2010 Draft Wrap-Up

As we inch closer to the midnight deadline, it appears the Phillies are done signing picks for the 2010 draft, which means I can write my final wrap-up piece. As you know, I’m a big draft fan, I love the process, I love the buildup, and then I love waiting to see who does and doesn’t sign. If you’re new to the site, you can find all of the stuff I’ve written about the 2010 by following this link. My long draft recap, written right after the draft in June, can be found here and the more philosophical piece I wrote about draft strategy can be found here. That should be a good primer. I’m going to try and not repeat myself too much from the links above, so lets get to it.

As the dust settles, it appears the Phillies have signed 30 of their 50 draft picks. If my count is right, they signed 34 of their 49 picks last season. I’m not a big fan of looking at things on that broad a level, because the reality is, most of the picks signed will never make it to the majors, and that’s true whether they sign 30, 35, 40 or even 45 guys. As with most things, it comes down to the quality of the player taken, not necessarily the quantity. Back in June, I was on record as saying that I liked a lot of what the Phillies did in the draft, and after 2 months, I feel the same way. The Phillies were active in signing a few of their riskier guys, and a few of them predictably got away because of bonus demands. That’s how the process goes. I’m a big believer in sample size, and because of that, I’m not really going to focus too much on the results of any of our draftees, so I’m not going to spend much time talking about what the likes of Biddle and Garner have done in rookie ball. Most college guys are worn down after a long season, and most prep guys have played a lot more than they ever have before in their baseball lives, so the stats aren’t that reliable. Instructional league is where you start to learn more, and then their first full year is where you start to draw more conclusions.

Let’s look at the key guys in this draft.

I’ll give you my thoughts now, in bullet point format.

* The Phillies have spent about $1M on deadline day, but instead of giving it to one guy (Frazier), they chose to spread it out across 3 guys, Musser, Walter and Pointer. I know that some people are going to be upset about this, but look at it this way. Are the Phillies better off risking all of their money on one guy, or spreading that risk over 3 guys? Which brings me to

* “Why don’t the Phillies spend more?” This is a valid question. The Phillies major league payroll sits in the $140M range. You can’t call the org cheap, especially if you lived through the 90’s. What it comes down to is a situation that is not unique to the Phillies. MLB teams in general are missing the boat with the draft. The draft offers you the chance to invest a small amount of money for a huge potential reward. By spending, say, $12M, you can sign 6-8 blue chip prospects. There is no guarantee that any of these guys will become stars, let alone average big leaguers. But if one of them does, you’re investment will pay itself off, and then a lot more, based on the value you will get from the player in his first 4 years in the majors.

* But this brings me to another important point. I’ve harped on this quite a bit the last few months. Most drafted players will not make the major leagues. In a given draft class of 50 players, if 5 make it to the majors, that’s about average. That’s just making it to the majors. If you get 10 guys to the majors, you’ve had an awesome draft. If you get one all star from the group, your draft investment has paid off and then some. The baseball draft is a simple math equation. You’re trying to deal in probabilities. If you draft x number of players, with y ability, you’re tying to determine where the potential reward outweighs the current cost. Which is why I think the Phillies plan is the right one. Scott Frazier is probably a better prospect than Kevin Walter. But I don’t think Frazier’s potential is greater than the potential of Walter, Musser and Pointer combined. The Phillies view this gamble, taking 3 guys instead of 1, as the proper gamble. And when you play the numbers game and consider probabilities, they are probably right. The Phillies, with their resources, probably should be spending more. A lot more. But every team in baseball should be spending more. And this is something I’ll discuss in more depth later this winter, when there isn’t a whole lot of news.

* What has to be noted, however, is that the Phillies have done an excellent job identifying talent in the draft, talent that has either flown under the radar, or talent that was seemingly not attainable. The Phillies have signed premium guys like Domonic Brown and Jon Singleton for just $200,000 each, they haven’t needed to spend $1.5M on these guys after the 5th round. That’s not to say they shouldn’t still be spending big money, but it is to say that they have a great network of scouts who do a great job. If they had more money, they might land more quality guys. Then again, if they knew they had more money to spend, they might not work quite as hard to identify the sleepers, and the overall draft work might suffer. Who knows.

* I’ve covered the guys in the first 10 rounds in my initial draft review. You can read reports on all of the prospects here. As I said above, I’m not concerned with early results. The Phillies took some gambles in the first 10 rounds, banking on guys who had down seasons rebounding. In most cases, the light doesn’t suddenly flip on, you have to work to out the kinks. My opinions on these guys haven’t changed since June.

Now, the three guys the Phillies signed in the last 24 hours

– Kevin Walter, RHP (Legacy HS, Colorado) is a great addition. I mentioned in yesterday’s deadline preview that his scouting report seems really intriguing. At present, he’s in the 88-92 range with his fastball, but his secondary pitches are refined for a prep pitcher, and if the Phillies feel they can unlock a bit more velocity, his ceiling is fairly high. He has a great frame (6’6/220) and the nice thing about that is, he’s probably maxed out physically, which should help him improve his command and control quicker as he’s able to repeat his mechanics. When you’re still filling out/growing, your mechanics are tougher to keep in line. If his fastball ticks up a bit, he has top of the rotation potential. If he remains in the 90-92 range, he still looks like a middle of the rotation guy. I like this pick and signing a whole lot. While Frazier has more upside, Walter seems like a safer bet, and he still has substantial upside.

– Jonathan Musser, RHP (Dowling Catholic HS, Iowa) is another prep arm to add to the mix. I didn’t know much about Musser at draft time, but after doing some reading today, I like him more than I did even 24 hours ago. He suffered a freak injury to his shoulder in a non-pitching incident, which dropped him down draft boards, but he was reportedly back up in the 91-93 range recently, and the Phillies must have been convinced. His $300K bonus is 3rd round money. From the really rough youtube video I found of him, he’s lowered his arm slot a bit now, which should add life to his fastball.

– Finally, Brian Pointer, OF (Galena HS, Nevada) might end up being the best of the lot. Pointer has a very calm setup in the box, and more importantly, a very short and compact swing. He’s shown average power and has good speed, meaning he should have a chance to stick in CF. Scouts thought he might benefit from 3 years at college, but had he gone that route and played well, it would have cost more than $350K to sign him. This is again a solid showing for the Phillies to grab a potential first few rounds guy for 3rd round money and attempt to develop them.

* I don’t have Walter’s bonus as I’m writing this, but my guess is somewhere between $350-550K. When you add that to the $650K from Musser and Pointer, you get somewhere between $1M and $1.2M. Add that to the $2.6M spent on the first 10 rounds, and you’re around $3.5M. We all want the Phillies to spend more. But the totals are a bit superficial. Teams with top 5 picks in the draft will spend a lot more money, because those guys taken in the top 5 to 10 will cost a lot more. The Phillies will have spent over $1M on bonuses after the first 20 rounds, which will likely put them in the top 15 among all teams. They chose to go with more college guys with upside coming off down years in the first 10 rounds, and then go with high school guys later. And they signed a bunch of the high school guys. So I like that.

* I think its really impossible to label this draft as “average” or “mediocre” or a “disappointment” at this stage. I say that because I look at the 13 best guys taken, and I see it like this;

Potential elite prospects; Biddle, Walter, Pointer
Potential above average prospects; Garner, Musser, Rupp, Eldemire
Potential average prospects; Morgado, Malcolm

And then you’ll invariably have the guy who comes out of nowhere next year and puts up ridiculous numbers at Lakewood. Maybe Buchanon, maybe someone else. But I see the potential for 3 elite guys, maybe even 4 if one of Garner or Musser has a monster full season debut. The upside is there.

* Here’s the bottom line. Right now, the Phillies do not seem willing to go crazy in the draft. We can speculate as to the reasons. For all we know, the Phillies have an incredibly complex model they’ve developed that shows the optimal amount of money to spend. Or maybe they are completely clueless. But we have no way of really knowing what the directive is. If Amaro wants to spend a ton of money, but Montgomery/ownership won’t allow it, then there isn’t much he can do. And in that case, you have to be even more appreciative of what the scouting department does. The big league club is flourishing, and despite trading away a billion prospects in the last 18 months, the farm system is still a Top 10 system, maybe even more. The Phillies have done extremely well spreading out their bonuses, finding gems in the $200K-500K range, both in the draft and in Latin America.

* The reality is, we fall in love with names. Baseball America liked Frazier, they hyped him up, and we bought into it. He might go to Pepperdine, have an awesome college career, and become a first round pick. Then we’ll read how he wanted $800K, we offered $650K (I have no inside info, thats hypothetical), and he turned it down. And he’ll sign for $2M as the 15th overall pick. And we’ll shake our heads. Or he’ll go to college, struggle, and be a 5th round pick, getting a $180K bonus. And he’ll have lost $400K plus 3 years of pro teaching. As I pointed out in the Jarred Cosart profile, Cosart wasn’t hyped up by BA leading up to the draft, he was more of an afterthought. Then the Phillies sign him for $550K, and he’s now a top 25/50 prospect in all of baseball. Its easy to fall in love with the names we’re spoon fed, but the hard truth is, the Phillies have an excellent track record, and if they like these 3 later round guys more than Frazier, for the same money, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt. Frazier might still work out, and really, best of luck to him, but we’ll see what happens in 3 years.

In an ideal world, the Phillies would draft 15 blue chip guys every year, spend $20M to sign all of them, and we’d have the best farm system in the history of farm systems. In the real world, the Phillies look to spread out their risk, avoid making one high profile mistake, and instead trust their scouts on the mid range guys. Everyone would rather the Phillies sign a $1M bonus guy every year instead of signing a re-tread like Baez. But its not the world we live in, and for now, we have to deal with it. The Phillies drafts now, as opposed to say, 5 years ago, have improved greatly. The 2010 draft class already looks better than the 2009 draft class, and there are still some interesting guys from last year’s draft that haven’t really gotten out of the gate yet.

If you’ve been here long enough, you know that I’m not afraid to criticize the front office. In this case, I truly believe they had a very solid draft, and I like what they did with their signings today. Sure, Frazier would have been nice, but if they’d signed the 3 they did, plus Frazier, we’d have asked where the money was for Palka too. I see plenty of reasons for excitement in this draft crop, and I’m excited to see how these guys develop.

Update –> One final thought. If you look back at the last 5 or 6 years of drafts, the Phillies have really only “lost” 2 guys that they probably would have loved to sign, all things considered. Those 2 guys were Brandon Workman (3rd round, 2007) and Kyle Gibson (36th round, 2006), and I still don’t truly believe the Phillies were only $50K apart on Workman. Outside of those 2 guys, none of the unsigned guys really have come back to bite us. If you go down the lists of other teams, I bet you find more than 2 guys in 5 years who were big misses. Hell, the Red Sox didn’t sign Pedro Alvarez (14th round, 2005) or Jason Castro (43rd round, 2005) and those two guys became Top 15 overall picks. Every team misses guys like this. Frazier may be added to this list, or maybe not. The Phillies shouldn’t have many regrets over the last 5-6 years though.

214 thoughts on “2010 Draft Wrap-Up

  1. Just thinking that 2.5 million they spent on Baez and comparing it to the million they could’ve used on a Frazier type hurts. Roll the dice on Frazier or sink a almost 3 mil on Baez. How’s Susac looking now?

  2. Great write-up. I’m just happy we have a good major league team with a very good minor league system that seems to keep improving.

  3. It would be ok if they took the money they saved this year and rolled it over to next year since it’s supposed to be so deep but in reality this year’s draft money isn’t being rolled over.

  4. Great analysis, James. Best thing to do now is keep a level head about the guys that we are bringing . Sure, we’d all love to see Frazier and Palka and Allen don the Phils’ uniforms but that won’t be happening, obviously. It just stings badly when you don’t pull in the HS kids that seem like actual targets and then they turn out to become stud college players. Lastly, the Pharm is so low minors heavy, it won’t fix the major problem with the system right now, anyway. Going to take a bit of time to see the guys make their way up to AA and AAA. Definitely like that they got Musser, Walter, and Pointer signed. Now, will any of these guys put in an inning or two at the GCL like Colvin did last year?

  5. I like what they did today. People can say how much they would have rather had Frazier but bottomline for the cost for 1 player compared to getting 3 around the same price he was the higher risk.

  6. PP,

    Nice write-up. I think we all agree the Phils have done a nice job drafting & signing the past few years. This year, without much playing time under their belts, seems to be no exception. The players we ended up with will be exciting to follow through our system. We obviously won’t know the true grade for another 3 or 4 years. Hopefully we’ll get to see a few of these kids at the Bank.

    Regarding Frazier, I feel like a kid who got a great bike, roller blades & rip stick for Christmas…only I wish I got an electric scooter too. Did I have a great Christmas? You bet. I guess it’s best not to dwell on what we can’t have.

    I’m sure we’ll be keeping tabs on Frazier for the next few years (much like Susac and others). We can pull for him and hope to get him in the next draft OR stick pins in our Scott Frazier voodoo dolls and hope he crashes and burns. You decide.

  7. Great write-up. I agree for the most part. While I would love for the Phillies to spend more money on the draft, if they had a set budget, I’d rather them take the gamble on three high-upside players rather than one. And who’s to say, even if we had signed Frazier, that Walter wouldn’t be the better prospect 2-3 years down the road? Certainly in the 2008 draft, based solely on draft position, you would have thought that Knapp, May, or Pettibone would be the top pitching prospect and not Jarred Cosart.

    Personally, I am in complete agreement with you – I can’t wait to find out exactly what we have in Walter, Pointer and Musser, and I’m extremely encouraged by Biddle’s showing in the GCL. It is a really pitching heavy draft at the moment, but if Eldmire and Pointer show potential, I think this could go down as one of the better drafts in recent memory along with 2008.

  8. BTW…James, Thanks for all your great work. This is a great site to read during a very exciting time. Keep it rolling.

  9. When the phillies spent the money on Baez they had no ideal he was going to struggle. He still has great velocity and relief pitchers can be streaky. He could end up being great down the stretch. Im not thrilled with how he has played but most people probably thought at the time it was a good vet pickup.

  10. Great analysis and write-up, thanks.

    Question: How comparable is Frazier to Brandon Workman? I assume he’s regarded somewhat below where Workman was, but how much? Point being, Workman obviously is one we all wish we’d had gotten signed. What are the chances we say the same about Frazier?

  11. I added a little blurb at the very end. Workman and Kyle Gibson (who was virtually unsignable) are the only two guys who the Phillies probably regret passing on. And they had a pre-draft deal worked out with Workman, and he backed out, much the same as Hinson this year.

  12. Great write up.

    Just a quick point to make…Every player (draft picks, MLB FA’s, everyone) is worth X amount of dollars to a team. If the team can’t get that person to sign for that number or under then they need to walk away from the deal. Im more inclined to think that the Phils had a number in mind for Frazier and when he wouldnt accept that number they just walked away, rather than the Phils just not having enough money to go around. At the end of the year the Phils will try to resign Werth, but only for a number that they are comfortable with, if he won’t sign for that then he will walk. It may suck, but it is what it is, and it is the right thing for the Phils to do.

  13. Before we get all down on the front office about not signing some guy or another–I’m surprised there haven’t been more Brandon Workman recriminations, frankly–let’s keep in mind a couple of things: 1)the Phillies are likely to have a far better draft position next year, when they’ll be collecting a couple of high draft picks in return for Jayson Werth and 2)by all accounts (granted, the same secondhand, hype-driven accounts that have made people fall in love with Frazier) this next draft is going to be seriously deep. So maybe they’ve calculated that instead of busting the budget this year, they’re going to save some bullets for 2011, when they’re likely to have several picks that may be a lot more expensive to sign. Just one man’s thinking, mind you…

  14. Why do we regret Workman or Gibson? Neither of them have amounted to anything in the MLB quite yet, so I’m waiting until further MLB proof.
    However, the worst draft mistake IMO happens to be the ATL Braves not signing Randy Johnson with the 4th round pick in the 1982 draft

  15. Harper only got 6.5 mill from the Nats. Wow. Good deal for them, considering most people had it pegged near Tex money (11). Also, for a guy everyone wanted to bash as an arrogant jerk, hats off to Harper for obviously telling Boras to get the deal done no matter what so he could go play baseball.

  16. Great info on the whole 2010 draft process from start to finish! I have thoroughly enjoyed following this whole period from draft day to the signing deadline.

    I don’t know if it is because we have so few prospects at 3B, but I was really hoping they took a shot at Damek Tomscha. Fo all I know he’s a marginal prospect. Or perhaps it’s as PP wrote on draft day, that maybe the Phils drafted him because they owed a favor to an area scout, and they had no intentions of signing him. Or Tomscha had no intentions of going pro this year. Who knows. I certainly have no idea, but that player stood out to me for whatever reason.

    After everything I have read, I am satisfied that the Phils did well with this draft. I’m excited to follow these guys and wish them all great luck.

