• Draft Board v.2.0 (3/13)

    As we sit around three months from draft day there have been many risers and fallers around the draft world. Some larger than others. Obviously, there is still a lot of time for things to happen, but this is how I would stack the Twins Draft Board if it were up to me.
    The first installment of my draft board featured a top 4 as well as some other names to watch. The following list has stayed the same at the very top, but has seen many changes around it. It's also expanded to a top 8.


    (photo from WVLA NBC33 | Baton Rouge News, Weather and Sports | Baton Rouge News)

    As I mentioned last month: In the last 20 years, the Twins have had 24 1st round draft picks (not counting supplemental picks). Of those 24 picks, 11 have been prep position players and eight have been college pitchers. The other two groups: college position players (4) and prep pitchers (1) have been much less represented.

    The Twins first pick (fourth overall) will come with an approximate $4.5m price tag.

    JEREMY’S SMALL BOARD
    (Keep in mind, please, that this is not a “mock draft”. This is not a reflection of my top players. This is my attempt at stacking a “Twins Draft Board”, based on a number of things.)

    1) Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford

    WHY HE STILL MAKES SENSE: Appel has been nothing short of dominant so far this season.
    WHY THE TWINS COULD PASS: Scott Boras. Because of Appel's inclusion in the draft pool, it's going to be hard for anyone to project. He's a wild card.
    MY TWO CENTS: Appel has been good enough that, as the #1 guy on my board, I take him and cut money from Rounds 2-10 to give him as much as possible. The stickier part of this situation is that, as a college senior, the signing deadline wouldn't apply. So unless you give up on him before the deadline, you can't rely on "fallback options", that you took in the later rounds.
    PRICE TAG: We know it's going to be high. That's a given.


    2) Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State

    WHY HE STILL MAKES SENSE: Though he hasn't been as "lights-out" as he was this summer, he's still been good and projects to be a top-of-the-rotation type pitcher. And he's a lefty. The Twins would do good to add him, even though he'll need more minor league time to develop than Appel would.
    WHY THE TWINS SHOULD PASS: I think Manaea - even more so than Appel - has solidfied his spot in the top 5. If I had to bet, I'd say the Twins won't get the chance to draft (or pass on) Manaea.
    MY TWO CENTS: I'm hoping to make it to Friday night's game at the Metrodome to see Manaea in person. I would guess my suspicions will be verified.
    PRICE TAG: Manaea would be smart to take slot money and get signed as quickly as possible.


    3) Clint Frazier, OF, Georgia HS

    WHY HE'S ON THE BOARD: Frazier is the top-rated high school player in the nation. And then he goes and hits two home runs in the Frazier/Meadows showdown yesterday. He's going to be a top 5 pick. The Twins love prep outfielders.
    WHY THE TWINS SHOULD PASS: The Twins should pass because they need to pass. Baseball is about pitching, and even though Frazier has a cannon, he's not standing on a mound when he's showing it off.
    MY TWO CENTS: Frazier has some experience in the infield. As a prospect, though, he didn't take off until he moved to the outfield. If I was convinced Frazier can become a star, I'm using his versatility as my crutch. Would you feel differently if instead of drafting a prep OF, the Twins took a prep 3B? I'm not sure how the transition would go, but the Twins have tried to make the OF to INF switch with Rosario. It would be a very expensive gamble.
    PRICE TAG: Like Buxton, Frazier will probably sign for near-slot.


    4) Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma

    WHY HE'S ON THE BOARD: If you're a low-to-mid-90s guy, you're a prospect, as Gray was coming into the season. When you're a mid-to-high-90s guy, you're an very good prospect. When you touch 100 and have the feel to spin a ball, you're an elite part of the draft.
    WHY THE TWINS SHOULD PASS: Are you buying the hype? Gray is full of helium. His arm is fresh now but what happens as the season progresses? Is he still throwing 100? Is he more susceptible to injury? So far reports check out. But for as quickly as he's risen, he's got three months to stay on top.
    MY TWO CENTS: Twins fans, this is the guy to keep an eye on. He has really taken off. Viewed as a potential first-rounder before the season, he has climbed up draft boards with every start. If Manaea doesn't improve and Appel's demands remain a question mark, Gray may not stop climbing until he's #1.
    PRICE TAG: As another junior pitcher, he probably won't have any unreasonable demands (hopefully).


