Thursday, February 06, 2020

Giants Draft Analysis: The End of the Sabean Era Drafts (third in a series)

This analysis of the Giants drafts covers Sabean's final years as leader of the Giants front office, 2010-2018, using the data I collected on the picks up to 200th overall, from Gary Brown to Joey Bart.  His string of successes ended, but amidst all the complaints I see continually of the decay of the farm system, and how Zaidi has made it better, it is Ramos, Bart and Corry who are bringing up the farm ranking, and they should continue to rise, and perhaps make the ending all the more sweeter and brighter.

ogc thoughts

As was covered in the first of the series, the Sabean era started out with a huge gaping hole in the development pipeline, as there were no good players drafted in the first five years of his reign, though it was still successful in providing good returns on the money invested.

In the second of the series, even as the tally of probabilities lead to ever higher probability of finding a good player, Sabean had a great string of successes in finding good and great players, from Cain to Belt, flipping his success rate from bottom 20% to top 20%, in terms of how a random process would have ended up in a simulation with those odds.  Thus, a huge success like this does happen randomly given the odds I've found, so skill is not necessarily involved, but still, the results only happens 10% of the time (roughly 10% end up with 6 good players; odds get even lower should Wheeler make the leap to Good player category, only 9% end up with 7 or more).

As I was discussing in the last post, it could take 10+ years to figure out whether a draftee is a good player or not.  And with Ramos a teenager, it might not be until 2027-30 before we know for sure whether he's a 18.0 bWAR player or not.  Yet there are many who criticized the Giants drafting after 2009, after his great streak, even though it probably won't be fully finalized until the end of this decade.

This is the third of the series and after writing the below, and going so so so ogc long, I'm going to separate out my thoughts and analysis of the full Sabean era in the fourth and final of the series.  I'll go over the full length of his tenure as the Giants baseball leader, and summarize my thoughts.

This post is a preliminary take on evaluating this draft period, given that it could take over a decade to fully evaluate, as we don't know who might develop and perform at a Good Player performance level.  So maybe I'll make it an annual update after each season, about where the Sabean era is in beating the odds, or not.

Below, I'll cover the 2010-2018 period in terms of cumulative probabilities, and see where Sabean sits overall at the moment (because right now, non-spoiler for the complainers, it's zero again), and look at scenarios of possibilities for prospects who could make that giant leap to Good Player status, we all know who they are, not that many left.  This helps us understand what he might be expected to deliver, and see how far off he is, in terms of delivering on this last almost decade (9 drafts).

2010 Draft

At 8.2 bWAR, the drafts returned to being okay but not great (great is developing a good player) drafts, after 3 elite drafts.  Gary Brown was the headlining first rounder who could only earn a 7 game tryout, but did produce 0.1 bWAR.  Jarrett Parker produced much more highlights, although again a short MLB life (but 1.2 bWAR more than pays the bills for a team).

The two big producers were two players who didn't even do much for the team:  Heath Hembree and Adam Duvall.  The two has produced 8.9 bWAR so far, and both are still playing, with Hembree becoming a fine reliever for the Red Sox, and Duvall hitting and fielding well for the Reds, Duvall playing well for the Reds and now the Braves.  As one can see, the rest of the draft is therefore negative WAR.

In spite of the greatly improved production, the sum of the picks only added to 0.1726, lower than any of the prior five seasons, for a total of 3.95 expected good players.  There is an 83.9% chance of ending up with no good player in this draft, and that appears likely as Duvall is the leader at 6.5 bWAR and will be in his 31 YO season in 2020, needing 11.5 more to reach 18.0.  His three best seasons are 3.2, 1.7, 0.9, 0.6 (and in order from 2016, 17, 18, 19), so even if he somehow got back up to 1.5 level, and sustained it, he would need another 8 seasons to reach good status.  He'll be even lucky to reach Useful status, which is 3.5 bWAR away.  This draft is done. 

2011 Draft

This draft illustrates the glory and downside of prospecting, with the drafting of Joe Panik.  He had a great start to his career, producing 4.5 bWAR in his first two MLB seasons, looking like he'll produce 2-3 WAR regularly, and be a good player. Alas, that was his one and only season above 2.0, and he sits at 6.7 bWAR (I think I need to rename the categories, Panik was useful as well).

