Monday, July 22, 2013

Comparing Royals Drafts to Industry Standards

Today Matt Eddy of Baseball America published this article on the success rate of draft picks selected in any draft from 1987 to 2008. I wanted to take a second to compare the 2002 through 2008 results to the Royals last two General Managers. In order to maintain some fairness to Dayton Moore, I have broken up his tenure into two pieces. Here are the results:

% to Reach Majors
Round MLB     02-08 Baird    01-05 Unclaimed 2006 Moore 07-09 Moore 10-13
1 81.10% 57.14% 100.00% 100.00% 0.00%
1st supp 55.00% 50.00% N/A 0.00% 0.00%
2 50.70% 60.00% 0.00% 50.00% 0.00%
3-5 35.20% 6.67% 66.67% 33.33% 0.00%
6-10 19.90% 24.00% 0.00% 6.67% 0.00%
11-20 13.20% 10.00% 20.00% 3.33% 0.00%
21+ 5.10% 4.00% 3.33% 1.11% 0.00%
Total 17.40% 10.24% 12.00% 6.67% 0.00%
So the first thing that jumps out at me is that Dayton Moore hasn't drafted a Major League player since the 2009 draft. I find this to be interesting, but it probably isn't quite the indictment that it might initially seem. 

Another thing that stands out to me is the number of Major Leaguers that Allard Baird was able to select in the 6-10 range. Six of his 25 draft choices in this range have reached the Majors, although just Mike Aviles has stuck. Still, when one considers the financial limitations that were placed on those drafts, it appears that Baird's scouting department performed admirably. 

Here's a look at the combined wins above replacement for the Royals draft classes from 2001-2013:

Rank Year GM bWAR
1 2002 Baird 30.1
2 2005 Baird 20.9
3 2004 Baird 17.7
4 2007 Moore 10.9
5 2003 Baird 9.6
6 2006 Unclaimed 7.4
7 2009 Moore 5.7
8 2008 Moore 3
9 2013 Moore 0
10 2012 Moore 0
11 2011 Moore 0
12 2010 Moore 0
13 2001 Baird -0.6
Wait a second... I thought Dayton Moore was the guy with the awesome track record in scouting and player development? Well to be fair, Baird's top drafts are the result of some nice picking at the top with Zack Greinke, Billy Butler, and Alex Gordon. If those three were removed, the remainder of those three draft classes would look extremely pedestrian.

Ultimately, the argument to be made in Moore's defense would be that his picks haven't had the time to mature like Baird's have. After all, in Alex Gordon's first three seasons he contributed just 5.1 bWAR. It wasn't until his fifth season did he really break out. It wasn't until Billy's fourth season that he broke the 3 bWAR plateau and Greinke was only able to net 7 WAR in his first four professional seasons. 

Okay, I hear your argument. Let's take a look at Baird's first three drafts 7 years after he was hired and compare them to Dayton's  drafts 7 years after. Here's what we've got:

Rank Year GM bWAR
1 2007 Moore 10.9
2 2009 Moore 5.7
3 2002 Baird 4
4 2008 Moore 3
5 2005 Baird 2
6 2001 Baird 1.9
7 2013 Moore 0
8 2012 Moore 0
9 2011 Moore 0
10 2010 Moore 0
11 2004 Baird -1.2
12 2003 Baird -2.1
This changes things quite a bit. Keep in mind, that each General Manager's draft classes are only accounting for the bWAR accumulated up through 2007 for Allard Baird and 2013 for Dayton Moore. In six years, I'd be surprised if Dayton Moore's draft classes weren't better than what we are currently seeing from Baird, but given the financial flexibility that Moore and company have received we shouldn't expect anything less.

What is more telling, are Dayton Moore's numbers when compared with the industry as a whole. While it is unfair to compare his recent drafts to the success rates of Major League Baseball's 2002-08 drafts, even when we focus on Moore's 2007 through 2009 drafts we find that he is lacking. Sure he was 100% in drafting Major Leaguers with his first three first round picks, but how good were those picks? 

Mike Moustakas has netted the Royals 4 bWAR, which ranks 11th out of players drafted in the 1st and supplemental rounds in 2007, but his career has stalled. Eric Hosmer ranks 8th in his 1st round class with 3.3 bWAR, while Aaron Crow is now a mediocre middle reliever, whose 2.9 bWAR ranks 7th out of 2009 first rounders. 

Barring something unprecedented, the Royals are on track to become the first team to ever top Baseball America's farm system rankings to not make the playoffs within three seasons. The Major League club is on pace to win 76 games. The scouting department hasn't drafted a Major Leaguer since 2009. The farm system was ranked 18th by Baseball America entering the season and has on many levels disappointed in 2013. I wonder if the next General Manager will ask for seven years worth of patience?

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