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Grading Falvey's Drafts Mid 2022


bean5302

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Towards the end of last year, I decided to evaluate Falvey's draft record at the time. As I noted, it was a work in progress and there has been quite a bit of shifting around this year. I postulated this year would be a critical year for Falvey's future with the Twins as fans, and I'm sure owners, were waiting with bated breath for the pitchers of the future to arrive and the high round draft choices to prove their mettle, advance through the system, and prove the front office's methodology.

To paraphrase my previous blog:
Falvey has shown a tendency to draft one tool (power) position players in the high rounds and they weren't particularly successful. eg. Sabato, Wallner, Rooker and he's had very little success in early round pitchers developing and moving up through the system.

Methodology:

Quote

I’m concentrated on the first 3 rounds of the draft, which include Competitive Balance A and Competitive Balance B picks and works out to just about 100 players even in most years. Obviously, a 1st round / CBA is much more important than a 2nd round / CBB pick and then a 3rd rounder drops off more. I’ve chosen to grade the overall draft results on that scale. First Round/CBA = a multiplier of 2.00. Second Round/CBB = a multiplier of 1.50. 3rd Round = a multiplier of 1.00. My grades are subjective, based on performance of the pick, whether or not the front office reached to get the pick, how quickly the pick has advanced and my opinion of the projected performance of the pick at this point. I didn’t ding the Twins for any of the lost CBA/CBB picks due to free agency signings or trades except Hughes. The Twins essentially traded their late 2nd rounder, a CBB pick in 2019 for a little cash; that’s an absolute dereliction of duty and it’s worth a grade.

  • Huge Reach = 2+ rounds ahead of MLB.com projection
  • Reach = 1 round ahead of MLB.com projection
  • Aggressive = ½ round ahead of MLB.com projection (i.e. CBA instead of 2nd round)
  • On Par = In the round where projected, within a reasonable distance of expected. (i.e. picked 20th overall when projected at 25th)
  • Deal = 1 round behind MLB.com projection
  • Steal = 2+ rounds behind MLB.com projection

Link to previous blog:

 

So how have things graded out this year? There's definitely been a fair bit of movement and some of the players are no longer in the organization. Rooker was traded to San Diego as part of the Rogers deal and Petty was moved to the Reds for Sonny Gray. Landon Leach was released by Ft. Myers and signed by the Braves' organization.

 

2017 Player Grade MLB Draft # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Level Last Perf. Promo Spd Projection
1st Royce Lewis B 5 1 1-30 (Rnd1) On Par High School 22 MLB A C B
CBA Brent Rooker* D 50 35 31-36 (CBA) Aggressive College 27 AAA A F C
2nd Landon Leach* D 101 37 37-67 (Rnd2) Reach College 22 A- D F D
3rd Blayne Enlow D 29 76 76-105 (Rnd3) Steal High School 23 AA F D D
2018 Player Grade MLB Draft Proj # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Level Last Perform Promo Spd Projection
1st Trevor Larnach B 26 20 1-30 (Rnd1) On Par College 25 MLB B B B
2nd Ryan Jeffers C >200 59 44-78 (Rnd2) Huge Reach College 24 MLB D A D
3rd Forfeit for Lynn 1yr N/A         N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2019 Player Grade MLB Draft Proj # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Age Level Last Perform Promo Spd Projection
1st Keoni Cavaco F 28 13 1-30 (Rnd1) Aggressive High School 21 A- C F F
CBA Matt Wallner B 60 39 31-41 (CBA) Aggressive College 24 AA B C C
2nd Matt Canterino C 46 54 42-69 (Rnd2) On Par College 24 AA C C D
CBB Forefeit (to trade Hughes) F       Total Failure N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
3rd Spencer Steer A >200 90 79-107 (Rnd3) Huge Reach College 24 AAA A C B
2020 Player Grade MLB Draft Proj # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Age Level Last Perform Promo Spd Projection
1st Aaron Sabato D 41 27 1-29 (Rnd1) Reach College 23 A+ D D F
2nd Alerick Soularie D 105 59 38-60 (Rnd2) Huge Reach College 22 A+ D C F
CBB Forefit in Maeda Trade N/A         N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
3rd Forefit for Donaldson N/A         N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2021 Player Grade MLB Draft Proj # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Age Level Last Perform Promo Spd Projection
1st Chase Petty* A 27 26 1-29 (Rnd1) On Par High School 19 A- B A B
CBA Noah Miller B 62 36 31-36 (CBA) Aggressive High School 19 A- B A C
2nd Steve Hajjar C 100 61 37-63 (Rnd2) Reach College 21 A- B C C
3rd Cade Povich A >250 98 72-101 (Rnd3) Huge Reach College 22 A+ A A B

Upward movers:
Royce Lewis - C to B. While Lewis' performance blew away all expectations and was well worthy of an A grade here, it feels like there's been confirmation he's the next Buxton in regard to injuries. Lewis' injury history is no longer something which can be attributed solely to luck and the expectations on how much value he can add to a team should be significantly tempered as a result.

