I’ve focused on identifying and ranking the emphasis that different organizations have put on key statistics among their college players: Batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, walk rate, strikeout rate, walk-to-strikeout ratio, and isolated power. I looked first at their college statistics in the year that they were drafted (2012), and then at their professional statistics in 2013. With the minor league season closing down, we now have a pretty good sample size on which to draw these numbers. [...]
The first thing that jumps out at us when comparing the college statistics of draftees is that there are definite groupings. Teams like the Astros, Red Sox, Mets, and Padres obviously look at drafting players who have had superior offensive seasons in their draft-eligible years. Other teams - among them the Royals, Tigers, Twins, and even the Reds (led by Walt Jocketty, Luhnow’s former boss) - have turned toward players who may not have done as well in college statistically, probably with the idea of exploiting the players’ tools through coaching and development.
Not so for Luhnow’s Astros, who seem to have put a definite emphasis on players who do not strike out at the college level. In fact, only three players in our sample - Ryan Dineen, Catfish Elkins, and Michael Martinez - had double-digit strikeout rates in their final college seasons. Elkins’ 10.57% led the way. Ricky Gingras, on the other end of the spectrum, struck out in just 2.72% of his plate appearances for Point Loma Nazarene College.
Applying these observations to the 2013 draft, this might give us a clue why Golden Spikes Award winner Kris Bryant and his 14.57% college strikeout rate never really had much chance of going first overall. The Cubs, who come out around average in both K% and BB% for their college draftees, would likely have been much more willing to overlook Bryant’s strikeout rates, particularly in favor of his power and his walk rates.
One of the more interesting findings to me is that the Astros’ BB:K differential comes largely from limiting strikeouts, rather than from seeking players with high walk rates. Five other teams - the A’s, Red Sox, Mariners, Cardinals, and Rays - all seem to covet walk rates at least as much as the Astros. The Padres, Blue Jays, and Braves are not far behind. This falls in line with something I’ve thought for awhile - that looking for OBP guys is old hat for sabermetric teams. But I was surprised by the discrepancies in the strikeout rates.
Posted: August 25, 2013 at 07:57 AM | 3 comment(s)
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