  17. What I want to know is if there have been any true draft grades given to drafts such as the 05, 04 phillies draft and so on

  18. Just could not wait until tomorrow for the ‘official’ deadline… Great write-up as always.

    Frazier was obviously someone the Phillies thought they could sign. Not sure what his number was or how much it kept moving compared with other HS pitcher rumblings. He seems like a much lower profile than Colvin was.
    Allen is not much of a loss. Too many toolsy OF anyway.
    Hinson is just extremely disappointing. I would have to assume the Phillies knew his number prior to draft day and drafted him for a second time. Holding out for another $50K after a good College WS? He does have another chance but is most likely just shortening his major league career. A higher level infielder would have been helpful to the organization. I almost wish they draft him again next year but do not offer him a contract just to make him suffer through his senior year, have no leverage, and be near 30 in his first professional season. Yes, I am bitter on this one.
    Palka would be a nice hitter to have but probably expensive and would prefer to spend money elsewhere. Maybe building relationship for later.
    Paquet, Thompson, Lala were all good CC picks. See if any want to start their pro career (which is likely why they went CC route) with a $100K offer. Would not mind if one of these guys caved at midnight as they all have some upside projection as young RHP.
    Other guys sounding intriguing:
    Zeutenhorst – probably smart of him to avoid the proposed Catcher conversion
    Hodgskin – great arm, but Troy commitment too strong, good flier attempt
    Meaux – just heard he throws really hard, not a bad flier guy but no harm if not
    Ross – good insurance pick but Numata signed, only need one high risk C per year
    Hallock – seemed like a smart pick, offer $100K again since another lefty would be nice and we did not get Fraizer
    Tomscha – just because he plays 3B

  19. Workman was not even a ‘loss’ because Phillies just ‘traded’ him for Pettibone due to the draft compensation.
    I would not be surprised if a few first rounders (especially those football guys) were drafted by teams wanting another FIRST ROUND PICK NEXT YEAR. Make some half-hearted attempt to sign them then pick in a supposedly better draft class.

  20. A great book will be written someday about the negotiations with these kids and how it all works out. It could be about any organization. I find it fascinating that the Phillies had an agreement with Henson and his father with stars in his eyes backed out. Does he understand that the kid was going to have to triple or more his money to optimize what he would lose by being 1 year farther from the majors? If he comes out next year – with less leverage by the way – he will be at minimum 1/2 year behind than if he started this year. The differemce between a 1st year major deal and a 2nd year deal is big, being 1 year down to F.A. or arbitration is huge.
    These kids should drive a hard bargain. But a the end of the day, if they are given good money to sign then they are out of their minds – especially the pitchers – not to sign. Frazier, if offered 3rd round money, should have gotten a knife and a quill and cut his left arm vein open and signed. Monetarily he can not make up for his failure to do so unless he is a top 20 guy in a draft… and by the way, by the time he gets around to his next draft year they could have slotting for draftees.
    The best book on the capture and scouting of talent is “Dollar Sign on the Muscle.” Anyone who likes this excellent Blog / site Phuture Phillies who has not read this book should read it. I guarantee you will enjoy it.

  21. Phx, two things.

    You do realize that those picks next year are unprotected which generally leads to completely conservative overdrafts. Oh and btw the poster child example that people claimed would do that signed with the Dodgers for 5 mil spread over 5 years or so.

    Oh and it was Sampson not Pettibone the Workman year.

  22. Jumpin’

    Good points. You didn’t even mention the fact that some of these kids who opt for college will end up getting hurt and may not be drafted by anyone…or they could just stink up the joint and fall through the cracks.

  23. ” In a given draft class of 50 players, if 5 make it to the majors, that’s about average. That’s just making it to the majors. If you get 10 guys to the majors, you’ve had an awesome draft. If you get one all star from the group, your draft investment has paid off and then some. ”

    2000-Utley- & Taylor Bucholz
    2001- Howard & Gavin Floyd
    2002- Hamels & Scott Matheison
    2003- Michael Bourn, Kyle Kendrick & Brad Zeigler(for Oakland)
    2004- J A Happ
    2005- Zagurski, Josh Outman & Matt Maloney
    2006- Andrew Carpenter, Jason Donald, Dominic Brown, & (Kyle Drabek–should debut Sept. 1st)

    Going by PP’s theory it’s obvious the Phillies Scouts are just like the team–going for the homer every time. They produced All-Stars in the 2000, 2001, 2002, & 2003 drafts and if projections are right 2006 should produce 2 in Brown and Drabek. If they continue to spend money the way they have over the last 3 years I think we’ll have a winning organization for a long time.

  24. I for one am disapointed. I thought they really needed to get Frazier signed. Getting Walter is great but if they couldent get Frazier then i thought they had to get Walter and Palka or B.Allen. I also like Pointer alot but from everything i read i would not put him into the potential elite prospects. He sounds alot like a average maybe above average prospect. Looking at the draft as a whole i see 2 elite prospects in Biddle and Walter. P.Garner is kind of a wild card. Musser, Rupp, Eldemire, Pointer are above average. Then Morgado, Buchanan, Malcolm come in as average. I really wanted to get B.Allen signed since we dont have alot of power hitting OF prospects and we missed out on J.Stewart last year. We have a ton of CF prospects (Gillies, J.James, L.Castro, K.Hudson, A.Altherr etc.) and not alot of power ( D.Santana, K.Dugan, Z.Collier) Collier hasnt even really played Dugan just started and Santana is very young. and now have added more CF prospects in Pointer, Eldemire and no power. Im sorry but only getting 2 stud prospects and maybe 4 above average prospects in an entire draft is unacceptable to me. not getting one or two of Palka, Frazier, Allen, Paquet, Thompson, Hodgskin, Ross signed is extremely disapointing.

  25. Has any GM ever given a good explanation why teams don’t spend more on the draft and the farm? I don’t think that the fans who want teams to spend more have a better understanding of how to run a franchise than ownership and management.

  26. *sigh* I can’t see how anyone can be happy or forgiving of what the Phillies did. It’s just being a homer IMO. The Phils continue to spend one of the 5 lowest amounts in the draft and after negotiating with Frazier they failed to sign anyone else. If you had money on the table to Frazier that would have been your draft budget and then it becomes apparent he’s not signing take that money and GIVE IT TO SOMEONE ELSE. I’m not saying spend every cent, but increase offers to one of your other draft picks. Someone would have signed.

    It’s extremely disappointing to see the Phils spend so little on the draft when they have talented scouts that would make good use of that money. I’m not saying be the Boston Red Sox if you don’t believe in spending that much money, but give the scouts an extra $1m to $2m a year to work with.

  27. If Frazier’s asking price was 1 million, they were right to walk away. He was the 85th ranked player, which makes him a 3rd round talent. No way they should have paid him 1st round money

  28. Finding an extra 1-2% outside of a budget is not the easiest thing in the world to do. When people on a $50,000 income have an unexpected $1000 car bill it can get tough. It’s something that can be done but not as easily as people make it out to be.

    People say $2M is not a big deal, but even for a club as big as the Phils, an extra 1% is not easy. Where would you reallocate the money from? Do you want to spend less on the big club (where the money is really needed)? It’s very easy to spend other’s money.

  29. Amazing, to me is this was suppose to be a weak draft and some of the kids got big money , after the first round, washington really spend some big bonus money for later rounds, Look they should invest more, can’t believe anyone can defend that they are not spending enough in the draft, and it will come in to bite them, spending 5 million in the draft isnt unreasonble to ask, now if they just in there mind feel the kids arent worth it, then that is a judgement call. But not to have players ready to replace injury players hurts, castro, randsom, are waste of money, cant believe we cant develop some infielders to help out, the only guy we traded who would have help is donald.

  30. It kind of confuses me that teams don’t spend more on the draft considering the premium value placed on near major league ready talent. The Phillies basically just sold Anthony Gose to the Astros for $10 million in cash… if that isn’t a maximization of investment I don’t know what is.

    Teams like the Marlins, Pirates and Royals should spend a ton on scouting, drafting and player development, then just sell their prospects once they hit AAA. Its not like they have fanbases they could piss off. I understand that there are a lot more variables, but it cracks me up that the cash we got in the Halladay and Oswalt deals could cover the Marlins’ major league payroll almost entirely.

  31. The Pirates and Royals have been among the teams that have spent the most in the draft the past few seasons. The Pirates spent over $9mil on the draft the last two seasons (haven’t looked at this year) the Royals spent over $7mil on the draft last year.

    Of course your figures are going to be higher when you have a top-5 pick, but beyond that both teams were giving $1mil+ bonuses to guys after the 2nd round.

    I think the Phillies have clearly decided that with the current group of players they have the spending more on the draft isn’t a priority. Anyone they draft is likely not to make an impact during the next 3 or 4 year window. That being said the telling sign will be what the Phillies are like post-Utley/Howard/Rollins.

    However, this site is ‘phuture’ phillies… not presentphillies.com. So while you can talk about spending in the context of the big club, I don’t see why there should be a problem that some of us are more interested in the future of the club rather than the present. Prospects bust and flame-out. Guys who destroy rookie league never hit again, guys who hit single-A pitching never hit about A-ball… Pitchers blow out arms, etc… Just because it looks like there’s a good amount of prospects in the farm system doesn’t mean any of them will ever be an impact player on the level of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels, etc…

    That’s why you keep drafting each year. That’s why you should if you have a large amount of revenue put a decent proportional amount into your draft. In the long run it works out cheaper to you. Someone made the comment that Anthony Gose saved the Phillies $10mil and that’s not too far from the truth.

    Think back to the Bobby Abreu trade. The better prospects you trade the less salary you tend to have to take back. It’s why the Phillies in the Abreu trade had to select from the (b) or (c) list instead of the Yankees (a) list because of wanting the Yankees to pay all of Abreu’s salary. If you are always restocking your farm system and you have a good scouting department you save money from your big club.

    An extra $1mil to $2mil per year on the draft can amount to double that in savings in the future for your big league club.

  32. First off PP, I echo the comments that you run a great site and I do appreciate the work you put into it.

    Yet, in this case I do not see this draft as one to be excited about. I don’t see how any objective observer could give this draft a higher grade than a C (I would have given them a B if they signed Frazier). Although we are talking about the minor leagues here, I still get the sense that for many, the current performance of the big league club makes them complacent about the future of the minor league system.

    In the last 24 months the Phillies have…

    – Traded away 16 top prospects that represented the top picks in 5 or 6 drafts
    – Forfeited a 1st round pick to sign a 37-year old outfielder
    – Seem to have swung and missed on a 1st rounder in 2007
    – Seem to have swung and missed on the first 2 picks in the 2008 draft

    I stress again, I don’t know how so many can be so sanguine about what amounts to the loss of 20 premier picks in this farm system over the last 24 months!!!!

    The Phillies performance at the MLB level, mainly due to their incredible run of hitting on their early picks from 1996 thru 2002 is closer to the finish line than the starting line now. The prospects they traded were for veterans in their 30’s (except in Blanton’s case). I have no problems with the trades that were made. Yet unless the Phillies get more aggressive re-stocking the farm system with quality prospects I fear the MLB team is living on borrowed time.

    The Phillies signed exactly 3 overslot guys that probably totaled just over $1M dollars in spend. A very meager amount used for overslot signings relative to many of their direct competitors. They did not use Frazier’s money for any additional signings. They did not sign their 5th rounder, their 9th rounder, their 13th rounder, or their 19th rounder. You can add in the 22nd and 24th rounders and that makes 6 picks in the Top 25 that did not get signed. That is the worst signing record of Top 25 picks since at least 2003, and this might even go back farther since I don’t have the complete signing record of 2003 at hand.

    Is this a bad draft? No. Absolutely not. But nobody on this site would be overly thrilled with a MLB club that had a .500 record. That would be a pretty good club, but one that would miss the playoffs. But somehow we seem to be okay with what amounts to a .500 performance in getting draft picks signed? Especially at a time when you would think there would be more urgency in re-stocking the farm system?

  33. FlyByNite says: However, this site is ‘phuture’ phillies… not presentphillies.com.


  34. I’m not certain PP wants this thread to deteoriate into a strategic discussion of draft finances, but if you are going to talk about spending more money on the draft the big club and their finances have to be part of the equation. After all, they are the ones financing the draft. It’s an organizational level decision not just the draft in its own box separate from the big club.

    For the most part, the site is set up to discuss minor league players and draft picks. Those topics can be discussed on a micro level. But money has to take in account the big club.

  35. Great writeup as always, James. At this point, my approach to the front office is the same as my approach with Charlie. I scratch my head at some of the decisions but at this point they’ve given us so much to be happy about I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.

  36. Nobody, do you just go around recycling your posts? I’m seeing the same stuff on other boards from you. Get some new material.

    The problem I have with the draft naysayers is that if the Phils spend 4 million, you want 5 million. If they spend 5 you want 6. You’re never happy. Yes, spending more might help. Emphasis might. But the Phillies are running a business and think they have a better solution that involves more resources at the major league level. It’s not like they’ve changed their philosophy over the last 10 or so years – and guess what, they’re winning. Often.

    The other problem I have with posters is that they equate money with “good”. If the Phils draft me, a DH who can’t really hit and I accept slot, I’m a terrible signing for the Phils. But if I turn down slot, now suddenly many posters would be all over the Phils for NOT signing me.

  37. Jay, thanks for monitoring the internet for us and keeping it clear of similar points.

    Yes, the Phillies are winning now but if you can’t see the difference between how the core of the current club was built vs. what the very different direction the future seems to taking (which is a strategy that has not been proven), then we can just agree to disagree.

    I don’t have a moving target for draft spend. I want the Phillies to be among the Top 10 teams in draft spend averaging the money spent between Round 2 and Round 50. We can exclude the 1st round altogether due to variations Top 15 picks add to draft spend. So I don’t care if they spend $2M, $3M, $4M, or $10M. As long as they are among the Top 10 teams, I would be satisfied that they are aggressively competing against their peers.

    This is not a different argument for me than during the 1990’s when the Phillies were spending like a small market team at the MLB level.

  38. Yes, there were some good picks from 96-02. Did they spend appreciably more (on an inflation adjusted basis)? I don’t think they did. And draft picks were traded and let go and blah blah blah. They continue to have a highly thought of farm system. By the way, the 16 “top prospects” they traded away. Does that include Villar and Spencer? That kinda stretches the meaning of the term “top prospect”.

    Enjoy the present, don’t sweat the future too much (given we have the top prospect in baseball as well as a generally strong system) and gain some perspective about what really matters.

  39. A few comments.

    * If you read what I wrote, I mentioned a number of times that I wished the Phillies spent more money in the draft. Every fan wants their team to spend more. But more money doesn’t necessarily mean better prospects in the long run. I tried to make this nuanced point a few times, but it apparently it missed the mark. If you go back through the past 5 years of the draft, you’ll find rounds 10-30 littered with guys who got $500K bonuses and didn’t pan out. That happens for various reasons. That doesn’t mean the team signing that player shouldn’t have given him the bonus, it just means it was a big risk. The Phillies seem to be more cautious in their draft bonus spending. They only give a sizable bonus if they feel the player merits the bonus.

    * Again, another nuanced point I tried to make was the hyping of names. How many people here have seen Scott Frazier pitch an entire game? None of us is the likely answer. We wanted him signed because BA said he was a good prospect. But even they ranked him just 85th overall, in a fairly pedestrian class. If the Phillies deemed him worth $450K, and he was demanding $1M, does it really make sense for them to cave to those demands if they don’t feel he’s worth that? I brought this up with relation to Cosart. Baseball America wasn’t high on him at all before he was drafted. What now?

    * I’m going to work on a really big research project that looks at the BA pre-draft rankings, where those players end up, and then also the overslot players signed in Rounds 10-30. I think the results will probably surprise some of you, as I’ve already done some preliminary digging.

    * Again, if you read this site regularly, or you’ve been here for more than 2 months, you know that I’m far from a homer. No one is “happy” about losing a lot of premium prospects over the last 18 months. But I’m struggling to think of a prospect who has been traded away in the last 5 years who has come back to burn the club. Drabek might. Gose might. But generally, the Phillies have held on to the right guys. They didn’t trade Howard or Utley coming up. They held onto Domonic Brown. They held on to Jarred Cosart. You could argue Michael Bourn, but I think if you’d trade Brad Lidge’s 2008, and the World Series ring for that matter, to still have Michael Bourn, then you’re on the wrong site.

    * The Phillies have traded a lot of good prospects. Yet the system is still very strong. You argue that this is a site about the future of the org. Which is true. Well, right now, the system is still a Top 10 system in baseball. And as long as the Phillies keep having good drafts, it will remain a Top 10 system. The draft “experts” weren’t gobbling up the Singleton pick last year. Now he’s a Top 100 prospect with big upside. They didn’t fawn over Cosart in 2008, he’s now a Top 50 guy. At this time next year, we’ll be looking at the 2010 draft class and saying “And so and so turned out to be a huge steal for the Phillies”.

