Interesting tidbit from Keith Law on the draft

ESPN has added a draft blog, and Keith Law will be adding tons of stuff there leading up to the draft. Law had this to say

Based on my own evaluations and conversations with many scouts and scouting directors, the pool of first-round talent seems to run only about 20 players deep; since the first round has 32 selections this year, we could see some teams calling audibles at the end of the round, overdrafting players who’ll sign at discounts or taking players they like but whom the industry views as second- or third-round talents.

While I’m still bitter we tossed away a first round pick on Ibanez, this draft class, at least at first glance, doesn’t appear to be especially stacked, especially in the range where we’d have picked. If the Phillies can employ a strategy of grabbing 2-3 premium talents that slip a bit, they could still end up with an above average haul in 2009.

35 thoughts on “Interesting tidbit from Keith Law on the draft

  1. Ibanez is going to surprise everyone here…hes going from one of the worst hitters parks in the league to one of the best and he hits lefties pretty well. I think he will have the same power numbers as Burrell with 30 pts better average…he’ll be worth it. Drafts are always made on drafting a few guys later on and paying overslot.

  2. ****he hits lefties pretty well****

    Other than last year…NO HE DOESN’T. And last year is the result of an otherworldly .351 BABIP

    Ibanez career splits:

    LHP: .268 AVG, .322 OBP, .411 SLG, .733 OPS
    RHP: .293 AVG, .355 OBP, .494 SLG, .849 OPS

    He hits them well enough to not be a platoon guy but it is quite the stretch to say he hits them well.

  3. ****While I’m still bitter we tossed away a first round pick on Ibanez, this draft class, at least at first glance, doesn’t appear to be especially stacked, especially in the range where we’d have picked. ***

    that sentence contradicts itself. let’s give amaro some credit. he has a team of scouts that spend a ton of time looking at draft classes. they probably knew it was a weak class when they made the decision. so by getting rid of a first round pick, and thus flushing money down the drain, it actually frees up that same money to sign an international player or a high-risk to sign player, which, i believe, is exactly what he said he wanted to do with the money. so i think that all of the people who bashed him as stupid for making this move, actually owe him an apology. it was a very astute move. not only did he get a more consistent player, but he saved the money for a weak first rounder.

    let’s give this guy some props when he deserves it.

  4. Amaro deserves no props. The player he acquired is no better than the one he let go, is much older, and costs much more if you consider the total monetary outlay (Burrell would’ve been expensive in arbitration, but only for one year). And now the middle of our lineup will have three lefties in a row. In addition, not only did he give up our first rounder but he also lost the opportunity to gain a pick by not offering Burrell arbitration.

    I do not care that this is a shallow first round – there is better talent available at 28 than in the 70s. At the very least, your opportunity set is larger, which carries some value. I do agree with PP that the shallowness of the first round ameliorates how the FO bungled the Burrell/Ibanez situation.

    It makes so much more sense for this team to have an equivalent player who is younger and RH and to have its first-round pick than to pay more for an older player who is LH and takes away its top draft pick.

    He saved ~$4-6m dollars on the major league roster for this year. If he increases the player development budget by that amount, then we can call it close to even (although it won’t feel even when JJ Putz owns the middle of our lineup late in the game).

  5. Interesting to see if teams picking down at the bottom of the 1st round take an “unsignable” player they plan on not signing so they can go back into their slot in the 2010 draft.

    As for the Ibanez/Burrell rehash, its over and done with at this point. How it ultimately works will be shown over the season and then the I told you so’s can begin!!

  6. I personally have 26 tentative (very, very tentative) first round grades, but Law’s overall point is a good one. I want to say that this year’s draft just isn’t top heavy, but there isn’t a whole lot of depth there either – it’s just not that strong a draft top to bottom. Also, and maybe I’m misreading some of the tea leaves because it is awful early yet, there seem to be an unusually high number of high school players, pitchers especially, with strong college commitments. The Phils might be able to poach a couple of those players in the mid- to late- rounds.