    5) Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas

    WHY HE'S DROPPED: Despite coming into the season being mentioned in the same sentence as Manaea and Appel, Stanek has had a disappointing first month of the season. He isn't lasting late into games and he isn't missing many bats.
    WHY THE TWINS SHOULD STILL CONSIDER HIM: Stanek still has the conference schedule to impress the scouts; if he can get it done against the best conference in baseball, his stock will rise.
    MY TWO CENTS: At the very least, Stanek is one of four (or more) college pitchers that are viable options for the Twins at #4.
    PRICE TAG: You have to worry a little bit about guys that come into the season hyped as a potential #1 pick and begin to drop.


    6) Dominic Smith, 1B/OF, California HS

    WHY HE'S DROPPED: Smith was in the news for the wrong reasons earlier this month. Long story short: Smith was ejected from a game and subsequently suspended for the following game. In an effort to not hurt his draft stock, scouts were told that he wasn't at the game because he was sick. Well, the truth came out and now Smith and his school look bad.
    WHY THE TWINS SHOULD STILL CONSIDER HIM: Despite what could be considered a make-up/character issue, Smith is still a premium prospect and offers standout defense (albeit at first base) to a team that emphasizes defense.
    MY TWO CENTS: Someone to keep on the radar, but probably not someone that will make the top 4 at any point.
    PRICE TAG: It should be mentioned that the Astros banked a lot of their pool by taking a prep player and paying him less than slot.


    7) Bobby Wahl, RHP, Mississippi

    WHY HE'S ON THE BOARD: Wahl is appearing on the list as a pitcher that doesn't have a tremendous ceiling, but is already nearly a finished product. He offers a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a low-80s slider that misses bats. His changeup is also coming around. By the time June rolls around Wahl may possess three pitches that are currently in the 55-60 range. Not likely to be an ace, he could still be a very serviceable #3. And soon.
    WHY THE TWINS SHOULD PASS:
    When you're drafting at #4, you should be shooting for the stars. Not taking a guy because he's close to his ceiling.
    MY TWO CENTS:
    The Twins could do "safe". Wahl would be safe. If Wahl continues to impress and moves up the board, I'd be okay with safe. If he's a borderline top-10 prospect... I'd rather take a shot on someone with more upside.
    PRICE TAG:
    I would guess Wahl will sign for slot (or if drafted higher, cut a deal) and sign quickly.


    8) Austin Meadows, OF, Georgia HS

    WHY HE'S #8:
    I won't rule out anything at this point and Meadows is highly-regarded. I'm interested to see what Meadows does after Frazier so obviously stole the show yesterday. Your move, Austin.

    Others to watch:

    Chris Anderson, Jacksonville, has probably taken a bigger leap than any other college pitcher. Once viewed as a 3rd-5th round pick, he's moved up in the first round conversation. He's still moving up. I don't see him entering the top 10, much less the top 5, but he's got time on his side. Scouts love him and as a Minnesota prep, so do the locals. (Some have suggested taking him #4 and paying him like a late 1st rounder. That isn't necessarily my style, but I can assure you that the Twins brass will leave no stone unturned.)

    Jonathan Crawford
    , Florida, is throwing it in the high-90s, but he's lacking success. Like Stanek, he'll have plenty of time to build his status back up. It's not helping that Florida can't catch a break.