Landon Leach - F to D. Atlanta's coaches have clearly done something here. Leach's K rate is about the same, but his walk rate has absolutely plummeted. Leach has turned in mostly solid starts this year for Atlanta's low A team with a couple clunkers disguising how effective Leach has actually been. This is a positive for Falvey's draft, but a potential big negative for the development team. Based on his age and experience in the MiLB system, Leach's results this year 4.04 ERA, 4.29 xFIP are hardly worth praise, but the absolutely massive leap forward is worth not completely writing him off. 

Trevor Larnach - C to B. Larnach's struggles to hit basically anything other than a 4-seam fastball resulted in his performance, and my expectations, dropping like a stone. This year, Larnach started off fairly hot again and his wRC+ of 114 is sustainable for a bat first corner outfielder now that he's picked up a little extra speed as well. I'm going to ignore his huge slump over the last month, and especially last couple of weeks and hope it's luck related rather than a repeat of last season.

Matt Wallner - D to B. Wallner didn't impress me last year. As a 23 year old college hitter in an A+ league with only a power tool offset by poor plate discipline, I wasn't confident in his ability to take his game up the ladder. Wallner performed well in the Arizona Fall League, but I give almost zero value to performances in the AFL so coming into this year, I didn't expect a change. That said, Wallner has raked in AA, and now we're getting somewhere. Now age 24 and the mulligan of 2020's lost season fading, Wallner has delivered at the plate and significantly improved his game as well. Wallner's walk rate has jumped from a weak 9.5% (for a high K rate power hitter) to an impressive 17.1%. That's night and day. That's projectable. His OBP has also skyrocketed 54pts to .404 in a much, much harder league this year. Want more good news? He's only gotten better as the season has marched on. Since May 1, Wallner's OPS has been 1.026. His BB rate has increased slightly to 17.5% and even better, his K rate has declined a bit to 31.6% over that span. While the BABIP might have a bit to do with his .304 average, his performance isn't all HRs. Wallner has more 2B's than HR's since the beginning of May as well. Consider me much more interested in this guy's future.

Spencer Steer - C to A. Scouting reports on Steer's defense were clear he wasn't going to be a shortstop and an unimpressive season at the plate in AA last year after raking in A+ ball led me to drop expectations. Steer's walk rate dropped by over 50% and his strikeout rate nearly doubled from A+ to AA while his OPS dropped from .911 to .774. OOffffda. Lots of players cannot make the transition from low minors to the high minors. A+ to AA is the biggest step in baseball competition level, in my opinion. Steer has reclaimed a bit of walk rate, dropped the strikeouts quite a bit and crushed the baseball, earning a promotion to AAA where he continues to rake. While his BB rate is too low for a power hitter (9%-ish), it does seem like "power hitter" is an apt term for Steer. It's possible Steer can make the transition to being a quality MLB player. As a 3rd rounder, that's an A.

Noah Miller - C to B. Miller's performance last year was fine. He didn't light the world on fire in rookie ball with little pop .238/.316/.369 wRC+ 85, but as an 18 year old high school draft pick, even holding his own against professional players half way through their season and playing for a couple weeks was good enough. Miller's scouting reports show tough to grade potential with mediocre athleticism for a middle infielder, but he's credited with a high baseball IQ and good instincts which would offset it. That may be best evidenced by Miller stealing 13/15 on the basepaths this year. Miller focused on building core strength this offseason, but no power improvements are to be seen yet. That said, Miller's plate discipline has taken a major step forward with his promotion to A- league ball and that's kept him performing at the plate despite being utterly pop-less this year. Miller's .239/.378/.325 is good for a wRC+ of 114 in the low offense league. This is Miller's first full season of professional baseball and his excellent fielding percentage of .988 at shortstop practically brings a tear to my eye after watching seemingly every Twins SS prospect for the past decade boot baseballs like like they were playing soccer out there... If Miller can develop a little more pop or pick that average up, we could have a legitimate shortstop in the making.

