marco Scutaro and Hunter Pence were all acquired for former draftees. Sabean's track record with these trades, while not perfect, is quite remarkably good.

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    1. Yes, I should have noted here that the Giants have done a very good job drafting and finding players. I didn't feel the need because that's been my stance for many years here, hence why I've been saying since the late 2000's that the 2010's is the Decade of the Giants, but it's good to point out every once in a while.

      And I do realize how rare it is to graduate the two simultaneously: I found that out when I researched and studied the draft. That's why I say that it is very hard to find any good player at any pick in the draft, and, using simple stats, it can be deduced that it is that much harder to find two of them.

      Also, while finding Crawford and Belt later is great, almost every team has later round successes like that. Until better research is done on the draft showing what the real odds are, and how that adds up for a team, I don't see a way to quantify that. Same with finding great relievers later (and just to clarify for readers since you jumped from one to the next, I was talking late first round, you were talking much latter in the draft). The best way to illustrate that, right now, is by how well the team is doing in being competitive and going deep into the playoffs. On that count, the Giants have been historically great.

      And I did not intend to demean or belittle scouts, I want to make clear. My point is that in spite of all the hard work and good scouting that goes into this whole process and enterprise, the odds of finding those good players who lead the way to championships is very much against any baseball team, and especially against any team consistently making the playoffs and getting only back third of the first round picks.

      It is a Herculean task, but I'm not saying that they should stop working hard, I'm not saying all that is going to waste, rather I'm saying that this is a very very very tough thing to do, so don't get hung up too much on what is happening with the draft or who we get when we are so far back, and put your hope and faith in the scouts and management that has led us to two World Championships in three seasons.

      If anything, given the millions that goes to the MLB payroll, I find that MLB teams are penurious in how they scout and handle their minor league teams, for example, most players have to fend for themselves in terms of feeding themselves while playing ball. Would it kill the team to provide healthy meals for free at the ballpark? And given the payoffs in finding the good players, maybe get more scouts, move to the 21st Century and use mobile apps to record all that marvelous Big Data that the team can analyze to see where their scouts hit the nail and where they miss?

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    2. And yes, Sabean has been very adept at making trades for vets. That's been my "floating raft" if you will for the past 10 years of defending Sabean on-line. He has made a great series of trades during his time of GM, and more importantly, has never given up any prospect of any great consequence thus far, though Wheeler will certainly test that one (I know you and I disagree on that one, but really, he hasn't given up a good prospect yet).

      That is the reason why I've defended him all this time, it just did not make sense to me all the things people said Sabean was bad at, given how good he had been at making trades. You can't win so big like that in trades unless you know talent well enough to roll the dice enough times to win big like he has and better, never lose big at all. Yet people talk about how bad he was at drafting, at building an offense, at building a team without Bonds.

      And that was what led me to research the draft in the first place, my faith was cracking and it did seem like he was screwing up the draft. My study made me realize how hard it is to draft when you are winning, heck, how hard it is period, even when you have the first pick overall. My study restored my faith in his abilities, and I've been defending him on-line since my study.

      Sure, I had to bite my tongue during the lean losing years, but I never deviated from my stance that he should remain GM and given a chance to rebuild after Bonds and then to reap the benefits of the bounty he had collected for us.

      And I took a lot of crap from people at MCC for defending him. And that's fine, I just wanted them to see the light, the light of Brian Sabean's great job in rebuilding the Giants. When Ann Killion wrote her column questioning what the Giants direction was after Bonds, I quickly blogged "Pitching, Pitching, and more Pitching".

      So I totally agree, Sabean has been great in so many ways as our GM. He has led our team with a vision of pitching, speed, and defense (said in interviews since early in his days as GM) that didn't really come to fruition until 2012.

      I view 2010 as the bonus championship, most teams swing and miss on their first try and I thought they would reach the pinnacle in 2012-13, the last years with Cain and Lincecum (at that time, I was estimating), and with Posey and Bumgarner coming to the fore, but who knew that they would be so great from the get-go and help us in 2010? Now that is a homer fantasy dream that luckily for us came true.

