Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Great Talent Comes From The Later Rounds Too

I have heard a lot of people say they don't want a player that will cost the Yankees a draft pick, as they want to see the team strengthen their farm system. My normal response to such a comment is that it's more important for the big league club to win. Basically, if winning at the big league level means a weaker farm system... so be it.

"I'm trying to win, and this guy doesn't care."

However, the St. Louis Cardinals can tell you how nice it is to have so much talent 'in house". So while I care more about winning at the big league level now, I don't want the minor leagues to be bare of talent. And that is where the misconception comes in... you don't need to have high draft picks in order to build a good farm system.

Take those St. Louis Cardinals. If it wasn't for having so much young talent to step up this year, then they probably would have missed out on the postseason entirely instead of making it to the World Series. Allen Craig, Matt Carpenter, Matt Adams, and Trevor Rosenthal all played key roles with the 2013 Cardinals. Craig was taken in the 8th round of the 2006 draft, Carpenter was taken in the 13th round of the 2009 draft, Rosenthal was taken in the 21st round of the 2009 draft, and Adams was chosen in the 23rd round of the 2009 draft. That tells us two things... 1) the Cardinals had an amazing 2009 draft, and 2) you don't need high draft picks to get good MLB players.

But what about outside of the Cardinals? Maybe the Cardinals are just that good, and we can't assume the Yankees or anybody else could pick players that well. Well, then, consider the fact that six All Stars for last season were drafted in the 5th round or later (Chris Davis in the 5th, Ben Zobrist in the 6th, Paul Goldschmidt in the 8th, Edwin Encarnacion in the 9th, Domonic Brown and Jose Bautista in the 20th).

Since 2000 two players that have won the Most Valuable Player award in the National League were taken in later rounds. Ryan Howard was drafted in the 5th round in 2001 by the Philadelphia Phillies, and Jeff Kent was drafted in the 20th round in 1989 by the Toronto Blue Jays).

One last bit of proof that it doesn't take a high draft pick to get a good or great player...

Brandon Webb won the Cy Young award in 2006, and was drafted in the 8th round of the 2000 draft. Jake Peavy won the Cy Young award in 2007, and was taken in the 15th round of the 1999 draft.

While it's true that a lot of today's elite players were either early round picks or international free agents, a team doesn't have to have a bunch of high draft picks to build a good or great farm system. Perhaps some people's desire to see the Yankees hold onto their early draft picks is a lack of confidence in the team's ability to develop young players. But keep another thing in mind...

The Yankees don't need a ton of elite players to come up through the minors. Developing role players such as Brett Gardner, or solid starters like Ivan Nova, to go along with the team's ability to afford elite players from free agency, should be more than enough for them to compete year in and year out.

So if you don't want the Yankees to go after certain free agents because you don't believe they are worth the money, or simply aren't good, then I understand. But telling me they shouldn't go after a "Carlos Beltran" or somebody else since it will cost them a draft pick will not get over with me.

Like how sour cream will not get over with me.

1 comment:

  1. Bryan...
    I think maybe you have not looked deep enough into the core problem with this draft thing.

    My outlook at the problem is over years of watching and evaluating many moves the team has made over the years.
    #1--We have gone over time and again...trading away the best Farm hands for a star for 2 or three years,
    While the farm hand becomes a very good player...for someone else, for ten+ years.
    #2--No one wanted to work for the Yankees, back in the day, so we got those that couldn't get work for the better teams. The Better talent went where they could do their job without being worried about being fired
    on a whim of the boss!
    #3--Therefore, our Talent of picking and running the talent pool in the draft is not as good as some of the talent on other teams. They keep getting all the good draft picks because of the people they have running things.
    #4--Tie that into the fact that we have had very few 1st, 2nd, 3rd and sometimes even 4th round picks in many, many years...until "The Stick", Watson and Cashman.
    #5--Cashman is a great organizer and COF but, has to depend on his Farm & other organizational people.
    #6--He tried to hire one of the better talent evaluators but, the guy went somewhere else.

    Bottom line is...
    Right now trading away draft picks for 2 or 3 years of a downward sliding star...bad move!
    Keep the pick only if we do the........

    Corrective Measures........
    Replace the talent evaluators that can be replaced by much better people. Keep and reward those that are good. It all starts with getting the right talented players and have the right people working with them to bring out their talent. Have different Talent Evaluators for the draft players and another for the Major league players. Even as far down as the Free Agent Pool and down as far as needed.
    All this will take money and The Brothers D & D have been cutting the money out of the FA market, as we all saw this year.
    If Cashman can't get the job done replace him also. I use to say..."Get it done...Now!"

    Go after good players using common sense...not a 4 year contract for a 37 or 38 star....dumb!

    I agree with most of what you had written Bryan, just a lot more selective in which way to go for each situation. Just think, Munson, Mattinly and Yogi were late picks also. Well thought out Bryan!


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)