Cade Povich - D to A. Povich hadn't pitched at all last year at the time of my grading, and considering he was a college signing who I classified as a huge reach, I graded it harshly. Povich has acquitted Falvey's draft strategy greatly this year. With a 12.8 K/9 and an acceptable 3.2 BB/9, Povich has put up a 3.38 ERA in not Low-A, but High-A. Povich saw 2 innings in Rookie ball and then only 8 innings in Ft. Myers last year and the Twins started him off in Cedar Rapids this year. Povich's 3.28 xFIP looks good and seems reasonable based on the 1.13 WHIP. Povich hasn't shown a huge Achilles heel like a lot of pitchers who struggle with walks or give up a ton of hits. At age 22 in A+ ball, it's not like a 3.38 ERA screams "ace" pitcher, but given the experience level and promotion rate, it's a good sign of him being able to hold his own up the ladder and Povich was a 3rd rounder.

Now for the fallers:

Brent Rooker - C to D. Rooker was moved this offseason in the Rogers' trade and it's hard to give him a dropping grade considering he's OPS'ing .999 in AAA for San Diego, but... he's in AAA. As a 2017 first rounder, that's not acceptable. Rooker's strikeout rate clearly has the Padres looking at him as a AAAA talent or he'd have seen action by now. It's ironic, San Diego had a need for Rooker's services earlier this year... just as he was hurt. Rooker did get the callup on the 13th for a double-header game, but didn't play and was sent right back to AAA. The advanced metrics on Rooker last year painted him as unlucky and worth some time, but it seems neither the Padres or Twins' coaches have been impressed with what they saw in person.

Blayne Enlow - C to D. Enlow finally returned to pitching after losing the vast majority of 2020-2021 to the COVID shutdown and a UCL tear. The Twins decided to protect Enlow from the Rule 5 draft this year, but Enlow's demonstrated poor control with a 4.9 BB/9 rate and he's been very hittable with an 8.9 H/9. Poor control is typical for younger pitchers when returning from TJ, and to Enlow's credit, he has returned quickly. That said, nothing about Enlow's true performance in the minors up until now has warranted excitement and there's no part of his game which is truly impressive this year. Scouting reports are great, but performance has to be there and Enlow needs to start producing. It's actually pretty concerning that Enlow walked nobody in his first two starts... and 11 batters in his last 12.2 IP.

Ryan Jeffers - B to C. Jeffers got the thumbs up for a B-grade despite having a rough year at the plate last year. After all, he still had the potential to be a career starting catcher and that's very valuable. Jeffers struggles at the plate have continued this year and the SSS factor is quickly evaporating. Now, it's not like Jeffers has been John Ryan Murphy at the plate as Jeffers continues to hit well enough to justify being a backup catcher, but Jeffers' bat is decidedly below MLB average and his mediocre defense isn't going to offset his weak plate performance enough to be a starter. Projecting Jeffers as more than a career backup doesn't feel likely to me.

Matt Canterino - B to C. Canterino may have already pitched more innings in AA this year than he was able to pitch all last year in Low/High A, and Canterino may own a sparkly 1.83 ERA, but the performance is an illusion. With an ugly 5.77 BB/9, helpful .225 BABIP and an absurdly low 0.26 HR/9 thanks to the 2.6% HR/FB rate, the 4.78 xFIP tells a very different story. Beyond the expected performance, there's no way an uninjured pitcher with a 5+ BB/9 rate in the minors can be effective in MLB. Canterino is also closer to his 25th birthday than his 24th at this point. Still some time to turn it around, but this year has been deflating for fans. 

Aaron Sabato - C to D. The leash on Sabato's lack of performance has ended. After an uninspiring performance in Low A last year, Sabato was promoted to Cedar Rapids and he responded with a home run derby performance to put his stock back on track. Repeating A+ ball this year, Sabato has failed to repeat his home run fueled explosion last year. All that remains is the pedestrian 13.7% walk rate for a 23 year old college power hitter repeating a season in the low minors to go along with the 33% K rate. Sabato's power hasn't been on display this season, managing an ISO of just .174, and that won't get it done with a .214 batting average. Sabato still sports a wRC+ of 107 in the A+ league, but for poor defensive 1B/DH, who was drafted in the first round, that's not going to cut it. Sabato really doesn't look like he's MLB caliber.

All in all, Falvey's grade jumps from a 1.67 (C-) to a 2.00 solid C. There were enough upward movers to more than offset the scufflers. The 2021 draft class still looks like it may be Falvey's best with a lot of solid performers, but it's way too early to tell... also, we traded away the best of the prospects in that class with Chase Petty in the Reds' system now where he's pitching very well in Low-A.

