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Monday, June 02, 2014

Astros, Singleton Create Sign & Promote Model

For the last year or so, the Astros have reportedly been offering various long-term deals to some of the young players in their organization, using the carrot of guaranteed millions to try and buy out a couple of free agent years. Up until now, no one had signed the offer, and Evan Longoria remained the record holder for fewest number of days of service before signing a long-term deal. However, with first base prospect Jon Singleton, the Astros have now codified the first deal that officially includes a Major League call-up as part of the package…Singleton’s deal is for $10 million guaranteed over the next five seasons, beginning in 2014, with three team options that could push the total value of the deal to $35 million. By getting seven more years of team control after this season, the Astros are essentially buying one free agent year in advance — they would have owned the rest of 2014 anyway, plus six full seasons afterwards — and signing this deal now allowed Singleton to get promoted without worrying about the Super-Two deadline.

Jon Singleton, a 23 year old lefthanded batter, is the top first base prospect on most prospect lists.  His current season in the PCL: .267, .397, .544.

Tricky Dick Posted: June 02, 2014 at 03:14 PM | 59 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, business

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   1. steagles Posted: June 02, 2014 at 07:17 PM (#4717719)
so, let's see:
the phillies saved 15MM by trading hunter pence to san francisco
then they saved 5MM by non-tendering nate schierholtz, who they got from san francisco for hunter pence.
and now they saved another 10MM by including singleton in the package they used to get pence in the first place.

that's some shrewd GM'ing there.
   2. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:13 AM (#4717874)
And cost them someone who can take over for howard and a decent of.
   3. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:24 AM (#4717875)
You want to be a FA as soon as possible? Give us one of you free agent years (as a team option!) and we'll call you up. Otherwise, we'll let you stew in AAA until you run out of options.

I'm actually kind of surprised that no team has used the ability to keep a guy in the minors as leverage for a long term buy out before. (at least that I'm aware of)
   4. valuearbitrageur Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:18 AM (#4717877)
You want to be a FA as soon as possible? Give us one of you free agent years (as a team option!) and we'll call you up. Otherwise, we'll let you stew in AAA until you run out of options.


You would think the Astros would do that to George Springer after he turned down a similar deal before this season. But then they end up calling him up at beginning of May. IIRC they could have waited one more month to make it impossible for Springer to become a Super 2, but couldn't even wait that long. And with 10 HR in his last 22 games, Springer is looking like he's going to cost the Astros quite a bit more to sign to a long term deal.

“At this point, it’s pretty evident to me that I’m a drug addict,” Singleton told The Associated Press over breakfast on a recent day near the Astros’ camp. “I don’t openly tell everyone that, but it’s pretty apparent to myself.”

First baseman Jon Singleton spent a month at a rehab facility last year to battle marijuana addiction. “He’s still young and still learning about baseball and about life,” Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said.

“I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I enjoy being high, and I can’t block that out of my mind that I enjoy that,” he said. “So I have to work against that.”.


Actually, now that he’s in the major leagues, there is no consequence for failing a drug test, because MLB players are not tested, much less suspended for, drugs of abuse


Thank god for that.

The New Bash Brothers: George Springer suddenly has a new friend to posterize foes with

The article has a picture of Jon following through with a big swing and a cool muttonchop beard that reminds me of my childhood most favorite ball player ever, that cool, lean, powerhouse made of steel and wire, George Foster..

I love Singleton's style, and can't wait to see what he & Springer can do together. This is getting exciting?

Who says you can't rebuild through the draft?
   5. valuearbitrageur Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:19 AM (#4717878)
You want to be a FA as soon as possible? Give us one of you free agent years (as a team option!) and we'll call you up. Otherwise, we'll let you stew in AAA until you run out of options.


You would think the Astros would do that to George Springer after he turned down a similar deal before this season. But then they end up calling him up at beginning of May. IIRC they could have waited one more month to make it impossible for Springer to become a Super 2, but couldn't even wait that long. And with 10 HR in his last 22 games, Springer is looking like he's going to cost the Astros quite a bit more to sign to a long term deal.