      But as much as I like Sabean, I don't see the need to sign him up to a huge long-term deal or give him part ownership (like the A's did with Beane). I've been fine with how the Giants have been handling him (and Bochy), giving rewards but also incentive too to keep the line moving, to stay good.

      That's the problem with long contracts today, you don't know if you're getting a hard worker like Cain or a slacker like Rowand. The greats need no motivation, the others do.

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  3. http://www.baseballamerica.com/draft/mock-draft-4-0-the-final-countdown/

    BA's final mock is out, though Callis reserves the right to make last minute changes as his information network goes into overdrive.

    http://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2013/6/6/4401732/mlb-draft-2013-mock-draft-jonathan-gray-mark-appel

    Sickels' has his mock out. Lots of difference with other mocks, throwing in surprises like Domonic Smith going 3rd, Bickford going 8th, Kaminsky going 18th.

    Both mocks have the Giants picking Krook. It is almost like they all decided that it's too hard to pick for the Giants, so they go with a local guy, who is a pitcher and ranked up there (ranks have in in the 40-50's) beyond as an overdraft situation.

    Bickford and Tim Anderson were guys I thought might be possible picks, but they seem to be rising up the draft. Kaminsky too. I've seen some chatter on Ciuffo and Jagielo as well, as possibles, that makes sense to me too. I would note that BA ranked Jagielo 16th, yet most mocks have him in the low to mid 20's. Balog also fits here too. Devin Williams has also caught my notice, both would be slight overdrafts, much like Panik was. They fit right in with Krook in that regard.

    Harvey makes too much sense because most rank him right around 25th, maybe a little higher, and the Giants don't seem to do that with back of first round picks, they seem to think differently there. Denney also seems to fit in this category too. But you never know what the Giants are thinking.

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  4. Here is the Scout.com Draft Ranking: http://sbb.scout.com/3/2013MLBDRAFTTOPPROSPECTS.html

    Chris Anderson, RHP is the 25th.

    His mock draft is a bit old (June 3rd), but here it is for completeness: http://sbb.scout.com/2/1296613.html

    He does it differently, looking at possibles, so he offered Aaron Blair as "the Pick", but Matt Krook as 2nd option, Christian Arroyo as 3rd option, and Alex Balog as 4th option. He also listed Marco Gonzales and Andrew Mitchell as other options. Lastly, he noted what he calls "Hoping For:" and that would be Hunter Harvey, who he has going to the Dodgers with the 18th pick. Krook is listed for LAD as well, Balog too.

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  5. SI final mock: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mlb/news/20130606/mlb-mock-draft-3-0-jonathan-gray-mark-appel-kris-bryant-dave-perkin/?eref=sircrc

    Has the Giants going for Bobby Wahl, RHP, who they pegged in their first mock.

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  6. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130606&content_id=49792594&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb&tcid=tw_article_49792594

    Mayo's final mock. Lots of serious helium for some names, Tim Anderson went from 31 to 18, Kaminsky 32 to 24, and Josh Hart (21), Hunter Green (31), Cody Reed (29), Travis Demeritte (23), and Cord Sandberg (30) all flew into the first round mock. Hart OF and Demeritte 2B might bear watching for Giants fans.

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  7. Last but not least, Perfect Game's final mock, posted for free at BP: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20858

    Krook is the name again for the Giants.

    Wow, Bickford 8th! They also mention Hart, Serrano, Reed, Blair, Devin Williams, Riley Unroe, and Oscar Mercado.

    It was noted that Kaminsky should be a Top 10 slam dunk, if not for his height (he's 23 in this mock), so that sounds a lot like Lincecum and Agosta picks, low height, but Giants like everything else.

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  8. I missed the draft for the first time in many years, happily, as I watched in pride to see my son graduate valedictorian (one of 15, but still an accomplishment) from high school.

    The Giants really blew expectations out of the water again, drafting two HS hitters, and no pitchers, and both are considered huge overdrafts.

    First round pick was Christian Arroyo, who I forgot to list up above, as he was mentioned by the Fox/Scout.com analyst as a possibility because of rumors that they would sign him to a lower bonus deal in order to sign later players.

    Video on Arroyo from MLB.com:
    http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?topic_id=40395496&content_id=27176847

    Wow, I think many of the players suggested for the Giants to pick were available when they picked, but they went with Arroyo still. Barr in interviews say they have been following him for a while and love his bat.

