Thursday, January 14, 2010

The 4 Food Groups of Prospects

When it comes to drafting talent in the June amateur draft, there are 4 food groups to select from:
High School Hitter
High School Pitcher
College Hitter
College Pitcher

In their first two drafts, Neil Huntington and the rest of the front office have signed 54 picks. The breakdown is as follows, with 2008's number and 2009's number separated in parentheses.
HS Hitter -- 7 (5, 2)
HS Pitcher -- 8 (2, 6)
College Hitter -- 20 (13, 7)
College Pitcher -- 19 (11, 8)

So roughly 72% of our signees have been from college, a very high percentage. But many college guys selected are organizational filler...soldiers you can move around to fill gaps in your system as they don't really have much of a future past AA.

As a percentage of the DBS Top 30 prospects, the HS players have a much higher representation. Of the 15 of them drafted the past two years, 7 are on my 30 (around 46%). In contrast, 6 of the 39 college players made the DBS 30 (just over 15%).

Your HS players are usually your higher impact players, especially due to their age advantage.

All of this is steering me away from thinking that the Pirates will draft a HS Pitcher as their 1st round pick (2nd overall) this upcoming June. It is presumed that Jameison Taillon is the 2nd best talent, behind Bryce Harper, but this front office does not seem inclined to spend well-over slot for a HS pitcher. Their belief, to date, is that value can be found in selecting guys that fall for signability concerns in later rounds and paying them above-slot, but not record-setting amounts.

Taillon will probably be looking for a similar deal to Jacob Turner of this past year. Turner, signed by DET, got around $4.5M as a bonus with a ML-contract worth a total of around $5.5M.

Without even delving into the lunacy of putting an 18 year old HS pitcher on the 40 man roster, that bonus does not seem to fit in with the current thought process of this front office.

My money is that we get a college bat again.


  1. The Bucs needs are always going to have to be quanity over quality. They are always going to turn over players because of salary issues. What they have to do is sign a lot of very good prospects instead of one superstar. I believe the Pirates are on an upward swing and won't have to worry about drafting a top player and spending 15 - 30 mil on one player and not having money for the rest of the draft.

  2. If anyone is interested, there's a link that supports the theory of taking the college bat with the first pick. It's not anything Huntington hasn't been saying since he got here though.

  3. Victor Wang has done some very interesting work with valuation in recent times. He also did some great number crunching showing the various success rates of prospects (top 25 bats v. top 25-ranked arms and top 100 bats v. top 100-ranked arms). I like his stuff.