Still, he's the big producer for this draft, which total 11.3 bWAR at the moment.  Kelby Tomlinson is next at 1.9, Kyle Crick is at 1.7 and still pitching well, so he should take second definitively at some point, and Derek Law is at 1.2.  Two other producers were Joe Biagini at 0.6 bWAR, he was someone lost via Rule 5 draft, and did well for the Blue Jays, but not even enough for one WAR (looks like Toronto screwed him up, he had great success in his first season, 0.9 bWAR, as a reliever, but then they made him a swing man starter, and he had two bad seasons, before finding it again in 2019 before losing it after being traded to the Astros; he could have been close to Panik had he just replicated his 2016 season during this career) and Andrew Susac at 0.4 bWAR.

With the same range picks as 2010, there was six picks again, which added up to 0.1726, which is relatively low, for a total of 4.12 expected good players.  There is an 83.9% chance of ending up with no good player in this draft, and barring a miraculous rebirth of Joe Panik's hitting and defense or Kyle Crick figuring out how to be a great closer, this draft is not likely at all to produce a good player.  This draft is basically done.

2012 Draft

Stratton was the first round pick, but at 0.3 bWAR, there were two above him, Matt Duffy at 8.9 bWAR and Ty Blach at 1.6 bWAR.  With a total of 10.9 bWAR, it was another very productive draft, just no good player found.

There were only 5 picks out of the first 200, with the good probabilities adding up to 0.1766 (total of 4.30).  It was a 83.2% chance of no good player found, and likely to not happen given Duffy is the only one moderately close and does not look like to reach 18.0, but it's not impossible.  His seasonal highs are, in order, 4.7, 2.4, and 1.7, so he's actually been productive, but his main problem is the classic case of the best prospect ability is availability:  he's been injured on and off over the years since the Giants traded him.  But with 2020 as his 29 YO season, if he can put together a full healthy season for 3-4 seasons (to age 31-32 YO seasons), he can reach 18.0 bWAR based on his WAR production rate with the Rays when healthy (he had 2.4 bWAR in 132 games and 560 PA in his one full 2018 season with the Rays).

So, he's not likely to achieve good category status, just due to his problems staying healthy on an MLB 25-man roster, but there have been players who struggle early on and then were able to play a long time.  But is he that player?  At 29 YO, not likely.  So this draft is all but over in terms of who might be good, but should Duffman find a way to stay healthy and productive, it probably would happen.  So we'll see.

2013 Draft

A bad draft overall, as very few of them even made the majors, let alone produced.  Total -0.9 bWAR, though with a good chance of being positive and soon, with Tyler Rogers finally getting his chance, and him nailing it (0.7 bWAR in 17 appearances; full season that would be around 2-3 bWAR).  I can't wait for a game where 6' 11" Sean Hjelle is the starter, throwing his high release pitches, and then Rogers relieves with his submarine pitches, Rogers probably would be unhittable in such a situation.  Too bad the Giants waited until his 28 YO season to bring him up, else he might be halfway to Good status by now, given his great WAR production rate in 2019.

The probabilities added up to 0.1726 (total of 4.47) and 83.9% chance of not finding a good player among the first 200 picks.  Arroyo at -0.1 bWAR and entering his 25 YO season, still has some chance of reaching 18.0, but with his third team (Indians have him now, in minor trade), it's not looking likely.  Ironically Rogers, in spite of his age (29 YO this season), could be within spitting distance by age 32 YO, and submariners have less stress on their arms, as well as less reliance on velocity, so he might be able to pitch into his mid-30's and reach this status, if he's really successful.  But both are unlikely to reach good status.

2014 Draft

This draft mirrors the last one in that few have even made the majors, let along produce:  1.0 bWAR so far, only five major leaguers, not much better than the prior year.  But the potential is far greater.