    I'll leave Minnesota LHP Tom Windle and prep OF Ryan Boldt grouped together again. I would guess the Twins would love for Windle to fall to the 2nd round, but I don't see it happening. Boldt has probably solidified himself as a mid-1st rounder strictly on his play last summer.

    Though the Twins rarely go to the "college position players well", there are two 3B that should be mentioned: Kris Bryant, San Diego and Colin Moran, North Carolina. I prefer Bryant's right-handed power (even though he will probably end up in the OF or at 1B), but I don't see the Twins going this route.

    As long as I'm mentioning avenues that aren't taken, I'll name a prep pitcher who enamors me: Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Tennessee HS. Sheffield is a hard-thrower, but also very intelligent. There is a strong belief already that he'll be a tough sign, so if the Twins do something to save money early, maybe Sheffield - a first-round talent - could be one of those options later.

    Feel free to discuss.
    This article was originally published in blog: Draft Board v.2.0 (3/13) started by Jeremy Nygaard
    Comments 83 Comments
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      There are other ways, but we know some things, right?

      They will not sign expensive free agents
      They will not trade for expensive players (David Price, for example)
      Most teams will not trade inexpensive great players

      You also said "best fit for their organization", and fit needs to be considered not in a vaccuum, imo.

      So if you have shut off several avenues to getting very good/great pitchers, don't you need to use the one you are still willing to use?
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      I agree with Appel and Manaea pretty much being locks to be BPA's if they fall to the Twins at 4. I think many are overplaying exactly how safe these top college starters are though. Similar guys bust all the time. toolsy HS hitters bust more often but I don't think we can neglect how often 'safe' prospects bust.

      I disagree with this draft a pitcher because the Twins need one. If you do that you aren't drafting a potential top of the rotation arm. You are reaching and this is one of the things that Royals and Pirates did wrong for so many years. remember that this is a considered a weak draft and the Twins are picking 4 instead of #1 or #2.

      So far i'm hoping that Gray (hoping for him currently) and/or Stanek can deservedly move into 3rd/4th BPA. Unlike others I won't have a problem if Meadows, Frazier, Smith or Humpries are picked. They are making a pretty good argument to be the BPA to the Twins especially if the top 2 pitchers go early. Picking in the top ten is about adding above average players (or near elite) and I'm not sure if I could support targeting a starter that might be average because he might be up in a year or two.

      It will be very interesting to watch the Astros and Cubs strategies this year. Will the Astros repeat last year and bank money to use later? Will the Cubs pass on Appel if he's considered the no doubt BPA?

      Is there a Max Fried out there this year? He was a late riser and I really like him overall. Maybe Trey Ball? More risk but that might be what you need to do if you want to find a potential #1/2 and Appel/Manaea are gone.
    1. Vervehound's Avatar
      Vervehound -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      I agree with Appel and Manaea pretty much being locks to be BPA's if they fall to the Twins at 4. I think many are overplaying exactly how safe these top college starters are though. Similar guys bust all the time. toolsy HS hitters bust more often but I don't think we can neglect how often 'safe' prospects bust.

      I disagree with this draft a pitcher because the Twins need one. If you do that you aren't drafting a potential top of the rotation arm. You are reaching and this is one of the things that Royals and Pirates did wrong for so many years. remember that this is a considered a weak draft and the Twins are picking 4 instead of #1 or #2.

      So far i'm hoping that Gray (hoping for him currently) and/or Stanek can deservedly move into 3rd/4th BPA. Unlike others I won't have a problem if Meadows, Frazier, Smith or Humpries are picked. They are making a pretty good argument to be the BPA to the Twins especially if the top 2 pitchers go early. Picking in the top ten is about adding above average players (or near elite) and I'm not sure if I could support targeting a starter that might be average because he might be up in a year or two.

      It will be very interesting to watch the Astros and Cubs strategies this year. Will the Astros repeat last year and bank money to use later? Will the Cubs pass on Appel if he's considered the no doubt BPA?

