Its routinely discussed here about players who are potential free agents that we ought to let them walk and take the draft picks. I know folks used to reply that draft picks in baseball aren't like in the NFL or NBA because you've got so much development to undertake before they ever set foot on a ML field. There is a considerable risk in any draft pick; there are very few "sure things".
USA Today reported last fall:
The only Reds players who were ranked last year as A Players were Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr., Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo and Brandon Phillips. Edwin Encarnacion and Jeff Keppinger were B Players.Under the new collective bargaining agreement, the rankings are used to determine whether players are Type "A" or Type "B." The classification determines which draft picks former teams receive as compensation if they sign with another team. The top 20% of the rankings are "A" and the next 20% "B."
I believe the rankings are based on a two year period (so these are 2006/2007 rankings).
We signed Francisco Cordero who was an A Player this offseason and forfeited our 2nd round pick to the Brewers (they chose RHP Seth Lintz).
But since compensation picks were implemented, we've only taken 17 players. Three were just in last year, so obviously the book remains out on them. Only one player became an impact player for the Reds, Joe Oliver, a second round pick from the Yankees as compensation for losing Bob Shirley to them.
Here's the list:
1st round picks (including supplemental picks):
2007 Todd Frazier compensation for Rich Aurelia
2007 Kyle Lotzkar compensation for Scott Schoenweiss
2000 Dustin Mosely compensation for Juan Guzman
1996 Matt McClendon compensation for Ron Gant
1993 Pat Watkins compensation for Greg Swindell
1982 Scott Jones pick from Yankees for Dave Collins
1982 Roberts Jones supplemental pick from Yankees for Dave Collins
2nd round picks
2000 Dane Sardinha compensation for Juan Guzman
1996 Buddy Carlyle compensation for Ron Gant
1992 Rick Madelano compensation for Mariano Duncan
1983 Joe Oliver compensation for Bob Shirley
1980 Jim Pettibone compensation for Joe Morgan
1980 Dave Miley compensation for Fred Norman
1979 Keefe Cato compensation for Mike Lum
1979 Bob Buchannon pick from the Angels for tampering with Bill Bordley (???)
3rd round picks
2007 Scott Carroll compensation for Rich Aurelia
1993 Steve Wilkerson compensation for Greg Swindell
As you can see, only Oliver was an impact player. Those who made the majors mostly had just cups of coffee. Seven of them never saw major league service. Again, the book remains open on the three 2007 extra picks, but I've seen folks speak wel of Frazier and Lotzkar.
The point of this exercise is to highlight that "taking the draft picks" is not a sure thing, in fact, it's not much of a bet. I think we bandy it about way too easily. One for 17 is just batting .058 - not so hot. I'm not sure what the best approach would be, but draft picks isn't a sure thing.