“At this point, it’s pretty evident to me that I’m a drug addict,” Singleton told The Associated Press over breakfast on a recent day near the Astros’ camp. “I don’t openly tell everyone that, but it’s pretty apparent to myself.”

First baseman Jon Singleton spent a month at a rehab facility last year to battle marijuana addiction. “He’s still young and still learning about baseball and about life,” Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said.

“I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I enjoy being high, and I can’t block that out of my mind that I enjoy that,” he said. “So I have to work against that.”.


Actually, now that he’s in the major leagues, there is no consequence for failing a drug test, because MLB players are not tested, much less suspended for, drugs of abuse


Thank god for that.

The New Bash Brothers: George Springer suddenly has a new friend to posterize foes with

This article has a picture of Jon following through with a big swing and a cool muttonchop beard that reminds me of my childhood most favorite ball player ever, that cool, lean, powerhouse made of steel and wire, George Foster.

I can't wait to see what Singleton & Springer can do together. This is getting exciting!

Who says you can't rebuild through the draft?
   6. Bhaakon Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:56 AM (#4717879)
Thank god for that.

The New Bash Brothers: George Springer suddenly has a new friend to posterize foes with

This article has a picture of Jon following through with a big swing and a cool muttonchop beard that reminds me of my childhood most favorite ball player ever, that cool, lean, powerhouse made of steel and wire, George Foster.


Oh my, no. That abomination of a beard is atrocious. Not remotely reminiscent of Foster.
   7. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: June 03, 2014 at 07:16 AM (#4717883)
Who says you can't rebuild through the draft?

Well, other than Singleton was acquired in a trade? :)
   8. shoelesjoe Posted: June 03, 2014 at 08:18 AM (#4717889)
I wouldn't think a 23 year old hitting .267 in the PCL would be worth this kind of contractual drama. What are his major league equivalents?
   9. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 09:12 AM (#4717897)
BA isn't one of Singleton's major skills, and it's doubtful it ever will be. He'll be a low-BA, high-walk, high-SLG masher for a while, maybe along the lines of a less extreme Adam Dunn or Chris Davis. He's also a better defender than Dunn ever was. There is some worry about his work ethic and weight -- last year he was suspended for pot use and got fat during his time away. Singleton's comments this spring seem to indicate he was experiencing a fairly typical young-adult-without-structure pothead swoon.

Sickels' writeup.
   10. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: June 03, 2014 at 09:17 AM (#4717900)
I can't find a 2014 MLE for Singleton, but I think the idea from the Astros' point of view is that he's a super-talented kid who's taken a quantum leap forward in 2014 and put a drug problem in the past.

If he stays clean and the improvement is real, $2M a year is a ridiculous bargain. If he doesn't and/or it isn't, they're paying a not-useful player ~30% less than the Athletics are paying Nick Punto this year.
   11. tshipman Posted: June 03, 2014 at 10:03 AM (#4717915)
At some point, isn't this problematic for the MLBPA? Holding down arb-eligible salaries hurts veterans.
   12. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: June 03, 2014 at 10:15 AM (#4717927)
"I guess I just don't like being sober," he said. "I like to change the way I feel."


That's a very sad thing for someone to say. I wish him the best.
   13. jmurph Posted: June 03, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4717967)
At some point, isn't this problematic for the MLBPA? Holding down arb-eligible salaries hurts veterans.


Agree- came here expecting to see unanimous criticism of this. The ethics are questionable, at best.
   14. Accent Shallow Posted: June 03, 2014 at 11:27 AM (#4717979)
"I guess I just don't like being sober," he said. "I like to change the way I feel."




That's a very sad thing for someone to say. I wish him the best.

Sober
Life is a prison
Shitfaced
It is a blessing
Sober
Nobody wants you
Shitfaced
They're all undressing
   15. kthejoker Posted: June 03, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4717995)
At some point, isn't this problematic for the MLBPA? Holding down arb-eligible salaries hurts veterans.


The flaw in your assumption is that this is "holding down" his salary, when he might not even be worth what they're paying him by then. Maybe the probabilities don't line up, but that's not how contracts work.

