Saturday, January 22, 2011

Inside The Gangstaz' Draft Top 10

Thought this might be a little entertaining, at least for the more analytical draft geeks among us. Interested in your comments on "our" thinking and analysis. Yes, I plan to do a first-round draft review again this year.


Drafting At 17 this year, we knew we'd have a good shot at getting a very solid player IF we put enough into scouting. Given we're in a rebuilding phase, the college and high school scouting departments had to compete for funds with the int'l department, but still came away with a respectable $17MM and $15MM with which to scour the land.

Without any supplementals or a 2nd-rounder, we really concentrated our draft time on building our top 10. We're as intent as anyone on grabbing the occasional 3rd, 4th and later-rounders who become ML players, but in our experience those instances are more the result of deep drafts than us spending time re-ranking prospect #'s 50 and up. The time payoff for us seems to be NOT MAKING A MISTAKE with the #1 pick.

Task one when the prospect list was released was pegging those players we thought were no-brainer top-fivers - those players who weren't likely to fall to us at 17 but were the stars guaranteed to make it big.

As is our habit, we started with pitchers. We considered Ted Parris and Reid Regan, who both have very high projections but seem to be starting too low to realistically approach them (really, has anyone ever seen a prospect develop 30+ points in a rating?). We dropped these 2 into the next group.

Then we moved on to the high-OVR IF/CF group, where Brent Hartzell, Damian Schmidt and Alexander Powell caught our attention. Hartzell immediately looked like the real deal. High projections, but within reach of current ratings (with a couple of exceptions). His glove doesn't have a shot at reaching the ideal CF fact, it probably won't hit 80. But his range probably WILL reach 90, and oh baby, that bat. We see something like 92/72/68/81/78 - plug him into CF and #3 in the batting order for a dozen years and watch the awards roll in. We immediately installed Hartzell as #1 on our board.

Then we looked over Schmidt. Our scouts were split. They liked the very high contact, power and eye projections - even if he falls well short of them (certainly likely for contact) he'll be pretty good - but were suspect of his very low glove and split ratings. We figured there was no way he would slip to 17, and if he did it would be a worthwhile risk, so after vigorous debate we made Schmidt our #2.

Powell looked like a nice player, but not a consensus top-5 guy. His defense was clearly not going to reach true SS status, his batting eye ceiling was low, makeup suspect, and health was a small concern. Exactly the kind of guy who could fall to 17. We moved him into the "consider more carefully" bin.

Then we spooled through the top OF/1B/C/DH and RP candidates. RP Darwin, RF Jung, 2B Foxx, Powell, 2B Alarcon, RF Guillen. We added these to the "next level" group with SP's Parris and Regan. Finally, we ran everyone through our own little spreadsheet ranking to get the "dark-horse" candidates (those with lower OVR's but who might prove more valuable nonetheless). We liked C Fernando Belliard, RP Roy Waters, RF Woody Webb, and C/DH Kory Delcarmen.

(We didn't scout eventual top-10 picks Graeme Burnett and Jerrod Gordon).

So, our "no-brainer top 5" group only included Hartzell and Schmidt. A little light on the top end of the draft

Our first cut on the next group had the relievers Darwin and Waters out front, but do you really want to "settle" for a reliever at #17? That bugged us, but both of these guys looked really good...Darwin being preferable due to better control and higher pitch count capability. The thing that nagged us about Darwin was his low patience - given the very long useful careers of pitchers, we like to draft guys who will re-sign when free agency is available. Darwin looks like he'll bolt - it's a long way down the road and honestly a minor concern, but still there.

Similar minor concerns with all this group: Jung's short on power (the low patience is a little less concern for hitters - by the time he hits free agency he could be well into decline anyway); Foxx seems to have lower upside than most of this group; Powell has the health and makeup concerns; Alarcon isn't a 2B defensively; Guillen's splits are starting too low; Parris and Regan we mentioned already; Belliard's a potential injury; Webb's a strikeout machine and a potential injury; Delcarmen...well, hmmm.

We spent a lot of time evaluating Delcarmen. We like those very high potential power guys. Reminded us of our old Austin farmhand (now Columbus OF) Andrew Davis, minus the OF capability. We looked up Davis, and found that after a very nice .290/32/86 debut (in only 379 AB's) last year, he's followed up with a stinking .195/16/39 so far this year. I guess that's 50's splits for you. Still, Delcarmen intrigued us. It looked like his contact, splits and eye could all surpass Davis. It didn't look like his PC would be enough for a legit C, but we still liked him.

Delcarmen was our "nemisis choice" - clearly not the pick to make but the one that seduced us. We knew we should move him down, if for no other reason than he's a lousy fit for our ballpark, but we couldn't do it. We imagined 70 HR's a year flying out of Comerica...we were infected with Jerry Jonesitis.

We thought we had a good shot at getting our #3 selection at 17, so we ran lots of scenarios. Most had Darwin at #3. We considered Jung a few times...he's the kind of hitter that seems to be right for Comerica. We admit we had Delcarmen in there at 3 for a few iterations. We looked at Parris there and just couldn't do it. The C Belliard kept growing on us - nice switch-hitter (the versatility of that trait has grown on us with the success of our youngsters Bonk Liniak and Miguel Rivera) and decent defensive potential - despite the health concerns.

Ultimately we settled on Darwin at 3 and Belliard at 4, and thought we'd get one of them (we did). What our top 10 finally looked like:

1. Hartzell - picked 3rd
2. Schmidt - picked 1st
3. Darwin - picked 2nd
4. Belliard - We got him at 17
5. Delcarmen - picked 57th
6. Waters - picked 23rd
7. Jung - picked 7th
8. Foxx - picked 6th
9. Powell - picked 20th
10. Webb - picked 49th

I think we dodged a bullet on Delcarmen, although he's a fantastic choice at 57. Darwin would've been nice, and I'm only mildly surprised he went at #2 - Toledo may not have even seen Hartzell (or they may have seen 150 innings of 2.00 ERA a year from Darwin and decided that was better). With the clarity of hindsight I think I would've moved Delcarmen out of the top 10, moved Jung up to 5th, bumped up everybody else 1 spot and put Sammy Alarcon (picked 9th) at 10.

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