First round pick Tyler Beede is at -0.3 bWAR, but 2019 was his first big chance to pitch in the majors, and after a rocky start, figured out some things in his last 15 starts.  This being his 27 YO season, he's not very likely to reach good status (would require 6 seasons at 3.0 bWAR, roughly, to his age 32 season), but he did really well with his K/9 and K/BB in those 15 starts, and it was his HR/9 that was horrible.  So if he can get his HR/9 to normal sub-1 HR/9 range, he would actually be a good pitcher, like Zack Wheeler in his 28-29 YO seasons, 3.31 and 3.96 ERA, 3.9 and 3.5 bWAR, respectively, to illustrate how good he could become.  If he makes the leap, the odds of being a good player increase exponentially, since he would in this scenario be producing, but still unlikely until he passes 18.0, since he's a pitcher and will be into his early 30's when he's close to the goal.  One Tommy John would probably end any hope of reaching.

Another prospect with greater probability of reaching good status is fourth round pick, Logan Webb.  He only had 0.0 bWAR last season, nothing like Cain's first MLB experience, but with 8.4 K/9 and 2.64 K/BB, it was very promising, even his 1.1 HR/9 wasn't bad.  While his 5.22 ERA may discourage some, his FIP was a great 4.12 (Bumgarner was at 3.90 FIP/ERA in 2019, worth 2.5 bWAR, to get a ballpark idea of his value; Fangraphs recognizes FIP value, so he is at 0.5 fWAR in 8 starts, which works to roughly 2.0 fWAR over a full season). 

2020 is his 23 YO season, but because 2019 got shortened because of his suspension for PED usage (he claims innocence), Webb probably won't get a full season in the MLB in 2020, particularly since the Giants already have four MLB starters in Cueto, Samardzija, Gausman, and Smyly, thus leaving one rotation spot for Beede and Webb to fight over.   Samardzija should be traded by mid-season, and Cueto could be gone as well, so Webb likely will get promoted after a trade of a rotation vet.  And 2.0 WAR production at 22 YO is nothing to sneeze at plus he should get better with experience and maturity, so by 2025 (age 28 YO season), it would not be surprising to see him in the vicinity of 18.0 bWAR (he's already had his TJS).

So, between Beede and Webb, I feel pretty good that at least one of them will turn out to be good, and Webb is more likely to be that player.  But as we have seen with pitchers (see Jesse Foppert), a great MLB start of a career is no guarantee that he can survive long enough to reach good status.  So we will see, and monitor the situation.

In addition, the other three with major league experience, while not likely to reach good status, could be useful still.  Second Round pick Aramis Garcia is at -0.1, but has shown a powerful bat when played.  However, with Bart likely to become the starting catcher sometime between the trade deadlines of 2020 and 2021, and Tyler Heinemann signed to become the likely backup catcher for 2020, he's probably just trade bait in Zaidi's mind right now.  Eighth Round pick Austin Slater has had his ups and downs in the majors, but has 1.0 bWAR so far in a around 2/3rds of a full season (484 AB), which is pretty good, and likely will be given the chance to win some playing time in the OF (and IF) in 2020 (as I'll discuss below), but he's probably viewed as a super utility player by the Giants Front Office, unless the swing changes he made last season bears consistent fruit this season.

Last but not least Fifth Round pick Sam Coonrod, who had 0.4 bWAR in his first MLB season, roughly a 1.0 bWAR season production rate.  Low strikeout rate with a high walk rate leads to bad K/BB ratio (only 1.33) and a high FIP of 5.24.  But he has quite the arm, so while none of these three have a viable chance of becoming a good player, Coonrod showed some potential, so we need to see how he does in 2020, it's too early to say exactly what we have in hand, as while there is a lot that could go wrong, when there's velocity in a reliever, you can't entirely bet against it either.

The probabilities added up to 0.2766 (total of 4.75), which is on the high side because of the mid-teen draft pick, and 74.66% chance of not finding a good player.