      Is there a Max Fried out there this year? He was a late riser and I really like him overall. Maybe Trey Ball? More risk but that might be what you need to do if you want to find a potential #1/2 and Appel/Manaea are gone.
      i haven't seen a lot of needs analysis for the three teams picking ahead of us but that is half the equation for our pick at no.4.

      astros: wanted a college arm last year but luhnow is a bit of a wildcard. they've established a preference for up the middle players so frazier/meadows may be in play. all early indications are the best college arm not name mark appel.

      cubs: most pitching starved minor league system around almost certainly will go college arm without a standout prep to consider. appel makes a ton of sense for them.

      rockies: best case scenario for us landing manaea would be for the rockies to fall in love with one of the prep of'ers. they popped dahl last year and b.a. indicated they'd be the most likely team to go position player at the front of the draft, ostensibly b/c they have some decent young arms at the mlb level.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Sean Manaea proved himself to be an elite draft prospect tonight. You can read more about his game on his thread.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Well, the law of numbers would say that most are taken out of the top 5 or 10....the key would be to look at percentages of those taken in the top part, vs those taken in the latter part of the first round....because there are a lot less players taken in the top 5 than the next 2000 picks, right?

      But, it is great that you did the work. I'd have to look at it also to be more certain......but then, you are making a different point. It IS possible to get good players later in the draft, refuting the argument made here daily that the Twins minors were bad because they picked "too late" in round 1 to get good players......
      I went back and reread my post and found it very confusing. That's what I get for trying to post at 3AM. I'll try and clarify my points.

      Where do "Ace" pitchers come from? I thought this was an intriguing question. To see my methods of determining an "Ace" pitcher see the Method section below. There is an interesting split in the data between those players acquired before 2001 and those players drafted/signed since 2001. So I will break down the data along those lines.

      Data

      Before 2001:
      • 16 Aces
      • 4 were 1st round draft picks
      • 4 were international signings
      • 8 were drafted after 1st round


      Since 2001:
      • 8 Aces
      • 7 were 1st round draft picks
      • 1 (King Felix) was an international signing
      • 0 were drafted after 1st round
      • 5 of the 7 drafted were taken in the first 12 picks.


      This interesting split potentially implies that in today's game the only way to acquire an "Ace" is to use a very high draft pick.

      For reference here are the "Since 2001 Aces" (number of times ranked, draft position in 1st round):
      Felix Hernandez (3, Int)
      Clayton Kershaw (3, 7)
      Tim Lincecum (3, 10)
      Matt Cain (2, 25)
      Cole Hamels (2, 17)
      Verlander (2, 2)
      Jared Weaver (2, 12)
      David Price (2, 1)

      You can view the full data set in google Drive by following this link:
      https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...UE&usp=sharing

      Method
      I looked at the number of times a pitcher was ranked in the top 10 players in ERA for a single season. I choose the years 2003-2012; since my last post I looked back an additional 5 years for more data points. If a player was ranked at least 1 time between 2003-2012 I included all of their ranked seasons in the data regardless if they all fell in that 10 year range. For example Roger Clemens only had two seasons ('03-'04) ranked but I included his other 8 seasons he was ranked (occurring between '86 & '98) so I could get a better picture of just how big of an "Ace" he really was in comparison to other pitchers. Well OK, I didn't really need the data to tell me Clemens >>> Erik Bedard. If a player didn't have a single season ranked between '03-'12 I didn't include them in the data. Sorry Greg Maddux. To qualify as an "Ace" a player drafted/signed before 2001 must have ranked in 3 separate seasons. A player drafted/signed since 2001 must have ranked 2 times. This allows young players like David Price, Justin Verlander and Jared Weaver, who are still in their prime and probably most would consider to be Aces today, to be considered.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      I would consider expanding the list further because a sample size of 8 is too small to draw any conclusions. Here is a list of the top 25 ranked(smoltz and Pettitte excluded) by ERA- (fangraphs). 600 inning min (2005-2012).

