Thursday, October 21, 2010

A great draft class (2005) versus a bad one (2004)

Earlier this season, I examined the highly touted 2005 draft class using WAR (Wins Above Replacement) and determined that, yes, the hype was real. This is a very strong class with a combined 134.1 Wins Above Replacement to this point.

The top 5 contributors to this total are Hall of Fame-path-Ryan Zimmerman (26.4), team leader Troy Tulowitzki (17.8), iron gloved Ryan Braun (16.5), Matt Garza (9.9), and Mike Pelfrey (8.0). All of those guys were college players so they had a 2-3 year headstart on the high school outfielders like Jay Bruce (7.8), Justin Upton (7.7), Andrew McCutchen (6.7), and Colby Rasmus (5.8).

Cutch-22, with his 6.7 WAR, currently ranks 10th in this class -- right behind Ricky Romero from the Blue Jays with his 6.8.

By comparison, let's take a look at the draft class one year before this one, the 2004 class. The 2004 class at the time was said to not be deep, plus it was peppered with some high-salary-demand guys like Stephen Drew and Jered Weaver who dropped in the draft.

Nevertheless, the 2004 class has to date only compiled an 85.8 WAR, even with a one year jump on the 2005 class. Furthermore, two players (Justin Verlander with 25.3 and Jered Weaver with 18.8) have compiled nearly 50% of the WAR in this class. To show the weakness of the class, take a look at Neil Walker who had a great season with the stick and a not-so-great one with the glove. His 1.9 WAR this year and his -0.3 WAR in 2009 gives him 1.6 WAR for his career. That puts Walker in 11th place. Keep in mind that Cutch-22 is in 10th with his 6.7 WAR -- in this class he would be 4th!

Something to keep in mind, regarding the relative strengths of a draft class from year to year, as we move into the 2011 draft which is said to have one of the strongest 1st rounds in years.

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