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How you can ignore the rest of those drafts where they have found consistent talent some that is outperforming even our early round picks is ludicrous.  The 2019 and 2021 drafts have essentially restocked the twins pipeline.   I am mightily impressed with that.  That is even with trading our #1 draft pick last year,  for a very good starting pitcher for 2 year.   I can't wait to see who they draft this year, especially with an early draft pick.  

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32 minutes ago, bunsen82 said:

How you can ignore the rest of those drafts where they have found consistent talent some that is outperforming even our early round picks is ludicrous.  The 2019 and 2021 drafts have essentially restocked the twins pipeline.   I am mightily impressed with that.  That is even with trading our #1 draft pick last year,  for a very good starting pitcher for 2 year.   I can't wait to see who they draft this year, especially with an early draft pick.  

Beyond round 3, it's a crapshoot. Those players rarely make MLB and aren't expected to make it. Scouts can see hints of great things, but the likelihood of those players working out is remote or they'd be drafted much higher. Guys in the 4th round have seen hundreds of players picked before them and all 30 teams pass again and again and again. If a player in the later rounds makes the big show, it's player development and coaching working magic, not the draft scouting team.

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Great report, love how you show your work and I read the entire thing and was nodding my head.

My only disagreement comes from this quote regarding Trevor Larnach: "I'm going to ignore his huge slump over the last month, and especially last couple of weeks and hope it's luck related rather than a repeat of last season." -- Since his debut, there has always been a huge group of fans lining up to make up excuses for his poor play. A guy like Miranda goes 0-for-5 and Twins fans are ready to jettison him to the Mighty Mussels, meanwhile Larnach goes 2-for-40 over a 3 week stretch and it's "just bad luck". But hey, it's your article and you can ignore and/or include anything you want! I just happen to disagree on Larnach.

But like I said, great work dude and thanks for the post. Very impressed with your thoroughness and even more impressed with how you were able to get it down in writing for the masses. Well done.

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23 minutes ago, bighat said:

Great report, love how you show your work and I read the entire thing and was nodding my head.

My only disagreement comes from this quote regarding Trevor Larnach: "I'm going to ignore his huge slump over the last month, and especially last couple of weeks and hope it's luck related rather than a repeat of last season." -- Since his debut, there has always been a huge group of fans lining up to make up excuses for his poor play. A guy like Miranda goes 0-for-5 and Twins fans are ready to jettison him to the Mighty Mussels, meanwhile Larnach goes 2-for-40 over a 3 week stretch and it's "just bad luck". But hey, it's your article and you can ignore and/or include anything you want! I just happen to disagree on Larnach.

But like I said, great work dude and thanks for the post. Very impressed with your thoroughness and even more impressed with how you were able to get it down in writing for the masses. Well done.

I am not bullish on Larnach and I was pretty critical of his projectability last year.
 


But, the fact is he made huge strides against one of the most popular breaking pitches in the game which he was lost against last year, the slider. He's still been nearly useless against changeups, but there is some minor movement forward on that one too. I'll give credit where it's due and that's the reason he got a little bump up.

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How does this compare to other front offices?  Are they usually performing in B-A range?  Or are the Twins hitting on a better rate than their peers?

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I really liked this article and your analysis.  I have long thought Enlow was not qualified for our top prospect ratings and you seem to confirm that for me.  I also hated the Sabato pick.  Do we need a new Sano? 

Jeffers can still come around, Larnach keeps working and can be an acceptable part of the line-up. Leach is a complete miss. 

Wallner feels like he could surprise and do what Sabato was expected to do.

This is not a very impressive showing for the FO, but I think it is accurate.  

I am really sorry we traded Petty, but if Gray can stay healthy it is an okay trade. 

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I think your grading is a little harsh.  Endow is more of an incomplete with all the time missed.  Anyone who is a MLB regular starter should be at least a B.  Maybe give Jeffers a B - for being a crappy hitter but strong defender.  
 

The entire 2020 draft and Cavaco are the only decisions that were absolutely regrettable.  

overall great article I give it a A-

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1 hour ago, Loosey said:

How does this compare to other front offices?  Are they usually performing in B-A range?  Or are the Twins hitting on a better rate than their peers?

I don't know. It's a concern to me that an "A" grade might be unachievable with my grading system, but analysis and write up work like this takes hours so it's not really feasible for me to do this for 29 other teams.

That said, rounds 1-3 for Falvey's front office over the past 5 drafts seem to be short on quality regular players as of today, but still with some potential. The C grade as of now seems fair.

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I think given where things are today those are pretty objectively fair grades.  I still think Lewis ends up an A and Enlow will need more time but he should get back to B status and certainly C by the mid point next year.  I think Jeffers and Canterino can end up B's as well.  I think the grades reflect where they stand right now but I think there is solid potential for the final grade to be better than this. 

