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Monday, February 10, 2014

Topkin: Analysts down on Rays’ farm system

Those rankings are subjective, snapshots based on arbitrary criteria. But for an organization with the objective to build through player development, it’s not an encouraging sign.

Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman didn’t totally disagree with the critical analysis.

“I think we have a lot of depth in our system,” he said. “I think the one area we’re probably not as good as we’d like it to be is in the elite kind of top-end talent, not having as many high-end guys as we would like. But I think the depth is pretty strong.” ...

RAYS RUMBLINGS: Manager Joe Maddon turned 60 Saturday, celebrating the night before at a surprise party staged by his wife, Jaye. “Sixty is the new 40,” Maddon said. ...

EX-RAYS RUMBLINGS: Johnny Damon turned 40 in November and (apart from the WBC) hasn’t played since August 2012, but he said he’s not necessarily done, open to playing or managing, but only in the majors.

JE (Jason) Posted: February 10, 2014 at 02:33 AM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: farm system, joe maddon, johnny damon, rays

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   1. Mike Emeigh Posted: February 10, 2014 at 10:21 AM (#4654105)
The Rays have had more top prospects suspended for violations of the MiLB PED program than just about any organization (Beckham, Sale, Guerreri, Ryan Brett...). Guerreri and Hak-Ju Lee are also coming off injuries, and Beckham's hurt now. That will take a big bite out of organizational depth.

-- MWE
   2. valuearbitrageur Posted: February 10, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4654234)
Good thing Hamiltons not still on their farm.

Tampa doesn't draft at the top any more and hasn't for years. They also have gotten a huge amount of comp picks, more than anyone probably. it's not surprising that it's harder to find the next David Price/Evan Longoria picking in the 20s and 30s, but you would think some of those comp picks would have turned out better.
   3. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: February 10, 2014 at 12:58 PM (#4654243)
Between 1999 and 2008, the Rays never picked lower than #8 in the first round.

Between 2009 and 2013, their have picked higher than 24 once (#17 in 2010).

   4. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: February 10, 2014 at 03:10 PM (#4654354)
The Cardinals haven't been racking up top ten picks either. There's more to this than that; the Rays just haven't done a good job of identifying and/or developing top-shelf talent the last few years.
   5. madvillain Posted: February 10, 2014 at 04:30 PM (#4654406)
the Rays just haven't done a good job of identifying and/or developing top-shelf talent the last few years.


WAR by pick graph.

Pretty easy to ID talent when you're picking top 5. Pretty damn hard after that. Anybody got a good study on teams that get the most out of picks 10 through 200 or so?
   6. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: February 10, 2014 at 05:13 PM (#4654425)
The Cardinals haven't been racking up top ten picks either. There's more to this than that; the Rays just haven't done a good job of identifying and/or developing top-shelf talent the last few years.

OK but what "top-shelf talent" do the Cardinals have? Yadier Molina (4th Round), Adam Wainwright (Trade for JD Drew) and ????? Top-shelf talent is rare.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 10, 2014 at 05:19 PM (#4654434)

OK but what "top-shelf talent" do the Cardinals have? Yadier Molina (4th Round), Adam Wainwright (Trade for JD Drew) and ????? Top-shelf talent is rare.


Shelby Miller, Oscar Taveras, Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Kolten Wong, Trevor Rosenthal.

They're stacked with young players.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: February 11, 2014 at 12:59 AM (#4654601)
In 2011, the Rays had 3 first round picks and a whopping 7 1s picks. Totalling the (current) career WAR of the previous 10 years of picks in those slots:

24: 28 (Billingsley, Blanton)
31: 5
32: 1
38: 61 (Wright, Gio)
41: 8
42: 18 (Buchholz)
52: 12 (they once drafted Crawford here)
56: 23 (JJ Hardy ... 12 during his pre-FA period)
59: 10
60: 15

Of course some of the 2008-10 picks might still break through but ...

Total WAR for those 100 picks is 181 ... so they could have expected 18 WAR out of those 7 picks. That's 18 WAR (mostly) spread out in the 6 years of team control. Those 100 picks yielded one big star and 3-4 very good players so about a 50% chance of landing somebody like Gio or Hardy -- which, for all I know, one of them might turn out to be that good.