    * The reality is, the Phillies scouting department has done a fantastic job the last few years. I have no reason to think that will change. We all wish the Phillies spent more. But they are doing a very good job right now. Will all of that change? Maybe. Or maybe MLB levels the playing field, establishes hard slotting, and the teams can no longer make huge bonus splashes. In that case, I’ll feel comfortable with the Phillies ability to spot talent, since they’ve done quite a bit of that in the last few years.

  40. PP, thanks for your insights. I love this site. The comments are usually great too. Good discussion all around.

    The Phillies really value the development and scouting process. They invest a lot of money there and the results are probably the best in baseball. No other team invests so little money in the draft and in international signings and has such good results. I believe that their hesitance to spend money in the draft is partly based on their belief that they can ‘train’ kids up a bit. The major leagues are full of guys (some of them stars) who weren’t the biggest prospects coming in, but through hard work (something a scout can spot) and good training (development staff) they make themselves into major leaguers. I really, really wish the Phillies would bring in more talent through the draft, but they prefer to spend the money elsewhere. It’s a shame because with their scouts and development people they could develop a championship pipeline of talent that could see us contending year after year.

    As I see it, they’ve bought into the ‘contend now, be competitive later’ midset. And hey, we were WFC a few years back so it’s hard to complain (but I try!).

    All in all a big shout out to the Phillies Scouts and Developmental people as they do a great job a turning out players. Those running the draft have a strict budget so they wisely decided to take high risk high reward type players and really focus on developing them – and to that extent they have exceeded greatly. They’ve picked the right guys and done the right things developmentally and I loudly applaud them for their efforts in this draft and past drafts.

    Let’s get these kids in our system and train them up!!!

  41. The first news item I searched for this morning was whether Nick Castellanos had signed and for how much if he did. He was,as most regular posters here know, the third baseman from a Florida high school who was the pick many of us wanted the Phils to make.
    He got ridiculous money (3.45M) from one of the most notorious over spending teams in the draft- Detroit. I’m sorry , but if that’s what it took I’m glad the Phils didn’t take him. Assuming, as you must, that there is a budget for spending on amateur talent then it’s hard to justify tying up so much into one player. It’s just not a responsible way to run a player development system. Wasn’t Travis Mattair a highly regarded prep third baseman also? Just saying.

  42. Thanks for the write up James and all your hard work during this process.

    I very much agree that the Phil’s scouting staff have done a tremendous job finding under the radar talent and I also agree that if they don’t think a guy is worth what he’s demanding they should walk away. Due to their very success it’s hard not to fantasize about what they could do with a bigger budget. As you said, this doesn’t mean better prospects and it’s easy to get caught up in the BA top 200 list but sometimes the diamond isn’t in the rough, it’s just a damn pretty diamond going at market value.

    I also think it stems from the fact, as was mentioned above, that relative to their peers the phils spend less. Right now they seem to have a competitive advantage with their scouting department, but imagine if they combined that competitive advantage with an advantage in spending as well?

    Anyway, this may be greedy and it is easier to spend other people’s money, but I guess call me a glutton.

  43. Great post PP. Some of your critics do make interesting points, but they also for the most part aren’t responsive to your particular arguments.

    One very important underlying issue is the debate about FA spending versus spending in the draft. I do think that there is a case to be made for spending more in the latter and less in the former, but some of the Phillies’ critics tend to stack the deck by focusing on those FA signings which look bad in retrospect. That’s not a good way to look at it for a number of reasons. There is a particular irony here, though: FA signings, despite some downsides vis a vis development through the draft, have one huge advantage: you know pretty much what you are getting, whereas the draft is much more of a crap shoot. So focusing on the failures in isolation is not a good argument in favor of spending more on the draft (there are good arguments, just not that); there are far more failures in the draft than in the FA market.

    I could pick out a few draft failures, and argue that they money from their bonues should have been used to (say) sign Brett Myers this year. In hindsight that is “tue” on a trivial level, the Phillies would have been better off, but that’s a l=silly argument that no one would make. But it’s the mirror image of the “they should have used Baez’ money for the draft” arguments that people do make & seemingly take seriously. IMO that silliness undercuts their more serious arguments.

  44. PP, appreciate your work — esp. the way you hedge the results we know with the possible trade-offs / practices of draft philosophy behind the curtain. It’s very easy to simply say we should throw a little more money towards some high schoolers; it’s much more difficult to do what you do.

    The idea that the Phils gave themselves $X to spend yesterday and balanced the Frazier non-signing with Mussar/Walter/Pointer is an interesting one. I was digging through some old posts: Was Colvin their only draft day signing last year? It’s hard to compare across years, but they spent $3.1M in 2009 and, until yesterday, $2.62M in 2010.

    That would give some support for the idea that they were looking to spend about $1M on that last day, but I was wondering what else gave you the idea that there was some choice between signing those 3 with and signing Frazier/Allen. Seems another plausible process is an individual one: have a dollar ceiling for each guy you like. Maybe they would have signed Frazier/Allen and 2/3 of M/W/P but Frazier’s asking price broke the ceiling. Again, it’s hard to compare across drafts, but we’ve seen the Phils spend up to $6.5M on the draft.

    Thanks again, for the write-up

  45. Great write-up pp. Thanks for everything you do for this site.

    To me the story of this draft is pitching. The highest end prospects – Biddle, Walter, and Garner – are pitchers. I agree that Pointer has elite potential, but probably in the same way that Hewitt, Golson, Brown, James, Gose etc. had elite potential when they came into the system (the range of potential outcomes is very wide). Those three pitchers, plus Musser perhaps, all profile as potential MLB starters with high ceilings (though I do not think there is a potential #1 amongst them, certainly Biddle and Walter look to have “top half of rotation” upside). Rupp and Eldemire are interesting, but the ceiling seems lower for those guys; more like potential everyday players than potential all-stars.

    At the end of the day, these are all young men we’re talking about – real people for whom a lot can change. Maybe Stephen Malcolm is the next Jason Donald. Who knows? I wish them all the best and I’m glad they’re in the system!

  46. Here, here PP. Great analysis, great site, and great job as always.

    I cannot wait to see what Walter, Musser and Pointer do in the coming seasons. If they perform well and avoid injury, they are three more guys to add to the mix. It certainly is exciting times to be a Phils fan, and I think the first 20+ years of my life following this team has paid off for the past 5+ years.

    If they keep drafting the way they have in the 2000’s, and who’s to say they aren’t, this team will continue to contend and sell out every game.

    Thanks for the wonderful site, you are THE place to review and discuss phillies prospects.

  47. Jay,

    I agree. The Phillies still only spent what they were required to spend from 1996 thru 2002. They have not changed much now from then.

    However, they were in a different situation. Because they were so horrible they had the benefit of having very high picks. Even after refusing to up their offer to #1 overall JD Drew and losing him in 1998, and bypassing Mark Teixeira in 2001 for Gavin Floyd (because Teixeira was a Scott Boras client and they didn’t want another JD Drew situation)…they still managed to hit a home run on almost every early pick from 1996 thru 2002. Even Ryan Howard was a high 5th round pick.

    Currently they are picking at the bottom of most rounds. In addition they have traded away or released most of the early round picks from 2003 thru 2008. If the Phillies MLB club is to remain as one of the best in baseball past 2012 or 2013, and that core club is to be built thru the farm system, then it will have to be by a very different model and strategy. One that as of now, has not been proven to succeed…although we all hope it will succeed.

    If you don’t have early picks, it would seem the best way to offset that is to spend the money on early round quality guys that fall into the later rounds due to signability concerns. The Phillies do that a little…but not nearly enough in my opinion relative to the size of the revenue stream they generate. And I suspect, that this will eventually come back to bite them in the end.

    Matthew Spencer: He might not have been a top prospect when traded, but he was a 3rd round pick in 2007. One thing that concerns me is the contradiction I read by some posters about how great the Phillies scouts are…but the top picks the Phillies traded away won’t be missed because they were no good anyway. It is either one or the other.

    While we may now recognize that guys like Spencer, Outman, Cardenas, Costanzo, Golson, Marson, etc may or will never be top flite major leaguers, the Phillies scouts we praise as so outstanding are the same scouts that drafted these guys in the top 3 or 4 rounds of various drafts and the same scouts drafting guys for the Phillies now.

    One can’t condemn the prospects traded away that were taken very early in the 2003 thru 2008 drafts but now proclaim greatness for the early picks taken in 2009 and 2010.

    Jonathan Villar: Not sure what your problem is with Villar being mentioned. BA considered him one of the better SS at his level in the minors.

    Future vs. Present: I sweat the “future” because that is what this site is supposed to be all about. Understand the MLB draft and how it impacts the future. I see a significant paradigm shift taking place in relation to the farm system that built the current MLB club vs. the farm system that will need to build the future MLB club.

  48. can never have too much pitching.. but do we have too much pitching at the low levels?

    I dont recall many prospect for prospect trades.. but do you envision one in the next few years to get a 2b or ss to replace utley or rollins (I’m assuming one of them would not be resigned long term..)

  49. I guess I forgot the part of the analysis where the Phillies payroll is going to go from $145M to $75M in one season, and we’ll need to plug in 8 homegrown players all at once. Does that happen in 2012 or 2013? I just want to make sure I’m prepared for it. The Phillies use of their farm system is different from a small or mid-market team. I wish they’d spend more money. But there is no armageddon around the corner.

  50. Good write up James. Two things to say. 1) You might want to add Susac to that list of guys they might have wanted but who got away, though I’m not sure how much they wanted him at the time. 2) I would have liked to have seen one more infield position player in the mix, in particular a 3B given the holes in the entire system. I don’t know if that means I think they should have included more or whether that means I personally fixated too much on Tomscha (probably that), who never really had a chance of being signed since he was the last pick and someone, basically, to fill out the card. But I wonder if they need to start looking at the big league team’s difficulty this year in finding infield replacements within the system and to address that problem through the draft.

    Over all, though, I do not know enough about what they’re actually doing and, as you clearly point out, they have built a class minor league system using a philosophy which, if it’s not the one you suggest, functions like it. More prospects with decent potential adds up, percentage wise, to a better actual chance of getting someone to the top. Thanks for keeping us all in perspective.

  51. James, thanks again for the great coverage. I read your analysis last night but haven’t had a chance to read the responses this morning, but wanted to put a point out there. There’s been a lot of noise about the signing date being too far from the draft and it might change (based on CBA?). But I was wondering if the Phils didn’t use every bit of that time to make the decision to go for 3 instead of Frazier.

  52. It’s pretty clear to me that the folks here saying that they should’ve just given Frazier the $1M that he asked for to sign him have not spent much time negotiating in their life times. The entire art of negotiating is coming up with a value for the commodity for which you are negotiating, and being ready to walk away if you cannot get that value.

    So, using PP’s hypothetical numbers from above, let’s say the Phillies thought Frazier was worth $650K and he asked for $800K. It’s only $150K you say, but if the Phillies don’t think he’s worth the money it is an absolute WASTE of resources. Let’s also not forget that the team is not negotiating in a vacuum, and others will find out that they just said, “tell me what you think you’re worth and I’ll pay it!” Now, the next time they negotiate with a player, he asks for $850K because he knows they’ll just pay what he wants. Then $900K, then $1M, and so on because the Phillies just pay whatever a player wants to get him in the system.

    It’s so easy to spend other people’s money, especially when you have no idea what the process is. The reality of the situation is what they are doing is smart business. Now, we can all argue about the RESULTS of the process, but looking at the farm system the team has now it’s hard to even argue that point.

  53. I just saw what the Red Sox did yesterday and it just frustrates me as a Phillies fan. 7 million to bring that kind of influx of talent in just seems like an easy decision. I just would like to see a small philosophy shift with this team putting more of an emphasis on bringing in young talent and developing it. This is a big market team, they need to start using every advantage they have at their disposal, the draft is a great way for big market teams to add talent because all it costs them is money. Im not even suggesting the money has to be added to their budget, just allocate it differently, imo this team devotes far to many financial resources to their bullpen, we have seen above-average bullpens built on the cheap. There is no reason to give guys like Romero, Madson, and Baez long term contracts at big dollars, just keep drafting and developing high upside arms and use that to fill out your pen, especially with the way that relievers performances generally fluctuate from year to year. I realize how successful this franchis has become and I am thankful for that, so I don’t mean to come off as ungrateful, it is just disheartening to know the talent they could be adding each year that they don’t because of a lack of financial commitment. I am not only saying the guys they don’t get signed, but the guys they dont even draft. I would have prefefered Castellanos or Ranaudo to Biddle, even Zach Lee’s contract the way it was backloaded would have been doable. I just want to see a greater commitment to the draft from this team.

  54. What I don’t understand is who cares what detroit, california or others team spend. I care about the phillies, we have been able to spend less and get some nice prospect, the argument is with more money they should be able to really have a top farm team, and a lot of prospect, that is what I mean, who cares if boston spends a lot and misses, our scouts have found some real gems and with more committment they could really help us stay good for a long time,

  55. I have no idea what the Phillies were offering Frazier, or exactly what his bottom line was.

    However, the comps for his HS peer group seems to consistently be between $800K and $1M. That is what other similarly ranked HS pitchers got from other teams. Whether Frazier (or any of his peers that were signed) is worth that kind of money or not I have no idea. But we clearly know what the going market rate was that was established by the rest of MLB.

    That’s all well and fine that the Phillies have a number and don’t budge from it. But if / when their number differs significantly from most of the other teams, their judgment can fairly and objectively be questioned. They are either smarter than everybody else or unwilling to pay market value. Sometimes the line between Shrewd and Miser can be a fine one.

    What did Jake Stewart ask for? What did the Phillies offer? What did Andrew Susac ask for? What did the Phillies offer? What did Scott Frazier ask for? What did the Phillies offer? What did Brenton Allen ask for? What did the Phillies offer? What did John Hinson ask for? What did the Phillies offer?

    This is what I don’t know and wished I did. It would make things so much easier to evaluate them when it comes to getting their premier overslot picks signed.

  56. ***I would have preferred Castellanos or Ranaudo to Biddle, even Zach Lee’s contract the way it was backloaded would have been doable. ***

    Hey Alex – how many games did you scout of each of those players? how many times did you see Biddle pitch?

    it is frustrating to me that we have so many arm chair GMs who feel a need to post silly statements like this with absolutely no basis. it is mental throw-up. did you not read james’s post? the bottom line is you (and i) don’t know jack sh*t about these guys. and the phillies (post Gillick changing the scouting approach) have an awesome record of bringing in an “influx of talent” every year. i would put cosart and colvin up against those guys any day. and both of them were had at significantly less money than the guys you named. for the past few years i have heard nothing about how great the red sox are with drafting. but our minors stack up well with theirs. and we destroyed their system if you add back all of the talent we traded away for mlb players (which is a key reason for a minor league system). i mean all year i heard scouts rave about the lakewood team. well that team was built with toolsy draft picks and sub $1 million bonus babies. the kind of players some of the geniuses on this blog deride.

  57. Does anybody know where we can get total winning percentage of all the Phillies minor league teams? I know GCL and Williamsport are doing well, although maybe a little overaged for Rookie and Low A, Lakewood is stacked and is one of the best teams in the minors at any level, Reading is bad (bottom 1/3), and Lehigh Valley is practically the worst AAA team in the minors.

    Is overall winning percentage at the minor league level a decent yardstick for comparisons to other MLB teams when comparing systems?

  58. “One can’t condemn the prospects traded away that were taken very early in the 2003 thru 2008 drafts but now proclaim greatness for the early picks taken in 2009 and 2010.”

    Well, actually, in a sense one can. Not “condemn” the prospects, but argue that none of them (with one or two possible but increasingly unlikely exceptions) will be stars, and that most of the rest won’t amount to much – and STILL proclaim – if not the “greatness,” a high standard, but at least the high quality of those drafts. How? Those drafts produced prospects of a high enough quality to net a series of very high quality – star and solid if not quite star players – trade acquisitions. Now, one can argue how much of the credit goes to the drafts, to player development, or to the trade negotiators, but clearly the Phillies were doing SOMETHING right. Without those acquisitions, the Phillies might still be over 25 years from their last WS appearance.

    Again, like PP I DO think a strong case can be made for spending more – not just the Phillies but league wide. But some (not all) of the critics are missing quite a few things, most of which PP has discussed. One point which was addressed to some extent but maybe not made explicitly enough: even the VERY best, ideal minor league system has a high level of uncertainty – you can’t spit out prospects to order. The chance that an above average SS (to cite just one example) will be available JUST WHEN YOU NEED HIM – no system can guarantee that. You’re ALWAYS going to need to fill in some of the gaps with free agency, trades & other methods of talent acquisition. Thankfully the Phillies have the budget to do so. Of COURSE the Phillies can’t rely JUST on those methods – they need to spit out low priced pre-arb players from their system as well – but so many of the critical posts (again, not all of them) seem to mistakenly assume that the draft is the sole source of talent for the major league team. It isn’t.