    As I noted on Shankbone's site, the Giants historically have signed players for approximately slot (or more) except for one year where they did go cheap. Commentators have assumed that they were going cheap in other years, but my study found that not to be true, it was in line with what other teams were paying in that range of picks. So history would suggest that is not true.

    However, I think signability is one of the things scouts are suppose to check on and that usually means: what is the dollar figure that gets a player to sign away his commitment to college? Given he was ranked so lowly (just over 100th, by BA I think), he might have a lower figure in mind, and the Giants will do their "split the difference" negotiating ploy to get the player to sign.

    Still, most people, including me, thought that Mac Williamson would not get much of a bonus, compared to his slot, but ultimately he got around slot, from what I remember. So you don't know how Arroyo will react in this situation.

    Given that his comments in interviews is that "opportunities like this are hard to come by again. For the right cost I'm going to have to accept my offer and play for the Giants...", I would think that he's got a price tag on going pro, and that he's not going to hold the Giants to the slot of roughly $1.9M, assuming that his price is lower. But that is just my guess, I don't know the kid.

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    1. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?c_id=sf&content_id=49835530&notebook_id=49847174&partnerId=as_mlb_20130607_8632244&vkey=notebook_sf&ymd=20130606

      MLB article on Giants selections. Forgot to mention that talk is that he won't stay at SS, may move to 2B or even C.

      Good info on Pavlovic on both picks: http://blogs.mercurynews.com/giants/2013/06/06/giants-select-shortstop-christian-arroyo-in-first-round/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

      Sorry I don't have time to compile more together in one nice package.

      Looked at both videos and liked both of their swings, Jones was particularly sweet, as a lefty he reminded me a little of Will the Thrill. After seeing how the Giants changed Belt and helped Crawford, have to think they know hitting, just need the talent to utilize their knowledge.

      And as 2012 showed, you can win with a lineup of hitters, you don't need big home run hitters to win, though obviously that would be nice too.

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    2. Congrats on your sons graduation. That is awesome.

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    3. Thanks Shankbone, much appreciated. Sometimes it makes me feel old, sometimes it makes me feel young, living vicariously through him (can't help that when you are a Dad, as you probably already know).

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  9. Second round pick, Ryder Jones, I got nothing much.

    Video from MLB Draft for Jones:
    http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?topic_id=40395496&content_id=27756541

    BA ranked him 197th. Garrioch had him 130th. Mayo only went to 100, and he wasn't on the list. At the 64th pick, he was drafted 2 to 4 rounds before where he was ranked, much like Mac Williamson.

    DrB has some info on them: http://whenthegiantscometotown.blogspot.com/2013/06/scouting-draft-giants-day-1-review.html#comment-form

    Again, seems to be a "sign low, save money for later" deal, but we don't really know right now.

    Last year, I wondered if Mac was the Giants "sign low, save money" deal, but he ended up near slot, so they couldn't deal with any of the HS players drafted late. Perhaps this year they took two of them, in hopes of getting at least one of them to sign low, saving money for later.

    One consequence of these deals is that better players fall to later, and I guess teams are hoping to pick up these better players later and sign them to overslot deals.

    I still don't understand the advantage of that, I view it as a zero sum game, sure you save money on the first guy to get a better guy later, but people seem to forget that this means that the first guy you drafted wasn't as good as the higher priced guy. So you accept lower potential on the first guy to get higher potential on the second guy. Zero sum.

    Now some say this allows teams to pick up guys in 10+ rounds, as $100K is allowed for each pick before overslotting, but really, most prospects getting $100K are very unlikely to ever amount to anything.

    Seems like the difference between betting $100 on a number on roulette or betting $50 on two different numbers instead. Reduces the risks, but it also reduces the rewards too, I think. As you don't really know who is going to fall to you, you do this with the expectation that someone will fall through the cracks and that you will be there to select him. That's a really iffy strategy, if you ask me.

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    1. Jones has a Stanford commit that will take some bucks to buy out. Ragira is a junior at Stanford and it will take some bucks to keep him from going back for his senior year. I'm putting the over/under for signing Jones and Ragira at $1 M each.