The Astros are taking a risk, aren't they? Singleton might flame out tomorrow. Unless the MLBPA wants to explicitly ban negotiating arb-eligible years except via arbitration, I don't see how they can kvetch, too much.

It's not like they're doing much for the minor leaguers of the world anyway.
   16. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 11:38 AM (#4717996)
At some point, isn't this problematic for the MLBPA? Holding down arb-eligible salaries hurts veterans.


Yes. Bud Norris tweeted that Singleton should have listened to his union, and not his agent.

Agree- came here expecting to see unanimous criticism of this. The ethics are questionable, at best.


I don't think the Astros are extracting the kind of leverage everyone here seems to think. Like KT points out, Springer didn't sign on the dotted line and the team still called him up. Singleton makes out well in this deal too. If he turns out to be a guy who's low BA ends up hurting him against big league pitching then he never really gets a big payout. He's still a huge risk to be a flop at this point in his career. Taking the money is fairly wise I think. If you end up being good, you'll get your pay out upon free agency.
   17. Accent Shallow Posted: June 03, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4718000)
Taking the money is fairly wise I think. If you end up being good, you'll get your pay out upon free agency.

I guess here the big risk is that he has a few big seasons when he would be arb-eligible, but is toast by the time he gets to FA. Sounds like a pretty good gamble to me.
   18. Astroenteritis Posted: June 03, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4718032)
I don't think the Astros are extracting the kind of leverage everyone here seems to think.


Agreed. I think this is actually a decent deal for both sides. Singleton is only 22, but if he turns out to be only an average major leaguer it is a perfectly fair deal. If he blossoms, as he well may, then he'll cash in later at some loss now. If he flops, he comes out a little ahead. If he really takes off, does anyone think it's possible the Astros might be open to renegotiate before the end of the deal?
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4718044)
Agree- came here expecting to see unanimous criticism of this. The ethics are questionable, at best.

I don't see anything unethical here. Singleton may have mad a bad deal, but he has professional representation.

All he is doing is trading off upside for certainty, which is really no different from anyone who works for a salary, rather than commission or other "pay-for-performance".
   20. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4718080)
If he really takes off, does anyone think it's possible the Astros might be open to renegotiate before the end of the deal?


Of course. Didn't Longoria and the Rays redo his deal?
   21. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 03, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4718081)
I don't see anything unethical here. Singleton may have mad a bad deal, but he has professional representation.

It's only unethical if they made signing the contract a condition of being called up. His having professional representation wouldn't make that any less unethical. We do not know if that's what happened, though.
   22. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4718083)
It should be pointed out that Singleton was an 8th round pick with a $200k bonus. George Springer was a first round pick with a $2.5 million bonus, so no surprise he'd pass on such a deal.
   23. billyshears Posted: June 03, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4718092)
At some point, isn't this problematic for the MLBPA? Holding down arb-eligible salaries hurts veterans.


Well, maybe if the union didn't see fit to completely sell amateurs out in their negotiations with MLB, they wouldn't have this problem.
   24. Danny Posted: June 03, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4718104)
Who says you can't rebuild through the draft?

Well, other than Singleton was acquired in a trade? :)

But at least Houston's active roster was already overflowing with guys they drafted. Well, three of them anyways. Are the A's the only team with fewer (2) than that?
   25. Swedish Chef Posted: June 03, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4718109)
It's only unethical if they made signing the contract a condition of being called up.

The weird thing is that he had some leverage too, a couple of marijuana busts in the minors and he could have had a lifetime ban. So he just had to puff on to force their hand.
   26. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 01:58 PM (#4718132)

It's only unethical if they made signing the contract a condition of being called up. His having professional representation wouldn't make that any less unethical. We do not know if that's what happened, though.

Is this merely unethical, or is it a violation of the CBA? I didn't think teams were allowed to manipulate a guy's service time like that.
   27. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:02 PM (#4718137)
I didn't think teams were allowed to manipulate a guy's service time like that.

How can you prove when a club decides a player is "ready" and when they're manipulating service time?
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4718141)
It's only unethical if they made signing the contract a condition of being called up. His having professional representation wouldn't make that any less unethical. We do not know if that's what happened, though.