2015 Draft

The 2015 Draft has more potential in the back end of the top picks, than the front end.  Bickford was the first round pick, but unfortunately the Giants did not know about his over indulging with 420, so he ended up as trade bait for Will Smith, who was a great reliever for us.  Many talk about the value of draft picks as trade bait, but it is randomness in a vast empty space, generally, as we can go through many Giants early round picks for whom we did not get much of anything for or from.  He's still with the Brewers, and he had a really good season in Advanced A-ball last season, as a reliever, though he's already in his 24 YO season in 2020.  AA as 24 YO, AAA as 25 YO, MLB as 26 YO if he can advance one level per season.  But for some reason, he's only pitching in roughly 20 games per season, so can he do it for a full season?  Another big question.

Chris Shaw was the next pick, a supplemental first rounder, -0.7 bWAR because he just strikes out too much.   2020 is his 26 YO season, kind of a do or die one for him and the Giants, if he don't produce this season, he'll probably be let go or traded.  In his 26 YO season, he'll need to break through this season if he is to have any chance of reaching good status, and based on this track record with strikeouts, not likely at all, unfortunately.  He was showing some promise in late 2018, I felt, and progressed in AAA in 2019, so I would not count his poor 2019 MLB results against him, but he'll need to produce in spring to win a starting spot.

Looks like he'll get his best chance to win a spot on the 25-man, er, 26-man roster, in 2020, as there is not a lot of veteran competition for starting OF spots.  Yaz is the only sure starter, Alex Dickerson would be sure if he could stay healthy for once, there's rumors of Hunter Pence returning but no signing yet, and a whole bunch of prospects competing, including a vet from Korean baseball, Darren Ruf, who was signed recently.

The others include Steven Duggar, who is trying to win the CF starting spot again, Jaylin Davis, Austin Slater (but unless he's mashing the ball, probably super-utility role), Joey Rickard (who re-signed with the Giants, after non-tender; likely bench role though), and I would have to think Ramos will get some sort of a shot, however unlikely he is to make the MLB roster.  Plus Mauricio Dubon is slated to learn to play the OF, and might steal starts in all three OF spots, potentially.  And I would expect Zaidi to pounce on a veteran OF for a minor league deal just before spring training, if Pence isn't the one (perhaps Brandon Guyer is that guy, he was just signed; and there's a Jamie Westbrook, who I missed).  So there's not a lot of proven competition, so we'll see how Shaw does in spring.

Then Andrew Suarez, second rounder, -0.1 bWAR (but according to his player record, he's at +0.1 bWAR, another of baseball-reference's inconsistencies between the numbers in the draft results and the career records) is probably starting in AAA as SP.  Now in his 27 YO season, and not likely to make the majors in 2020, barring injuries and poor performances, unfortunately his chances of reaching good status is low, but if he can recapture what he did in 2018, he can certainly be a useful player still, whether starting or relieving (which seems to be his future path).

As noted, there is more potential in the back end of these first 200 picks.  Jalen Miller and especially Steven Duggar look like potential players.  Duggar we all know about, and he has 1.1 bWAR in 2/3rds of a season, or roughly what an average player can produce.  But injuries and inconsistencies hurt him the past two seasons.  Still, 2020 is his 26 YO season, so if he can just stay on the field and produce with the bat, like he did in 2018 with the Giants and 2019 in AAA, he has a good chance of reaching Good status, because his defense is elite. Kevin Pillar is the model for what Duggar could do, produce about 2.0 WAR on defense, plus contribute something with the bat, which is a low bar in CF, and Pillar right now is at 15.6 bWAR.

Jalen Miller was their third round pick, a bonus baby who they paid way over slot to get.  He had a bad year in AA, but only the top prospects make AA as a 22 YO, and he's always been a prospect that isn't highly ranked, so he's ahead of where he might be expected.  He hit well in Advanced A the prior season, as an underaged (by 1.3 years) player, and he'll probably still be underaged by a year in AA in 2020, so there's still hope, both by performance and by age, lots more years before we'll have to move on.  Unfortunately, odds are greatly against him (but really, against almost every other prospects except the Top 20 overall, so it's not a real knock against him), but he's still a young prospect who is already in the upper minors, so he's still worth mentioning as a possibility of goodness.