  59. “Is overall winning percentage at the minor league level a decent yardstick for comparisons to other MLB teams when comparing systems?”


  60. Fan- be reasonable, just because you or I haven’t personally seen players play doesn’t mean tha we can’t form an opinion on them based on what we have read from reputable sources that have seen them play. Biddle was clearly a signability pick. Im not saying he won’t turn out to be a very good player, but I doubt anyone including the Phillies had him rated above the guys I mentioned at that pick. As I said I am a fan orf the team and what they have accomplished, but the draft is an area where they could further seperate themselves based on their resources. I didn’t see any reason for you to be so hostile in your response, clearly we disagree with draft philosophy.

  61. “Is overall winning percentage at the minor league level a decent yardstick for comparisons to other MLB teams when comparing systems?”


  62. LarryM, re: your uncertainty comment – excellent point and a reason why statements like the following just aren’t realistic:
    “There is no reason to give guys like Romero, Madson, and Baez long term contracts at big dollars, just keep drafting and developing high upside arms and use that to fill out your pen, especially with the way that relievers performances generally fluctuate from year to year. “

  63. To elaborate, I would say this:

    (1) Winning percentages of A and AA teams have SOME value as a yardstick, but not enough to be worth using as a yardstick. It’s true that the mediocre performance of the Reading team, for example, is indicative of a team without a ton of major league ready talent (less than the average minor league system, especially with Brown now in the majors), and the excellent performance of teams at a lower level indicates a ton of talent (much more than the average minor league system) that is still 2-4 years away. But we knew those things anyway.

    (2) Winning percentages of AAA teams, ESPECIALLY for the Phillies given how they use their AAA team, is entirely meaningless.

  64. tjc,

    Thanks for the support, and of course I largely agree with you. Ironically, though, I tend to think the pen is one area where that argument has SOME salience, though not nearly as much as some people think. I do wish the Phillies would be a LITTLE more aggressive with staffing the bottom of their pen with kids from the system. But surely it’s not realistic to think that the Phillies should, all of the sudden, promote 3 of their minor league relievers to spots in the pen.

    It will be interesting to see what happens next year, though. I would hope that at least one, if not two, of Schwimmer, Bastardo and Mathieison starts with the big club next spring.

  65. “This is what I don’t know and wished I did. It would make things so much easier to evaluate them when it comes to getting their premier overslot picks signed.”

    This is a really good point. However, the follow-up question IMO should be – in the absence of such information, what assumptions should we make? Some people, based upon track record*, give the organization the benefit of the doubt. Some people based upon … I don’t know what … don’t.

    *In fairness, I guess one could argue that the “track record” in terms of specifically of spending upon the draft is not good. My response would be that, to the extent that information is available, the Phillies tend to make good offers to the guys that they draft. The problem, to the extent that there is one, is that they arguably could be more aggressive as to who they draft, and spend accordingly more. But I think a strong case can be made that, once you decide to draft somewhat conservatively, going out and spending a HUGE amount getting everyone (or almost everyone) signed, which will be definition involve overpaying some players, is in the long run the WORST possible strategy.

  66. I agree, there is room for the big club to work minor league arms into the pen each season – Herndon and to a lesser extent Bastardo are this year’s examples of that. However, wholesale replacement of proven MLB relievers who have track records with minor leaguers who have yet to prove anything on the biggest stage seems like a recipe for disaster. I’d be curious to see if anyone can name a team that made the playoffs after incorporating three or more minor league arms into their pen that season. I have no idea, maybe it’s common but I’d assume it was not.

  67. “The entire art of negotiating is coming up with a value for the commodity for which you are negotiating, and being ready to walk away if you cannot get that value.”

    An excellent point. To bring the point to it’s logical conclusion, to the extent that the Phillies gain a reputation for overpaying for their draftees, over time that’s going to drive up the cost of signing draftees. That’s negotiating 101. You don’t want to develop a reputation as a soft touch in contract negotiations.

    Of course, I’ll be the first to admit that one could argue that some of the team’s questionable FA signings are problematic just for this reason. I especially think that at this point an agent for an older borderline star FA is going to assume that he can get an extra year from the Phillies if he just takes a hard line stance. e.g., Ibanez (I think it’s the third year that makes that contract so bad) and Polanco (I hope I’m wrong – he’s been great for the team so far – but 3 years at his age was too long).

  68. how much worse can mathieson and bastardo or swimmer be than baez romero, herndon have been. they have been awfull. doesnt anyone think they havent?

  69. tjc,

    I think we are on the same page – but to talk about specific players – criticism of the Madson contract (and yes, someone criticized it above) is insane, and of the Romero contract ill advised (ditto), but I DO think that the Phillies have made some mistakes in this regard. I really hate to jump on the anti-Baez bandwagon, because (a) the contract wasn’t THAT high, (a) he could have been expected to pitch better, and (c) the LEVEL of the criticism is silly, but I DO think that that’s the kind of signing they should avoid. And there are other similar mistakes in contracts for relief pitchers over the past few years. Of course, credit where credit is due – the Phillies have also made some nice value signings in this areas (e.g., Contreras this year).

  70. LarryM, how is it “insane” to criticize long term signings of non elite level relief pitchers. Im not saying Madson or Romero haven’t been effective, I am just suggesting that there are good teams that have built their bullpens through 1 year contracts to veterans and young pitchers still on their rookie contracts. Just because Id allocate my resources differently doesn’t make me insane. Every year you can look at the large amount of relievers that have drastic shifts in performance from year to year. Look at Matt Capps year this year, I mean the guy was non-tendered by the Pirates. Its reasonable to just put the guys with the best stuff in your system each year that are close to major league ready and have them fill out your bullpen, mixed in with a few veteran relievers on 1 year contracts. My idea isnt so far fetched and is being done by some good teams.

  71. I think it’s sit back and wait time… let’s see what happens now. The goal for me is to see how this current group of management talent evaluates and negotiates. People want this or that prospect to sign, but at this point we don’t know how they’ll turn out. I personally like the philosophy of not putting all our prospect dollars into a single player. Meaning finding high ceiling guys who will sign at lower prices is a good strategy. From a peripheral view, I am satisfied.

    Previously we’ve talked about yield from an individual draft for MLB players. And also, how many players you can really hold on your roster and push up through the system. I’d be interested in hearing a bit more color on that. In other words, how did we come up with the 5 players per draft making it to MLB figure being average… and then how have the Phillies done in this regard. Additionally, 5 years x how many picks until they’re on your 40 man roster is going to generally yield x MLB level players? I would like to hear more data on that… seems very relevant to judging talent evaluation / nurturing capabilities of an organization.

  72. Only problem is that your not going to get “good” veteran relievers signed to 1-year contracts.

    If I’m understanding you correctly, your plan is to get lucky with a few non-tendered veterans or guys who couldn’t get a 2-3 year deal because they weren’t that effective the previous year and then add in a few unproven minor leaguers?

    How many innings/games do those relievers get before you cut them loose and move on to the next one? Who gets assigned to which roles, just the guy who’s pitching the best?

    If you have a few examples of playoff teams who follow this model, I’d be interested in seeing who they might be..

  73. LarryM,

    Benefit of the doubt: I do tend to give the organization the benefit of the doubt. I appreciate what they have done (past tense being the key). However, I do think the massive attrition rate of highly drafted prospects in the minors over the last 24 months…along with lack of apparent progress by Savery, Hewitt, or Collier…changes the sense of urgency from a normal, ho hum, conservative, traditional Phillies draft. Or at least I think it should.

    “Good” offer: I can only judge a “good” offer relative to what price the market sets. If the Phillies give an offer within those market based parameters then I would agree it would meet the criteria of a good offer. If they are consistently on the low side…to even outside those parameters…relative to their peers across the league, then no, I don’t think that represents a “good” offer on their part. For example a “good” offer to Frazier…based on market rates…should have probably been between $750K and $950K.

    Since I don’t have that information…and it is critical to any final judgment…I don’t really know if the Phillies give good offers or not. Of course, I am talking about overslot deals, not the normal draft picks that are slotted.

    I personally suspect they don’t give “good” offers…relative to market price…but rather drive hard bargains with what amounts to what they believe to be a fair price…with little wiggle room. Even Brody Colvin signed for less than Von Rosenberg or Colten Cain got from the Pirates. What if Brody held firm for a certain dollar amount closer to what his peer group got like Frazier did this year? Would the Phillies have signed him if they weren’t able to sign him for what amounted to a below market value deal (even after moving on from Stewart and Susac)? I am not so sure.

    One more point…nobody wants the Phillies to throw money at everyone they draft. That really would be stupid. Every year right after the draft in June we can usually identify the 4-8 key overslot candidates they have drafted. I would like to see them put more effort and money into that select group each year. I don’t think that makes me an overly harsh critic of the organization. In fact which one of us wouldn’t want that?

  74. Alex,

    The “insane” comment was directed at the criticism of the Madson contract only, and I think it’s perfectly appropriate – because he IS an elite level reliever (or close to it, depending upon how you define elite), signed to a VERY reasonable contract*. Reasonable people can disagree on your GENERAL proposition, but, and I want to put this as kindly as possible, lumping Madson in your criticism doesn’t exactly help your cause.

    Aside from that, as I said IMO your argument has SOME validity, and maybe even more than I’m giving it credit for. Again, reasonable people can differ. It would be nice to have some RESEARCH, as opposed to speculation, as to whether your strategy has worked for contending teams. Generally contenders DON’T in fact build their pens the way that you suggest, but who knows, maybe that’s a mistake. If so, it’s a common one. Can you name any serious contenders who have tried it in recent years? Successfully? That’s not a rhetorical question; I’d be interested to see it.

    *Granted that using WAR is inexact, but looking at Fangraphs numbers, last year (the first of a three year contract) Madson was worth roughly three time what he was being paid. This year, he will be worth a little less than his salary, but that’s the consequence of an unpredictable injury. Absent injury, he will almost certainly exceed the value of his salary next year.

  75. this is case of feast mentality. As the phillies win more…the fans feed more and require more spending. If left up to the fans…the business entity would be insolvent quickly. Lets not forget several key players on this team were not highly rated when drafted and several FA acquistions were not greated with open arms. Ruiz was an undrafted (amateur free agent), Victorino was a Rule 5 selection after Dodgers gave up on him, Werth was some guy from LA who had bad wrist and very few thought it would have turned out this way. Blanton was seen as marginal but was key player in phillies WS year. The point is…a team is built from broad resources not from just throwing money at overslotted 19 year olds.

  76. Anyone see where the Phillies org is ranked top 10 as PP suggests? I thought I read in the current BA print addition that they were saying #18 prior to the Oswalt trade. Maybe that was pre-season before the emergence of Singleton/Colvin/Cosart/etc.

  77. Larry M-

    Ok San Diego and Oakland are obvious examples of teams that have used this strategy with some success in the past. Obviously they both play in pretty extreme pitchers parks, but this is still the model their gm’s have been pretty outspoken about using. Lets look at Texas this year as an example. From Cot’s:
    Frank Francisco 1 year- 3.27
    Darren Oliver 1 year w club option for 2011- 3.5
    Darren O’day 1 year- 426,700
    Neftali Feliz 1 year- 402,000
    Alexi Ogando 1 year- 400,000
    Matt Harrison 1 year- 406,090

    Pretty good bullpen, three pre-arb guys and two veterans on 1 year deals

  78. Alex,

    Gonna respond in the other thread (and not right away, as I need to get some stuff done). Let’s take the discussion there. I’m often one of the worst offenders, but I want to try to respect PP’s request that we keep on topic (and the box score thread has evolved into a kind of “open” thread over time).

  79. ***Without those acquisitions, the Phillies might still be over 25 years from their last WS appearance.***

    A single tear of sadness would roll down Macho Row’s collective face, if they, y’know, weren’t too macho to cry.

  80. Not trying to argue, but this team was built from mostly highly ranked and drafted 1st rounders (including key acquisitions Werth, Blanton, Lidge, Halladay), 2nd rounders, and 3rd rounders. Cliff Lee was drafted in the top of Round 4, Ryan Howard in the top of Round 5, and Victorino in Round 6. This core of this team was built by draft picks in the Top 5 rounds…mostly inside the Top 100.

    Notable exceptions: Astros drafted Roy Oswalt in Round 23 in 1996; Cardinals drafted Polanco in Round 19 in 1994; Mariners drafted Raul Ibanez in Round 36 in 1992.

  81. GregA said, “… if the Phillies don’t think he’s worth the money it is an absolute WASTE of resources. Let’s also not forget that the team is not negotiating in a vacuum… they just said, “tell me what you think you’re worth and I’ll pay it!” Now, the next time they negotiate with a player, he asks for $850K because he knows they’ll just pay what he wants. Then $900K, then $1M, and so on because the Phillies just pay whatever a player wants to get him in the system.”

    Exactly. What gets lost on the great minds is that the Phillies can not just give a Frazier 1 million because that is what he wants. They have to negotiate with the next guy next year and the year after that. If a team just gives in and pays 1st round money to all the 3rd round talents, just because the player waits until signing day, they will always have to pay. Frazier was not worth 1 million. He was a 3rd round talent, and if they offered him anymore than 600k, it was irresponsible. Just because there were 5 other teams that overpaid for like talents, (and did not conduct business correctly) does that mean that other teams have to do the incorrect thing?

    It is so interesting to keep reading the same silly statements: “I wish they would spend in the top 10 in the league on the draft.” No mention of the fact that they already are a top 10 system.
    ‘Just be 1st in spending (throwing away) money, and I’ll be happy with the draft, no matter how the system is rated.’

  82. I find it ironic that a bunch of the fans of the phillies knock them for not spending in the draft and calling the phils ” cheap”. But knock the phils when they spend money on proven players ie madson, romero, ibanez. The phils need to have a balance of veterans and young guys every year. The roster is set up where the phils could use IMO 2-3 young guys a year to make contributions. The phils have done a great job of developing talent. If the red sox had a system like the phils maybe the jays, Indians, or astros woulda picked their prospects over the phils. Other teams value the phils prospects. The phils are following a business plan that works if some of you like it or not. They do make mistakes everybody does, it’s a balance and the phils make a lot of good decisions. I’m a bit dissappointed that they didn’t sign frazier or use the $ they were offering him on another draft pick. But that’s just the way it goes. Maybe they use the money the were going to use on Frazier on a lefty reliever before the aug 31 deadline. Time will tell. Pp is right you don’t have spots for 7-9 rookies on your team every year. Unless your the marlins or pirates. I for one prefer the phillies business model and current team. I think a lot of credit should go to the coaches and instructors in this orginization. I don’t read on this site a lot of credit going to chuck Lamar but he was in Atlanta during their run in the 90’s. He was Tampa’s gm when they gathered up all the talent they have and now he is in charge with the phils. I think the phils are in good hands.

  83. Why are you saying that all the critics are yelling give Frazier whatever he wants? I’m upset he wasn’t signed since he was IMO the 2nd best prospect they drafted, but if he wanted like $1.5m I can understand not giving it.

    What upsets me is that the money that they were offering him did not get used. Why not then take some of it and increase offers to other players? Get some other guys signed?

  84. I am not personally sure if the Phillies are still a Top 10 system right now after all the trades. If they are, they are closer to 10 than 5. Dom Brown…arguably a Top 5 player in the minors for 2010…has had a heavy weighting in that equation and he is getting ready to graduate for good to MLB.

  85. C’mon guys (GregA/Mike77/Slabs), you’re adding way too much common sense to this discussion. Is it too much to ask that all their free agent signings be good ones so we don’t “waste” any money and have more to just throw around at draft time?

  86. FlyByNite said “What upsets me is that the money that they were offering him did not get used. Why not then take some of it and increase offers to other players? Get some other guys signed?”

    I just don’t believe that is good business. When you draft someone, you set a value to which you will pay for that pick. Just because Frazier doesn’t sign doesn’t mean that others become more valuable, worth more money. The same would work in reverse, if they valued someone at 500k and figured they couldn’t sign him, and ended up signing others up to their budget, should this make them finished if this said prospect came back and asked for 250k? No, it is value, which I’d be willing to bet they’d go over budget for.

    Just saying when you price an asset, you price an asset. You don’t pay more than you think it’s worth. I believe that is what the Phillies do.

  87. @FlyByNite…how do you know that they didn’t offer the money they were going to give to Frazier to other players? Do you know for a fact that Musser and Walter weren’t Plan B? Or that maybe they thought they were going to sign Frazier until they realized they weren’t at 11:59 and didn’t have enough time to use that money on whatever Plan B was?

    Look, I’m all for rational bashing of the team. For instance, I can’t stand some of Manual’s line ups that he trots out there. But, in that case, I see all 9 guys that are in the lineup and I feel that there is a more efficient way of ordering the players. In this case, with the draft signings, we simply have too little information to make the kind of arguments that you are making to bash the team.