Is there any evidence of that? They called up Springer even though he didn't sign.
   29. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:04 PM (#4718143)
t's only unethical if they made signing the contract a condition of being called up.


FTA:
However, with first base prospect Jon Singleton, the Astros have now codified the first deal that officially includes a Major League call-up as part of the package

   30. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4718151)
I wonder if the Pirates are inclined to try a similar tactic with Gregory Polanco, who also turned down a contract this spring. Unlike the Astros, however, the Pirates are on the fringes of contention and their front office expected to contend this year, so Polanco and his agent presumably know they're unlikely to keep him down any longer than it takes to ensure he won't be a Super Two.

The Astros, on the other hand, are in a better position to say (explicitly or implicitly) "you want called up? Sure, sign this extension and we'll just put it right in the contract."
   31. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4718155)
However, with first base prospect Jon Singleton, the Astros have now codified the first deal that officially includes a Major League call-up as part of the package


Is that reporting or Dave Cameron's interpretation? Because I haven't seen that reported, and Cameron has a way of sensationalizing to make his point. I'm willing to be wrong about this.

This actual reporting reads between the lines, but we don't know the Astros said "sign this or we don't promote you." They probably said, "if you sign this we'll promote you."
   32. PreservedFish Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4718158)
Who says you can't rebuild through the draft?


Are there good examples of teams that dismantled so utterly like this that did not reap the rewards? The Marlins did it so brilliantly, and Pirates were a nice example in recent years, Astros seem to be on a good track.
   33. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4718162)
The Marlins did it so brilliantly


The Marlins dismantling in the last decade has been stuck in neutral, probably because they are perpetually dismantling.

Padres kinda have the same problem - dismantling, but never really rebuilding.
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4718163)
However, with first base prospect Jon Singleton, the Astros have now codified the first deal that officially includes a Major League call-up as part of the package


As AG#1F says, we don't know that the Astros said "we'll only promote you if you sign". It could easily have been Singleton saying, I'll only sign if I'm promoted immediately.
   35. PreservedFish Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:18 PM (#4718169)
As AG#1F says, we don't know that the Astros said "we'll only promote you if you sign".


I agree that this would be unethical but it would also be an empty threat. The Astros would have no incentive to let Singleton rot in the minors. Unless to make an example of him for their master plan of strong-arming young players into signing terrible contracts.
   36. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4718178)
I agree that this would be unethical but it would also be an empty threat. The Astros would have no incentive to let Singleton rot in the minors. Unless to make an example of him for their master plan of strong-arming young players into signing terrible contracts.

Agree, it's a hollow threat. If he's playing well, no team is going to let a $10M+ asset rot, just to prove a point.
   37. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4718185)
There's a difference between letting a guy rot and keeping him on the farm so that he's eligible for arb/becomes a free agent a year later. There's a really weird gray area here because of the artificial separation of minor league players and major league players. Steven Vogt is an employee of the Oakland A's whether he's working for them in Sacramento or Oakland. We accept the separation because we just always have, but I think it's a weird remnant of when the minor leagues were independent and I have to think if a Martian came down here and we explained it to him he/she would be all kinds of befuddled.
   38. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:37 PM (#4718197)
There's a difference between letting a guy rot and keeping him on the farm so that he's eligible for arb/becomes a free agent a year later. There's a really weird gray area here because of the artificial separation of minor league players and major league players. Steven Vogt is an employee of the Oakland A's whether he's working for them in Sacramento or Oakland. We accept the separation because we just always have, but I think it's a weird remnant of when the minor leagues were independent and I have to think if a Martian came down here and we explained it to him he/she would be all kinds of befuddled.

It's not that weird. Tons of employers have both union and non-union workers.
   39. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4718203)
It's not that weird. Tons of employers have both union and non-union workers.

Yeah, but those workers are of different types. These are all guys doing essentially the same work. Some are just "apprentices".
   40. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4718204)
Tons of employers have both union and non-union workers.


Or employees and "unpaid interns."

