Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bad is almost always bad. Good is sometimes good.

Lots of traffic on various boards about how Tyler Naquin was a bad selection.  Obviously, from the post below, I didn't like it, either. 

People say the draft is a crapshoot.  To some extent they are correct.  There is so much projection for HS players who can have their careers derailed by injury, lack of work ethic, lack of athleticisim which, for the most part, means lack of being able to make changes to their game, etc.  For college players, it should be less projection.

My history with the draft, which goes back over 20 years, tells me that an early round draft pick that looks bad is probably bad but that an early round draft pick that looks good may not turn out that way.

I said Naquin was not nearly the best talent left when he was selected.  Not even close.  Looking back over the Indians' drafts of the last 20 years and looking at guys who were first round or high supplemental first round picks I see their selections falling in two classes: overdrafts (guys who were not nearly the best talents available when they were drafted) and solid picks (guys who were arguably the best talent when they were drafted).  Here is a look at those lists.

Overdrafts: Other Indians' first round picks that felt to me like the Naquin pick are:  David Miller (1995), Danny Peoples (1996), Tim Drew (1997), Wil Hartley (1999 - actually a second rounder), Mike Conroy (2001), Brad Snyder (2003), Trevor Crowe (2005), Beau Mills (2007), Lonnie Chisenhall (2008 - due to his criminal history and the fact he was a tweener without the power for a corner IF or OF spot but without the defense to be at SS or 2B.), Tyler Naquin (2012).

Solid picks: Former Indians' first round picks that sounded good to me at the time included: Manny Ramirez (1991), Paul Shuey (1992), Daron Kirkreit (1993), Jaret Wright (1994), CC Sabathia (1998), Corey Smith (2000), Dan Denham, JD Martin, Alan Horne (2001), Jeremy Guthrie (2002), Matt Whitney (2002), Michael Aubrey (2003), Adam Miller, (2003), John Drennen (2005), David Huff (2006), Alex White (2009), Drew Pomeranz (2010), Franciso Lindor (2011).

These were my assessments AT THE TIME THEY WERE DRAFTED, based a lot on player rankings at the time of the draft.  I wasn't always right, partly because guys develop differently or get hurt.  But what is striking about these two lists is how many of the guys who appeared to be clear overdrafts at the moment they were drafted never worked out, most of them being exposed in the low or middle minors as guys with no chance to play in the big leagues.   Only one guy, Chisenhall, has a chance to have a decent ML career and his power at 3B still remains questionable. On the solid pick list many of these guys played in the majors extensively with Kirkreit, Whitney, Miller, Aubrey and Horne (inuries) and Smith, Denham, Martin and Drennen didn't work out, with only Martin playing in the majors at all.   Most were HS kids.

We could do the same exercise for lower rounds where, for me, the only overdraft that has even come close to working out better than their talent would have predicted is Cord Phelps. 
Tyler Naquin, a tweener outfielder who will get to the majors just about the time we reach a deadpoint in our talent flow (see my earlier post), was a bad pick when he was made.  Not a bad player who will never make the majors but not nearly the best talent available at that point.  All the evidence shows this and it is generally agreed that this is the case.  Given the above history, what do you think the chances are that he will surprise us all and have a great ML career?

Now on to day 2.  I hope the Indians have a plan that makes the Naquin pick look better from a strategic sense (e.g., saving money for later picks, a position change for him, something).  Time will tell.

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