Wednesday, December 2, 2009

First Round Fleshbot

Everybody relaxxx. The randomly selected quote from one of Roy Halladay's advisers claims Halladay won't approve a trade once Spring Training is under way. While this may be (almost assuredly) false, we don't have to worry. See even if the Jays don't trade or re-sign Roy Halladay, they'll get draft picks for him! Picks are valuable you see. You turn nothing into something.

Except draft picks probably aren't nearly as valuable as we think. They definitely aren't as valuable as we want them to be. They say the baseball draft is an inexact science, different from the NBA or NFL drafts where young studs are widely acknowledged and impact their new teams almost immediately.

Except the baseball draft is a VERY exact science. Draft in the top half of the first round or else the talent is gone. Period. Just because the NCAA hasn't parlayed the luscious ting of aluminum bats into a national TV deal with a catchy name doesn't mean the future stars and contributors aren't as clear as day.

Look at the incredible amount of research done on the draft. Players taken outside the top 20 provide 0.24 WAR per year on average. Over 6 years that is a whopping 1.5 WAR. That, well, sucks. That is anything but a sure thing. Or consider this graph relating draft position to lifetime WAR. Any player taken outside the first round is lucky to provide the equivalent of two league-average years for their entire career.

The Jays own raft of picks in the up-coming draft. Is it a great opportunity to restock the minors? Of course. But hoping for the Jays to draft the entire 2015 starting lineup is nothing more than wishful thinking. The fact of the matter is any picks outside the top 10 or 15 end up being mostly trivial.

The teams look at the picks financially, fans can't or shouldn't waste their time with that. We should do some fanmath. Consider the emotionally investment you have in Roy Halladay, now create a dollar figure for it. What are the chances you will end up that invested in a future sandwich pick? Pretty slim. Subtract the resentment we'll all feel for whomever comes back for Halladay and I feel like we (I?) can't win. The appreciation and enjoyment we get from watching Roy Halladay pitch is a sunk cost. We're just going to swallow it.

So yeah, get mad that Halladay is on his way. We should be mad. A player that, by all accounts, loves playing in Toronto and always has is on his way out. Get mad at thought of him wearing pinstripes or a pink B hat because of the inability of his supporting cast to get him over the hump. Get madder still at the thought of douchebags booing him because of it. Looking on the bright side is one thing; failing to reflect on what we're losing is another, far too callous for even my tastes. We'll miss you Roy, even when we've still got you.


  1. Get mad at Paul Beeston for refusing two years in a row to have this team spend some money in a very team-friendly market and actually show Doc that this is a big market that should be competitive.


    /prospect porn'd

  3. I keep saying this, so forgive me if I'm repeating myself:

    The whole prospect porn thing comes out of the Cult of the GM, where millions of baseball nerds think that they have the rational economist's mind to run a front office because they play Strat-o-Matic and read Baseball America and John Sickels or what have you. And because some anonymous scout said that Jesus Montero or Casey Kelly are too good to fail and absolute untouchables, then of course they must be.

    Worth remembering: Jeremy Hermida was once an absolute untouchable can't miss prospect. And now he's the fourth OF in Boston.

    There's some axiomatic knowledge that is being perpetuated out there about prospects and picks and their value and the value of free agents...

  4. "Looking on the bright side is one thing; failing to reflect on what we're losing is another, far too callous for even my tastes. We'll miss you Roy, even when we've still got you.".....Brilliant.

    Do you think Doc has any idea the love he gets in the blogosphere from the diehards? Like, any idea whatsoever?

    I'm sure a cyborg pitch/kill machine doesn't have time to waste on silly interweb meanderings, but perhaps he should.

    It'd make me feel better, anyway.

  5. Ari has a point. What would have happened if when the Jays were 28-14 or whatever they were, it's such a distant memory now, they picked up one more bat? They were available. How many one run losses would have been wins? How much of a boost would the clubhouse been given being shown by management that there was faith that this might be for real?

    Yeah I know I'm speculating on something that has no answer but I've asked myself these questions many times. I just don't have the answers, which is nothing new...

  6. So Casey Kelly must be worth about half a season of Doc by now.

  7. Casey Kelly reminds me a bit of Danny Ainge in the fact that he's overated because he can do two things fairly well.

    In reality Danny Ainge was a terrible baseball player and an okay basketball player. I have the feeling that Casey Kelly is a terrible hitter and an okay pitcher.

  8. "Players taken outside the top 20 provide 0.24 WAR per year on average."

    How many prospects are drafted after the first 20 positions? It seems to me that the math is really skewed on this one, because you're taking the average of the 500 lowest guys (some of which turn out) versus only 20 of the top-rated players coming into the draft. Obviously the impact of the guys who aren't taken high is going to be totally overwhelmed by the failure of players in a system that drafts what, like 20 guys for every future major leaguer? Maybe even higher?

    For some reason that link isn't loading for me, and my complaint seems so obvious that I feel like they must have accounted for it in some way, but how?

  9. Also I wish you hadn't mentioned that some Jays fans are going to boo him. For some reason that makes me saddest of all.

  10. The link works okay for me. I should restate that 0.24 WAR point. Players taken outside the top 20 of the first round average 0.24. As in picks 21-30. Grim.

    The Baseball Analysts link has more information for players taken beyond the first rounds.

    A few dolts booed Delgado and that bummed me out. This will be much worse.


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