Yeah, but those workers are of different types


Not necesarily. My wife has union and non union nurses working side-by-side at her hospital.
   41. PreservedFish Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4718207)
There's a difference between letting a guy rot and keeping him on the farm so that he's eligible for arb/becomes a free agent a year later.


Right, but you're talking about 6 weeks or something, aren't you? That might make a difference to an eager youngster but it shouldn't, really.
   42. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4718209)
Yeah, but those workers are of different types. These are all guys doing essentially the same work. Some are just "apprentices".

Sure, and I believe apprentices in most unions earn a lot less.
   43. alilisd Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4718223)
Padres kinda have the same problem - dismantling, but never really rebuilding.


No, the Padres don't have anything to dismantle. They'd have to "rebuild" first.
   44. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4718225)
Sure, and I believe apprentices in most unions earn a lot less.

But they're represented.

Not necesarily. My wife has union and non union nurses working side-by-side at her hospital.

That's interesting. Which ones are happier, just out of curiosity? I come from a union family but I've never actually been in a union myself. I'm sort of pro union by upbringing but without any direct experience myself.
   45. Tricky Dick Posted: June 04, 2014 at 12:20 AM (#4718520)
Singleton's debut game (against the Angels: RBI BB and HR.
   46. valuearbitrageur Posted: June 04, 2014 at 03:13 AM (#4718531)
Who says you can't rebuild through the draft?

Well, other than Singleton was acquired in a trade? :)

But at least Houston's active roster was already overflowing with guys they drafted. Well, three of them anyways. Are the A's the only team with fewer (2) than that?


Yea, I didn't phrase that well. What I meant was through prospects instead of free agents. There have been some here who have claimed its nigh impossible to rebuild mostly through a teardown, that you have to be acquiring free agents along the way. I just don't understand that, since you won't really know what you need until you get close to good, and you don't want to rise to mediocrity before your farm is fully stocked, because you lose some big advantages in drafting/talent acquisition.

And it's silly to focus on draftees on the current roster, when they have a loaded pipeline ready to deliver many other players over next few years. Secondly, if they trade some draftees, they will no longer be on the roster but someone better may be on it because of that trade. And acquiring other teams prospects by trading veteran talent is the core of the teardown strategy, and Singleton is an example of his well it's worked.
   47. valuearbitrageur Posted: June 04, 2014 at 03:42 AM (#4718533)
The volume of young talent they've stock-piled is staggering. Overall not the highest quality, and they will certainly have more busts/flameouts than successes, but they don't need too many to turn out to start fielding a competitive team without a reliance on free agents.

Houston has nine players on the MLB roster 24 years old or younger.

Intl. signing - Altuve (24)
Trade - Villar (23), Domingez (24), Grossman (24), Hoes (24), Cozart (24), Oberholtzer (24), Singleton (23)
Draft - Springer (24)

And many more coming in next three years.

Minor League Pipeline
- Correa, Appel, Foltnewycz, McCullers, DeShields, Santana, and too many more to list here
   48. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 04, 2014 at 03:53 AM (#4718534)
There have been some here who have claimed its nigh impossible to rebuild mostly through a teardown, that you have to be acquiring free agents along the way.

You seem to be exhibiting some irrational exuberance based on a couple prospects graduating to the majors — prospects who weren't even acquired by the current regime, which is already in Year 3 of its rebuilding plan. (Singleton, like Springer, Cosart, and Altuve before him, was inherited from McLane/Wade.)

It is, indeed, "nigh impossible" for a team to rebuild via the draft alone, especially when starting, as Crane/Luhnow were, from a position of having zero young, impact-caliber players on the ML roster or in the high minors. Without acquiring players via ML free agency or the international market, the Astros would have to outperform industry scouting-and-development averages by 300 or 400 percent (or more) to "rebuild through the draft," as you mentioned in #4. Possible? Sure. Likely? Not at all. Not remotely.

The volume of young talent they've stock-piled is staggering. Overall not the highest quality, and they will certainly have more busts/flameouts than successes, but they don't need too many to turn out to start fielding a competitive team without a reliance on free agents.