  88. Good Point on the Workman loss creating a draft pick for Pettibone.

    As for the Baez analogy or any other analogy regarding monies spent elsewhere that could be thrown at Frazier or anyone else.

    That analogy in Logic is called LINKAGE. “I did not clean my room because you hurt my feelings.” Or ” I will not reduce the nuclear weapons equally with you, until you improve your Human Right Record.” LINKAGE is always False.

    If you want to sign Baez because his WHIP was good last year coming off arm injury, or you decide a clean room is a good thing, or having fewer nuclear weapons is a good thing, then you do it. It has nothing to do with Frazier or an unclean room or lack of a treaty. Unrelated UNLINKED issues.

    The Phillies could have given Frazier 4 Million but they decided that it was not in their best interest. They may be right or they may have been incorrect on that one decision.

  89. We also have too little information to defend everything the Phillies do.

    Why can’t a rational fan greatly appreciate the past track record of the farm system (since Arbuckle), appreciate the quality of the scouting department, acknowledge the contribution of the farm system to the roster of the current MLB club, but voice some concerns about the extremely frugal approach to getting overslot picks signed under the current circumstances? I.E….all the trades over the last 24 months that has emptied the farm system of Top 100 picks from 6 drafts between 2003 and 2008.

  90. If Bastardo could throw strike one, he’d be in the majors right now.
    The Phillies are developing a volume of good arms. There was a saying in the book “Dollar Sign on the Muscle” that you needed 10 good pitching prospects to get 1 major leaguer every year. I think the Phillies are doing that regularly + more and that is how they will stay on top of the NL.

  91. Which, of the 20+ high school / JC draftees taken by each team in Rounds 20-50 are overslot candidates? All of them should be to a certain extent. Thousands of players are drafted.

    Because of the unique nature of the MLB draft the Phillies have two decisions on each draft choice: 1) Who do I select on draft day 2) Who do I sign.
    As a phan, I get to analyze twice. First why didn’t the Phillies not pick the ‘best available’ player, regardless of position, in every round? This method would certainly improve the talent in the minor league system, except it would likely be all pitchers and toolsy OF.
    Secondly, I can comment on the much smaller grouping of 50 players the Phillies could possibly sign. The Phillies need to develop reasonable rosters throughout the minors to develop the talent they drafted. Sometimes that requires getting a no-hit, non-prospect SS who can field so pitchers do not get discouraged by horrible fielding. Obviously the Phillies had some interest in each of these players and wanted the option to evaluate them further or they would have picked someone else. Then a negotiation is necessary for both sides. I hope the Phillies offer each player a reasonable contract based on their value. I know they have some ballpark budget and therefore have to be selective on who is offered a contract but being such a good organization might convince a draftee away from college for less money than expected.

    It seems to me that the Phillies (and other teams I assume) draft some ‘backup’ options. If the higher round guy does not sign we have an alternate. Fraizer ==> Walter. Rupp ==> Doss. Morgardo ==> Hodgskin. Allen ==> Pointer.

  92. Excellent Job James! Inspiring posts from all sides… One thing can be certain… The Phillies have a sound foundation… every year we seem to come up with solid prospects, so the scouting department must be doing something right. No doubt spending more money puts more bullets in the gun, which gives you more shots to hit a bulls-eye… But as noted previously, nothing is guaranteed… now I feel the Phillies do a good job of spreading out their money, from Latin America, to the MLB Draft to Australia, etc to find talent… heck 10 years ago and we would be ecstatic that they have spent this much money! ‘Nobody’ made a good point earlier that we have given up a ton of talent in the last few years, yet we still have solid prospects on the rise… now had we not traded many of those players we probably would have the top system in baseball…but then we probably would not have a top team in the Majors and we must remember that is really what this is about… We still rate as a top system especially in the lower minors for talent. It would be nice to see some of that skill move up to the higher levels of the system. This year was not an overly exciting draft class, so why break the bank on less than exciting talent…Now from what I have heard next year is supposed to be a bumper crop in talent… so if we get extra picks (Werth, etc) and make some good choices I would expect that we should find some diamonds next year that will re-stock the cupboards quite quickly, if we don’t trade them away… I guess that is where this whole dilemma revolves, trying to have a perennial pennant contender in the major leagues without having to trade the kids on the farm and letting them grow up as they need to fit into the emerging ML whole… that is the juggling act…I still give them high marks from where we were to where we are now!

  93. If I were Frazier, I wouldn’t have settled for 6 figures either. Judging by the 2010 bonus figures, $1 million seems to be less than the going rate for a pitcher of his caliber. He probably should’ve asked for about $1.4 really…If he were my kid, I definitely wouldn’t let him sign for 6 figures.

    I’m starting to think at least one of the major decision makers,(Monty?) is just out of touch with 2010 amateur finances. Even from a purely greed-driven standpoint, those bonuses are excellent investments and smart business. Obviously, the Phillies missed out on signing many(most?) of their most talent draft picks because they were unwilling to spend the going rate. These kids weren’t asking for anything outrageous; they just weren’t going to sign for less than market value. “Slot” obviously isn’t “market value” in this broken system.

    The Phillies were big-time losers in the 2010 draft.

  94. “The Phillies were big-time losers in the 2010 draft”

    These comments crack me up. You can’t truly judge a draft for 4-5 years. So if they gave Frazier $1.4 million, would they have been winners? How about if they gave him the money and he turned into the next Carlton Loewer?

    No one knows who a winner and a loser is at this point. It is NOT based on the amount of money you spend. Just an utterly ridiculous comment.

  95. No way you can say that Baxter until at least 2 years out. Just because the Phillies Scouts did not think that Frazier’s Potential was 1.4 mil or 2.4 mil or 4.4 mil assured
    does not make the Philies Big Time Losers in the 2010 Draft.

  96. Nobody,

    I don’t think the most critical comments are directed at you. I don’t agree with everything you say, but you usually make a reasonable case. The problem is the more extreme and usually unsupported comments of certain posters who will remain nameless, as I try to respect our host’s injunctions regarding nasty comments.

  97. Any chance the Phillies use money allocated towards Frazier and make a run at Barrett Loux on Spetember 1st??? The 6th overall pick, 6’5″, 23o lbs RHP with mid 90’s speed after 100 pitches according to scouting reports…was just made a free agent after the diamondbacks were scared off by health issues, although rumored to be more of a financial move because of ownership and next years draft depth. Albeit expensive, 2 million was the deal he made with arizona before they balked, the phillies are a better franchise, the kid gets to choose his destination, and it would give us more depth in the system scheduled @ 2013 when we will need more help on the mound. Just a thought…

  98. Regarding where the Phillies’ minor league system is ranked, most people/organizations who rank the organizations don’t update during the year. There is widespread agreement – not just among Phillies’ fans, but among the national press – that the performance of Phillies’ prospects this year has significantly increased their ranking – someone, I forget who, or at least one person, put them in the top 5. That was before the Brown call up, but really it’s kind of arbitrary to bash the system because their best prospect is now in the majors. Certainly MANY experts have heaped praise on the Phillies’ lower level prospects, and I think that even after the Amaro trade, the lower levels of the the system are top 5, maybe even #1. That’s mitigated a bit by a dearth of talent at the upper levels, but even without Brown there is some talent there, with Rizz turning himself into a real (if marginal) prospect.s and 3-4 pitchers with a good shot at Major League careers, albeit mostly as relievers.

  99. Barret Loux would be a massive injury risk with labrum tearing and elbow issues. He’ll essentially be out for at least 1 year and it’s not like Tommy John, you don’t know if he can recover from it.

  100. We failed to sign BOTH of our non-hometown discount/below slot top 10 prep picks. How can you say this “draft will be okay if we sign A and B” then still say its okay when we fail to sign them? I’m not criticizing anyone but the Phillies here, but as a fan, I feel more than entitled to complain when we fail to sign a substantial portion of our top picks.

    I thought this draft was alright until I saw the bonus figures paid by teams around the league. Frazier was right to demand more than 1M and the Phillies were wrong not to pay him. The current Phillies draft approach is outdated in need of an overhaul. They need a “Joe Banner type” to get their finances straight, because they are wasting valuable resources left and right. Instead of using their current leverage to pull ahead of the pack, they’re comfortable sitting back and letting their competitors even the playing field.

    Brenton Allen and Scott Frazier might’ve been my two favorite picks in this draft, and the Phillies could’ve had them both for the cost of Greg Dobbs…who was just released. Allen wasn’t just another “toolshed”, he had a compact, powerful stroke and very mature approach at the plate. For about a million bucks, Frazier could’ve been the centerpiece of a deadline deal to put us over the top in a couple years. Its just bad business.

    Who else DIDN’T we get? Most of the players we were excited about…
    Chad Thompson – My #1 favorite pick in this draft
    John Hinson – guess we’ll have to spend a 3rd pick on him
    Daniel Palka – best bat we selected
    James Hodgskin – most advanced prep pitcher
    Tyler Ross – LSU’s new backstop

    among others…no I wasn’t kidding. I’m excited about the players we signed, but I’m not satisfied with them. We didn’t go after a lot of expensive players and definitely could’ve afforded to sign a few more of these guys.

  101. Seems we have two extreme groups here, bottom line, all other things equal (scouting departments), spending more does net you more, obviously at the cost of your total “baseball” budget, be it coaching, resigning players, or aquiring new ones (via trade or FA).

    My thoughts (which I think are reasonable) … has everything to do with opportunity cost, you have X number of dollars to spend to run a franchise, in order to max out my odds of winning the WS, I need to evaluate how close I am and how long I will be that close.

    If I am close to being WFC, then perhaps I will spend 99% of my available cash on improving and maintaining the current roster and coaches (MLB level)… and so long as I think my current MLB team has a chance, I think I’ll keep that % very high.

    If however I feel like my current team as constructed is not so close to being WFC maybe I will spend only 97% of my budget on my MLB team (or less… ahemm Nationals)

    I think it’s pretty obvious the phillies are pretty much contenders for the title of WFC’s. So, the fact that such a signficant % of the phillies budget is dedicated to winning, and doing it now should suprise no one.

    The phillies got 11 million back when they got Oswalt, and that was likely the only way they could get him (and stay in budget) Yes, even the yankees have a budget, and no the phillies are not f’ing cheap, so lets just keep those comments to yourself. So obviously they’ve pretty much maxed out the amount of money they have to spend (say 155 million though I really have no idea).

    Now, onto the fact that they spent “only” 3.5 million on the draft… not a great sum, did they get some good players, absolutely. It was a decent not great. I’d say B- if I had to give out a grade.

    The question I have for you all is this. No Roy Oswalt at the deadline, but they can spend 9 million in this years draft.

    Do it or not?

    I personally say HELLLLLL no… The phillies can win a title this year, next year, or the year after with the players they have and some tweaking year to year. Even if 1 of their 3 SP’s gets injured over an extended period of time they will still not be SOL. At the end of that 3 years (and as everyone has admitted) they have some pretty good players who should be about to hit the MLB level.

    Maybe we all forget the last 110 years (or whatever it is) but the phillies (and other teams) don’t uasually win with regularity. Having a 5 year window now is pretty supreme. And just to top this all off, it’s not like they’ve completely demolished their system along the way.

    I get it guys, we’re here on this site for “Phuture” phillies, but this is all about winning at the MLB level, and that my friends, the phillies have been and will likely continue to do more in this period then any in their history. Enjoy it.

  102. guru…I am aware of the injury risk with barrett loux, but the phillies have shown patience with damaged goods before, colby shreve, and shreve was never projected as a top 6 pick when healthy. I am merely proposing a $ 2 million investment for a player who is projected as a top of the rotation starter and is closer to the majors than most of our system tomorrow if signed and allowed the winter to be examined and recover from whatever procedure may be necessary. It is an interesting possibility, one I would at least kick the tires on.

  103. You want to give $2 million to a guy with a labrum tear AND elbow issues? I don’t think you understand what you’re saying.
    Pitchers rarely regain their form after a torn labrum(Joe Savery, Kris Benson) and those “elbow issues” could mean a tommy john surgery, which takes about 18 months for a full recovery. Unfortunately, I would bet on Barret Loux NEVER playing in the major leagues.

  104. Personally if my son was frazier, or allen I would have told the agentsto tell he phillies not to draft me, the phillies dont want to go a lot over slot, then dont draft me is what I would hve told them. and in the future more kids are going to not want them to draft them if they keep to there low bonus money, why should frazier take less than a million when he is rated 85 and the 103 rated kids get 1.3 million.

  105. Great logic. Workman was top 20 rated, and he only got 800k. So how does that impact the 85th rated player?

  106. mikemike you are being silly — Every team out there had a shot at those two guys multiple times. You have no idea how many other teams would have paid either more/less for their services. The Phils have paid over slot before, and they’ll do it again.

    If you tell the agent to tell the Phils ‘not to draft player X’ the Phils still have a strategic reason to draft that player if they are still available in the late rounds. The phils are then blocking that player from going to another team and forcing the player to only negotiate with the Phils vs go to school. Personally, if I am in the father, and my son has a chance to play professional ball, and get paid in the hundreds of 1000s of dollars versus go to college I’m encouraging him playing professional ball every single time.

  107. We would like to have the Phillies spend more in the Draft.

    They have the money, there is no LINKAGE to Dobbs’ money or Baez money.
    Apples and Oranges.

    They made a decision about the Risk / Reward of Frazier it could be a good decision or a bad one, time will tell.

    In the last 6 years, no one, no one, that the Phillies Drafted and did not open the cash drawer to, made it to the Majors or High Minors. On top of that, who knows if a kid wanted to have College as a experience and was not going to sign.

    ERGO every single decision in the last 6 years vis a vis money has been correct.

    Anyone all chips in on signing Drew and taking his injury riddled Hot and Cold Career?

  108. Regarding what Frazier’s perceived peers received: What other players received as bonuses, is irrelevant. What matters is the value the team places on the likelihood of the player reaching his potential. The team pays who they think is worth paying. It does not matter what other players received, because the teams pay based on what they think you are worth, not what BA thinks you’re worth.
    As for future picks, who’s silly/stupid parents tell the Phillies not to draft them, that happens all of the time. That information gets out. That is how guys like Cosart last until the 38th round, instead of being drafted in the 2nd like they should have. Then the player who really wants to sign has to sweat out 550k, when he would’ve received that to begin with if he kept his mouth shut.
    If I have any problem with the way the Phillies handled the Frazier situation, it’s that they drafted him in the first place. They should have known it would take a fortune to pry an 18 year old away from the Pepperdine campus.

  109. baxter,

    What you lack is PROPORTION. As for Frazier, it isn’t accurate to say that the market for him was 7 figures. The market was all over the place, with some higher rated similarly situated players getting less. You’re cherry picking some signings which were for more. Maybe those signings should have been the guide, maybe not, I don’t know – I sure HOPE that signing guys like him for 7 figures doesn’t become the “market” price.* It certainly hasn’t been in the past, and on balance isn’t yet.

    As for the other guys, you’re ALWAYS going to be able to make a list of guys that you like who didn’t get signed. But was it a good draft ON BALANCE? Obviously you think not, but making a list of guys you wished they had signed doesn’t prove that, or anything really. Even you admit they signed guys you liked. Certainly nothing you have said, and nothing in reality, supports your extreme “big-time losers”statement.

    *I do think it’s fairly clear that teams are starting to lean more towards spending more in the draft and less for free agents. Ironically, while this may be a rational reaction to the CURRENT market, it will likely at some point create a situation where spending more for FAs and less in the draft becomes a good strategy. You generally want to be one step ahead of the herd on these issues – but sometimes being one step behind is the second best strategy. Especially in this case where you have a good scouting/development team to make up for somewhat conservative drafting/bonus strategies. Okay, maybe I’m being too counterintuitive here, but let’s keep in mind that guys like Frazier with third round talent have a much less than 50% chance even make the major leagues, and even less chance of stardom. Is gambling a million dollars on a guy like that a good move? Maybe, but I wouldn’t say that it’s a slam dunk.

  110. yeah silly that what they did when they drafed drew and didnt sign him, wasted a really high pick, sorry dont buy the logic that agents arent going to advise the phillies not to pick there clients, unless they are willing to pay more than slot, yes on a couple of kids they have, I would advise my son to sign if the money if there, does anyone blame frazier after seeing the bonus giving out that he wanted a million. and didnt sign, workman got 500000 more by going to school, gibson got more by going to school and not taking low ball figures they want to give kids, if the market says you must pay more then you do it or get out plain and simple.Workman is a four year junior not a 18 year old kid, this kid has more chances to get with a organization that will pay him, workman couldnt improve his postition that much and he was gambling almost 800,000 and one year to improve his stock versus injury.

  111. Peter Tago, who I liked as a 1st round possibility, was ranked in the top 50. He received a 900k bonus. If you are going to cherry pick the 103 ranked player as justification that Frazier should get 1 million, how do reconcile that with the higher rated High schoolers who received less? Those who are making that (market rate) argument are not making any sense.

