Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I am very jealous that Billy Beane has a better job than I do.

The Campaign for A-Train to Topple Hendry (or At Least Oneri) (CATTHALO for short) continues.

"Since we're talking about Brown anyway," says Paul, which wasn't exactly true, since the scouts were now distinctly not talking about Brown, "there's a list of hitters I want to talk about. All of these guys share certain qualities. They are the eight guys we definitely want. And we want all eight of these guys." He reads a list:

Jeremy Brown
Stephen Stanley
John Baker

Mark Kiger
Shaun Larkin
John McCurdy
Brant Colamarino
Brian Stavisky

--Moneyball. Naturally.

Of this group, the A's drafted seven. (Larkin went to the Indians.) 68 players from the 2002 draft have reached the major leagues. None of those 68 are on this list. All were born between 1979 and January of 1981, making them (at the very least) 26 at the beginning of next season.

Let's analyze this fun little group, along with another, related group.

Jeremy Brown: The "bad body" catcher that barely made the list of Baseball America's top prospects may have outperformed BA's projection, but has fallen short of Billy's. He spent THREE YEARS in the Texas League (AA), and his ballyhooed plate discipline has fallen off, as his (OBP-BA) has declined every year. Even a move to the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League didn't help this year, as he's hitting .255 with only ten homers. Cub Comparison: Hector Villanueva.

MYSTERY PLAYER A: Posted a 6.22 ERA in AA this year, inexplicably promoted to AAA, where he was somehow even worse.

Steve Stanley: "Scrappy" Notre Dame CF apparently had an extra S welded to the front of his descriptor, as he had worlds of trouble at AAA in '04, couldn't get out of AA in '05, and either got injured or retired after 4 hits in 30 ABs this year in AA. Cub comparison: Doug Dascenzo.

MYSTERY PLAYER B: 80 1/3 innings since minor league debut in 2002. Amazingly, last name neither "Prior" nor "Wood".

John Baker: One of the better of the Beane Bunch, Baker seems pretty solid - provided power isn't a concern. Also, hitting better than .270 in the minors shouldn't be one, either, because he's not really so good at that. He's a catcher, though, and the A's have a thing for catchers who are kind of useless and annoying. (Full disclosure: I think John Lackey is the shit.) Cub comparison: Rick Wrona.

MYSTERY PLAYER C: Unseen since 2004, save for the pages of THS.

Mark Kiger: Adequate in '04-05 at AA, somewhat less so in the (still) hitter-friendly PCL in '06. (Felix freakin' Pie hit 15 homers at Iowa, which poses two questions: one, who pitches in this league? Two, how are Iowa, Omaha, and New Orleans in the Pacific Coast League? Is it THAT much of a catchy name?) His OBP is solid, but that's it. Cub comparison: A somehow even crappier Ronny Cedeno.

MYSTERY PLAYER D: Out of baseball.

Shaun Larkin: Beane missed out on him, but he didn't miss too much. Let's put it this way: Hector Luna has nothing to worry about, which says a lot. Cub comparison: A paraplegic Todd Walker.

MYSTERY PLAYER E: Midwest League #1 Prospect at 20 in 2004. Downhill ever since.

John McCurdy: Had his first passable minor league season this year, but it came in A ball and he's 25. This guy will spend more time in minors than a Pandrew wet dream. Cub comparison: Neifi Perez, but worse.

MYSTERY PLAYER F: How interesting that MR F actually was involved in a fairly retarded move! He was traded for a cripple and a productive major league outfielder* after earning a reputation as a 19-year-old future star, and his career immediately imploded.

(*1 1/2 female baseball writers agree that said outfielder is not actually productive. They are wrong.)

Brant Colamarino: He's progressed better than many of Beane's other picks, but he's still in AA at 25 (although, in all fairness, he did have a pretty solid season this year.) Cub comparison: Hee Seop Choi.

MYSTERY PLAYER G: Pitching not particularly badly in A ball at age 22, but his strikeout rates have declined as the competition has gotten tougher.

Brian Stavisky: The Bible was right - the last SHALL be first! He's clearly mastered AA ball, and while he struggled a bit at AAA this year, he's hit .300 with high walk totals at every level. Cub comparison: Derrick May.

MYSTERY PLAYER H: Hit pretty damn well (and at shortstop, no less) in '04-05 at AA...so, naturally, he was dropped back to A ball this year.

Conclusion: I was really hoping to prove that Billy Beane is nothing special. So, I compared this wish list of eight hitters to the Cubs' first eight picks of that same 2002 draft. The mystery players are, in order: Bobby Brownlie, Luke Hagerty, Chadd Blasko, Matt Clanton, Brian Dopirak, Justin Jones, Billy Petrick, and Matt Craig. None of the guys in this article seem to be anything special, at least not so far - but the fact that not a one of them has reached the majors yet is kinda disappointing. (Technicality: The Cubs' NINTH pick that year was Rich Hill [who, along with Adam Greenberg, are the only picks to reach the majors], and their most intriguing in my mind is 38th-round selection, catcher-turned-pitcher Randy Wells.) Oakland, meanwhile, selected Nick Swisher, Joe Blanton, and Mark Teahen...but the one that got away was 40th-rounder Jon Papelbon, who did not sign. The final conclusion, then, would seem to be this: Billy Beane is not a genius. He's a hell of a lot better than the train wreck we've got, though. (Yes, I know this was MacPhail's draft. Hendry is even worse.)

15 Comments:

At 9/12/2006 1:07 PM, Blogger Pandrew said...

What about Bear Bay? That's a great name.

You know you're searching for a reason when you need to wait until the end of the article to say "oh but they did draft Blanton, Swisher, Teahen, and Papelbon." Trying to judge any team by their failed draft picks is difficult, and when four of their picks have already made it to the majors, it's basically silly.

They wanted those guys, but they didn't really waste picks on them any more than every pick above the first round is a waste.

If you look at the draft rounds after the first few, the ratio of players who made it to the majors FOR EVEN ONE GAME to those who didn't is about 1:20. Divide that by thirty and the odds of any team having any player make the majors after the first few rounds are like one in 600.

 
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