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Thread: Drafting Pitchers

  1. #1
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Drafting Pitchers

    What do you think is the best approach to scouting/drafting/developing pitchers?

    Do you focus your efforts on....

    18 year old high school prospects?

    college level pitchers?

    I was listening to the Reds-Braves game the other night and they were talking about the Bravres organizational approach to not only drafting primarily 18 yr olds; but sticking to a strict and precise development program beginning in the Rookie League.

    And then there was the Beane approach talked about in MoneyBall, where he preferred college level pitchers due primarily to the issue of maturity/experience gained. There's a risk when you draft an 18 yr old because you really don't know what you're going to get because the kid has yet to really, physically, mature ("fill out"). And success at the high school level means very little unless you're really looking at the competition they are facing.

    So what are your thoughts on this issue?
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

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    Re: Drafting Pitchers

    I don't think that Beane said he preferred collage pitchers, he preferred drafting for value.


    At that time, college pitchers were not in vogue, so Beane thought you could get "value picks" drafting collage pitchers. That has now changed, so the better "value" picks may be in high school pitchers.

    And that will change from time to time.

  4. #3
    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: Drafting Pitchers

    I like a mix of both. College pitchers are safer bets because the team just has so much more to go on -- a performance record, a health record, greater physical maturity. High-schoolers are far more of a crapshoot. That's why so many people advocate going with college arms in the first round; when handing out multi-million dollar bonuses, teams want not just upside but a good chance of reaching it, and college pitchers offer better odds.

    But the college model isn't perfect. The quality of instruction is uneven, the seasons are fairly short and managers -- especially in the postseason -- sometimes use those young arms in ways that make us avert the eyes. They're trying to win. And here's the critical point, to me: Any given player probably gets better instruction and development in three years of pro ball than he will get in three years of college. Teams like the Braves accept the inherently higher risk of prep players because they want that opportunity to mold the players during the critical 18-21 period, figuring the higher washout rate is balanced by better development of the ones who do "have it."

    One thing I've noticed over the years is how much of RedsZone has embraced the notion of drafting college pitching. I don't think it's just Moneyball thinking; I think it also reflects the belief that nothing good ever happens to pitchers in the Reds' system, so we need to target guys who can get to the majors, like, yesterday, before we can ruin them. It's hard to argue with that logic based on the last 10-20 years, but at the same time, it's one of the things that has to change if we're ever going to consistently compete. I have some hope that it is; the last couple of seasons our minor-league pitchers are generally staying healthy, advancing levels as they should, etc. The acid test is still getting them to the show in one piece, but so far, so good.
    Not all who wander are lost

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    Member wally post's Avatar
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    Re: Drafting Pitchers

    Isaland said: "One thing I've noticed over the years is how much of RedsZone has embraced the notion of drafting college pitching. I don't think it's just Moneyball thinking; I think it also reflects the belief that nothing good ever happens to pitchers in the Reds' system, so we need to target guys who can get to the majors, like, yesterday, before we can ruin them."

    YES!

  6. #5
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Drafting Pitchers

    I just want to take the player who has the best chance of being real good for the Reds. I don't care if they are a 17 year old Canadian pitcher or a 21 year old College pitcher out of the SEC.... just whoever the Reds think will be the best guy when he puts on that Cincinnati jersey.

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    Re: Drafting Pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by IslandRed View Post
    I like a mix of both. College pitchers are safer bets because the team just has so much more to go on -- a performance record, a health record, greater physical maturity. High-schoolers are far more of a crapshoot. That's why so many people advocate going with college arms in the first round; when handing out multi-million dollar bonuses, teams want not just upside but a good chance of reaching it, and college pitchers offer better odds.

    But the college model isn't perfect. The quality of instruction is uneven, the seasons are fairly short and managers -- especially in the postseason -- sometimes use those young arms in ways that make us avert the eyes. They're trying to win. And here's the critical point, to me: Any given player probably gets better instruction and development in three years of pro ball than he will get in three years of college. Teams like the Braves accept the inherently higher risk of prep players because they want that opportunity to mold the players during the critical 18-21 period, figuring the higher washout rate is balanced by better development of the ones who do "have it."

    One thing I've noticed over the years is how much of RedsZone has embraced the notion of drafting college pitching. I don't think it's just Moneyball thinking; I think it also reflects the belief that nothing good ever happens to pitchers in the Reds' system, so we need to target guys who can get to the majors, like, yesterday, before we can ruin them. It's hard to argue with that logic based on the last 10-20 years, but at the same time, it's one of the things that has to change if we're ever going to consistently compete. I have some hope that it is; the last couple of seasons our minor-league pitchers are generally staying healthy, advancing levels as they should, etc. The acid test is still getting them to the show in one piece, but so far, so good.
    great post
    Go BLUE!!!

