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Article: Draft a College Pitcher? Are you sure?

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#21 twinsfanstreif

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 11:05 AM

I've heard a lot of people on here say that if we want an ace we have to draft him high in the first. This comment may be totally legit but does anyone know currently of each "ace" or ace caliber player in the majors how we're they aquired or what round were they drafted in? I would be curious to see the result because I feel this is a blanket statement with no research involved.

#22 scottz

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 11:37 AM

All I know is, other than a very few of the names mentioned (eg., Dan Reichert, Sean Lowe), just about anybody on that list could have stepped onto this roster and make an improvement to our rotation. Even if we ended up with a Charles Nagy or Rick Helling as a starter in 2 years, it would be an improvement over what we see here currently. If 78% of college pitchers taken in the top 25 picks over the last 31 years have made the bigs [(222-49)/222], and presumably made it fairly quickly, then that sounds like a pretty solid risk to me.

#23 Mike Sixel

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 11:46 AM

btw, I meant to, once again, thank Seth for his time and effort. Your contribution to the Twins' community is amazing.

#24 Seth Stohs

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 11:49 AM

I think what's needed is to trust the scouts, and if they can say "this is the guy" you just take him. Some years that's what happens at #1, #2, #3... If it's viewed as close between a couple of guys, then you look at this kind of historical/empircal study to maybe tip the balance.


It's all we can do. I'm not even going to pretend to know how to rank Buxton vs Zunino, much less Appel vs Zimmer vs Gausman. My point would be that whoever the Twins have at the top of their list when it's their turn to pick, that's who they should pick.

#25 Seth Stohs

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 11:49 AM

btw, I meant to, once again, thank Seth for his time and effort. Your contribution to the Twins' community is amazing.


I appreciate that! Thank you!

#26 twinsfanstreif

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:02 PM

All I know is, other than a very few of the names mentioned (eg., Dan Reichert, Sean Lowe), just about anybody on that list could have stepped onto this roster and make an improvement to our rotation. Even if we ended up with a Charles Nagy or Rick Helling as a starter in 2 years, it would be an improvement over what we see here currently. If 78% of college pitchers taken in the top 25 picks over the last 31 years have made the bigs [(222-49)/222], and presumably made it fairly quickly, then that sounds like a pretty solid risk to me.


You have to take into account that guys like Adam Johnson technically made it to the majors. It's about the amount of guys that were affective. 50 of the 222 had a career WAR of 10 or more(keep in mind that Jason Marqis has a Career WAR of 12) that makes 22% were affective. Keep in mind that many people would be very upset if our #2 pick turned out to be like Jason Marquis. So really the 25 that had a WAR over 20 have been very good to elite and that's only 11% of college pitchers taken in the first round. Those numbers look much less promising.

#27 shs_59

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:04 PM

GREAT ARTICLE SETH!!! I'm all about the Twins taking Pitchers (mainly college arms) in picks 32-72 Right now. With pick #2 overall in my mind, there should be no doubt on Byron Buxton, and if he's gone, then Either Zunino or Maybe Albert Almora, Devin Marrero, Lucas Gioloto, Carlos Correa.

#28 Mike Sixel

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:06 PM

Just read an insider article espousing Almora over Buxton, making Buxton not a no-brainer...

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#29 twinsfanstreif

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:26 PM

Just read an insider article espousing Almora over Buxton, making Buxton not a no-brainer...


Also on a draft chat done by perfectgame.com a scout was writing about how he is much higher on Correa than Buxton, he said Buxton is not a "5 tool" guy like everyone is saying but more like a 3 tool.

#30 Seth Stohs

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:31 PM

You have to take into account that guys like Adam Johnson technically made it to the majors. It's about the amount of guys that were affective. 50 of the 222 had a career WAR of 10 or more(keep in mind that Jason Marqis has a Career WAR of 12) that makes 22% were affective. Keep in mind that many people would be very upset if our #2 pick turned out to be like Jason Marquis. So really the 25 that had a WAR over 20 have been very good to elite and that's only 11% of college pitchers taken in the first round. Those numbers look much less promising.


Exactly this!! That was my point. The percent is likely a little better for a #2 pick, but even there, not a given.

#31 ashburyjohn

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:39 PM

I'm all about the Twins taking Pitchers (mainly college arms) in picks 32-72 Right now.


I'm in favor of this too. However, if we think it will result in a true ace pitcher, the 2011 Cy Young voting stacks the odds against. I took a quick look at the top 4 or 5 Cy vote getters (much below that and the ranking is skewed by individual voters), and typically these pitchers are taken midway through the first round, like pick 17 (Hamels and Halladay both, as it happens). Verlander is an outlier up at #2. A couple of guys like Lee and Shields went in later rounds and presumably could have been picked in the range you're talking about.

So to address to your point, in Halladay's year, there was Washburn available for the #31 pick, then Tomko, Dempster and Arroyo further down, sprinkled among the wreckage of washed-out picks 32-72. In Hamels's year, there was Jon Lester at #57, Broxton and Crain soon after. If you had ALL the picks 32-72, you'd scoop up some good ones; with a few picks, you're fighting less than 50/50 odds, unless your scouts happen to be godly.

Though, even #2 is still a crapshoot. The year Hamels went #17, the Rays got Upton at #2, so they can't second guess themselves too much. But when Halladay went #17, the Padres took catcher Ben Davis at #2 - hardly a bust but not what they probably were hoping for.

Again, I hope someone with teh mad database skillz has figured out a better methodology than my cherry-picker approach.

