Saturday, July 26, 2014

2014 MLB Draft: Final Scores

by: Ben Embry

Well...better late than never. I've been sitting on this since the weekend and am finally ready to just push it out on the street.  Following the draft, I scored each team's haul using my top 250 prospect list. Each player was assigned a separate score based on their rank and the team's total was the accumulation of all the players they drafted. But we all know not all players sign, so a more relevant score would be is the one after adjusting for those unsigned.  Below you'll see four columns for each team: pool, drafted, signed, and efficiency %. The pool column represents the value of all of the picks had going into the draft; the draft column is the accumulated value of all of the players drafted; and the signed column is for all of the players they eventually signed.  Finally the efficiency % is based on their eventual haul compared to the pool they had to work with.  As you'll see, there were interesting variations between the three score columns.

Team Pool Draft Signed Eff. %
CLE 5 3 1 101%
MIA 1 7 2 78%
TOR 3 4 3 90%
KC 4 10 4 90%
CHC 10 5 5 102%
ARI 8 2 6 95%
MIN 13 11 7 97%
CHW 7 9 8 88%
PHI 15 12 9 102%
BOS 17 8 10 103%
COL 6 14 11 73%
SD 19 13 12 99%
MIL 11 6 13 74%
SF 20 15 14 93%
LAA 9 20 15 70%
CIN 22 21 16 105%
HOU 2 1 17 50%
DET 26 22 18 103%
PIT 12 19 19 68%
ATL 28 18 20 104%
SEA 16 23 21 70%
LAD 23 24 22 92%
TEX 25 25 23 91%
OAK 27 26 24 94%
STL 14 27 25 58%
NYM 24 17 26 77%
TB 18 28 27 63%
WAS 21 16 28 59%
NYY 29 29 29 84%
BAL 30 30 30 30%

The efficiency ratings were better than I anticipated.  There were 19 players from the top 250 that went undrafted and 52 of the ones that were declined to sign.  Yet 7 teams, which is roughly 1/4 of the league, scored more points than the value of their slotted picks.

Know this: this scoring system is strictly about accumulating the most talent.  You'll see the Yankees were second-to-last across the board.  Does that mean I don't like their draft haul?  No.  It was fine, considering the draft pool they had to work with.  They took advantage of 84% of the points available to them, which puts them in the middle of the league, roughly.  They actually started off really well grabbing good values in their first 4 picks, but didn't take another top 250 player until the 17th round when they selected Garrett Cave, which they were unable to sign.  Again, not bad, just not great.

But teams like Cleveland, the Cubs, and (unfortunately) Boston really seized opportunities.  Cleveland grabbed three top 50 players, (Brad Zimmer, Mike Papi, and Justus Sheffield), and 2 more in the top 100.  The Cubs drafted Kyle Schwarber at pick 4 which theoretically cost them 300+ points but grabbing 4 other top 100 players, (Carson Sands, Dylan Cease, Jake Stinnett, and James Norwood) was excellent use draft position.  Boston onlly scored three top 100 players, (missed on two more), but signed 5 players ranked between 108 and 191.

Cincinnati made the best use of the pool they had, drafting players such as Nick Howard, Alex Blandino, and Taylor Sparks that were worth 105% of what their picks were worth. Hat tip to their management for that one.

Four teams that failed to "seize the day" with efficiency ratings below 60% were Houston, St. Louis, Washington, and Baltimore.  Houston is a team I'll delve into in detail in a bit.  St. Louis had a comp pick giving them two of the first 34 picks but the highest rated player they drafted was Luke Weaver ranked 46.  They only got 3 top 100 players.  Washington drafted four top 100 players but failed to sign two of them.  There were four others on the board that they failed to sign, so they swung and missed on a lot of guys.  What's crazy about Baltimore is that they had by far the lowest pool of the top 30 teams since they didn't pick until the 3rd round.  But even with a small pool, they only maanged to take advantage of 30% of the points.  It's almost like they just decided to take the whole draft off.  The best player they drafted was Pat Connaughton, ranked 112th.  Bad, bad draft for the O's.