I see the rational for Steer being an A but that seems a bit high to me.  I think of an A as All Star or very near All Star caliber player but this is your criteria and that is fine.  

What you can see is that there have been a fair number of complete misses at the top of the draft.  I think your identifying the power hitting guys (Rooker, Sabato), they selected didn't work out well and Wallner was on his way to being the 3rd one not to work out but has OPS'd his way out of it for now.  Still has to make the big leagues though so far from a sure B IMO.

I really appreciate the work you put in and those are the only quibbles I have and they are minor.

 

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If Petty stays healthy, he may become the most valuable of all of these players who have been drafted by Falvey. He was very impressive when I was at Spring Training this year. He was the pitcher, who, when warming up, the other players and coaches would watch. His sizzling pitches were darting in and out of the strike zone. He is a special talent who will be successful in the majors for many years. Therefore, Falvey gets an A+ in drafting Petty. However, in my report card, Falvey gets an F for trading him away, even though I love Gray. I would have made Petty untouchable in a trade. I understand the injury risk with an 18 year old fire-balling pitcher, but I tell you, Petty is special and is worth the risk. In three years the Reds will have Hunter Greene and Chase Petty as two young exciting and personable "Aces". 

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I thought it would be interesting to see how other teams rank in drafting, but could not access what I wanted.  
Here is a bleacher report that ranks the last 15 drafts : This is the caveat for the grading of the drafts - "Rather than simply listing every first-round selection, I’ve included only those players who enjoyed—or are in the midst of—a notable big-league career."

With that in mind, the Twins had five first rounders in 15 drafts that have made an impact - Joe Mauer 2001, Buxton 2012, Hicks 2005, Revere 2007 and Garza 2005.  

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Leach almost fell into the Enlow category. He was available for the Rule 5. But because of injuries was still an A-baall pitcher. He will be a minor league free agent after this saeson.

Enlow, because he was protected, could be grabbed by another team easily if removed from the 40-man (as would be Balazovic or Henriquez). And then the new team could decide to send them, again, thru waivers before sending to the minor leagues.

Thus the world of a min or league ballplayer.

Rooker, also, faced downtime in 2020. Sadly, he WAS given every oipportunity to prove himself a major elague player. As much as Miranda, Larnach and also, now, Kirilloff. He didn't succeed and then was passed over by guys like Garlick, Refsnyder and even Cave and Celestino. 

So much can change in the life of a minor league player. A bad season in the minors may mean no shot in the majors. A rough time in he majors, and maybe no second chance...or a minimal second chance...because tehre are always memebrs from another draft class pushing you off the depth chart.

Also, I like stolen bases as much as anyone. But stealing in the lowly minors? Pitchers and catchers are getting used to each other, and also pitchers are working on different pitches. I still remember this grat base stealer in the Twins minors system. Whatever happened to him? 

https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=rivera003dav

I shake my head all the time at the millions spent up-front in baseball drafts on players that amount to next-to-nothing, and the careers that some of the lowlies have in return.

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3 hours ago, tarheeltwinsfan said:

If Petty stays healthy, he may become the most valuable of all of these players who have been drafted by Falvey. He was very impressive when I was at Spring Training this year. He was the pitcher, who, when warming up, the other players and coaches would watch. His sizzling pitches were darting in and out of the strike zone. He is a special talent who will be successful in the majors for many years. Therefore, Falvey gets an A+ in drafting Petty. However, in my report card, Falvey gets an F for trading him away, even though I love Gray. I would have made Petty untouchable in a trade. I understand the injury risk with an 18 year old fire-balling pitcher, but I tell you, Petty is special and is worth the risk. In three years the Reds will have Hunter Greene and Chase Petty as two young exciting and personable "Aces". 

I agree completely with this take. The trade of Petty could wind up being a monumental mistake and I absolutely hated it when we traded him for Gray since I didn't think there was really anybody in the Twins' system with the potential upside of Petty.

Speaking of Petty... his last 5 games are pretty impressive. 2.45 ERA (2.44 FIP), 9.82 K/9 (28.2%), 2.45 BB/9 (7%), 0.93 WHIP. He's not giving up hits, he's not walking too many, he's striking out quite a few. In his first year of professional experience out of high school, that's about all you can ask for.

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Jeffers is a strange case. His BaseballSavant page looks solid, but the results are horrible. 

Savant has Jeffers listed as the 10th most unlucky batter in MLB this season, with a .071 point gap between his wOBA and xwOBA. He has an elite barrel rate and an expected slug that would earn him a solid extension offer if his results matched, but they just don't.