  7. 3up, that strategy is often brought up by fans but never used by the actual teams. First off, losing a year of development on a prospect is a big hit to the overall system, especially when mlb drafting is, shall we say, spotty to begin with. Also, by essentially forfeiting an ’09 pick for a ’10 pick, you lose all of your leverage in negotiations with the ’10 pick. Since a team cannot recoup that same draft pick for two years in a row, the drafted player knows the team must sign him or lose the pick altogether. This typically leads to drafting a safe sign in that slot, a safe sign that has lesser talent than is otherwise available. Thus, undermining the entire strategy of forfeiting the pick from the year before.

    I do agree with you on the Ibanez/Burrell/Amaro carousel, it is over and done with people. We all know where we all stand on that deal from several months ago. If you need to be reminded, go back and read the old posts.

  8. Since we dont have a 1st round pick we could conceivably use that part of the budget to bust slot for some late round tough to sign guys like how we got petibone this past yr.

  9. Boston Phan, J.J Putz is righthanded. I didn’t know if you thought he was a lefty, and thats why he was going to own the middle of our lineup. Maybe they just planned to have three lefties next to each other in the order for the mets 8th and 9th inning.

  10. This is the year Arby takes most of our draft secrets with him. Anyone the Phillies have been watching since last season is known, so some of our less obvious good draftees may be jumped.

  11. I am going to veer off-topic for a minute, but, I need to chime in on all the Burrell man love. Do you know how hard it is to hit 33 home runs in that line-up and only drive in 86 runs? It’s almost incomprehensible. If Ibanez does his job, he is going to be a nice upgrade and, sorry to rain on the parade, but Ibanez is also likely to be a better influence in the clubhouse than Burrell, who would have been run out of town on a rail in 2007 if anybody had wanted him in a trade. Look, I’m not saying I hate Pat Burrell, he put up some numbers and he was fine, but he did not add the line-up in a way that might have been expected. They need a guy who can come up after all the sluggers have had their chance and drive in the extra guys in scoring position. Ibanez is extremely well-suited for this task. Much better suited than Burrell was. Did they pay too much? Definitely. But will he be a noticeable upgrade? I believe he will be.

  12. A hot dog on dollar dog night says Putz doesnt make it through a half season. The Mets can screw up anything.
    Krod will be ok but no Lidge

  13. I think Ibanez is going to have a monster season. He put up big numbers in big stadiums, the Bank should serve him well. I think we have enough talent at the major league level to forfeit a #1 for this season. Just hope this doesn;t become a theme because there is a bit of a famine down on the farm these days…

    Check out this Phillies Fan Forum http://www.phillykeith.com/phillies/

  14. “Do you know how hard it is to hit 33 home runs in that line-up and only drive in 86 runs? It’s almost incomprehensible.”

    Baseball-Reference.com has runners on base data available on their Gamelogs of each player. Howard came to bat with 483 runners on, Burrell with 383. Burrell drove in a higher percentage of runners on base than Ryan Howard. Burrell plated about 25% of the baserunners, compared to 20% for Howard.

    Burrell’s biggest problem in collecting RBIs was the guy with the .339 OBP batting in front of him.

  15. Houston is now needing a catcher . Do they have a prospect we could use for Paulino . Certainly we can afford to trade him

  16. 3B Chris Johnson hit well at AA at age 23, but doesn’t walk as much as he should. He is their #5 prospect and might be an interesting guy to throw into our 3B mix for 2010. You could do a Paulino for Paulino trade and pick up their #7 prospect who is a 24 yr old RHP who was injured last season. I wouldn’t touch him. Houston has a really weak farm and their best prospects are from the 2008 draft and ineligible for trading.

