Last Wednesday afternoon I spent some time on the road. I was somewhat pleasantly surprised that the major talking point for the local sport talk radio shows were some of the crazy comments made by our Owner. I think if you have been reading my thoughts you had a pretty good idea of where I stand when it comes to Management. Anyway the Owner's talking points didn't quiet any of my fears that this team is being poorly run. But that is besides the point.
On the Drew and Scott show (104.3 the Fan), Scott kept bringing up the point that 300 pitchers have been drafted by the Rox since 1999, O'Dowd's first year, and that only 5 of these pitchers made it to the majors. I thought these numbers were ballparked but wanted to see how close to the truth they really were. First off baseball reference is a fabulous place to start. They list every player drafted and so it was easy enough to grab the names and start looking a little deeper. On the first pass the Rox from 1999 - 2011 have drafted 340 pitchers in 13 drafts. First I removed the 2010 and 2011 drafts from consideration as these players haven't been considered to be MLB ready. This dropped our count to 303 players but then this number is everyone the Rox drafted regardless of whether they signed or didn't. Out of the these 303 players we see the likes of Matt Garza and Micah Owings. Players drafted but did not sign with the Rox and then re-entered the drafts to be picked up by someone else. So if you restack the data taking out players who were originally drafted but then redrafted the actual number of pitchers "picked" up and thrown into the minors is 263 pitchers (see table below). Although I really don't have a true feel for how many of these pitchers actually put on a Rox minor league uniform of some sort. Many of these players might never have thrown a pitch so this number could be theoretically even lower. But since I don't have this data I will simply assume the Rox fielded these 263 pitchers. Of these, 23 made it to the majors in some capacity (8.7%). Note, some of these were traded and never actually threw a pitch for the Rox. Of the 23, 17 threw a pitch for the Rox (Jennings, Francis, Reynolds, Hampson, Mattheus, Brothers, Miller, Clarke, Friedrich, Dohmann, Esposito, House, Register, Huisman, Billings, Newman, and Reynolds). So 6% of pitchers drafted in 11 years made it to the Bigs and contributed to the Rox. These 17 contributed 157 wins. Rox won 841 games from '99 - '09 so those drafted contributed to helping win 19% of the games.
For comparison purposes what did other teams do in those 11 drafts ('99 - '11)? In all 7,017 pitchers (give or take a few) were drafted. 755 of these pitchers reached the Bigs (10.8%). 9,297 wins were collected by these draftees. Of these 755 the top 100 winners collected 59% of the total wins. The Top 20 winners are listed below followed by their overall pick number.
Of the Top 100, 44 were first rounders (2613 wins), 13 second rounders (764 wins), 4 third rounders (161 wins), 6 fourth rounders (362 wins), 2 fifth rounders (105 wins), 6 sixth rounders (299), 2 seventh rounders (80 wins), 4 eight rounders (254), and 19 tenth to thirty-fourth rounders (843 wins). Sixty percent of the wins are obtained from the first two rounds with a smattering in the 3rd - 9th rounds (23%) and fifteen percent in rounds later than 10.
How did teams fair? Besides the Rox I haven't done a comparison of what players drafted actually obtained wins for that team but the data below shows team and what they did draft and how many wins those drafted players obtained in the Bigs. Maybe Moneyball did mean something or perhaps there is something in the water in the Bay Area?
Athletics Top Five included Zito (148 wins), Blanton (77), Bonderman (67), Harden (59), and Cahill (42) [28 big leaguers 240 pitchers drafted, 11.7%] . Giants Top Five include Cain (73), Lincecum (71), Corriea (49), Lowry (40), and Sanchez (39) [33 big leaguers, 284 pitchers drafted, 11.6%]. Rays Top Five include Shields (78), Price (47), Niemann (40), Hammel (39 and Rox gave him up why?), and Guadin (37) [25 big leaguers, 273 pitchers drafted, 9.2%].
From the list above, regardless of whether the pitcher drafted actually pitched for your team, shows that the Rox really lacked talent in evaluating pitchers. For a team that has to rely probably more heavily on the draft to obtain pitchers then other clubs the list above pretty much tells you why the Rox haven't done a whole lot in the O'Dowd years. Heresy would tell you that Rox have made up for it with finding Latin players (i.e. Ubaldo, Nicasio, Chacin) but for a team needing pitching help, you have to be good in all aspects.
This is another O'Dowd failure!