The issue seems to be a complete lack of strike zone control...ironic considering he has such a great strike zone control behind the plate. 

I expect his production to regress, or progress if you will, to the mean. He just needs more time. I don't expect him to be a good hitter, but I think league average is attainable.

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I remember the Sabato pick. I confusedly exclaimed, "What the ****!? Why?"

Nothing I heard or read after justified the pick in my mind. That was a terrible pick the moment it was made. I still don't understand it.

Also, huge props for spelling out the guttural "OOffftttaaa".  Living outside Minnesota for the last 19 years, that made me giggle.

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You're too harsh on Jeffers. While his conventional stats are slightly ugly (but remember that while his 74 wRC+ looks terrible, league catchers only have an 87 wRC+), his advanced stats tell a different story. His wOBA is .269 while his xwOBA is .340. His barrel rate is 93rd percentile. His xSLG is 77th percentile.

Given Jeffers' defense, even if he only climbs up to a league average 87 wRC+ (and his batted ball stats look like he's better than that), he's a valuable starting catcher.

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I would think critical to any analysis would be a comparison to other teams as well as a comparison to the performance of players previously picked in that slot.

I would also wonder if some teams are more successful with picks after round 2 and that it might be due to their skill in identifying and developing talent rather than random as you suggest.

Those factors seem so much important than an MLB ranking. Is there any evidence that MLB rankings have been a reliable predictor of future performance?

As for Jeffers… he was picked in the middle of the second round and has more WAR than any other player picked in that round. Can I assume that every other team in that round would receive a lower grade for their pick in round 2?

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1 hour ago, jorgenswest said:

As for Jeffers… he was picked in the middle of the second round and has more WAR than any other player picked in that round. Can I assume that every other team in that round would receive a lower grade for their pick in round 2?

Well, the 2018 draft is still very much a work in progress and Jeffers was a college draft pick so it's not really surprising he's leading the second round pack in June of 2022.

But it should also be noted that Larnach (though also a college pick so keep that in mind) is around fifth in overall WAR from the first round but was only the 20th pick of the round.

This grading scale seems impossibly difficult, where one must draft an All-Star or better to receive a decent grade. The reality of the draft is that if you get a competent regular from the first round every year, your baseball team will be very good. If you get more than one competent regular from any single draft, you had a very good draft.

And I simply do not buy into the statement that anything after the third round is a crapshoot. That's where coaching and development comes into play; yes, the later rounds are more random but that's where good franchises pick the flawed players they like and try to coach them into being an MLB player. Dismissing those rounds out of hand ignores a big reason why the Tampa Bay Rays are perennially excellent while other franchises can't win after a half decade of top picks.

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I respect the time and effort it takes to grade out how players are doing.  However, I find how a player is doing, even more so when injuries play a roll like in Lewis, it is poor way to evaluate a draft.  There are many factors that go into certain draft picks, like drafting a HS kid early because you expect he will sign under slot value, so you can use that money on an over slot value later on.  Unless the guy had injury concerns in say college or during high school, it is hard to fault a draft of a player only to have an injury that no one saw coming.

Also, without context of who else was available around that pick, and when is your next pick. You point out Jeffers was considered a huge reach.  Okay, maybe, but we did not have a 3rd round pick.  So our next pick was not until Round 4. Which was pick 124.  Between those picks there was 4 catchers taken.  2 has made MLB but 1 has had very small sample size, with total of 25 games over 2 seasons, but his minor league numbers suggest the very small sample will not continue.  The other has half the games as Jeffers but might have more power.  I do not know the defenses to compare.  

There was then 3 more catchers in round four that would have been available and none have made majors.  Being we have little to no catching prospects, and at the time Rortvelt was only prospect we had, a catcher was needed most likely.  There is not a whole lot of MLB players that were drafted after Jeffers and before our next pick, not sure how many are still prospects, but no names clearly jumped out to me.  I did not do deep dive so may have missed someone.  My point is though that to say we were wrong on Jeffers or it was a poor pick may not be actually true under the context of the pick.  One, he may not have been around the next pick, and there may not have been a better pick out there, at least not at the catching position.  He may not be an all-star or anything, but he still may be just as good or on par with any others in that draft. 

I am not defending every pick by any means.  I was not a fan of the Cavaio pick or Sabato pick.  But to just see how your pick does does not do a true analysis without seeing how other options could have been and how they panned out. Unless you can point to someone you would have drafted, at the time not after seeing how they ended up, it is hard to say it was wrong pick, even more so when the pick makes the majors.  

