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Monday, May 11, 2020

The Chances of a Drafted Baseball Player Making the Major Leagues: A Quantitative Study | Society for American Baseball Research

This study is a few years old but relevant based on the five-round draft.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 11, 2020 at 09:30 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rule 4 draft

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   1. Rally Posted: May 11, 2020 at 09:52 AM (#5949336)
Good stuff, but looking at the dates: Published spring 2017, so only counting data through 2016.

Drafts looked at are from 1996 to 2011. I'm sure there are plenty of 2011 draftees who had not made the majors, but would in 2017-19. And several more that might make it in the future (assuming the future includes baseball). A 2011 HS draftee is only about 27 right now, there will still be some late bloomers in there.
   2. McCoy Posted: May 11, 2020 at 10:25 AM (#5949343)
How many 8 year minor league vets go on to make an appearance in the majors?
   3. Rally Posted: May 11, 2020 at 12:37 PM (#5949377)
Of 261 debuts last year, 40 were players at least 27 years old. This page shows draft/signing year too:
https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/2019-debuts.shtml

I can’t sort by draft year, but looking through there are some from 2011 or even earlier.
   4. McCoy Posted: May 11, 2020 at 12:49 PM (#5949379)
Last year 13 players made a debut in the majors that was drafted in the 2011 draft or 2010 draft. 4 were drafted in the first 5 rounds including two high first round picks.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: May 11, 2020 at 06:23 PM (#5949514)
Sure, he probably should have only looked at drafts through 2009 but it's not going to change those numbers a whole lot. (Biggest impact probably on the #s who played 3+ years which probably should have been limited to the first 10 drafts or so.)

Anyway, the issue with the recent change isn't the reduction in the number of rounds, it's the crazy low limit that undrafted players can't sign for more than $20,000 and only a max of 150 of those. That's certainly not enough money to convince anybody. You need only look at the number in #3 -- 261 debuts last year. The AAA pitcher shuttle has probably increased that but even so there must be 200 debuts a year. If you need 200 debuts a year then, as this article shows, you need to have about 600 in the system -- or get way, way better at identifying the guys with ML potential. As it stands, the first 5 rounds produces only about 80 of those 200 (out of about 170 picks). That's an awful lot of international signees or an awful lot of guys you have to convince to sign for $20,000 to be underpaid in the minors.

I knoe I'm on a one-man mission from God with my obsession over the Rich Becker line (8 WAR in a career) but the proportions who play 3+ years in the majors from this article show that it's a pretty high bar for a prospect and you should generally be happy anytime a non-first rounder makes it over the line.

Now a nitpick -- why would you do an analysis like this dividing up by "first and first supplemental" round. The "first" round here is an average of 48 picks. The supplemental picks are "first round" only in the sense that MLB calls it that and the usual draft order is interrupted. It is surely more useful to break it down into picks #1-30; 31-60; etc. And I think we all know that it should really be something closer to #1; #2-5; #6-10; #11-20; #21-30; #31-50; etc. The article shows there's very little difference between rounds 4 and 5. Rounds 6-8 are pretty much the same; 9 and 10 are pretty much the same which might well extend through 11 and 12.
   6. McCoy Posted: May 11, 2020 at 06:47 PM (#5949525)
The first 5 rounds produce something like 175 players a year and the international signings produce a bunch more. Throw in undrafted FA and you've got something like 400 players coming into your system every year.
   7. McCoy Posted: May 11, 2020 at 06:48 PM (#5949526)
How many players from each draft year actually make an appearance in the majors?
   8. Walt Davis Posted: May 11, 2020 at 09:08 PM (#5949597)
The first 5 rounds produce something like 175 players a year and the international signings produce a bunch more. Throw in undrafted FA and you've got something like 400 players coming into your system every year.

And then you need half of those to make it. Given only about 80 of those top 175 drafted make it, you clearly aren't gonna come anywhere close to a 50% hit rate for that 400.

How many players from each draft year actually make an appearance in the majors?

I'm guessing you didn't look at the article.

The article covers 16 drafts. Leaving aside Rally's point in #1

30 players from each 1st + supplemental -- that's 60% of those drafte, 2/3 of those signed.
14.5 from 2nd plus
11.5 from 3rd
10 from 4th
9 from 5th

That's 75 so I was being generous when I said 80. That's out of approximately 165 players drafted.

You then get about 28 total out of rounds 6-10, 16-17 players out of 11-15, another 12 out of 16-20. That's 57 players out of 450 drafted (about 380-385 signed). It's understandable that MLB might see that as wasted time and money ... and I don't know at what point bonuses get as low as $20,000 ... but you still need to get the players into the game and I think it's absurd to think that talent identification rates are going to improve anywhere near to the levels they need to do that in 5 rounds (plus international plus low-balled UDFAs). Now stick that at something like "then each team can spend up to $1 M total and no individual bonus greater than $X" and I think you've got a workable system.

Anyway, you're only up to about 132 players after 20 rounds. Somewhere around 65-70 of those will play (in parts of) at least three seasons.

Obviously if this reduction is just for one year then it will be a trivial blip in the long-term talent pool even if they can't get those guys into the system. I suspect this won't be one year although I assume it will bounce back to at least 10. I have no issues with the reduction in draft rounds -- I think that would benefit these more fringe players -- but the $20,000 limit seems absurdly low even when coupled with the fab minor-league lifestyle.

Most international signees come from the DR and Venezuela. Of the 261 debuts last year, 21 were born in the DR and 15 in Venezuela. A quick eyeball count came up with 26 other foreign-born debuts. A few of those may have immigrated and attended US high school or unis and been drafted ... any Darvish/Ohtani types that debuted last year are also in that count. (Cuba and Caracas were the biggest sources in this group). I have no idea if 2019 was typical or not but that's less than 25% of the debuts from international sources.

So assume those 62 are still available and that, with less crazy pitcher roster games, you can reduce the number of debuts from 261 to 200 ... and you still aren't quite there with the 132 players from 20 rounds.
   9. McCoy Posted: May 11, 2020 at 09:20 PM (#5949599)
What's the filter for playing time? If you've got 100 players who get 10 PA or BF or less debuting every year that's clearlt 100 players you don't really need.

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