Baseball America ranked Lucas Giolito as the 9th best selection in the MLB draft due to uncertainties about his arm, and I believe he was taken 16th. There was a decent chance he would have gone first overall had he been healthy. The injury affected his ranking, and it affected his selection. BA's lower ranking was heavily dependent on the uncertainty.
Baseball American ranked Luke Bard #93, stating that his current injury should be no issue. Still, he was likely hurt, though he could have been helped, by not playing any baseball since March. Given that the injury isn't future-pitching-serious, I would trust the #93 is a pretty good estimate for where BA would have ranked Bard the Younger had he pitched this year. With error, of course.
The Minnesota Twins, apparently using optimal game theory strategies (heh), selected at pick #42 (with an associated $1.227M value) the #93 player on the board (#93 pick has a $0.516M value). Our Twins know one thing well, and that's that you can save money by drafting a player you've "overreached" for. I would imagine they expect to save a half a million dollars by giving Bard #70 money.
So what do they do with that "saved" money? Chances are, even though Buxton will be far overpaid, the Twins will give him pick value. Or perhaps they anticipate issues with his signing and need extra money just in case. That actually makes the Bard pick somewhat sensical. We're not sure how it's going to go with Buxton, and so we need to have some money in reserve. Picking Bard should allow that. I honestly do not believe the Twins are smart enough to determine how to use that money optimally further down in the draft. And I fear they'll actually pay Bard the $1.2 mil.
One thing we have to hope is that the Twins didn't have a scout at Bard's best game, because sample size has never been a concern with this organization. Nor have statistics when a scout has actually seen the player of interest. Top college starters who go in the first round or so generally have extremely high strikeout rates, with 11-14 k/9 common. Relievers, as also is common, tend to have better K rates than starters. Luke Bard has an 8.x k/9 ratio. As a reliever. In college. This translates to the same-old mediocre can't-miss-bats pitchers that are strewn across the Twins organization, seemingly half of whom are on the DL. But never fear...I'm pretty sure a scout with a name like Jesse Rodriguez with twenty years hitting the diamonds saw Bard strike out the side in the 9th against Hofstra or Iona in early March.
Regardless of the reasons for the pick, it's somewhat clear the Twins saw an opportunity to save money by taking Bard at #42. Whether that's for their own pockets or to use elsewhere, we can only guess, but we can be virtually guaranteed it had nothing to do with either statistical analysis or game theoretical draft strategies.
By the way, BA listed its top 100 draft prospects on Feb 12, well before Bard's injury. He wasn't in the top 100. His stats were mediocre. The only thing I can fathom is that his injury kept his rating steady while many rated ahead of him flopped...and he ended up ranked #93. Or maybe Jim Callis saw that Hofstra inning.
Edited by twinstalker, 05 June 2012 - 01:20 AM.