      I think they can get Arroyo for somewhere in the range of $1.4-1.6 M which would free up $200-400 K. I think they can get Johnson to sign for around $100 K which frees up another $400 K.

      That would get both the Jones and Ragira contracts done with possibly a little left over to sweeten the offers downstream.

      I agree that if they wanted Ragira, why not just take him earlier? Maybe they weren't sure what they would find available later in the draft and just wanted some flexibility?

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  10. Another thought from reading about each player, both seem to be considered plus players from the smarts side, mature players who have a good feel for the game, and the intangibles that are hard to measure. Jones dad is a baseball coach at a school, Arroyo sounds like a very mature guy for his age, and his idol is Derek Jeter (Panik's too, so they have that in common). Arroyo was a leader on the Team USA team, another intangible.

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    1. I've been pondering this angle a bunch. And I have to say, after turning on the LSU-USC game tonight... It clicked! Arroyo is a version of Alex Bregman, who is a Team USA/award winner baseball rat, bat without a true position who can just play. He goes to LSU, plays SS in an extremely high profile program, and kills it this year. Just kills it.

      I think this is the Giants taking that exact case, cutting off the go to college route with the overdraft.

      I'm working on making it a little more eloquent...

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  11. http://www.csnbayarea.com/giants/giants-2013-draft-picks

    Looks like Baggs is keeping track of the Giants draft picks at this URL. Here is what is there right now:

    Giants' 2013 MLB Draft Picks:

    Round 1 (25th overall): Christian Arroyo -- Shortstop -- Hernando High School (Florida)

    Round 2 (64th overall): Ryder Jones -- Third Base -- Watauga High School (North Carolina)

    Round 3 (101st overall): Chase Johnson -- Right-Handed Pitcher -- Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

    Round 4 (132nd overall): Brian Ragira -- First Baseman -- Stanford University

    Round 5 (162nd overall): Daniel Slania -- Right-handed Pitcher -- Notre Dame

    This is nothing like other years where I saw a lot of names who fell (like Oropesa and Susac and Osich) and then got picked up by the Giants. They did pick up two pitchers, and all of these guys are college players.

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  12. ogc,

    I would like to add my congrats on your son's graduation. HS has become extremely competitive academically so being in the top 15 or tying for the top with 14 others or however they calculate it, is an impressive accomplishment. Best wishes to him and you for the future.

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    1. Sorry to take so long to reply, but thank you for your kind thoughts.

      Yes, I thought so too, unfortunately his school of choice did not agree. He's going CC route to see if he can transfer in instead, I think he'll have a better chance next time, as we'll be trying a different tack then.

      Thanks again.

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  13. Ryder Jones is already signed. One aspect that boggles my mind is the various Giant watering holes almost assume the Giants are screwing up from the beginning. The site where you got beat up some (and damn do I feel guilty for not defending and piling on a tad) is at it again, calling out John Barr for being conservative. There's a post by a well-known prospect hound actively rooting for Jones not to sign. This just doesn't make any sense to me at all, but now that I've been through the message board stuff for a while, I realize a lot of stuff doesn't make sense.

    And with that, I have to say yet again, that your blog is the model of rational thought and good analysis. It cracks me up how often you've been right about things OGC. And as much as I like to argue a bit about silly stuff in the past like Michael Tucker, I find my views to be very similar to yours. That draft study you did holds up very well. Still does today, and some folks should mind it instead of raging on the Giants about not picking their pet prospect.

    And this is coming from a guy who has spent enough time on this stuff to have a few pet prospects!

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    1. Yeah, that's why I don't bother going to the boards, I don't feel that I learn very much and I end up getting beat up a lot, but with no apologies when it turns out I'm right.

      And that's the thing, a lot of what they say just don't make sense, and worse, there are a bunch of them who agrees. I find their value proposition to be very minimal.

      Oh yeah, we do share a lot of similar views, I've noticed that too. And thanks for your kind words about my study.

      And some seem to think I'm saying not to enjoy your pet prospects. Total opposite, I just want people to be realistic about the prospects chances - i.e. don't get mad as hell that the Giants are screwing up "your" prospect - and celebrate the little victories he has as he rises (hopefully) up the system.