Houston misplays their hand...badly
Friday, when it became official that Houston would not sign Aiken, Nix, and Marshall, I found myself actually defending the Astros a little bit. The problem, I felt like at the time, was that Houston was the victim of a system that does not allow teams the opportunity to get pertinent medical information on their players prior to selecting them in the draft. MLB does not have a medical combine before the draft, mostly because of the logistics of having a combine during their playing seasons. That, though, is something that needs to change.

While advisors and the MLBPA would probably argue that it is the players' right to keep that information private, it is my opinion that having that information available would benefit both the teams and the players, with the Aiken situation being a perfect example. Simply put, the Astros would have taken someone else instead of Aiken due to their concerns over Aiken's elbow, (which by the way I feel those concerns are fair and legitimate). Some other team that does not feel as much concern over the elbow would have then been able to select him AND SIGN HIM. This is conjecture, but I'd guess most other teams still would have signed him if they had enough to offer. So Aiken is a victim of circumstance because he was picked by a team that was unwilling to spend money a player with his issue.  Having the information out on the table allows the decision makers to have pertinent information available to them when the decision is made, and not after the fact like in this case.

But alas, there are no medical combines so let's deal with the situation in the here and now. Like I mentioned, at first I found myself defending Houston because I felt like it was a rational decision for Houston to say "I'd rather have next year's 2nd pick than a player who has elbow issues that legitimately concern us, (plus Jacob Nix who they also lose out on signing as a result)". However, the more I've read and heard about the situation, it does not seem like that is actually the issue. The most telling fact is that Houston raised their offer to $5M, up from the minimum required to get the compensatory pick. That tells me that they did in fact want Aiken, just at a discounted price. A discounted price that (probably not) coincidentally would have given them enough money to also sign Mac Marshall.  When you combine that with the leaking of the MRI results, and waiting until the 11th hour to even make contact with the player, it seems at that point they're trying to use the medical information as a negotiating lever to save a small sum and that makes the whole thing unpalatable in my eyes.

Plus there's the Houston fans that you really have to sympathize with.  The franchise has slashed and burned their big league budget to such an extreme degree that the team has been historically bad. No team has ever had three consecutive number 1 picks. And yet I think the fans were by-and-large agreeable because they knew it was setting things up for a future run. But that run was contingent upon making good decisions in the draft. And now they get nothing in this year's draft, (relative to what a team picking first every round could expect). Plus Mark Appel is looking like a bust at a time when Kris Bryant is looking like a star.  Add to that the fact their reputation has taken a big hit and will make it difficult to negotiate with free agents and draftees going forward, I think calls for Jeff Lunhow to be replaced are fair and legitimate.

So this ends another draft season.  Maybe next year I'll have a little more enthusiasm about the whole thing and get these blogs out in a more timely manner.  I actually find this all quite interesting and hope you do to.  Hit me up on twitter at @thebronxempire or email me at  Have a good day!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

2014 Mid-Season Yankees Prospect Rankings (by hitter/pitcher)

by: Ben Embry

A few days ago I updated my top 30 prospects list. I actually track about 72 players and have enough to do top 30 hitters and pitchers list, which you'll see below.  First the hitters:

Rank Player Position Born
1 Aaron Judge RF 1992
2 Gary Sanchez C 1992
3 J.R. Murphy C 1991
4 Eric Jagielo 3B 1992
5 Greg Bird 1B 1992
6 Rob Refsnyder 2B/LF 1991
7 Mason Williams CF 1991
8 Slade Heathcott CF 1990
9 Luis Torrens C 1996
10 Tyler Austin RF/1B 1991
11 Gosuke Katoh 2B 1994
12 Abiatal Avelino SS 1995
13 Jorge Mateo SS 1995
14 Peter O'Brien C/3B/1B 1990
15 Leonardo Molina CF 1997
16 Jake Cave CF 1992
17 Miguel Andujar 3B 1995
18 Tyler Wade SS 1994
19 Thairo Estrada SS 1996
20 Alexander Palma CF 1995
21 Ramon Flores CF/RF 1992
22 Ben Gamel RF 1992
23 Zoilo Almonte RF/LF 1989
24 Yonauris Rodriguez SS 1997
25 Dante Bichette, Jr. 3B 1992
26 Dustin Fowler OF 1994
27 Taylor Dugas CF/RF 1989
28 Jose Pirela 2B 1989
29 Cito Culver SS 1992
30 Angelo Gumbs 2B 1992

One thing I think of when I step back and look at this list is there are some old familiar names in the 20-30 range.  Bichette, Culver, and Gumbs were all top 10 system prospects not that long ago. Zoilo has has multiple cups of coffee in the majors and I wonder if he could actually stick as a 4th OF for an entire season. Flores and Gamel have been on the radar for years. Flores has always produced statistically but doesn't have the tools or the measurables to carry him to the majors. Gamel, brother of Milwaukee Brewer Mat Gamel, has always been solid.

Now for the pitchers:

Rank Player Position Born
1 Luis Severino SP 1994
2 Ian Clarkin SP 1995
3 Shane Greene SP 1988
4 Manny Banuelos SP 1991
5 Ty Hensley SP 1993
6 Jacob Lindgren RP 1993
7 Jose Ramirez RP 1990
8 Austin DeCarr SP 1995
9 Rafael de Paula SP 1991
10 Brady Lail SP 1993
11 Jose Campos SP 1992
12 Bryan Mitchell SP 1991
13 Mark Montgomery RP 1990
14 Nik Turley SP 1989
15 Chase Whitley SP 1989
16 Rony Bautista SP 1991
17 Gabe Encinas SP 1991
18 Jordan Foley RP 1993
19 Jordan Montgomery SP 1992
20 Nick Goody RP 1991
21 Rookie Davis SP 1993
22 Miguel Sulbaran SP 1994
23 Matt Tracy SP 1988
24 Nick Rumbelow RP 1991
25 James Pazos RP 1991
26 Dietrich Enns SP 1991
27 Caleb Smith SP 1991
28 Giovanny Gallegos SP 1991
29 Omar Luis SP 1992
30 Dayton Dawe SP 1994

The Yankees added four propsects to their top pitchers list this June via the draft: Jacob Lindgren, Austin DeCarr, Jordan Foley, and Jordan Montgomery.  They ranked 60, 93, 121, and 143, respectively, on my final compilation rankings board. Lindgren throws a low-90s fastball and a very good slider, and appears likely to pitch as a reliever.  DeCarr, 19, graduated from high school last year but did a post-graduate year at The Salisbury School in Connecticut. He’s a low-to-mid-90s fastball guy who, on his best days, has an out pitch hammer curveball. Like most pitching prospects from the Northeast, DeCarr doesn’t have a ton of innings or experience under his belt.  According to Baseball America, Foley works primarily off an 89-94 mph fastball, touching 96, and at times he shows a plus slider, though he struggles to repeat it. Other scouts see Foley as a reliever because he uses a split-finger fastball as a changeup to combat lefthanded hitters.  New York had drafted him previously, which I wrote about here.  Mike Axisa at River Ave Blues wrote that Montgomery is a classic pitchability lefty who complements his low-90s fastball with a curveball, a cutter, and a very good changeup.  There was one pitcher that would have made this list had he signed, and that was Garrett Cave.  He ranked 151 on my comp board and probably would have ranked 20th on the system pitcher's list.

This weekend I'll give final grades for all 30 teams based on who didn't sign. Email me or hit me up on twitter with any questions: or @thebronxempire. Have a good day!