That's the thing with prospects, talking about how bad the odds are is just the way things are for prospects, it's hard, harder, hardest.  Miller was already very unlikely to make it the moment he was drafted, the odds are greatly against all the picks, that's the major thing I've tried to show with my draft analysis, even the top picks overall rarely become good player.  Still, players produce and move up and move the needle closer, though glacially slow, until they reach the majors and produce.  He's actually on the radar now, which one cannot say about the vast majority of other prospects.

There are two others who bear some weaker pulse to make the majors in this draft.  Tyler Cyr has done well rising up the minors, and had a nice AAA season in 2019.  He should be competing for a spot in the MLB bullpen sometime in 2020, but with this being his age 27 season, he's at best a useful player, and is no sure thing to even reach the majors, though I love his backstory and am rooting hard for him.  I think he'll at least get the chance, and with his K/9 and K/BB, seems to have the ability to do well in the majors, but we'll see.  He seems to do better when older than the league, and the average NL player age is aa little over 28, so maybe 2021 he'll bust out.

Mac Marshall is another, but is not even a bet to reach the majors, let alone become good.  He has battled injuries plus is still only in Advanced A-ball.  But he once was a big bonus player (Astros was going to give him a $1M until Brady Singer's arm was diagnosed as bad) and the Giants overpaid his slot to get him as well, and he's only in his 24 YO season, but will need to have not only a full season in 2020, but a healthy and productive one.  Like many young broncos, he's been very wild, and continues to be so, and thus I think the odds are very low right now, but sometimes the young buck is tamed and is good, so we'll see.  Given his healthy issues and wildness, as well as age, relief might be his best path to the majors.

The probabilities for the seven picks (got supplemental for Panda signing with the Red Sox) added up to 0.2806 (total of 5.03 for the Sabean era), which is on the high side because of the mid-teen draft pick and the extra pick, and 74.80% chance of not finding a good player.  Right now, appears likely to end up with no good players, but Duggar has displayed the potential to reach that status, and a couple of other prospects still has some chance, albeit very slight.

2016 Draft

After a trio of light prospects (bWAR at or less than 1.0 overall in each, so far), this draft is only highlighted because of one prospect, whom Evans unfortunately agreed to trade.   Bryan Reynolds was the first pick overall for the Giants in 2016, because they lost their first rounder for signing Jeff Samardzija, and he has produced 3.9 bWAR and looks like he can reach good status, after producing that in one great season, for the Pirates, to whom he was traded.

The only other prospect to make the majors so far is Connor Menez, with 0.0 bWAR last season for the Giants.  He pitched really well in AA in 2019, but was knocked around in AAA a bit.  He's only 25 YO for the 2020 season, so I can see him making a mark in the majors in 2021-22, as he consolidates what he learned in 2019 to do so well in AA.  While he benefited some from a low H/9 and HR/9, it was still pretty good, with 3.0 BB/9 and 10.6 K/9, 3.50 K/BB.  He needs to repeat that success in AAA (he's been a strikeout machine the past two seasons) in 2020, as there's no space now in the majors, and he'll get another good chance to stick in 2021.  Given his his K/9, he could be good in the majors, but being a 14th round pick with no prospect ranking credentials, he'll have to prove his worth at each level.

Others who had a prospect pulse include Heath Quinn, Matt Krook (traded), Ryan Howard (probably has the best chance of this bunch to make the majors), Gio Brusa, Garrett Williams (traded), Jose Layer (still only 23 YO season), Jacob Heyward (brother of Jason Heyward), Malique Ziegler (traded), Pat Ruotolu (chance to reach majors as reliever).  None are likely to make it to the majors, let alone reach Good status, but they are still young enough to have hope.

With the missing first round pick, the probabilities totaled only 0.1206 (total of 5.15), the lowest since the punted picks years, with 88.5% chance of ending up with nothing in this draft.  It's possible they could beat the odds in this draft, only to have traded him away.

2017 Draft

The bad streak since 2009 without a good player looks like it could be broken with this draft.  The probability for this draft was 0.2286 for a total of 5.38 over the Sabean era, and 1.26 from 2010-2017, so all it would take is one out of them to make it to be right in the middle of the curve.  Based on the likelihood of nothing (22.82% over the 41 picks so far), there is 34.33% chance of one good player.  Finding a good player would put the 2010-2017 era into the middle range where everyone else is in.