Still, 10 picks from #24 to #60 and all you can really expect out of that is maybe 3 WAR a year for the pre-FA period. Obviously every little bit helps, maybe especially if those 18 WAR come in the form of one Billingsley or one Hardy.

It's pretty much a crap shoot. In 2012 they had the #25 pick. Other #25 picks over 2002-11. How about Trout, Cain and Garza? Unfortunately for them, the Trout year was the year they picked 30th and while their pick hasn't produced anything, none of the next 19 picks look like difference-makers either.

In 2009, the Cards drafted Shelby Miller in the first round, #19 -- good except Trout was still on the board. They also grabbed Joe Kelly at #98. Their next 9 picks haven't done anything so far then at #399 they grabbed Matt Carpenter who has given them 7 WAR. He has a long way to go to catch other #399 picks Steinbach (unsigned), Ken Forsch (26 WAR) and Ray Burriss (16).

Sneaky buggers that the Cards are, they waited another 8 rounds to grab Trevor Rosenthal and another two to grab Matt Adams and even their 24th round pick (Keith Butler) looks like a useful reliever.

Unless they managed to find 25 ML talents in that draft, I don't think this tells you anything about the Cards drafting ability -- you don't leave potential 7 WAR players on the board that long. Sure, maybe they are better evaluators of 24th round talent than other teams but that doesn't matter. What it surely must tell you about is their development system. They are very good at churning out useful baseball talent from late picks. Their 2009 draft has already produced the 18 WAR the Rays could expect from their 2011 draft but the Cards did it starting with the #19 and #67 picks.

The Angels 2009 draft will turn out rather well of course. They had 5 picks from #24 to #48. They picked Randal Grichuk just before Trout -- consecutive picks so maybe they just grabbed them in alpha order even though they greatly preferred Trout. The other 3 picks haven't done anything either but they did grab Patrick Corbin at #80.

The Red Sox have done pretty well lately with late picks but so far they've gotten nothing out of the 2009 draft (-.9 WAR). The Braves got Mike Minor (3 WAR).

The big prize of the 2009 draft was Strasburg who has been pretty studly when healthy. Still, his production has nearly been met by Mike Leake. WAR also loved Ackley's defense at 2B so he's close to Strasburg too.
   9. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: February 11, 2014 at 02:17 AM (#4654626)
Shelby Miller, Oscar Taveras, Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Kolten Wong, Trevor Rosenthal.

They're stacked with young players.

None of these guys has ever made an All-Star team or deserved to. Your definition of "top shelf" seems to be "Top 100 Prospect" which is maybe 2/3 of all major leaguers. The Rays have had Top 100 Prospects as well. It's no big deal.
   10. God Posted: February 11, 2014 at 02:25 AM (#4654631)
I don't think anyone can reasonably argue against Taveras and Wacha being top shelf. Wong probably isn't. The others we could debate.

Also, there is no way in hell that two-thirds of the guys who played MLB last year were Top 100 prospects.
   11. JE (Jason) Posted: February 11, 2014 at 02:29 AM (#4654634)
Huh. I am mildly surprised that no one found the Johnny Damon morsel sufficiently amusing. (Actually, it's why I posted the larger piece.)
   12. Bourbon Samurai Posted: February 11, 2014 at 12:59 PM (#4654814)
Damon always seemed like a fellow who would do a stint in Japan to me. I would think he'd enjoy that.
   13. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: February 11, 2014 at 02:46 PM (#4654914)
He might, but I think he's just happy to live in his huge house in Windermere. I've seen him a few times, out riding his bike, while I dropping off a client who lives in a somewhat more modest home in the same development. She's said he's very friendly and pleasant, and had no idea he was a professional athlete the first time she spoke to him.
   14. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: February 11, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4654948)
I don't think anyone can reasonably argue against Taveras and Wacha being top shelf. Wong probably isn't. The others we could debate.

Also, there is no way in hell that two-thirds of the guys who played MLB last year were Top 100 prospects.

Given that they haven't done anything yet, why not? I pulled the 2/3 out of thin air so maybe not, but it can't be that uncommon. How is Michael Wacha any more "top-shelf" than Matt Moore or Alex Cobb? Is Oscar Taveras any more "top-shelf" than Wil Myers or Desmond Jennings? They might prove to be great...or good...or average...or Andy Marte

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