  112. Mike Mike.

    In 1997 Scott Boras advised J.D. Drew not to accept the Phillies 3 Million Dollar Offer.

    We were lucky he did not accept J.D. Drew is one of the highest earning/lowest consistent achievers in Major League History.

    I guess folks would say…”The Phillies should have saved the money you spent on Ricky Botallico and given it to J.D. Drew.” lol

  113. The market for HS pitchers ranked above and below Frazier was clearly between $750K and $1.3M. This covered at least 9 or 10 guys. I think based on Frazier’s ranking his agent was demanding market value as long as he was between $750K and $1M.

    And Brandon Workman can’t be a comp for Frazier. He was a college Junior. Completely different leverage factors at work.

    The vehement defense of the Phillies clear lack of spending in the draft relative to the rest of MLB is pure homerism.

    In June everybody assumed that Frazier would get done. Now it’s no big deal he wasn’t? How quickly some folks are to rationalize away the lack of an impact draft.

  114. SirAlden
    Very true about Drew but the Phillies still passed on Glaus who was drafted next.

  115. Has nothing to do with “Homerism”. I wanted them to sign Frazier too, but it was reported that wanted a million to sign. If that is the case, I don’t blame them for not signing him to an unreasonable contract. I blame them for drafting him without knowing what it would take to sign a Pepperdine recruit. They did the right thing in refusing to give a 3rd round talent 1st round money.
    The “homerism” response in a sports debate is just a lazy way of arguing a point of view that can’t stand on it’s own.

  116. How did they ‘pass’ on Glaus? I do not remember. Passed in that he was drafted next?

  117. Labrum tear is the worst injury a pitcher can get. No wonder the DBacks backed away from Barret Loux.

  118. So you think the Phillies made a mistake with Frazier? At least by drafting him? Personally, I think he was an excellent draft selection that was wasted by not being signed. Although I wanted Allen, Hinson, Palka, Ross, etc signed, I was always able to deal with them not signing as long as the Phillies loaded up with top pitching…and Biddle and Frazier were always 1 and 1A in that regard.

    I am not sure what Top 100 level HS pitcher they would have gotten signed in the Top 10 rounds for less than around $800K to $1M. The going market rate for a HS pitcher in Frazier’s range was clearly established between $750K and $1.3M. This was established by at least 10 HS pitchers ranked just above and below him. The lazy way out is to use Brandon Workman (a college Junior) as a comp instead of doing the homework to see what the HS guys were getting.

    You can say Frazier isn’t worth the money. Maybe he wasn’t. Maybe none of those HS pitchers will amount to anything. However, considering the Phillies didn’t give out any large overslot deals to any of the difficult signings (Allen, Hinson, Palka, Ross, etc)…and considering that Jesse Biddle was maybe the easiest 1st round signing ever…it does not seem unreasonable to me to believe that the Phillies should have paid market rate for Frazier…even if that was up to $1M dollars.

  119. Mike77, re: you taking issue with the Phillies drafting Frazier in light of his commitment to Peperdine – John Pettibone had a commitment to Peperdine, and he ended up signing. A chance to make high six figures and play for a team that was in the last two World Series is a nice temptation for a college kid. I wish they’d signed him, but I certainly don’t fault them for drafting him.

  120. Mike77,

    I have been a little confused by your stance today. I went back and looked at the 2010 draft thread. You made several posts including comments like…

    – Frazier getting “at least” $650K
    – You ranked the “important” tough signs as (1)Frazier, (2)Thompson, (3)Walter, (4) Hodgskin
    – You saw Frazier, Allen, Walter, and Thompson signed as overslots
    – The Phillies would sign 1 of Thompson / Hodgskin but not both
    – You hoped they went over their normal $4M budget

    So basically almost everything you wanted / expected / hoped did not happen. Yet here you are today defending the Phillies draft decisions and their lack of overslot signings. Everything you wanted, but never happened, is now somehow rationalized away.

    I have been pretty consistent from June that Frazier was a key signing. I have consistently said I expected him to be an August 16th signing and that he was key to the Phillies getting a draft grade better than just average. I never changed. The Phillies did far less than I expected…I guess shame on me for expecting them to change. I see no positive way to portray the failure to sign Frazier as part of this draft class.

    There is a poster over on PhilliesPhans called Blue Bat Day that said yesterday as soon as the Walter signing was announced that the Phillies went to Walter as their backup plan for Frazier and that as soon as Walter signed the Frazier deal was as good as dead. The Phillies had no plans to sign Frazier after that point and just strung it out for the sake of the fans. I hoped yesterday that he was being overly pessimistic. However he nailed it I think.

    You and I were mostly on the same page leading up to August 16th. Now you are the one singing a different tune.

  121. Nobody,

    Look, disappointment about Frazier is understandable – what I think many of us are objecting to is the extreme nature of some reactions. In that sense, you aren’t the worst offender but you’re still IMO disproportionate. The late signs were good ones, as were some of the early signs even if they weren’t as difficult financially. For Frazier and some of the others, we STILL don’t know the details of what was asked and offered. On Frazier, setting aside the market price issue – and I still think the market was not as clear cut as you state – what is pretty clear is that it would have taken a lot more to sign him than the Phillies – and any of us – expected. There’s a lot of room between 650 K or even 800 K and 1 million.

    Which is at the same time at least a reason to temper any criticism, and perhaps even to question the wisdom of giving him that much. Or not; it’s just, in context, not as obvious or as egregious a failure on the part of the organization as you (and others, even more so) claim.

    On top of that, there’s a LOT we don’t know. Maybe the organization was looking forward to next year – the compensation picks from Werth, plus a deeper draft – and was saving money for that draft. I will say this – and please quote me on this if it comes to pass – I’ll be MUCH more critical of the team if they don’t significantly increase draft spending NEXT year, given those two considerations. Of course that’s speculation too. It isn’t a reason to refrain from all criticism of the organization – but is a reason to temper such criticism.

  122. Really, some guy named “blue Bat day” is an expert on the Phillies behind the scenes negotiations?


  123. Nobody,
    What I wanted to happen has not been rationalized away. I just said in my previous post, that I wanted Frazier signed. That doesn’t change the fact that they shouldn’t pay the guy 1million if they don’t believe he is worth it.
    As far as being disappointed by them not signing the other players, I am mildly disappointed. I would have liked them to sign 5 of the over slot guys. They only signed 3. I am not crying over it because I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE PLAYERS WERE ASKING FOR.
    They signed Pointer for MORE than what I thought it would take to get Allen. They signed Musser instead of Frazier. Wish they could have gotten two more of the pitchers. They didn’t.
    Why should I rant about spending, when I don’t know what the player’s intentions were or what they asked for as bonuses.
    You don’t get it. I don’t care what they spend as long as they seem to keep hitting on a large percentage of the players they do sign (Brown, James, Villar, Singleton, Cosart, Colvin, Knapp, May). I’ll save my rants for when they don’t have the players to prove they know what they are doing.

  124. 3up3kkk,

    I find it ironic that a guy whose internet handle is 3up3kkk wants to mock a guy chose an internet handle of Blue Bat Day. What are you 12? Who cares what a person calls themselves? The content of their comments should be the judge. You may have more insight than him, you may have less. In this case, in my opinion, the guy made a point that I think has more truth to it than some might want to let themselves believe.

  125. LarryM and Mike77,

    Fair enough. I respect the comments of everybody here, even when I disagree. I don’t claim to own the correct evaluation of the Phillies draft class. And it is true that we are missing critical inside information for me to level too harsh a criticism at the Phillies…but also to make too strong a defense of a Phillies as well.

    I’ve made my position pretty clear. I thought the 50 selections were mostly excellent. Yet I don’t think they were capitalized on enough. I think the Phillies draft budget is short sighted…especially after a period in which 20 Top 100 level prospects in the system have been traded, released, or are failing. And I think the meager draft budget is short sighted in relation to their direct peers in the NL East (except maybe the Mets) and most of their peers in MLB. I do not think expecting your scouts to be smarter than everybody else is a sound and sustainable long term strategy.

    And most importantly the current major league club was not built from “hidden” draft gems found late and at bargain prices. This is not 1993’s team. These guys at the MLB level aren’t a bunch of gruff but loveable castoffs and retreads from other organizations or obscure low level draft picks that were developed and emerged over years. The current team is a collection of thoroughbred race horses mostly drafted at the highest levels of the MLB draft.

    So when individuals point to the past and say “Look at what they’ve done”, “everything will work out just fine”, “they deserve our trust”, or something to that effect, I seriously question whether they understand the full scale and scope of the fact the Phillies are entering totally uncharted and unproven territory at it relates to the direction of the farm system…and this is a direction that have not been proven that it will eventually succeed or fail at the MLB level.

    We will eventually find out how the current science project turns out.

  126. Nobody, I’m not mocking his chosen name any more than I’m mocking yours. What’s actually ironic is that you try to make a point about insulting posters by insulting me.

    My issue is that citing this guy by his “handle” as evidence to support your case is absurd. Does he have some insider information? Is he really Rubin Amaro under an assumed name? Until you offer something more than some guy on some other blog with a cool handle says this is what happened, I’ll have stick with the fact that neither or I know what was discussed within the Phillies FO or between the team and players.

    Just a word of friendly advice. Just because some anonomous person posts something on the internet as fact doesn’t make it so. Unless there is some additional evidence that this person has inside information he’s just another fan speculating on why the Phillies signed one guy over the other. Maybe his speculation make sense to you so you choose to believe it, that’s fine, your welcome to your opinion.

    But pointing to this person as a “source” to back up your argument is silly. For all either of us know, “Blue Bat Day” may be 12!!!

  127. 3up3kkk,

    I never claimed or suggested he had inside information. I shared his observation and said I think he was correct. You overreacted.

    The real problem here is that this thread is about 85% positive of what the Phillies did, following the tenor of James mostly positive take on the draft…although he did raise some questions. I have no problems with that. I realize it is based on the past track record.

    Normally I would also give the Phillies the benefit of the doubt, but not after the last 24 months. You don’t trade for the caliber of the 5 MLB pitchers the Phillies got without it creating major gaps in the farm system. I think this draft was different…or should have been different. I feel the same way about 2011 and 2012.

    But I do get the sense that while absolute enthusiasm for what the Phillies did in this thread does not seem to require any tempering or corrections…any criticism of what they did most certainly does have to be tempered or “controlled.” Any real or biting criticism of how the Phillies handled their signings is practically anathema.

    I’m just not going to pretend I think the Phillies did anything more than meet the most basic minimum requirements of getting guys signed. And yeah, I find that very disappointing based on the circumstances. I am not going to change that view even if that puts me in the minority.

  128. Just did a quick read of Law’s article on Espn.com wrapping up the AL draft. For those wishing more spending on the draft…The Blue Jays spent 10mil, Cleveland 8.5 mil and Texas 7mil. That does not count the Angels, Yanks or Sox (red). Wow we are really behind many teams

  129. How many top-50 picks did those teams have as compared to the Phillies? I know that Texas had 2-3 extra picks in the 1st 2 rounds as did the Red Sox.

  130. Nobody,

    But the praise IS tempered. For example, I think just about everyone agrees that they would like the Phillies to spend more in the draft. Moreover, several people sticking up for the organization in this thread, myself included, have been critical of other aspects of the organization in the past (e.g., certain FA signings). I’d add that IMO given the organization’s success, it’s perfectly reasonable the the “default” position is that the organization is doing a good job. That shouldn’t foreclose criticism, but it should, again, IMO temper it.

    On a more substantive level, your point about the need for the organization to reload after trading away so many prospects has some merit – but again, some context is needed. Despite those losses, the system is far from barren. I might even say loaded, at least at the lower levels. Not so much with position prospects – though I still think that Brown will be a star, and it’s silly to ignore him just because he graduated to the major league team – but with tons of high upside pitchers. And honestly I’d rather have that than a ton of position players, since I think that acquiring position players in other ways (FA, etc.) is somewhat easier than acquiring pitching (because starting pitching is so overvalued in the FA market). Which brings up the other reason why your criticism is … not so much wrong, but excessive. There are other avenues of talent acquisition, especially for a high payroll team like the Phillies.

    On top of that, and maybe this isn’t entirely fair, but I think some of us are reacting in part to the fact that others in this thread, and in other threads, constantly are SO over the top in their criticism of the organization that we’re a little sick of the excess, and therefore have little patience for it.

  131. This is a theory I have, what if the Phillies do spend as much as the other Top 10 teams in the league on the draft? While they are on the bottom for bonuses, what if they just have more/pay their scouts more? We always praise Phillies scouting, what if thats their way of spending on the draft? It would make sense on finding the hidden gems, and with a better scouting department, they can be used at times to scout major league teams, or their minors for good trades. I don’t have inside information, just a theory.

  132. I have enjoyed reading the comments on this website, but sometimes the arguments assume alot, on both sides, that we can’t substantiate. Can’t we just agree to disagree without some of the negative fibes! But, just to play devils advocate, what about these statements:
    When the Phils signed Baez, Lidge or Romero weren’t certain to be ready to start the regular season, Lidge had a terrible 2009 and Madson had shown that filling in at closer was not as easy as it looked. Baez had previous experience @ closer and appeared to be rebounding from a previous dip in performance? Chan Ho Park was offered more money, by the Phillies, refused it, then took less to play for the Yankees & eventually was released. Honestly I don’t like Baez either, but who knew when he was signed, he would be this bad??
    Maybe the Phillies weren’t agressive with Frazier because they have some pretty decent RHP’s in the lower part of their farm system. So many in fact that they might have trouble finding innings for all of them @ Clrw, Lkwd & Wilspt?
    My point? These decisions don’t happen in a vacuum and none of us are part of the Phillies player personnel inner circle. I for one trust the recent results! You can call me a homer, if you want but I’m more interested in seeing what happens to the draft picks we did sign! Everyone will have plenty of time to compare & contrast in the next 3 yrs., based on results, not speculation. Must we rush to be right!

  133. Larry M., I do not think anyone has gone over the top with their criticism of this organization on this thread. People have a right to question why a large market team does not use more of their resources in the draft. I am a Phillies fan and I acknowledge how wonderful their recent string of success has been. But that does not mean fans cant be dissapointed to see such little emphasis put on the draft. There seem to be a school of stepfords developing that feel any criticism directed at all towards the organization is unwarranted. I didn’t have a problem with the Phillies reaching on Biddle at 27 because of signability because I assumed they would use some of the money saved on that pick to put back into to going over slot in later rounds, when that didn’t happen I became disenchanted with their draft as a whole. Immediate reaction to their draft imo is it lacks impact. Which tends to happen when you dont spend money. I could be proven wrong in time, but right now thats my judgement.

  134. I agree that pitching is the most critical component of remaining competetive in the future. So I also value it much higher than positional players. So if the Phillies didn’t want to spend $1M on RHP Frazier, they could have spent the money on LHP Jimmy Hodgskin. I am not sure what Hodgskin would have cost…I am guessing between $400K and $600K.

    That would have made me just as happy. They didn’t “have” to spend $1M on Frazier if they didn’t think he was worth it…even if that was market price for him based on his peer signings. But it would have been nice to have some of that money rolled into another draft pick like Hodgskin. I find it hard to believe that after Frazier the Phillies didn’t have any other unsigned draft picks they felt weren’t worth signing.

    Either way, we are stuck in the same circular loop. It’s clear the Phillies had a hard draft budget that is lower than most of the other clubs in MLB. And it is clear they believe it is better to end up under than budget than exceed it. Right or wrong that decision lies squarely at the feet of management. Amaro, Montgomery, and Giles.

  135. I must believe that the Phillies had some direct contact with Frazier before the draft, at least to know what he was thinking in terms of money.

    What if like Hinson they had a number, or at least a range of up to a million dollars and after the draft Frazier saw what the Pirates, and the Nationals, and the Tigers were doing and raised his price sky high wanting more that Biddle got, maybe even twice as much?

    In this Hypothetical Scenario – the Phillies would have to say we are not going above Biddle’s offer.

    I have seen the Pepperdine Campus incredibly beautiful on the ocean – green shaded – looking down onto the beach and surf – covered with California Girls going to and fro. Would you trade 4 years of that, 4 years of BMOC for a Million Dollars? Not me.

  136. Just wanted to add that last year I think they should have paid Susac and Stewart both $1M to get them signed if that is what it took. I still stand by that and think we will eventually regret one or the other if not both. Stewart hasn’t started so well at Standford but Susac is emerging as a potential star C. Obviously it it too early to say what they will look like by the time the 2012 draft rolls around.