What's the use of a good quotation if you can't change it?-- Dr. Who


#32 twinsfanstreif

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:53 PM

If anyone wants to do their own research you can go here and do your own math. I did SS(hs and college), out of 214 drafted in the first round 40 had a WAR over 10, that's 18%, granted 10 of those were in the top 5 for a 30% rate. A little worse than college pitchers but I wonder what pitchers would be if you calculated in HS players.

#33 twinsfanstreif

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 01:03 PM

On my calculations pitchers have a 26% rate in the first 5 picks. Worse than SS and not much better than pitching over all

#34 minn55441

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 02:27 PM

min55441...they had money to do that this year, and didn't. So, I see no evidence Ryan is a changed man. Which makes me sad, because I think they have a nice core with Mauer, Morneau, Span, Willingham...but once again, they've surrounded them with yuckiness.


Mike, The differance was that after the 2011 season Ryan was named GM midstream. Billy was still running the show up until after the organizational meetings. Also we had all of these starting pitchers under contract. In my mind his hands were tied. He couldn't trade them. I don't think he was prepared to eat the salary when they had a chance to preform at a higher level.

When this season ends, Ryan will have a clean slate, with only Blackburn under contract. How he fills out our starting rotation will determine our course over the next several seasons. If he tries to fill all of the starting pitcher spots through the draft we are in for 5 or 6 years of losing baseball. If he can sign one of two quality starters as FA's and then work out a trade or two to fill the remaining spots we could quickly return to a competitive team again. We need to take pitchers in the draft, I just feel the odds are pretty low that we can pick up a pitcher that will make an impact within a year or two.

#35 Mike Sixel

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 02:33 PM

minn55441, fair enough. I'm certainly not going to say Ryan is a failure on his return after 1 year, any more than I REALLY wanted to after Smith's first year. And, agreed, if they try to only fix this problem through the draft, there won't be 20K fans in the stands in 2013, 14...

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#36 Loosey

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 02:51 PM

For comparisons sake and to see where the Twins could also find talent. I would like to see an analysis of where the some of the top aces in baseball today and some in the recent past were drafted. For example Johan Santana was discovered and signed out of Venezuela and eventually drafted by the Twins in the Rule 5 draft. I would like to see other examples such as this.

#37 scottz

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 03:19 PM

You have to take into account that guys like Adam Johnson technically made it to the majors. It's about the amount of guys that were affective. 50 of the 222 had a career WAR of 10 or more(keep in mind that Jason Marqis has a Career WAR of 12) that makes 22% were affective. Keep in mind that many people would be very upset if our #2 pick turned out to be like Jason Marquis. So really the 25 that had a WAR over 20 have been very good to elite and that's only 11% of college pitchers taken in the first round. Those numbers look much less promising.


Yeah, I hear what you're saying. However, I think the Twins pitching is in such rough shape right now, that they are going to have to be aggressive with their selections. If there's an obvious best player on the board, yes, I agree, go ahead and take that guy. But if it is a toss-up between a power arm who might join the MLB team in 2 years and a position player who might join the team in 4-5 years, I think you have to go with the arm. If we're being honest with ourselves, there are very few "sure things" in baseball anyway, and so the numbers we're talking about (11% elite in the first round) is probably within the error bars of a "good draft" anyway. Why not take a shot? If not, the reality is that we're punting on making a run in the Joe Mauer era, unless they are crazy aggressive in free agency with pitchers. I expect them to pick up 1 FA starter, and I hope they pick up 2, but I don't think they will. And if you aren't going to do that, you need a starter to come from somewhere.

Thoughts?

#38 nicksaviking

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 03:28 PM

A pitcher taken this high always could be a bust. Someone mentioned we would not be happy if he turned out to be Jason Marquis, another mentioned Adam Johnson. Any of these pitchers could bust out, but these guys are all fireballers. This year and last have seen a large increase in velocity in the top pitchers in the draft. There normally aren't this many guys who regularly hit 95-97, Jason Marquis never had that kind of heat, nor does Wimmers, Gibson, or likely Adam Johnson. I think the bust rate with most of these pitchers is being widely overblown. Even if they do bust, a high velocity starter who can't cut it, usually turns into an even harder throwing bullpen arm. Either way, I don't see how Zunino or Buxton are any safer. One plays a position that limits offensive production and he has a high strikeout rate for a top of the draft college player. The other is playing very weak compition. Does Buxton remind no one of Donavan Tate? I haven't heard anyone compare the two despite the fact that they are both 5 tool, 6' 2", 200 lb rural Georgia, top 5 pick and best OF in their drafts? Tate went #3 3 years ago and is looking like a huge disappointment.

#39 Mike Sixel

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 10:35 AM

Latest ESPN insider states that Appel is moving back up the draft boards again....and is looking like he has a shot to be the first pick again. I bet Buxton drops, given the competition level, just my current guess, in April...

#40 CDog

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 12:53 PM

I think the bust rate with most of these pitchers is being widely overblown. Even if they do bust, a high velocity starter who can't cut it, usually turns into an even harder throwing bullpen arm.


I'm pretty sure the original post went into pretty much every detail of the calculations done, so I'm not sure exactly what could be being "overblown." If I count the men and women in a room and report the ratio is 7:5, is that overblowing the results?

And pitchers can also accumulate value as a reliever, so I would think that's cooked into the analysis that was done, too.

Perhaps a different way of looking at things would put a different set of shadows on it, but then someone could always do that if they wanted...