Before last week's winning streak, the Astros were on pace to lose 110 games this season. They'll need a lot more than a few upgrades to their ML roster before they're "competitive," let alone a playoff-caliber team.

Houston has nine players on the MLB roster 24 years old or younger.

Intl. signing - Altuve (24)
Trade - Villar (23), Domingez (24), Grossman (24), Hoes (24), Cozart (24), Oberholtzer (24), Singleton (23)
Draft - Springer (24)

Six of those nine — and arguably the best six — were inherited from the last management. No more than three appear to project as above-average ML players.

And many more coming in next three years.

Minor League Pipeline
- Correa, Appel, Foltnewycz, McCullers, DeShields, Santana, and too many more to list here

If the Astros hit on every one of the above-listed players, which is highly unlikely, the Astros probably still aren't a playoff-caliber team.
   49. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: June 04, 2014 at 08:55 AM (#4718564)
Which ones are happier, just out of curiosity? I come from a union family but I've never actually been in a union myself. I'm sort of pro union by upbringing but without any direct experience myself.
My wife's a nurse and has worked for both unionized hospitals and non-unionized hospitals. She's been much, much happier not being in a union. (For what it's worth, she's pretty far left politically, so her preference has little to do with politics.)

Small sample size caveat, natch.
   50. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 04, 2014 at 09:06 AM (#4718571)
The volume of young talent they've stock-piled is staggering.

That word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

Their talent pipeline is no better than KC's was 2-3 years ago, and look how that's turned out.
   51. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 04, 2014 at 09:07 AM (#4718572)
My wife is non-union. She seems happy enough I guess - she says she could never leave her patients in a work stoppage - but the union (and her) just got screwed over by management.
   52. Moeball Posted: June 04, 2014 at 12:29 PM (#4718774)
No, the Padres don't have anything to dismantle. They'd have to "rebuild" first.


Amen and, as can be seen in the charts on the other thread about drafting, the total value of Padres drafts is actually below replacement level, and this is what the Padres are putting on the field every day.

So when you hear people joke around here about San Diego's AAA team, it's no joke, that's the lineup we send out there every day. Except a AAA team would be better. Ouch!
   53. alilisd Posted: June 04, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4718833)
Amen and, as can be seen in the charts on the other thread about drafting, the total value of Padres drafts is actually below replacement level, and this is what the Padres are putting on the field every day.


Moe, that article was the most depressing thing I've read in quite some time. Padres have drafted almost as many current MLB players as any other franchise! But wait! Their collective worth? Way below replacement level!!! Towers was brutal. Gives a whole new meaning to his nickname The Sludge Merchant. Of course the subsequent regimes haven't done much either, though the 2011 draft looks promising (but prospects will break your heart, or so Padres fans learn).
   54. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 04, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4718882)
Houston has nine players on the MLB roster 24 years old or younger.

Intl. signing - Altuve (24)
Trade - Villar (23), Domingez (24), Grossman (24), Hoes (24), Cozart (24), Oberholtzer (24), Singleton (23)
Draft - Springer (24)

Six of those nine — and arguably the best six — were inherited from the last management. No more than three appear to project as above-average ML players.

Altuve, check
Villmar, I'm gonna guess is a slightly better hitter than he's shown so far, but... yech
Dominguez, scouts seemed to like him, has hit as well as should have been expected based upon minor league track record, depending on glove may be a league average regular for a few years
Springer, has got UPSIDE, wouldn't be surprised if he cranks out two or three 150 OPS+ seasons
Grossman, I had him as a reserved farm guy a few years in my NL only Roto league, bets minor league year came when he repeated the FSL, was slightly better than league in AA and AAA, MLB performance to date (OPS+ of 87) is consistent with that. Seems like a 4th OF type
Hoes, good contact, good eye (not great), negligible power- in the minors, I'm overgeneralizing but those guys generally do not do well against MLB pitchers, his minor league numbers look like the poor man's version Jeff Keppinger, you could live with that at 2b I suppose, not in LF/RF, not sure what he's been doing in the Majors to be honest (OK I know, it's the Astros and they have to play someone)
Singleton, well he's shown both power and a willingness to take a walk, eyeballing his numbers my MLE guesstimate is .240/.345/.410, he looks like Smoak with a little more power and a few less walks... he's also 22 and who knows maybe he'll develop, .270/.375/.475 in his prime... or not.
Cosart: really crappy peripherals, walks too many guys, doesn't K enough... but so far has show in both MLB and minor league performance am ability to induce weak conduct (low BABIP, low ISO) that I'd write off as a fluke if he hadn't done it over nearly 500 pro innings, he may just be a DIPS/FIP defying outlier... but long term that likely just moves him from being replacement level at best to mediocre.
Oberholtzer, well he, ummm, doesn't walk people, and well that's not a bad thing, but my guess is that a slight decline in stuff and batters will tee off him like Lima in a bad year.