    List of guys I wish the Phillies had paid to sign…

    2007 – Brandon Workman
    2008 – Johnny Coy, Keon Broxton
    2009 – Jake Stewart, Andrew Susac
    2010 – Scott Frazier, Daniel Palka, Jimmy Hodgskin

  137. “… and most importantly the current major league team was not built on hidden draft day gems”

    Tha statement makes it seem like the current team is made up of nothing but Phillies’ 1st round picks and bonus babies. You keep implying that the team is living off their 1st and 2nd round “hits” between ’96 and ’03. The Phillies only have 3 of those players on the 25 man roster. Hamels, Utley and Rollins are the only players that fit the characterization that you have made up. Ryan Howard didn’t even get slot for a bonus. He was essentially a lesser Gauntlett Eldemire. Ruiz signed for 8k. Victorino was a rule 5.
    All of the other ‘high round studs’ that are on the team, were signed as Free agents or traded for. Werth was a scrap heap pickup. Lidge, Blanton, Halladay and Oswalt were traded for. The current team was not built entirely through the draft.
    Additionally, it would be logical to assume that the system would be decimated by trades that netted practically the entire pitching staff. It’s not. The system is stronger now than when they started this trading spree in 2008. Brown, Cosart, Colvin and Singleton is stronger than Cardenas, Carrasco, Marson and Outman.
    Please stop with the system has been decimated in the last 24 months. Its better at the top and deeper.

  138. mike77 says: The system is stronger now than when they started this trading spree in 2008. Brown, Cosart, Colvin and Singleton is stronger than Cardenas, Carrasco, Marson and Outman. Please stop with the system has been decimated in the last 24 months. Its better at the top and deeper.
    I seriously disagree. I think you are using hindsight to say that. At one time most of us were excited about Cardenas, Carrasco, Marson, and Outman. That’s because they hadn’t advanced far enough yet to prove they were going to be just average or flame out. Outside of Dom Brown…who actually proved himself at the AA and AAA levels…I think there is way too much counting of chickens before the eggs hatch right now. To listen to some comments the Phillies are going to eventually field the entire NL All Star team from their Rookie and A levels. Maybe. Maybe none of the guys we like best now will make it.

    P.S…The draft was used to acquire former #1 picks of other teams. Net, net is that the turn of this franchise that happened starting in 2006 and continuing thru today was a result of a pile of blue chip prospects taken in the earliest rounds of the draft.

    It WAS NOT a result of a bunch of lower level gems found by Phillies scouts like so many today are assuming will work just fine. Maybe it will, but it is a completely different approach to building the future than what was used to build the present.

  139. @nobody…I honestly hadn’t thought about the guys from past years that didn’t sign. Hindsight being what it is, I would’ve loved that the Phillies had signed Workman too. I looked up Coy’s stats at Wichita State and was mildly impressed. Hard to tell with college numbers, but he’s already at his second college in as many years. Broxton’s numbers are less than impressive as he’s now in the Diamondbacks organization. We have enough toolsy CF’s in the system to regret losing one that strikes out almost 1/3 PA’s. Too early to tell with the 2009/10 lists.

    At any rate, I guess I’m more in the wait and see mode and can’t really understand why folks are jumping down the organizations collective throat less than 48 hours after the signing deadline past. Yes, they didn’t spend as much as some other teams in the league. Yes, it would be great if they spent more. It would also be great if they won a World Series this year. If they decided to spend more money on the big league team this year to attain that goal then I’m all for it. If they are taking that money and pocketing it, then as a fan I’m pretty disappointed. Since I don’t know which of these is happening, I’m not going to assume the worst. I guess it just depends on if you’re a conspiracy theorist or not.

  140. Nobody,

    In terms of your evaluation of the current state of the minor league organization, your opinion is contrary not just to the fans on this thread, but to scouts & the national press. We’ve heard nothing but praise this year, especially the A level prospects. Even notorious Phillie “hater” Keith Law (no, I don’t think he really is, but that’s his rep on this board) has praised the minor league operation & talent level. Now OF COURSE those guys could flame out. But you could ALWAYS say that about ANY organization. I agree that some people here over hype Phillies prospects – not just now, but always – but that doesn’t mean that they prospects aren’t good. (Just like the ravings of some of the more over the top critics of the organization on this board don’t necessarily invalidate YOUR somewhat more reasonable, though still IMO excessive, criticism. :))

    As for how the current team was constructed … I won’t repeat what mike77 said, but of course he is correct and the reality is more nuanced than you would have it. But even more to the point, even if you were correct – there are MANY ways to construct winning teams. This Phillies’ team has more guys drafted originally by the team than most (or more value from draftees than most), even if they were’t all the round 1 to 3 studs that you mistakenly claim. MOST contending teams aren’t built quite that way. Of COURSE it’s important to draft well and develop players internally. But if the Phillies fail to (say) repeat the success of the early to mid 2000’s, in terms of popping out 4 star/superstar level players in a fairly short period of time, they can still win. Coming up with an Utley, a Hamels and a Howard in succesive years, to say nothing of Rollins earlier, is unusual – very unusual – and to expect that to happen again is not reasonable. Which isn’t to say that we wouldn’t like it to happen, or that there is no cause for concern at all (I personally think that even assuming continued good organizational decision making, a couple down years in, say, 2014 to 2015, is likely). But it IS to say that the fact that the Phillies may not be duplicating exactly the pattern of success of the current team does not justify your sky is falling attitude.

  141. “Larry M., I do not think anyone has gone over the top with their criticism of this organization on this thread.”

    Your joking, right? Set aside you and Nobody, who are IMO over the top but are at least arguing rationally. Look at some of the comments by the usual suspects – I won’t name names to avoid the personal attacks that PP hates, but we all know who I’m talking about – can you honestly say that they aren’t over the top? Really?

  142. “I seriously disagree. I think you are using hindsight to say that. At one time most of us were excited about Cardenas, Carrasco, Marson, and Outman. That’s because they hadn’t advanced far enough yet to prove they were going to be just average or flame out. Outside of Dom Brown…who actually proved himself at the AA and AAA levels…I think there is way too much counting of chickens before the eggs hatch right now. To listen to some comments the Phillies are going to eventually field the entire NL All Star team from their Rookie and A levels. Maybe. Maybe none of the guys we like best now will make it.”

    You lost me with this one. Are you trying to argue that the system was stronger several years ago because all of these guys were highly-liked prospects who hadn’t had the opportunity to prove themselves yet but the current players in A-ball aren’t as good because they haven’t proven themselves yet?

    Its not hindsight to look at those players today and realize that most, if not all, of the players traded turned out to not be future stars as was thought back when the trades were made. If memory serves, there were many on this site convinced that Keith Law hates the Phillies because he didn’t fawn over guys like Drabek or Donald.

    The system appears stronger today than it was a couple of years ago because most people who evaluate talent for a living (outside of the organization) rank the Phillies system higher today than they did a couple of years ago. Now maybe all of those highly ranked players in today’s system don’t turn out to be stars either but at that point, the argument would then be that today’s system is no better than it was in 2007/2008.

    With all due deference to your personal opinion, the Keith Law’s and BBA’s of the world disagree with you on the comparible strength of the organization then vs. now.

  143. The sky is definitely not falling, although as I said I do have concerns about the sheer volume of top prospects traded over the last 24 months, combined with the poor results from Savery, Hewitt, Collier, and the forfeiture of the 2009 1st rounder.

    On a more positive note…

    I checked the numbers, and wanted to clarify something I questioned yesterday, namely the ages of the clubs at GCL and Williamsport. The GCL and Williamsport clubs are about middle of the pack in relation to average ages of the clubs compared to their competition…about 6 months older than the very youngest teams. The Lakewood team has the youngest collection of position players in the SALLY and even after adding in the average age of the pitchers they are still the 4th youngest team in the league.

    Those are really comforting statistics. That means for those who say that the Rookie, Low A, and A level clubs are loaded they are correct. This isn’t a case of older aged guys beating younger kids.

    AA and AAA still range between bad and putrid, but everybody should genuinely feel good about the lower levels.

  144. On the minor league rankings…I’ll withhold comment on that until after this season is over, Dom Brown graduates to the Majors for good going into 2011 and most of the new rankings are published by the services. Clearly the Phillies have a solid system, but just how good (based on the external evaluations remains to be seen.

  145. …this point may well have been made already but if RAJ’s rationale for the Lee trade was to reload the farm system, wouldn’t it follow that the Phillies would be in the upper echelon for draft spending? Perhaps Frazier had overpriced himself but had Thompson, Palka, Hodgskin, etc? The scouting staff seems to have had a decent record over the last decade, why not take advantage of their efforts?

  146. What does trading for prospects have to do with draft spending? If anything, trading for prospects is a cheap alternative to spending on the draft since their signing bonuses have already been paid by the drafting team. Their actual salaries are minimal..

  147. Larry M.- ok staying completely on topic and not arguing about criticisms of the org as a whole. At first glance, do you truely believe this was a good draft. I just can’t see saying that it was I dont absolve the Phillies from losing guys because they outprices themselves, I am sure there was enough info on a few of these guys to suggest what it would ake to sign them, even when considering fluctuations in the market. Good drafts can be made without giving out many seven figure bonuses, but it is extremely difficult to do.

  148. KLaw’s take is up seems to go with the overall consensus:

    Getty Images
    Both top picks — Harper and Taillon — signed, and both were good moves for the respective clubs.

    With the signing deadline past us, here’s a rundown of the draft classes for the 14 NL teams, with a quick note on winners at the end. If you missed it, take a look back at yesterday’s AL wrap as well.

    Arizona Diamondbacks
    The Diamondbacks lost their first-round pick when Barret Loux failed his physical; they’ll get a compensatory pick next year, but it put a dent in their 2010 draft class. They did spend to sign their 14th-rounder, UNC-bound outfielder Ty Linton, and seventh-rounder Tyler Green (a right-hander with a chance for two plus pitches but a high-effort delivery), but couldn’t land Massachusetts lefty Kevin Ziomek (headed for Vanderbilt) or North Carolina catcher Matt Roberts (headed for UNC). I like fourth-rounder Kevin Munson’s chances to be one of the first big leaguers from the class. Arizona will almost certainly have two picks in the top seven next year in what looks like the best first round crop since 2005, which will give them a chance to make a quick recovery from the Loux imbroglio.

    Atlanta Braves
    Atlanta was one of the lowest-spending teams in the draft this year at under $4 million total, especially when you consider their lack of a first-round pick; their biggest bonus payout was $800K to sandwich pick Matt Lipka, a middle infielder/wide receiver who was teammates with Dodgers’ first-round pick Zach Lee. Lipka is the best prospect in their crop, a surprisingly physical middle infielder with plus speed, quick hands, and good instincts. Beyond that they grabbed some good value with Andrelton Simmons, Dave Filak, Toledo closer Matt Suschak (whose draft stock probably dipped when Toledo made him a starter in April), and injured Notre Dame right-hander Evan Danieli. They took two tough signs late, Zack Alvord and Stefan Sabol, but didn’t sign either.

    Chicago Cubs
    Cubs’ scouting director Tim Wilken told people on draft day he would “shock the world” with his first pick, and they did, taking a six-foot right-hander from Division 2 Southern Arkansas, Hayden Simpson, whose velocity ticked up in his final two outings after he was sitting at 89-92 most of the spring. Third rounder Micah Gibbs was a small bargain both in draft position and bonus, but I was never a fan of second rounder Reggie Golden, who has tools but was overmatched by better pitching last summer. Despite signing all but one of their top 16 picks, the Cubs spent well under $4 million on the draft in total and didn’t land any tough signs. They took but did not sign Brian Harper, Bryce’s older brother, who could go in the top five rounds next year after he transfers to South Carolina.

    Cincinnati Reds
    The Reds went big with their first pick, taking and signing Yasmani Grandal to an over-slot bonus and a major league deal; he should move fairly quickly through their system and has to work primarily on hitting from the right side before he’s major-league ready. They gave sandwich-round money to sixth-rounder Drew Cisco, a right-hander from South Carolina with good command of a three-pitch mix; then gave third-round money to Kyle Waldrop, a high school outfielder/linebacker from Fort Myers with good bat speed and some pop but limited baseball experience. And scouts were very divided on Ryan LaMarre, an athletic centerfielder from Michigan who can run and has bat speed but was awful with the wood bat last year and doesn’t control the strike zone.

    Colorado Rockies
    The Rockies ended up one of the lower-spending teams after they couldn’t reach an agreement on a baseball-only contract with first-round pick Kyle Parker, instead signing him to a deal that allows him to play football at Clemson this fall but protects their investment if he should suffer an injury on the gridiron. They went heavy on non-traditional risks, taking Parker and another college QB, Russ Wilson, as well as low-slot right-hander Peter Tago and his makeup questions. Their one major over-slot signing after Parker was 15th-rounder Will Swanner, a raw defensive catcher with good offensive upside.

    Florida Marlins
    They hit a home run with Christian Yelich in the first round, going well over slot to land him, and followed up with a hard-throwing, four-pitch lefty in Rob Rasmussen, but after those two picks and J.T. Realmuto, a quarterback from Oklahoma (ten extra points in the eyes of Florida scouting director Stan Meek), their top bonus was $300,000 to Cal’s Mark Canha, a first baseman/left fielder with limited power. Two that got away: Fourth-rounder Andrew Toles, a center fielder with good speed but a questionable bat, headed to Tennessee; and 35th-round pick Taylor Ard, who hit well on the Cape this summer as he comes back from a wrist? injury; he’ll be a consideration in the top five rounds next year after he transfers to Washington State.

    Houston Astros
    The Astros spent some money on the draft, a welcome change from their 2007 draft disaster, and they tried to spend even more. Most of their picks signed well before the deadline, and they added Austin Wates for $550,000 on Monday night; Wates has a great swing and a track record of hitting, good plate discipline, and above-average speed, but at this point has no position because he played a lot of first base at Virginia Tech where his bat doesn’t profile. First-rounders Delino DeShields Jr., Mike Kvasnicka, and Mike Folyniewicz are all out playing in short-season leagues; DeShields has the most upside of the group with a simple swing, plus-plus speed, and a chance to be a plus glove in center. Two that got away: Adam Plutko, who could have had first-round money but wanted to pitch for UCLA; and Jacoby Jones, headed for LSU where he’ll get some much-needed exposure to better quality pitching.

    Los Angeles Dodgers
    They signed the unsignable Zach Lee to a five-year deal that spreads out his bonus payments, backloading it to squeeze it into the Dodgers’ limited budget for 2010. Lee had told scouts this spring that he intended to go to LSU to play football, and whether it was true or just a ploy for more money, he’s being well compensated for giving up his second sport. Beyond Lee, their only major payout was to 11th-rounder Joc Pederson, a corner outfielder who projects to have average power and will really have to hit for average to profile every day. They didn’t sign sixth-rounder Kevin Gausman, a hard-throwing right-hander from Colorado who had a disappointing spring and will be age-eligible after two years at LSU. It’s mostly Lee or bust here.

    Getty Images
    Les Miles’ loss could be the Los Angeles Dodgers’ gain.

    Milwaukee Brewers
    Their first-round pick, Dylan Covey, chose not to sign, leaving the Brewers with the lowest draft expenditure of any club; they didn’t give any player more than the $570,000 they gave Auburn RHP Jimmy Nelson in the second round, and spent roughly $2 million in total. The resulting draft class is very heavy on college performers like Nelson, a fastball-heavy pitcher with a very short slider; Tyler Thornburg, who’s touched 95 as a closer in the past; and Hunter Morris, a great college slugger who’s going to swing and miss a lot with wood. Tenth-rounder Rafael Neda is intriguing, with questions about how much of the catcher’s offensive performance came from the altitude in New Mexico. One other one who got away beyond Covey: 6-foot-3 lefty Daniel Gibson, now headed for the University of Florida, who’s touched 93 with a chance for two average or better secondary pitches.

    New York Mets
    The Mets were close to another draft disaster until they signed first-rounder Matt Harvey; after him, they didn’t’ give any player over $400,000, and stuck largely to safe, easier-sign college players. Two exceptions are 7th-rounder Greg Peavey, who showed four pitches and threw strikes in a successful stint on the Cape this summer, signed for $200,000; and 24th-rounder Erik Goeddel, a draft-eligible sophomore from UCLA who was 94-97 in relief at the end of the spring and chose pro ball over a chance to be the Sunday starter for the Bruins in 2011. They signed only one high school player, Akeel Morris of the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s really time for Mets ownership to recognize the competitive disadvantage they’ve created with such skimpy draft budgets.

    Philadelphia Phillies
    It’s a shockingly low-risk, low-upside draft after first-rounder Jesse Biddle and perhaps second-rounder Perci Garner, a former quarterback with a big arm but limited starting experience. They gambled on some potential relief arms late in Mike Nesseth, who has been mid-90s in the past with poor command but blew out his elbow this spring; and Tyler Knigge, a pop-up guy at Lewis and Clark State who started hitting 93 this May. They did take a number of more traditional Phillies picks, including Scott Frazier, Brenton Allen, and Kevin Walter, but signed none of them.

  149. just read where Klaw indicates that the phillies didn’t sign walter is that a mistake on his part or on ours

  150. nevermind just checked phillies website and confirmed walter is marked signed so mistake on Klaws part

  151. Alex,

    Well, I could take the cop out of saying “ask me in 5 years.” And I do feel that way to a certain extent.