      And if they are your pet, don't drop them like a hot potato when they falter. I still follow Ehire. But where are the people who were so hot about Chuckie Jones?

      Delete
  14. OGC - I have some stat study questions for you.

    On the BP age/level study (here's some links:)

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15306

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15295

    I need some help interpreting this. Did they do a study just using the successful major league players? Is there anywhere that addresses the age of draftees that didn't make it? I am looking at it and I can't find anything, but maybe I'm blind.

    This seems like the BP draft study that decided to hand out an average $ draft value for each position without taking into account failure rates.

    I'm just getting a little curious about the age/level studies. While I always would want a younger player if possible, I'm just not seeing the correlation of this study to any kind of real drafting advice. To me, it seems like the hits are outnumbered hugely by the misses, and the sample of success is so small this whole thing should be looked at through salty eyes crying from so much salt poured on.

    Any thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, been on the road for work. I'll take a look this weekend.

      But if this is the old study they did years ago, they did not take success into the analysis, they just looked at average WARP, which I've been complaining about since their study came out.

      Delete
    2. No, the study was not just of successful major league players. Basically, it looked at the oldest five high school hitters and the youngest five high school hitters drafted in the first 100 picks overall. So success and failures are included. And that answers your second question, I guess, though technically it did not deal with the age of draftees that didn't make it, the focus was on the difference in value between younger draftees and older draftees, so I guess I should say no to your second question.

      Yeah, the study did not account for failure rates, which as I noted, was my major problem with their study.

      There is no correlation to real drafting advice here, but not for the reason you state. The study only looks at the draft after the fact, once teams selected the players. There are probably a lot of prospects drafted after the 100th pick who fall into the age ranges in the study, so a team cannot just pick the youngest hitters and think that they hit a homerun pick like Mike Trout.

      What this is useful for is looking at the draft after the fact and seeing which teams are more likely to strike it rich, and those who are not. I thought about this study with regards to Zack Wheeler, who while a high schooler, was old for a high schooler, a year older. That was another reason I was OK with trading him over Brown.

      But in terms of actual draft insight, the study would have been better served to take the BA 500 as far back as possible, then use the same methodology. That would have yielded actual usable insight into the draft process. This study only allows analysis after the fact, after teams have "determined" the Top 100 prospects.

      Delete
    3. For some reason that study, and the devotion to it, don't add up to me. I do think he did some interesting things, such as trying to factor in where the teams drafted the players with a formula.

      But here is one thing that really bothers me: I asked Jazayerli in the comments sections if he had factored how much star players moved the #s. He responded to me saying that the impact players PROVED the numbers. That comment is now deleted. That bothers me, I am not a fan of editing blogs/questions at all. It seems to me the stars, and I mean big stars, move the needle on that study a ton, meaning it really is a small sample size when it all boils down. 5 guys a year succeeding period? That sounds about right.

      The conclusion I can see is you are talking about a portion of each draft, the top 100 when drafts go 10 times and more. Obviously the best prospects get the most hype, and have the biggest chance of success. But to blindly start looking at birthdates as a major factor just doesn't make much sense to me. Sure, all things equal the younger player is definitely the way to go. But the thing is, talent gets outed very, very quickly. There are few mysteries in life. Sure Mike Trout was a 25th pick overall. Byron Buxton sure wasn't though... The cream rises to the top, fast.

      Here's a new thing to think about, the guy who had the Arroyo pick to the Giants call, Kiley McDaniel, has an article citing the BP/Jazayerli study. Here it is: http://sbb.scout.com/2/1298821.html

      I find it interesting that 5-7 Front offices are finding that very important. I think its safe to say the Giants aren't one of these. I would also question whether he's touched based with any of the Greybeards.

      And this goes back to the old OBP saw. If every team is hopped up on getting OBP guys, they will be the most expensive. So where do you go to get value? Hackers! If all the young players are getting the hype, where is the value? Old guys!

      Like I said, your draft study holds up incredibly well.

      Check out my analysis of the SS and 3B draft over all of MLB. I think the Giants made a slick move at 3B once you look through that lens. Ryder Jones has a lot going for him.