Yes this team is young, and it has more young talent than most- but good god, there's nothing else, Fowler's a decent MLB player, and who knows maybe Keuchels turned a corner and is not a SSS fluke, but is there anyone else here who would PLAY for another MLB team?

The Astros are not winning anything anytime soon unless they figure put how to get more talent into the organization.
s
   55. valuearbitrageur Posted: June 04, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4718888)
Six of those nine — and arguably the best six — were inherited from the last management. No more than three appear to project as above-average ML players.


Who is assigning credit to one management team? Are you arguing current should not have pursued this strategy because it was already off to a good start from the previous regime?

If the Astros hit on every one of the above-listed players, which is highly unlikely, the Astros probably still aren't a playoff-caliber team.


If so, they are close enough to make the playoffs with a few affordable free agents and trades. That's my point.

And while it's unlikely that all those players turn into league average starters, it's not unlikely that a third bust, a couple turn into stars, and the rest turn into league average starters, and outcome is similar.

Their talent pipeline is no better than KC's was 2-3 years ago, and look how that's turned out


KC's talent pipeline has turned out pretty well. In the last 2-3 years it's produced reigning AL rookie of the year, Wil Myers, a 24 year old all-star quality catcher in Perez, two young starters in Odorrizzi/Ventura as well as a useful but sub-par first baseman in Hosmer who still hasn't' turned 25. Two stars, and three young players not far from becoming league average starters.

KC had good draft position from 2008-2012. But it didn't help their 2nd round picks, as there were so many comp picks they were later choices. And not only did KC only get one comp pick in that span, they lost a 2nd round pick, so no extra picks at all. Here are draft positions for all their draft picks up to the 2nd round in that span.

2008 3rd, 36th, 49th
2009 12th (no 2nd round pick)
2010 4th, 54th
2011 5th, 65th
2012 5th, 66th

Here is Houston's picks in the 5 year period up to this draft.

2010 8th, 19th, 33rd, 58th
2011 11th, 69th
2012 1st, 41st, 61st
2013 1st, 40th
2014 1st, 37th, 42nd

That's almost 50% more top picks and almost every one at significantly higher positions. KC's rebuild simply isn't comparable to the amount of talent Houston has and will acquire by end of this months draft.

Houston's pipeline is "stunning" (at this point, I remove my sunglasses)
   56. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 04, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4718923)

More irrational exuberance. The Astros have had six extra picks in the first two rounds over those 5-year periods, but only one of them was in R1. The difference in expected ROI for players drafted 40th and 41st vs. those drafted 49th and 54th simply isn't enough to get excited about.

KC's rebuild simply isn't comparable to the amount of talent Houston has and will acquire by end of this months draft.

The talent Houston acquires in this month's draft is purely hypothetical and is likely to be at least two to five years from the major leagues.

Houston's pipeline is "stunning" (at this point, I remove my sunglasses)

Which "pipeline" is that? Houston graduated Springer and Singleton this year. At Triple-A, they have only Foltyniewicz and Santana, both of whom are doing well but neither of whom appear ready to make an immediate impact in the big leagues. At Double-A, the Astros have ... Delino DeShields Jr., who's putting up a .750 OPS in a league known for inflated offensive stats. They have a nice collection of prospects in A-ball, but that's all they are — prospects.