And there are currently two draftees who appear very possible to be good players:  Heliot Ramos and Seth Corry.  Ramos need no introduction to Giants fans, he came out of the blocks with a great start to his pro career, had a slight pause in A-ball (but still good for his age), before breaking out with a very good 2019 in Advanced A ball, before stalling in AA with a promotion.

A highly ranked prospect (mostly in a wide middle for Top 100 prospect lists, from 34 to 65), he said when interviewed after the draft that he wanted to make the majors in three years, and that marked 2020 on the calendar to see if he fulfills his goal.  He's mostly on pace, killing it in AA would have been nice, but .742 OPS as a 19 YO isn't exactly chopped liver either, in the Eastern League where the average OPS was a low .677, and in fact, as a 19 YO in a league of 24.3 YO pitchers, he hit .242/.321/.421/.742 vs. the EL league average of .238/.311/.366/.677.  So I think his drop in AA spooked some rankings to keep him low, but BP saw enough to rank him 34th, and I agree with that assessment given how much better he hit in AA vs. the average players, that's roughly 110% of the league OPS, which is good, period, but really good, for a 19 YO hitting off guys 5-6 years older.

After seeing his AA performance in context (only the best prospects can rise to AA by age 22, let alone 19, and then do better than average by a good amount), I think the Giants will be willing to promote him mid-season:  no use rushing, both because of service time considerations, need for him to prove himself in AAA, which is where I believe he should be at the start of 2020, and the need to provide starting opportunities to the current crop of possible outfielders in Dickerson, Duggar, Davis, Dubon, Slater, Shaw, Rickard.  Kind of like how Zaidi waited to bring up Yastrzemski, after auditioning a bunch of other outfielders.

Seth Corry is the other shining light of this draft.  Ideally, he would be with lock-stepped with Ramos (both were high school draftees), but he needed to learn some stuff, as he was extremely wild in his first two pro seasons.  But he had a great coming out party in 2019, with 1.76 ERA in A-ball as a 20 YO, which is still young for the league, with a still wild (but much better) 4.3 BB/9 but which is compensated greatly with a 12.6 K/9 for a good 3.0 K/BB ratio.  That's still on pace to reach AA by 22 YO, which is what the best prospects do, and why I include him as a possibility to become a good player (that and 12.5 K/9 and 3.0 K/BB).

He was not ranked that high on the Giants Top Prospect lists (from 7 to 12, average of 9) but did make one Top 100 prospect list, amazingly with the MLB Pipeline, at 99, although they still ranked him only 9th among Giants prospects (not sure how they square that anomaly, as only 4 other Giants prospects are ahead of him on that list, so he should be 5th then).  I get the reticence, he was really wild before, and while better, wasn't all that much better.  Still, he's been keeping his H/9 and HR/9 really low, which also helps make up for the high BB/9.

His level seems to be at around two years younger than the league, as he has struggled so far in leagues where he's over 2 years younger (-2.7 and -2.3), but has done well in leagues where he's under 2 years older than other pitchers (-1.5 and -1.8).  He'll be in his 21 YO season in 2020, and the California League average age is 22.5 YO for hitters, and 23.2 YO for pitchers, so he'll be around 2.2 YO younger.  It's a test he'll need to master, as he's projected to be 2.3 YO younger if he progresses to AA in 2021, and I think he can as he took a leap up in K/9 in 2019, which augurs well for his future.

The only other prospects that I've seen people get excited about are Frankie Tostado and Aaron Phillips.  Tostado had a really nice season in 2018, but regressed a lot in terms of striking out in 2019, as he rose to a league of older players.  Nice power bat, and he showed good bat control in 2018, so we'll see how he does in Advanced A ball in 2020, where he's in his 22 YO season, and the average hitter was 22.5 YO (-0.5 like in A-ball in 2019).  If he can rise one level per year, he'll reach the majors at 25 YO.  If he can control the strike zone like he did in 2018, while hitting for power like he did in 2019, he could reach Useful status easily.  Probably won't be good (unless he can combine the two - zone and power - consistently), but could become a useful complementary player, he plays 1B and corner OF.

