February 25, 2002

Royals see gun, shoot selves in foot.: Rany Jazayerli has been writing excellent articles on the plight of the Kansas City Royals for some time. In his most recent article, he points out how the departure of their last scouting director could make a bad team worse in the future as well as mentions the myth that the Braves scouting and development had been good in the '90s.

posted by moz to baseball at 12:09 PM - 3 comments

A very substantial article. However, his argument seems a bit suspect. Although he acknowledges Wetzel's poor high-round picks, he too easily bypasses their significance. Who cares if Wetzel can draft well in the later rounds (a bit of a hit or miss game), if he is incapable of drafting well in the higher rounds. And yet Jazayerli dismisses Braves' scout Ladnier for his bad first-round picks. Did he look any deeper than the first-round picks of Ladnier?

posted by jacknose at 07:49 AM on February 26, 2002

it's rather important that you draft well in the lower-rounds, jacknose. for example, it's not such a big deal if your 1-5 round picks flop, because there are 50 draft rounds in baseball. i believe only ten years ago, baseball permitted drafts to last as long as a team was willing to extend it; mike piazza, if i remember correctly, himself was drafted in the 70-something round. the braves picks cited in the article are not necessarily the direct choice of ladnier. since those drafts have taken place some years ago, i think it would help to consider who from '90s came from the braves domestic draft. andruw jones and rafael furcal, though developed by the braves, were undrafted free agents (jones is from a carribean island, if memory serves). the players i can name off the top of my head are kevin millwood (maybe not even); kevin mcglinchy; well, that's about it. dave justice, ryan klesko, tom glavine, chipper jones, javy lopez, steve avery are all thanks to former general manager bobby cox, not schuerholz. smoltz was fleeced from the tigers for a bag of baseballs, and lightenberg was signed as an undrafted free agent (i believe). the braves foreign scouting has always been pretty decent, and while they have some neat looking pitchers coming soon, their track record in domestic scouting and development in the '90s has indeed been shite.

posted by moz at 10:48 AM on February 26, 2002

That's my point, moz. You're bound to have a discovery with 45 picks. And although I'm sure that it takes some talent to use those 45 picks wisely, it also takes a good deal of luck. (How many of Wetzel's 45 picks turned out to be flops? I would like to see his average of "successful" picks compared to average of the league's top scouts.) IMHO, I think that it is more difficult to make a good 1-5 pick, than a good 6-50 pick. I'm not defending Ladnier and the Braves; I'm just questioning the interpretation of the data.

posted by jacknose at 12:29 PM on February 26, 2002

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