I do not know your grading scale, but looks like a C is MLB player, which is pretty low grade when 66% of 1st round picks make majors, 49% of 2nd round make majors, and only 33% of rounds 3 thru 5 make it. I would say sometimes the 1st rounds only make it as the team invested the time and money into them.  Is A+ MVP path, A all-star regular, B fringe all-star, C mlb player, D AAA regular with some MLB time, and F no MLB prospect? 

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15 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

You're too harsh on Jeffers. While his conventional stats are slightly ugly (but remember that while his 74 wRC+ looks terrible, league catchers only have an 87 wRC+), his advanced stats tell a different story. His wOBA is .269 while his xwOBA is .340. His barrel rate is 93rd percentile. His xSLG is 77th percentile.

Given Jeffers' defense, even if he only climbs up to a league average 87 wRC+ (and his batted ball stats look like he's better than that), he's a valuable starting catcher.

Personally, I think you're too optimistic on Jeffers.

First, 13pts below average on wRC+ is very significant

Second, using "mean" vs. "median" is misleading because there are backups and AAA injury replacement guys skewing numbers at the bottom. Jeffers might be only 13pts below average, but he's 21pts below median (for 31 catchers with 130+ plate appearances) in wRC+. Jeffers is 70pts below median in OPS. That's ballpark-ish 2 WAR over a 150 games played.

Third, Jeffers struggles at the plate date back through last year, where he had a wRC+ of 82 in a fairly significant 293 PA (right in line with what he's rocking today). In total, Jeffers has a wRC+ of 85 across 520 career plate appearances in 3 years. Jeffers has been consistently poor at the plate and that's not a small sample size anymore. It's not absolutely definitive by any means, but it's fair reason to temper expectations.

Fourth, there are many players who never perform up to their metrics for various reasons. From players who only use 1/2 the field, to players impossibly weak against certain pitches or players who maybe just psyche themselves out in high stress situations. It goes that way for hitters and pitchers.

Fifth, Jeffers is an adequate defensive catcher. He's middle of the road so while he has positional value, his defense shouldn't keep him starting if his bat doesn't play. He's on pace for about 1.5 fWAR this year as the primary catcher. That's not getting it done... and he didn't get it done last year, either.
 

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3 hours ago, jorgenswest said:

...I would also wonder if some teams are more successful with picks after round 2 and that it might be due to their skill in identifying and developing talent rather than random as you suggest...

I included round 3 so you concern seems to be round 4+?

I don't wonder that at all. 30 teams scout virtually every top player (physical attributes and performance) as they come up through middle/high school. Even if a scout believed they saw a huge potential, that talent would have to be refined or all the rest of the teams would be seeing the performance and everybody would know about the player. In addition, the idea a single scout from a single team would see the talent (like the movie Trouble with the Curve) is unlikely. There would be a handful of the "some teams" better scouts who'd be expected to see it, too. Passing on early round drafts with the hopes nobody else noticed the elite player hiding in the rough is way risky. Plus, drafting the player early would allow the team to go way over-slot further down the line. That's a technique the Falvey led Twins have employed.
 

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3 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

 

And I simply do not buy into the statement that anything after the third round is a crapshoot. That's where coaching and development comes into play; yes, the later rounds are more random but that's where good franchises pick the flawed players they like and try to coach them into being an MLB player. Dismissing those rounds out of hand ignores a big reason why the Tampa Bay Rays are perennially excellent while other franchises can't win after a half decade of top picks.

I tend to agree.  Scouts are still looking for specific traits in players that they think they can build on.  They are looking for players with untapped potential.  You could argue that it is those players in those rounds where the scouts earn their money.  Everyone knows who the top 100 players are even the fans.  We don't know which guys are going to work out but for the most part the top 200 players are set except for the order they will be picked.  Not sure it takes much scouting acumen to determine those players.  Players that look like sure things in the top 100 are not all going to work out. We see it every year no matter how good the organization.  Some consensus top 10 picks are not going to work out and that is pretty much the entire industry scouting players that come up with these rankings.  So scouting and top 100 lists are never perfect predictors of success at the MLB level even when the entire industry agrees.

I agree and it is pretty much proven that the further out you get the less likely a player makes it but any players that do make it from those rounds is essentially found money and the team wasn't just throwing darts at the board on who they decided to pick.  They picked guys with specific tools and skillsets they felt they might be able to develop.  Sure most of them are not going to work but I still think you have to give credit to the organization for recognizing talent that was more deeply hidden and or had the ability to be developed.  Finding players that can play at the MLB level not even All-Star caliber players but even just a dominant relief arm has significant value to the organization so those lower picks matter IMO. 