Aaron Phillips has had good K/BB ratios in his rise up, and okay walk and strikeout rates, but nothing spectacular.  He's one of those prospects who will need to prove it at each level he rises to.  His really good season in A-ball Augusta was what put him on the map, but he regressed a lot in terms of his prospect status in 2019 with his rise to Advanced A-ball San Jose, seemed like he didn't make any progress at all, was just about as good as he was in 2018, only at a higher level.

Of course, with the draft only two seasons before last, there has been nobody promoted to the majors yet, so 0.0 bWAR at this point.  Ramos should reach the majors between the trading deadlines of 2020 and 2021, and Corry by 2023 (he'll be 24 YO), at the latest, pitchers look to be pushed faster under Zaidi (see Menez, and especially Webb), so he could reach the majors in 2022, second half.

The probabilities was the same as last season, with roughly the same picks, totaling 0.2286 for the draft, and 5.38 for all the drafts, with 78.91% chance of ending up with nothing.  The total for 2010-2017 is 1.26 good players, and there are a couple of good possibilities in this draft.

2018 Draft

In the last of the Sabean era drafts, of course, it being only one draft since this one, we are at 0.0 bWAR.  There are a lot of interesting picks here - Hjelle, Wong, Rivera, Winn, Hilson, Villar, Frisbee - but the guy who is most likely to reach Good status (and likely only one) is Joey Bart.

Don't need to say much about Bart's prospects, he's been as good as they come in rising up the minors.  Like Posey (no pressure!), he's likely to rise to the majors two years after he was drafted, though because the team is not as far into the rebuild (and Posey is the starter), he probably will not make the majors until the second half of the season, where he'll probably take over as backup catcher, in preparation for him battling Posey for the starting position in 2021.  Or, perhaps Zaidi/Kapler creates a 3 starter situation with Posey, Bart, Belt sharing catching and first base duties, with Bart getting the most starts, in a quasi-platoon with Belt at first base, and sharing starts with Posey at catcher.

Bart seems to be in the same category as Matt Wieters (5th pick overall in 2007), power-hitting catcher with good to great defense (Wieters is at 18.4 bWAR right now).  Wieters had two great seasons, and a whole bunch of average-ish seasons, a total of 11 seasons for him to reach Good status, but based on recent seasons, he could fall back below, depending on how long he decides to extend his career.  Wieters reached the majors near the middle of his 23 YO season.  2020 will be Bart's 23 YO season.

Sean Hjelle is the only other prospect right now who looks like he could reach at least Useful status in his career, though Frisbee looked interesting (but K/9 is too low right now, based on age and league).  Hjelle did well in A-ball and Advanced A-ball, but got knocked around in AA in 2019.  But his peripherals were good in AA (FIP of 3.36, 8.6 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 3.89 K/BB) and at age 22 YO, which is pretty good period, and especially for his age.  I'm hopeful that his elite height will result in some deception to hitters and allow him to pitch well in the majors.

The probabilities was high because Bart was the second pick overall, totaling 0.41 for the draft, and  5.79 for all the drafts, with 63.37% chance of ending up with nothing.