      Delete
    4. Oh, and now I can understand your issues with BP a bunch more. That draft study that went for average value instead of factoring in failure rates and the fact that a pick can cost the signing team the bonus as well as development time with being wrong...

      And also I'm very pleased the Giants do their own thing, and don't let BP or F/G into their secret sauce. Based on the analysis I've seen coming from those areas, I think the Giants have a great thing going with all of their collective baseball experience. Which IS supplemented by a great analytics department.

      Delete
    5. Yeah, I lost respect for BP's utter ignorance of their bold call out for the firing of Brian Sabean in their 2010 Annual. they really needed to address this in their 2011 annual, either a mea culpa or a double down call to repeat their call. So it does not surprise me that they would whitewash the comments by deleting your comment.

      And it is not 5 guys succeeding a year. They are looking at the 5 youngest vs. the 5 oldest high school hitters, and comparing their WARP over the expected average WARP. Given that the expected average WARP is so low, due to the fact, as my study showed, the success rate is so low, that is a very low hurdle to get over.

      Just look at the table in the first article. 32 years of study, I use 18 WAR as my threshold for good, there were only 10 years where FIVE prospects even account for 18 WAR, let alone one prospect, roughly 30% of the drafts. Oh, since they use discounted WARP, let's try 10 WARP: still only 14, roughly 45%.

      I can see how front offices can use this info. They should be ranking players using some system. Comparing prospects, if they rank similarly, then you want to go with the younger one, based on this study.

      The second article makes it clear that there seems to be a relationship between age and success in finding better prospects (not successful prospects, but still, a good finding, I realize now). Younger players do seem to be undervalued in some way.

      But the example he gave don't really make sense to me, about Lindor and Starling. I mean, between the two, OK, I can see that. But he makes the point that many fall to below the 25th pick, so what if there were 5 HS prospects younger than Lindor? Are they really suggesting you pick a, say, 100th ranked (by BA) high school hitter over Lindor, just because maybe there are 5 high school hitters younger than Lindor? That is the logical implication I got from the article, but if they are saying that, I think a lot of their readers would spit up their coffee upon reading that.

      Delete
    6. About what Kiley noted, yes, I agree that it is extremely unlikely that the Giants FO were one of the ones he spoke with who said they were using it. The Giants are not going to open their kimono, as Sabean likes to put it, that wide for Kiley (who, frankly, I've never heard of until you brought him up, so props to him for catching the Arroyo rumor, I hope you keep an eye on him for other rumors). Not to say that the Giants don't follow that tactic either, just can't say either way.

      I have not had a chance to look at your 3B/SS article, but based on what you said before, it makes sense. With this draft, this is new territory for the Sabean era, they haven't really done this with such a high pick often, Torcado early on, Fairley recently, but mostly they have picked up pitchers.

      And like with most resource markets, there will be trends and counter-trends, and the Giants appear to read them OK, as you note, going old when all goes young, etc.

      Thanks, I'm very proud of my draft study, prouder every year, and hopefully one day I'll have the time to update it.

      And yeah, I'm glad the Giants go their own way, with so much homogenized information, as shown in the NFL and Bill Walsh, having a separate, informed, expert opinion can be very valuable.

      Delete
  15. Well that was fun. Hey, here's yet another one for ya:

    "Yes, this is another one of the many weird events the San Francisco Giants wrecked en route to their first of two unlikely championships"

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20935

    It never ends OGC, it never ends. Like shoveling sand in the ocean. Gotta just let it go.

    I do appreciate you showing up on the MCC thread so I could give a public apology on last years dust up. Most likely I'll skip next year's, but my name got called out and I don't take kindly to that. It feels good to not pull punches though, I have always been way too polite in debating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, it's not so bad, really, even by BP standards. Any championship is really unlikely. There are so many obstacles in the way. Two makes it that much so. Still, to your point, BP does like to take their jabs and undoubtedly this is one, but just one of their milder ones.

      What I find bad in the analysis is that these sabers spend all their time standardizing and resetting the means and all that sort of leveling the playing field stuff and they don't even look at their own stuff and just take things at face value.