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2 hours ago, Dman said:

I tend to agree.  Scouts are still looking for specific traits in players that they think they can build on.  They are looking for players with untapped potential.  You could argue that it is those players in those rounds where the scouts earn their money.  Everyone knows who the top 100 players are even the fans.  We don't know which guys are going to work out but for the most part the top 200 players are set except for the order they will be picked.  Not sure it takes much scouting acumen to determine those players.  Players that look like sure things in the top 100 are not all going to work out. We see it every year no matter how good the organization.  Some consensus top 10 picks are not going to work out and that is pretty much the entire industry scouting players that come up with these rankings.  So scouting and top 100 lists are never perfect predictors of success at the MLB level even when the entire industry agrees.

I agree and it is pretty much proven that the further out you get the less likely a player makes it but any players that do make it from those rounds is essentially found money and the team wasn't just throwing darts at the board on who they decided to pick.  They picked guys with specific tools and skillsets they felt they might be able to develop.  Sure most of them are not going to work but I still think you have to give credit to the organization for recognizing talent that was more deeply hidden and or had the ability to be developed.  Finding players that can play at the MLB level not even All-Star caliber players but even just a dominant relief arm has significant value to the organization so those lower picks matter IMO. 

I mean, one doesn't have to look far to see the last paragraph in action: Griffin Jax. A marginal third round pick taken because the Twins liked his slider. Sure, he didn't work out as a starter because he couldn't develop much past that slider but now he looks like he'll be a multi-year contributor at the very least (barring injury).

That's not an accident. Sure, the Twins may have taken a different third rounder the year before that fell on their face, that's baseball for you. But they intentionally targeted something about Jax that made them think he will be an MLB contributor and he's now contributing to the MLB team based on that single skill they targeted and refined.

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3 hours ago, bean5302 said:

Personally, I think you're too optimistic on Jeffers.

First, 13pts below average on wRC+ is very significant

Second, using "mean" vs. "median" is misleading because there are backups and AAA injury replacement guys skewing numbers at the bottom. Jeffers might be only 13pts below average, but he's 21pts below median (for 31 catchers with 130+ plate appearances) in wRC+. Jeffers is 70pts below median in OPS. That's ballpark-ish 2 WAR over a 150 games played.

Third, Jeffers struggles at the plate date back through last year, where he had a wRC+ of 82 in a fairly significant 293 PA (right in line with what he's rocking today). In total, Jeffers has a wRC+ of 85 across 520 career plate appearances in 3 years. Jeffers has been consistently poor at the plate and that's not a small sample size anymore. It's not absolutely definitive by any means, but it's fair reason to temper expectations.

Fourth, there are many players who never perform up to their metrics for various reasons. From players who only use 1/2 the field, to players impossibly weak against certain pitches or players who maybe just psyche themselves out in high stress situations. It goes that way for hitters and pitchers.

Fifth, Jeffers is an adequate defensive catcher. He's middle of the road so while he has positional value, his defense shouldn't keep him starting if his bat doesn't play. He's on pace for about 1.5 fWAR this year as the primary catcher. That's not getting it done... and he didn't get it done last year, either.
 

This just doesn't cut it. First, you're parsing really small sample sizes (Jeffers doesn't even have 600 career PAs yet) and the second half of the statement is nonsense trying to excuse away a really big discrepancy between Jeffers' surface stats and his underlying metrics.

In 2020, Jeffers' difference between wOBA and xwOBA was .003.

In 2021, that difference was .010.

In 2022, the difference is .065.

This is the first year his metrics have not aligned with performance.

https://www.fangraphs.com/players/ryan-jeffers/24618/stats?position=C

PS. I'm not even that high on Ryan Jeffers, I think he's an average-ish starting catcher for a few years. But getting that player in the second round is a hell of a draft pick.

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20 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

This just doesn't cut it. First, you're parsing really small sample sizes (Jeffers doesn't even have 600 career PAs yet) and the second half of the statement is nonsense trying to excuse away a really big discrepancy between Jeffers' surface stats and his underlying metrics.

In 2020, Jeffers' difference between wOBA and xwOBA was .003.

In 2021, that difference was .010.

In 2022, the difference is .065.

This is the first year his metrics have not aligned with performance.

https://www.fangraphs.com/players/ryan-jeffers/24618/stats?position=C

PS. I'm not even that high on Ryan Jeffers, I think he's an average-ish starting catcher for a few years. But getting that player in the second round is a hell of a draft pick.

So my small sample sizes are no good, but your even smaller sample sizes are? Got it.

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