      Summary - No big surprises here. if you want a potential ace then either you have the #1 (maybe #2) pick and get an elite college arm (not available this year) or you take your chances with a HS 1st rd'er. Big bonus int'l FA's are poor investments (as starters, RPers are different story). It is interesting how many aces were late rd picks from 1999-2002.

      One additional conclusion is that it's unlikely that the college arms after Appel and Manaea can be considered potential 1-2 starters. Most likely #3's. Even Appel and Manaea are unlikely to be #1 and probably not #2's. The same is true of Zimmer and Gausman last year.

      1st 2 rds and HS - 7 - notice how most of these are late 1st rd'ers
      Kershaw 1-7 (2006) - HS
      Carpenter 1-15 (1993) - HS
      Halladay 1-17 (1995) - HS
      Hamels 1-17 (2002) - HS
      CC 1-20 (98) - HS
      Cain 1-25 (2002) - HS
      Wainwright 1-29 (2002) - HS

      1st rd college players - 5 - Price and Verlander (and Strasburg) were considered BPA in their drafts and there isn't a comparable college arm out there this year.
      Price 1-1(2007) - UNI
      Verlander 1-2 (2004) - UNI
      Lincecum 1-10 (2006) - UNI
      Sheets 1-10 (1999) - uni
      Weaver 1-12 (2004) - UNI

      late rd college players - 7
      Haren rd2 (2001) - uni
      Hudson rd6 (1997) - UNI
      Harden rd 17 (2000) - uni
      Wilson rd5 (2001) - uni
      Webb rd 8 (2000) - UNI
      Lee rd4 (2000) - UNI
      Oswalt rd 23 (1996) - (CC)

      late rd HS'ers - 3 - I'm not sure if any of these were overslot big bonus picks though
      Lester rd2 (2002) - HS
      JJohnson rd4 (2002) - HS
      Peavy rd 15 (1999) - HS

      International arms - 3
      Felix - int'l FA (big bonus) - ('02)
      Santana int'l FA (low bonus) (95)
      Cueto int'l FA (2005) - small bonus I think
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      I would consider expanding the list further because a sample size of 8 is too small to draw any conclusions. Here is a list of the top 25 ranked(smoltz and Pettitte excluded) by ERA- (fangraphs). 600 inning min (2005-2012).

      Summary - No big surprises here. if you want a potential ace then either you have the #1 (maybe #2) pick and get an elite college arm (not available this year) or you take your chances with a HS 1st rd'er. Big bonus int'l FA's are poor investments (as starters, RPers are different story). It is interesting how many aces were late rd picks from 1999-2002.

      One additional conclusion is that it's unlikely that the college arms after Appel and Manaea can be considered potential 1-2 starters. Most likely #3's. Even Appel and Manaea are unlikely to be #1 and probably not #2's. The same is true of Zimmer and Gausman last year.

      1st 2 rds and HS - 7 - notice how most of these are late 1st rd'ers
      Kershaw 1-7 (2006) - HS
      Carpenter 1-15 (1993) - HS
      Halladay 1-17 (1995) - HS
      Hamels 1-17 (2002) - HS
      CC 1-20 (98) - HS
      Cain 1-25 (2002) - HS
      Wainwright 1-29 (2002) - HS

      1st rd college players - 5 - Price and Verlander (and Strasburg) were considered BPA in their drafts and there isn't a comparable college arm out there this year.
      Price 1-1(2007) - UNI
      Verlander 1-2 (2004) - UNI
      Lincecum 1-10 (2006) - UNI
      Sheets 1-10 (1999) - uni
      Weaver 1-12 (2004) - UNI

      late rd college players - 7
      Haren rd2 (2001) - uni
      Hudson rd6 (1997) - UNI
      Harden rd 17 (2000) - uni
      Wilson rd5 (2001) - uni
      Webb rd 8 (2000) - UNI
      Lee rd4 (2000) - UNI
      Oswalt rd 23 (1996) - (CC)

      late rd HS'ers - 3 - I'm not sure if any of these were overslot big bonus picks though
      Lester rd2 (2002) - HS
      JJohnson rd4 (2002) - HS
      Peavy rd 15 (1999) - HS