      Like the SD almost winning the West. The Giants should have had it wrapped up weeks before that. SD was playing above its head for much of the season until the wheels came off in August. I'm sure the BP standings analyzer of efficiency will show that they should not have been that close, and therefore the Giants should have won much earlier.

      As it was, that win stolen from us by that lazy umpire in that Mets game - "the catcher made a good move so I called the runner out" - (Cuzzi?) - had we properly gotten that win, we would have entered into that final series with SD as the official winners of the NL West, with nothing for SD to play for. Had we lost that title, it would have been up there in Giants history with Merkle and Snodgress in plays that costed the Giants a title.

      Yeah, if I got called out, I would push back. I prefer to be polite, but they certainly do not hold their punches back, I must say. It is hard not to punch back, I just try to take the high road as much as I can, but it is just too hard, and everyone has their limits.

      That's mainly why I don't bother going back, none of them understand what I'm saying anyway - and more importantly, don't even bother because they are set in their ways - so I find myself talking to the wall when I'm there. They think that they are right when for the last 5-7 years, they have been much more wrong than right.

      I, at least, have been vindicated by the Giants results of the past five seasons (to 2009), but it is Grant, who, if he were GM, would have selected Smoak over Posey, people go to for quotes on the Giants and their future. People there got it wrong, they called me a Pollyanna, but I was more a Cassandra. But as you say, I should just let it go.

      Delete
    2. Frustrating for me, to politely hold my ground, do some dodging and weaving here and there to stay in the forum and contribute, and then have a guy basically start stalking me and throw down comments every time, picking at trivial parts of my posts, plus putting down that wet blanket of doomy pessimism constantly. Some posters I like at MCC picked up on it, emailed me about it. It didn't help a couple of the young and immature posters were also deciding to poke the bear at the same time. I have a pet peeve about having a portion of my post pulled, blockquoted completely out of context, and ran down. A classic debate trick that's used a lot in that joint.

      So I pushed back, got an insincere apology when it got too obvious, and that "play well with others" crap. By then both writers on the site had come up with their silliness about the front office, which really symbolized to me nothing ever changes, and I'd seen very little celebration at all about winning and being good, and I knew I wasn't long.

      Here's the dirty secret: the place is a ghostland. Most of the big contributors are front-page non-baseball related now, and the numbers have really dwindled. It showed in the Prospect Ranking threads, which I had some fun contributing before, but seems to be mainly an exercise in beating up the players and throwing in a few "man our system sucks"... Which of course I don't agree with. Just not that many eyeballs and interesting things being put up. Actually, I've been frustrated by the quality of the content for a while. So it becomes a head writer and a bunch of dittoheads. Its not for me anymore.

      The curmudgeon using logical fallacies, especially the "appeal to authority" one as his latest broadside, is hilarious to me. He is the biggest user of appeal to authority there is, the ranking systems. And he brought out the strawman whenever he could, trying to paint me into a corner. I shouldn't have wasted my time just now, but I did, he made a particularly bad comment with my name in it and against my better judgement I popped on to pop off.

      I wouldn't worry too much about people going for quotes and what not, you have to let that go. The opportunities on that front will be limited by the lack of talent. I've already contributed to an opportunity being shanked for the guy on a national level spot.

      The thing that sets you apart, and its my problem too, is you are a professional analyst. You take that skill set and put it to work. It makes you ignore the obvious and look elsewhere. As frustrating as that is to have your views dismissed an pigeon holed, its pretty sweet in this case to have been proven out. As we know, that don't always happen.

      Delete
    3. Welcome to my world! That's exactly what happened to me when I was there, and there's one of me and dozens of them, picking apart things and I would be like one of those witnesses on TV where multiple rapid-fire questions causes temporary confusion and I misspeak.

      And what bull he said about not attacking people, he put one of the most heinous attacks about my skills as an analyst into a comment on my site, and impugning my ability to do my job. What a liar!

      Oh, yeah, views can be wrong so badly some time, and yes, it was pretty sweet to be so right. But that's past and on to the future, you're only as good as your last prediction...

      Thanks for the side comments, FYI, I think it's obvious what my e-mail address is, given that Blogger is owned and operated by G.

      Delete
    4. Well, yeah, I should have thought of that. E-mail sent.

      Delete

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