  8. #7
    Member SteelSD's Avatar
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    Re: Drafting Pitchers

    Depends on where you're drafting. If you're selecting Homer Bailey over Jered Weaver, you might want to reconsider. If you need pitchers sooner than later, you'll want to grab Tim Lincecum rather than Clayton Kershaw and you'll certainly want to target that over Drew Stubbs.

    While the Braves have been cited in this thread, the Braves have no productive starters in their current rotation who were selected in the first couple rounds of the draft. What the Braves do a great job of is shine their pitching prospects up and then deal them for actual help.

    Had the Reds targetted the right college arms over the past three drafts, we'd be talking about the playoffs right now with a rotation including Harang, Arroyo, Weaver, and Lincecum. Instead, we wait. And wait. And wait.

    To this point, I fail to find a top 10 draft pick who was a HS senior and wasn't obviously the best pitcher in the draft who has produced consistent Ace-like stats for the team that drafted him.
    "The problem with strikeouts isn't that they hurt your team, it's that they hurt your feelings..." --Rob Neyer

    "The single most important thing for a hitter is to get a good pitch to hit. A good hitter can hit a pitch that’s over the plate three times better than a great hitter with a ball in a tough spot.”
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    Re: Drafting Pitchers

    The monetary side also is a factor. If you don't have the money for Weaver, that draws you down to the rawer pitcher(Bailey for example that year).

    It may also force you to pass on a falling high school pitcher with high talent for a more projectable but not as impressive college pitcher.

    The monetary side of drafting pitchers will be here as long as the draft is structured the way it is.

  10. #9
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    Re: Drafting Pitchers

    I'm curious about why teams that always need pitchers so often get distracted by other shiney objects, like drafting a catcher, trading for a first baseman, etc.

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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Drafting Pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by PuffyPig View Post
    At that time, college pitchers were not in vogue, so Beane thought you could get "value picks" drafting collage pitchers. That has now changed, so the better "value" picks may be in high school pitchers.
    How do you figure it has currently changed, or that 18 year olds are now better value picks? Based on what?
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

  12. #11
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Drafting Pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    I just want to take the player who has the best chance of being real good for the Reds. I don't care if they are a 17 year old Canadian pitcher or a 21 year old College pitcher out of the SEC.... just whoever the Reds think will be the best guy when he puts on that Cincinnati jersey.
    That's a pipe-dream, since signability comes into play.

  13. #12
    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: Drafting Pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by GAC View Post
    How do you figure it has currently changed, or that 18 year olds are now better value picks? Based on what?
    I think he just means that more teams are drafting heavily from the college ranks, so the talent pool is depleted a little quicker. The third-round college pick of ten years ago might be going off the board in the second round today. Conversely, good prep players hang on the board a little longer than they would have before. That's the theory, anyway.

    I remember a recent BP analysis on the draft showed that the value of college and high-school picks are coming back into balance after a period of collegiate dominance. Many possible reasons were kicked around -- like the aforementioned overfishing of collegians -- but the one I found most convincing is that signing bonuses have become so large, the cream of the prep crop hardly ever bypasses pro ball for college anymore. There are exceptions, and of course a lot changes between the ages of 18 and 21, which is why there are still great players coming out of college. Just not quite as many as there used to be.
    Not all who wander are lost

  14. #13
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Drafting Pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by edabbs44 View Post
    That's a pipe-dream, since signability comes into play.
    Then let me rephrase.... take the best pitcher that you can sign that you have faith will be the best pitcher once they put on the Cincinnati Reds jersey.

  15. #14
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Drafting Pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by IslandRed View Post
    I think he just means that more teams are drafting heavily from the college ranks, so the talent pool is depleted a little quicker. The third-round college pick of ten years ago might be going off the board in the second round today. Conversely, good prep players hang on the board a little longer than they would have before. That's the theory, anyway.

    I remember a recent BP analysis on the draft showed that the value of college and high-school picks are coming back into balance after a period of collegiate dominance. Many possible reasons were kicked around -- like the aforementioned overfishing of collegians -- but the one I found most convincing is that signing bonuses have become so large, the cream of the prep crop hardly ever bypasses pro ball for college anymore. There are exceptions, and of course a lot changes between the ages of 18 and 21, which is why there are still great players coming out of college. Just not quite as many as there used to be.
    I have a theory too.... pitch counts and babying high school pitchers a lot more than they used to. When kids aren't blowing arms out at nearly the same rate you are going to have more kids turning promise into something.


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