      International arms - 3
      Felix - int'l FA (big bonus) - ('02)
      Santana int'l FA (low bonus) (95)
      Cueto int'l FA (2005) - small bonus I think
      I agree that 8 is a SSS but on the other hand when you're talking true aces that in it self means SSS by definition.

      I'm not sure if you clicked my link to see my whole list or not but almost every player you listed is on my full list so it is good to see we agree who the best pitchers over the last 10 years or so have been even though we are looking from separate criteria.

      The pre-2001/post 2001 split is evident in your analysis too. I think the real question we should be asking is what is causing that. Is that an artifact of SSS, and maybe this is what you're trying to argue, or has there been a change in how pitchers are evaluated? Given the informational/statistical revolution that has occurred in the last few decades I think it is plausible that we are just better at predicting who the best pitchers will be. Another reason could be the increased team incomes of the last 15 years. Maybe this has allowed teams to put more money into their scouting departments and they get to see more pitchers. Perhaps previously there were insufficient resources to see all the potential pitchers.

      As a comparison here is a list of "Aces" during the '90s and Round they were drafted/acquired:

      • Roger Clemens (Round 1, College)
      • Kevin Brown (1, College)
      • Mike Mussina (1, College)
      • Randy Johnson (2, College)
      • Tom Glavine (2, HS)
      • Greg Maddux (2, HS)
      • Curt Schilling (2, College)
      • Al Leiter (2, HS)
      • David Cone (3, HS)
      • Jason Schmidt (8, HS)
      • Bret Saberhagen (19, HS)
      • Andy Pettitte (22, HS)
      • John Smoltz (22, HS)
      • Pedro Martinez (INT)


      Most elite pitchers drafted in the '80's weren't 1st round acquisitions. That isn't what we're seeing today. So I guess my question is why? If we think there truely is a reason, and not just SSS, then it behoves the Twins to draft a pitcher with their first pick because Mike is right. The only way to acquire an "Ace" is to draft or trade, making the safe assumption we won't acquire one in FA.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      I think my previous post needs to come with the caveat that provided the Twins believe a pitcher and hitter are at least marginally comparable. If there are only 3 big pitching prospects and they go 1-3 and the Twins have the next 8 players as hitters on their board I think you have to go hitter. But as long as a hitter and pitcher are close on their draft board I think you go pitcher.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brad Swanson View Post
      However, the reality is that Gausman and Zimmer could be struggling in the minors or out with injuries as well and Buxton could be killing AA pitching. No team ever really knows who the best player available is. Just go to baseballreference.com and sort their draft columns by WAR or whatever stat you like. It never works out the way players were drafted.
      Yes, that is a possiblity. My point though is that satistically speaking, Buxton is far more likely to fall prey to this problem. He's younger and will spend more time in the minors. Gausman and Zimmer have also excelled against much tougher competition. Part of BPA is risk. I agree that picking 2 over all, you want a guy who is going to be an all star. Personally, I think all 3 could likely be. They all have top flight ceilings, but the risk is lower with both pitchers and they happen to fit an area of need. I don't see Buxton as such a standout that he was worth grabbing. Good pick, yes absolutely... but the wrong one.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Part of the problem with using 2001 as a cut date is that int'l FA's signed that year are still only about 28. HS draftees have just hit 30. Most of the HS/int'l pool in the >2001 period doesn't show up in your list because they haven't hit their peak yet. This is also true of later rd picks. They don't move through the minors as fast and typically debut later. This skews your post 2001 acquisition conclusions imo to college players drafted early.