  17. The Phils are deep in every position except maybe shortstop. That’s where I believe a #1 choice in 2010 should go. I doubt the guy that played last year at Lakewood is the future answer. But hey, Jimmy Rollins could play another 8-10 yeasr here and be close to 3,000 hits before it’s all said and done.

  18. 1B is one of the easiest positions to fill though so its not a huge deal. 3B is a bit less easy…though I believe we have a decent stopgap solution with Jason Donald…and ~drinks some red koolaid~ Anthony Hewitt of course.

  19. Considering Ed Wade’s track record on trades, if we gave up a “gem” like Paulino, I would expect to get back a package of at least Oswalt and Pence…we could balance it out by giving him Condrey too.

  20. “Baseball-Reference.com has runners on base data available on their Gamelogs of each player. Howard came to bat with 483 runners on, Burrell with 383. Burrell drove in a higher percentage of runners on base than Ryan Howard. Burrell plated about 25% of the baserunners, compared to 20% for Howard. Burrell’s biggest problem in collecting RBIs was the guy with the .339 OBP batting in front of him.”

    Although I still standby my “Ibanez is an upgrade” comment – this was an excellent point, Alan, and well-taken.

  21. Alan: “Baseball-Reference.com has runners on base data available on their Gamelogs of each player. Howard came to bat with 483 runners on, Burrell with 383. Burrell drove in a higher percentage of runners on base than Ryan Howard. Burrell plated about 25% of the baserunners, compared to 20% for Howard.”

    What??!!!! That’s some serious fuzzy math going on there. If you take out the HRs where the player is driving himself in, Howard had 98 RBI and Burrell had 53. By my calculations Burrell drove in 13.8% of baserunners (53/383) and Howard drove in 20.2% (98/483).

  22. The points not that well taken since its not as much about how many people are on base as it is about what he did with his opportunities.

    Burrell came to bat 268 times with men on base (162 with RISP) and hit .231(.234 with RISP). Howard had 351 PA’s with men on base (223 with RISP) and hit .309(.320 with RISP).

    So yes, Howard had more opportunities with runners on base but he also hit .100 points higher in those spots.

    Note that Ibanez also hit over .100 points higher in those spots as well (.331/.327)

  23. As for the Phillies minor leagues, they seem fine at SS for the forseeable future with both Donald and Galvis in the system and Rollins at the ML level.

    They are obviously weak at 3b and lack power hitters throughout the system at all positions. I agree with the above poster that 1b isn’t a position of need since a player from another position who shows the potential bat can be moved.

  24. I was trying to be a diplomat, but, apparently, others have taken up my cause (which is good, because my schedule does not allow for this extra research time). My overall impression is that Ibanez is going to be a lot more efficient in the 5 or 6 slot than Burrell was in the 5th slot and that this year’s team should, actually, score more runs than last year’s version (assuming no major injuries). Last year’s order was not that great for hitters 5-9 (the 2007 version was much better). I expect a rebound with the left field, third base and catcher’s position all contributing more. I also expect J-Roll to return to something closer to his historic numbers. Of course, this year’s team won’t (really, can’t) be as good in the pen, but the better hitting and starting pitching will out-weigh that loss. I expect this year’s team to win 91-97 games and make the playoffs one way or the other.

  25. Yes, most players could move to 1B and be adequate if they had an adequate bat. Unfortunately, I don’t see any bat in our minors that qualifies. Marson has a good bat for a C, but that’s a washout at 1B. Donald’s power for 3B is questioned — I think unduly — but he doesn’t have a 1B bat. Brown doesn’t seem to have that quality bat. Taylor? Maybe, but I doubt it.

  26. I’d stock up on arms and bats, regardless of position. BPA. We don’t have any 1B prospects, but I’m a huge Ryan Howard fan and want him in red pinstripes for the forseeable future.

  27. Alan, it is obviously impossible for Burell to drive in 25% of 383 runners (95 or 96) and hit 33 home runs without having an rbi total of over 125. So something is wrong with the math!

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