Between now and 2016, the Astros are likely to graduate no more than three additional players to its ML roster from its current farm system, only one of whom looks like an above-average ML player (Foltyniewicz). That's hardly a "stunning" pipeline.
   57. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 04, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4718925)
That's almost 50% more top picks and almost every one at significantly higher positions. KC's rebuild simply isn't comparable to the amount of talent Houston has and will acquire by end of this months draft.

Houston's pipeline is "stunning" (at this point, I remove my sunglasses)


Who cares about draft position?

In 2011 the Royals had something like 10 of the Top-100 prospects, including Hosmer, Moustakas, Myers, Colon, Jeffress, Odirizzi, Lamb, Montgomery, Duffy and Crow. People were talking about "the best farm system ever"

They have one above average MLB regular (Shields, via trade) and a middle reliever to show for all that .
   58. valuearbitrageur Posted: June 04, 2014 at 10:52 PM (#4719363)
More irrational exuberance. The Astros have had six extra picks in the first two rounds over those 5-year periods, but only one of them was in R1. The difference in expected ROI for players drafted 40th and 41st vs. those drafted 49th and 54th simply isn't enough to get excited about.


19th, 33rd, 37th, 40th, 41st, 42nd actually. And vs. KCs, lone 36th in a similar span.

That's a huge difference.

The talent Houston acquires in this month's draft is purely hypothetical and is likely to be at least two to five years from the major leagues.


Carlos Rodon is 2-5 years away? This draft isn't hypothetical, the MLB is actually conducting it, and whoever the Astros pick can easily have an impact as soon as next year, whether in being called up it as a super valuable trade asset.

But again, you call the pipeline empty because it graduated its two lowest ceiling players, and then want to ignore that this draft alone compensates for that.

That's almost 50% more top picks and almost every one at significantly higher positions. KC's rebuild simply isn't comparable to the amount of talent Houston has and will acquire by end of this months draft.

Houston's pipeline is "stunning" (at this point, I remove my sunglasses)

That's almost 50% more top picks and almost every one at significantly higher positions. KC's rebuild simply isn't comparable to the amount of talent Houston has and will acquire by end of this months draft.

Houston's pipeline is "stunning" (at this point, I remove my sunglasses)

Who cares about draft position?

In 2011 the Royals had something like 10 of the Top-100 prospects, including Hosmer, Moustakas, Myers, Colon, Jeffress, Odirizzi, Lamb, Montgomery, Duffy and Crow. People were talking about "the best farm system ever"

They have one above average MLB regular (Shields, via trade) and a middle reliever to show for all that .


You want to dismiss draft results because of one terrible trade that squandered a huge amount of it?

Houston's inputs are better than KCs were. It doesn't matter how poor a job outsiders did ranking KCs system, it matters what comes out. KC produced at least 5 valuable starters, and those starters are still young and developing as are others. That's a big success, and Houston should do at least as well.
   59. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 05, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4719796)
Carlos Rodon is 2-5 years away?

Probably not, but people were claiming Mark Appel was almost ML-ready and we're seeing how that turned out, and, regardless, almost no one expects the Astros to take Rodon anyway.

This draft isn't hypothetical, the MLB is actually conducting it, and whoever the Astros pick can easily have an impact as soon as next year,

Until players are drafted and signed, we're talking about hypothetical talent acquisition.

But again, you call the pipeline empty because it graduated its two lowest ceiling players, and then want to ignore that this draft alone compensates for that.

You believe Springer and Singleton were the Astros' two lowest-ceiling prospects? And you're assuming the Astros will get two players of equal or greater value in this draft?
   60. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 05, 2014 at 03:13 PM (#4719834)
It doesn't matter how poor a job outsiders did ranking KCs system, it matters what comes out. KC produced at least 5 valuable starters, and those starters are still young and developing as are others. That's a big success,


Please tell me you're trolling us at this point.

But again, you call the pipeline empty because it graduated its two lowest ceiling players, and then want to ignore that this draft alone compensates for that.

You believe Springer and Singleton were the Astros' two lowest-ceiling prospects?


If lowest ceiling was a reference to Springer than yes I'd say he's trolling us.

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