      A player might appear on your overall list but you eliminated them (only 1 top season) from your analysis so I only consider your short list since that is what you have analyzed. I guess I didn't say it but part of the reason I expanded the list was to include a bigger cut of top of the rotation arms. They don't have to be absolute stud aces but the guys that you want on the mound in big games. I can see trends with 25 names that I can't see with 8 names.
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      Great thread dudes. One thing that comes to mind immediately about that time is steroids. Not only were the MLB guys doping, but HS kids and college kids were too. A prospect doping would make their numbers look better than they should have and get exposed at higher levels. Just a hypothesis to throw around.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      My point though is that satistically speaking, Buxton is far more likely to fall prey to this problem. He's younger and will spend more time in the minors. ...but the risk is lower with both pitchers...
      Do you have any evidence to back this claim up? There is a reason TINSTAAPP exists.... I haven't seen data one way or the other on hitters vs. pitchers but I would doubt it is a clear cut as you are making it out to be.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      Part of the problem with using 2001 as a cut date is that int'l FA's signed that year are still only about 28. HS draftees have just hit 30. Most of the HS/int'l pool in the >2001 period doesn't show up in your list because they haven't hit their peak yet. This is also true of later rd picks. They don't move through the minors as fast and typically debut later. This skews your post 2001 acquisition conclusions imo to college players drafted early.

      A player might appear on your overall list but you eliminated them (only 1 top season) from your analysis so I only consider your short list since that is what you have analyzed. I guess I didn't say it but part of the reason I expanded the list was to include a bigger cut of top of the rotation arms. They don't have to be absolute stud aces but the guys that you want on the mound in big games. I can see trends with 25 names that I can't see with 8 names.
      I went back and looked at how quickly "Ace" players developed excluding the players acquired since 2001. I saw no correlation between how they were acquired, early draft pick/late draft pick/international, and when they were first ranked. Through their age 26 season 66% of the pitchers were ranked at least 1 time. However only 25% of pitchers were ranked 2+ times through age 26 season.

      There was no difference in the development rate of 1st round picks and late round picks. So since we have 7 1st round picks already at "Ace" status and 0 late round picks that is significant.

      Young international signees are different though. If a latin player signed as a 16yo and placed at 26 for the first time they would have had to have been signed in 2002. Certainly I may have excluded some here. However, this doesn't take into account players like Hernandez, signed as a 16yo and by 21 already was ranked, or Zambrano, signed by 16yo and ranked by 22. They are two of the three youngest ranked; Saberhagen is the third, drafted in the 19th round and ranked at 21. It also doesn't take into account the recent influx of Asian pitchers that are already mature. The banner carrier here is Hideo Nomo who signed at 26 and ranked in his age 26 & 27 seasons. There have been several pitchers acquired from Asia with hype but that didn't produce at "Ace" levels.

      If you think 2001 is unfair to international signees, which I'm not sure if I agree with but for the sake of argument:

      • Carlos Zambrano (signed in 1997, 3 seasons ranked)
      • Johan Santana (signed in 1995, 4 seasons ranked)
      • Hideo Nomo (signed in 1995, 3 seasons ranked)


      I might also have culled some recent pitchers from "Ace" status by requiring 2 seasons being ranked. I did this because I needed a way to remove those pitchers that had 1 great season but were certainly not "Ace" material. I'm looking at you, Dontrelle Willis. It is possible that some of the others that have been ranked 1 time could still turn into "Aces" later in their careers. Randy Johnson and Kevin Brown weren't ranked until their age 31 seasons. Here is the list of players that were acquired between 2001-2006 (anything more recent and they haven't turned 26 which is an important number as shown earlier), have been ranked 1 time and I think still have a chance of becoming "Aces":

      • Josh Johnson
      • Zach Greinke
      • Johnny Cueto
      • Gio Gonzalez
      • Clay Buckholz
      • Dan Haren
      • Jaime Garcia


      Of those players only Haren, Johnson and Garcia weren't 1st round picks.