2010 to 2018 Draft

For this period, there was a total of 54 draft picks in the first 200 picks of the draft.  This totaled an expected 1.67 Good players, with a 12.12% chance of not finding even one good player.  Right now, we are at zero, but there are a number of possibilities, as well as a couple who look like they will be good players:
  • Joey Bart:  could (should) be a Good player
  • Heliot Ramos:  could (should) be a Good player, been better than league average while many years younger.  Not Acuna and Soto good, but closer to them than other young prospects making the majors.
  • Tyler Beede:  showed potential to be a good player if he builds upon his 2019 season. He showed the potential, and ideally he's develops similar to Zack Wheeler's path, only faster, since Wheeler had TJS as MLB.  
  • Seth Corry:  could be a good player, 2019 was his breakout year figuring out some stuff. Still very young, need to climb the ladder, but looks very promising to be good.
  • Steven Duggar:  showed potential to be a good player if he can ever stay healthy and productive with the bat. His bat doesn't even have to do all that much, as his defense is elite level in CF.
  • Connor Menez:  maybe could be good, he's only in his 25 YO season, and he's been a strikeout machine coming up the ladder. Needs to prove it at each level, though, no prospect pedigree
  • Logan Webb:  could (should) be a Good player, as I noted above, had a nice season in 2019, but unfortunately, he'll be innings restricted for a couple of seasons, which will hurt his chances.
  • Bryan Reynolds:  could be a Good player, as he had a great season in 2019, up there with what Yaz did for us, but much younger.
Both Bart and Ramos look like they can reach Good player status.  Bart is more likely, having been ranked 14th in Top 100 by MLB Pipeline, #25 in Top 101 by Baseball Prospectus, and #32 by Baseball America.  Ramos is only ranked #63 and #65 by BA and MLB Pipeline, but #34 by BP.   The near sure thing prospects are usually ranked in the Top 20-25, so Ramos is pretty close per BP.

The rest of the Giants remaining prospects show varying levels of ability to reach good status, some good performance that leads me to think that there's some chance they can reach Good status.  Unfortunately, can't put a probability on any of them right now.

And, of course, there is Bryan Reynolds, who is now doing it for the Pirates (and not a Giants prospect), he's probably the most likely, at this point, of this whole draft period, given his strong first season and youth.

Finding Great Players

Like the above, I looked into the odds of finding a great player:
  • 2010:  0.0576 expected great player; 94.4% probability not finding a great player
  • 2011:  0.0687;  93.3%
  • 2012:  0.0648;  93.6%
  • 2013:  0.0576;  94.4%
  • 2014:  0.0873;  91.5%
  • 2015:  0.0987;  90.5%
  • 2016:  0.0462;  95.5%
  • 2017:  0.0873;  91.5%
  • 2018:  0.2005;  80.9%
This all adds up to 2.32 expected great players found over the 22 drafts, with a probability over the period of 9.26% of not finding a great player, over the 142 picks overall.  And for the 9 draft periods covered in this blog post, 0.64 expected great players with a probability of 45.5% of not finding a great player, over the 54 picks in this draft period.

Of course, with zero great players found, Sabean is behind average, for this draft period.  If I had to bet on any of the above prospects reaching Great status, it would be Heliot Ramos, he not only have the performance but he also has the youth, which is the greater requirement, as length of career generally beats peak performance for such a high performance category.  But it won't be until the 2030's (hopefully) before he can confirm he's that good by reaching 36.0 bWAR.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for this series, it was very enlightening.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Forgot to do one more thing: look at the distribution spread for the 9 draft period based on the overall failure probability. At 12.12% probability of failure, that works out to 3.8326% probability of finding a good player, across all 54 picks.

    Based on that success rate, using binomial probability, there's 12.12% chance of zero Good players, 26.08% of one, 27.55% of two, 19.0% of three, and 15.22% of four or more.

    Obviously, with zero, again, like before, in the first of the series, Sabean and gang are far behind in this 9 year draft period.

    To be in the middle of the curve, or about average, they need to come up with two Good players. Bart looks likely to reach, so then you need one more. Between Ramos, Webb, Beede, Corry, and Reynolds, I think there is a good chance that the second Good player will be among that group.

    But three? Possible, but I don't know how likely. Three would put this draft period into the Top Third, and getting to four would put them in top 15%.

    Still, this is another lesson in understanding probabilities. Just because Sabean (or any other GM/leader) should on the high side in finding Good players, as this exercise shows, even at such very low odds, if you have an infinite number of monkey GM's randomly (relatively, not truly random, but at the average intelligence level across all the GM's) choosing at the same rate as in the past, there could be that lucky monkey who drafts a bunch of Good players. There's good odds of finding 3 or 4 good players (28.7%) even with this low success rate, that one cannot say definitively that the GM is necessarily a genius, only that he's beating the odds. What one can say, is that he's been better at picking than other GM's with similar picks, but that there is a good chance of random luck too. No way to distinguish, really.

    ReplyDelete

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