      So to summarize; 1st round picks and late round picks historically develop at the same rate. Since we have 7 first round "Aces" already and no late round "Aces" is notable I think. Of the potential "late bloomer" Aces only 3, Haren, Johnson and Garcia, weren't 1st round picks. International signees may not fit well within my pre-2001/post-2001 assumptions but even if you bump their acquisition date back 5 years to 1996, making them essentially equivalent to 21 year old college pitchers, only Carlos Zambrano is added to our list.

      So our new list of Post-2001 Aces would look like:

      • Carlos Zambrano (Int, 3 Seasons ranked)
      • Felix Hernandez (Int, 3 Seasons)
      • Matt Cain (round 1, 2 Seasons)
      • Cole Hamels (round 1, 2 Seasons)
      • Justin Verlander (round 1, 2 Seasons)
      • Jared Weaver (Round 1, 2 Seasons)
      • Clayton Kershaw (Round 1, 3 Seasons)
      • Tim Lincecum (Round 1, 3 Seasons)
      • David Price (Round 1, 2 Seasons)


      Potential Additions would be:
      • Dan Haren (round 2, 1 Season)
      • Josh Johnson (round 4, 1 Season)
      • Zach Greinke (round 1, 1 Season)
      • Johnny Cueto (Int, 1 Season)
      • Gio Gonzalez (Round 1, 1 Season)
      • Clay Buckholz (Round 1, 1 Season)
      • Jaime Garcia (Round 22, 1 Season)
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Is there any steam behind Oscar Mercado right now?
      As much as we need SP, I agree we do, I think we need an elite SS prospect in our system just as badly.
      I'm not saying reach for this guy, but if he shoots up the draft boards and is considered a top 5 or 6 pick by June, I wouldnt mind having him in the mix.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      From what I've gathered, he's the Twins top SS target, with Crawford being less certain to stick at SS. Both getting mid- to late-first round grades. Unless he demonstrates new power, I don't see him jumping up boards, but could be a possibility in the 2nd, though I'd bet on him being gone by then. (Which could put the PR kid in play.)
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Question, if you need five starters, and they fail at a high rate, isn't that an argument for taking even more pitching early? I mean, you need a ton of prospects to fill in the roster, right?
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      One of the things this research tends to ignore is that there were a bazillion more pitchers taken in later rounds too. There is only a very limited number of picks in the top 10 each year (10 to be exact), while their are over a thousand picks at the lower numbers. Nearly half of those picks will be pitchers. The problem with picks that far down is that your odds of finding that ace are very difficult. Everyone is taking guys tha have some projectable upside, but the reality is that they are raw and the vast bulk of them won't make it, much less turn into somethign you'd call an ace.

      Can you find an ace after the first round? Yes, but you are far more likely to find that guy in the first round than later.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Question, if you need five starters, and they fail at a high rate, isn't that an argument for taking even more pitching early? I mean, you need a ton of prospects to fill in the roster, right?
      Thats a fair point, but at the same time, pitching is only 1/3 of the game.
      If you spend too much of your capital looking for pitchers, you risk becoming the Mariners, a team with a bunch of legit pitchers and pitching prospects, but one that cant win because it cant score any runs.
      Its a delicate balance.
    1. FrodaddyG's Avatar
      FrodaddyG -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Question, if you need five starters, and they fail at a high rate, isn't that an argument for taking even more pitching early? I mean, you need a ton of prospects to fill in the roster, right?
      Or you use other assets to trade for pitching, or sign useful free agents to fill in gaps wherever they may be on the roster. There are many avenues to fill needs, which is why drafting for need is so pointless. In the period of time it will take virtually any prospect to move through the system, your needs will most likely have changed greatly from the day they were selected.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Name the time Ryan signed a legit free agent...that path is closed right now.
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