    But to avoid that cop out, I’d answer in two ways: I think EVERY major league team should probably allocate a little more money to the draft, and to that extent I am disappointed that the Phillies don’t do that. But given the realities of the situation – i.e., the Phillies spend I think a fairly typical amount for a team in their position (low picks = less money needed to sign their first round pick, and not one of the small market teams that feel the need to “overspend” on the draft to make up for lack of payroll), I would say that I’m … mildly disappointed in the result, but not prepared to say that the mild disappointment is necessarily the fault of the organization. We don’t know a lot, including what draftees were asking for, and what the team’s plans are for next year (deeper draft/likely comp picks for Werth).

  152. And to expand a bit on that thought, in general, part of my “give the organization the benefit of the doubt” approach is to not (without further evidence) blame the organization for disappointing events which MAY be entirely or partially beyond their control. I’m disappointed that they haven’t (and pretty clearly won’t) resign Werth. But not knowing the state of the negotiations, I have no idea whether that is a result of penny pinching by the Phillies, or Werth asking for too much. Or some combination thereof. If Werth is demanding (say) 80/4, then the Phillies probably SHOULD pass.

    The times that I think that criticism is productive is where we DO have enough information to make judgments. E.g., trades, free agent signings, and the like. And I have (at times) made such criticisms – while also stating that the overall record on trades lately is quite good, though the record on free agent signings and other contract negotiations is mixed.

  153. @3up3k… you make a fair point, I was referring more to organizational philosophy and where that intersects with finance. First of all, like all the newbies I want to say how glad I am that I found this site and what a great job pp does.

    It just seems to me that if you’re going to try and sell the trade of a Top 5 major league pitcher for 3 prospects as replenishment of the farm system and not a salary dump that you’d be inclined to take a serious run at the high schoolers/Jucos you drafted. And yes, they signed a few, jr, but having traded so many in the past couple of years, one would have thought if replenishment was such a serious goal that they needed to trade that kind of commodity, they would have signed more.

    And no, I know nothing of the specific choices other than what I have read here/elsewhere. I assume if the Phillies liked them enough them to draft them, they would like them enough to try and sign them.

    Does anyone know what it costs to run a major league scouting department in the States and Central America?

  154. jake says: August 18, 2010 at 4:30 PM: Does anyone know what it costs to run a major league scouting department in the States and Central America?
    The answer from 1983 to say 1995 for the Phillies was not much. Sorry, I am still bitter about having the dream team of my childhood ripped from me and having to spend my Middle School, High School, College, and early adult years watching a wretched team.

    Currently? Not sure but good question.

  155. Kevin Walter is signed and has been added to GCL Phillies roster today (along with Brian Pointer the OF they signed on the deadline day). Both will likely make their debuts within the next few days for GCL. I’m guessing Walter will be on a short pitch-count so probably 1 or 2 innings.

  156. PP, a very objective look at the draft results and that is why your site is growing. For what it is worth, the Phillies supposedly did offer Frazier $1 million or slightly more but he decided on Pepperdine. I hope Scott Frazer does well but he will have to work hard on his mechanics or he won’t be drafted that high again. One thing that was not mentioned in depth was that the Phillies spent another million dollars on the International Market in 2010.

  157. Philabaltfan can you show me the link to who said the Phillies offered him $1mil or more?

  158. Draft deadline passes quietly for Phillies
    Frazier headlines list of Phils’ four top-20 picks to go unsigned
    fan comments (1)print this page e-mail this page post on facebook Draft ’10 Scouting: FrazierDuration: 00:00:27Scott Frazier is a pitcher attending Upland High SchoolRelated Video
    Biddle signs with PhilsPhillies draft LHP Biddle No. 27Draft ’10 Scouting: Bre. AllenDraft ’10 Scouting: HinsonRelated LinksPhillies’ 2010 Draft picks
    Complete Draft database
    Complete 2010 Draft coverage
    By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com

    08/17/10 1:07 AM ET

    PHILADELPHIA — The Phillies removed some stress from the 2010 First-Year Player Draft when they selected left-hander Jesse Biddle in the first round.

    Biddle grew up in Philadelphia and attended Germantown Friends.

    They signed him June 11, and only two other first-round picks — Texas’ Jacob Skole and Kellin Deglan — signed earlier.

    There was no news of the Phillies signing four of their top 20 picks before Monday’s midnight deadline, the most notable being fifth-round pick Scott Frazier, who is committed to Pepperdine. Frazier, a hard-throwing right-hander, fell to the fifth round because teams had concerns about their ability to sign him. Sources said Frazier was looking for first-round money. The Phillies made an aggressive offer, perhaps even offering Frazier more than $1 million to sign, but it appears he did not agree to a deal.

    There was also no word about the signing of right fielder Brenton Allen (ninth round), third baseman John Hinson (13th round) and first baseman Daniel Palka (19th round). The Phillies had an agreement with Hinson, but he has since decided to return to Clemson. Allen is expected to attend UCLA. Palka is expected to attend Georgia Tech.

    The Phillies on Monday signed right-hander Kevin Walter (20th round), right-hander Jonathan Musser (21st round) and outfielder Brian Pointer (28th round) over their recommended slot bonus.

    “There’s always some that get away that you’d like to sign,” Phillies assistant general manager Benny Looper said Monday. “But the families have to make a decision that’s best for them and their young man.”

    Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

    MLB.com Comments

  159. See, that’s what I’m talking about. I wouldn’t necessarily take any of that as gospel, but I’d say that there are solid indications that the organization just has some bad luck with signings this year.

  160. Jake,

    We’ve been around and around on the Lee trade on this site so I’m not going to fire that back up. I’ll just say that I agree that the company line that the Lee trade was to stock the farm system is weak but I wouldn’t characterize what they did as a salary dump.

    As to the farm system, it appears the the Phillies philosophy is to draft a number of “hard signs”, assign a value to those players, and then stick to those values when negotiating. If player A doesn’t take their offer, they move on to player B. I generally agree with that philosophy while others clearly don’t.

    For me, their results support the validity of their approach vs. the unproveable claim that if they would spend more their system would be even better. If that were automatically true, then the teams with the biggest draft budget every year (like the Tigers) would also have the best farm systems and eventually the best major league teams. Since they don’t, it would seem that overpaying for prospects doesn’t equate to success.

  161. That’s what I thought you were referring to when you said $1mil. Nowhere does Todd Zolecki say anyone in the Phillies organization told him how much was offered. It’s he himself who speculates on $1mil.

  162. Actually you can’t say if the Phillies spent what the Tigers did that they wouldn’t have more success than what they have now because the Phillies scouts are not the Tigers scouts. Logically I would say if your scouts are capable of finding bargains that fit into the $ value you have associated with that pick that if you EXPAND the talent pool they are able to pick from by expanding their payroll that the scouts would be able to have as much success or more. You’re taking some of the handcuffs off them and allowing them to actually draft players that they normally won’t even have on their board because of $.

    Or sign more of the ‘worthwhile value’ types that they currently draft but fail to sign because of restrictions.

  163. And you know the Phillies scouts ignore certain payers how?

    Maybe the Phillies scouts are better because the team pays more for better scouts specifically because they are better at analyzing players an saving the organization from wasting money on future duds prospects?

    Sorry, but the claims the the Phillies scouts are just so much better than everyone else that it makes up for the cheap front office is laughable. Don’t you think that those better run organizations who value the draft more would just buy the Phillies scouts away from the team and then have the best of both worlds?

  164. I don’t think the Phillies scouts are better than everyone in baseball, but I think we can see how the Phillies drafts have fared and compare them to other teams in baseball who spend the same amount and determine the Phillies scouts are better than those other teams.

    You ultimately get what you pay for and even if you do manage to develop some raw toolsy guys who you signed for slot you’re still drafting off a different list than if you were more willing to spend money and draft guys who are tougher signs.

  165. Larry, I agree with you but maybe more money would have sealed the deal. Remember this how Chase Utley became a Phillie after he did not sign with the Dodgers so it goes both ways in terms of signing draft picks.

  166. So if there was ‘proof’ the Phillies planned on signing Fraizer, based on discussions prior to him being drafted that his signing amount was “near $1M”, held draft budget for him, and offered $1.2M on Monday, and he still said no; the Phillies would be at fault for not spending enough and not acquiring enough talent because the results are what they are: Fraizer is not a member of the Phillies and that 5th Round pick was wasted. (Of course it is unlikely that information will be learned since both the Phillies and Fraizer will not answer that question honestly.)

    I agree that after the 50 players were chosen, Fraizer was assumed to be signed. Why spend such a high pick on him, if not. Losing him does make the Phillies draft worse than I expected because I was also hoping for something like the 3 guys they did sign Monday in addition to Fraizer. Agree that money spent on the draft is some of the best leveraged cost in sports. (The best being whatever ‘final piece’ wins a Championship.)

    Since I have never seen any of these guys play, I have to rely on this site and others for prospect rankings. I will say that I would certainly prefer the Red Sox draft haul to anyone else. Red Sox had some higher selections but also took major overslot candidates and signed them (7 of the top 13 on the last day!). That is what teams should be doing to take advantage of these odd draft ‘rules’.

  167. “So if there was ‘proof’ the Phillies planned on signing Fraizer, based on discussions prior to him being drafted that his signing amount was “near $1M”, held draft budget for him, and offered $1.2M on Monday, and he still said no; the Phillies would be at fault for not spending enough and not acquiring enough talent because the results are what they are: Fraizer is not a member of the Phillies and that 5th Round pick was wasted.”

    See, that’s just crazy, and the sort of “analysis” that’s so frustrating to read. There’s plenty of room to offer legitimate criticism, without basically stating that any “failure” to sign a draft pick is BY DEFINITION the Phillies’ fault. We often see people on this site make “arguments” that are implicitly based on this silly assumption, but rarely is it stated so baldly.

  168. I don’t know if I’m crazy or something but I would think that if they were willing to offer Scott Frazier a 1 million dollar signing bonus, it’s pretty clear that they were willing to spend the money. Now, you can say it’s there fault for taking Frazier when he wasn’t going to sign for something realistic, but as you saw with Hinson, sometimes you agree to a deal with a guy beforehand and they all of a sudden decide they’re worth more money. I really have no idea what happened. It’s a shame he’s not in our system, but to be honest the scouting reports on him have him as such a raw pitcher that he’s pretty far from a sure thing.

  169. I have no idea if the $1M for Frazier is something Todd Zolecki speculates on himself or if he was leaked that by the Phillies.

    However for me I would only blame the Phillies for not signing Frazier if they did not offer him market value. From the signings register in BA’s draft database I think the market value for Frazier was set between $800K and $1.3M. This was not just based on what 1 or 2 guys got, it was based on what almost a dozen HS pitchers got. Personally, adhering strictly to the market value standard I allude to, I think Frazier was worth paying up to $1M for…but not much more than that.

    If the Phillies were at least at the $1M mark and Frazier didn’t sign…and the Phillies wouldn’t go to $1.1M, or $1.2M, or $1.3M, etc…then it was clear Frazier was not really sure he wanted to begin his MLB career yet. The Phillies could not be reasonably blamed in this situation for anything more than just tough luck. I can’t even ding them for bad intelligence on Frazier because it is very hard to ever know what an 18-year old will choose when faced with money vs. big jock on campus fame and women.

    You can contrast Frazier to Brody Colvin last year. Brody had every right to demand more than $900K from the Phillies. He could have held firm for the $1.125M that Colten Cain got or the $1.3M that Von Rosenberg got. He didn’t because obviously he wanted to get his MLB career started sooner rather than later. Even though Colvin could have walked into LSU as the blue chip centerpiece to their recruiting class.

    Again…I have seen no hard proof that the Phillies offered at least $1M dollars to Frazier. I realize it is likely we never will get any hard proof. I am just laying out the boundries on what I personally believe to be the standard the Phillies should be held to when signing guys in the draft…or not getting them signed.

  170. Fly, it seems strange to me that you do not consider Todd Zolecki a credible source after you asked for the source. Todd Zolecki is a fair reporter who will criticize the Phillies when they deserve it. Do you need to call Scott Frazier up yourself to verify it?

  171. “Add that to the $2.6M spent on the first 10 rounds, and you’re around $3.5M. We all want the Phillies to spend more. ”

    per Jim Callis – “Avg #mlbdraft spending was $6.5m per team” while the bottom according to him were “Mil ($2.432m), Min ($3.511m), Atl ($3.925m). “. So the Phils must have spent more but far less than the average.

  172. $6.5M is right in the range of all I have ever been calling for. They don’t need to be the Red Sox. Just add an additional $2M per year to the curent budget. That still only puts them at average spend. $6.5M this year would have certainly gotten at least 1 of Frazier, Palka, or Hodgskins signed. Maybe 2 of them. And it would have probably gotten both Stewart and Susac signed last year.

    All of those guys might flame out in the end, but in a true lottery like the MLB draft, every ticket increases your odds of hitting on a winner.

  173. philabaltfan,

    Couple of questions…

    International signings: Your comment to Steve about the $1M on international signings. Are you saying he should add this to the Phillies draft spend? If so you are wrong. International signings are seperate for every single team. Some of these teams spend significant amounts in the MLB draft AND significant amounts internationally as well. I would love to find out a data source where we could get these numbers and find out the true spend by all MLB teams to compare the Phillies to that.

    Zolecki’s $1M comment: I never suggested he wasn’t credible. He phrased his words in a way that it is unclear where the $1M number came from. His own guess or the Phillies.

  174. Seems like we are more focused on money than talent—-having attended minor league games the past 35-40 years I can say the talent has never been better. The current success is unprecedented.
    More money spent does not indicate better talent as can be witnessed by the Phils current riches. Remember that after 5 years these guys need to be on the roster or can be lost for a song.

  175. Mwbbfan,
    Exactly. These ridiculous rants about money spent are so typical of talk radio influenced mind. Where is the debate about the talent?
    The Braves, who have a fantastic system, don’t spend league average on the draft. They get guys like Tommy Hanson in the 22nd round. The issue isn’t or shouldn’t be about your rank in spending. It is about your rank in overall acquired talent. Until the Braves or Phillies stop acquiring above average talent, their spending shouldn’t be questioned so vehemently. The complaint has no merit until then.
    Get some new material. This is getting to the level of parody.

  176. The Braves might be a bad example to defend the Phillies spending habits. It seems the Braves have typically been one of the highest spenders in the International market.

    2008 spending on International prospects puts the Phillies at $353,000. The Braves were at $2.23 Million.

    From every single data source I can find the Phillies major competition in the NL and AL spend a significant amount more than they do on minor league talent overall…on a consistent basis.


  177. Nobody,

    you contradicted yourself within 15 minutes. At 8:43 you agree that you can’t really blame the Phillies for not offering more than $1M to Frasier if that is indeed the true amount they offered but by 9:00 are saying that if the Phillies had just spent the league average of $6.5M you’ve always been asking for they could have signed him.

    Based on that statement, you then saying they should have just paid him whatever he wanted up until they reach the $6.5M threshold? Or should they have just overpaid for Palka and Hodgskins instead?

    It would seem that you do actually understand the relationship of cost/value when negotiating with players but just can’t take the final step to admit that the Phillies did offer fair market value but their offers were rebuffed.

  178. “From every single data source I can find the Phillies major competition in the NL and AL spend a significant amount more than they do on minor league talent overall…on a consistent basis.”

    But yet the Phillies system is still in the upper 3rd. Would seem to be more evidence that its really not just about spending money.

  179. 3up3kkk,

    What I thought I said pretty clearly was that there should be a limit on mostly everyone…but based on market value…not solely based on what the Phillies think internally (which is largely guided not by talent…but by budget constraints). Brody Colvin seemed willing to sign for market value, or even below. If…I stress the word if…the Phillies actually offered $1M or more for Frazier (Zolecki’s comments are not nearly conclusive enough to say for sure), and Frazier was still not willing to sign at $1M, then there has to be some cut off point. I would not have given him anything to sign…even if I had an unlimited budget.

    But I find it hard to believe that every other non-signing was dead set on going to school and had no interest in signing at all. All of these guys had a number. Even Andrew Susac has recently commented that he had a number as well. You aren’t seriously making the argument that an extra $2M per year wouldn’t enable the Phillies to get another good draft pick signed for what amounted to fair market value?

  180. If the Phillies system is still in the upper 1/3 after Dom Brown moves to the majors for good…which already might be the case… it might be by the skin of their teeth. And it would only be due to a bunch of minor leaguers we all might be excited about…but are also farthest from the Majors. Because AA and AAA are bad to horrible. And no matter how one wants to argue how the Phillies “use AAA” they are still the 29th worst AAA team out of the 30 in MLB. There is no good way to rationalize away that level of bad.

  181. Since neither you or I have any idea if what the Phillies offered other prospects was a fair offer I don’t know if an extra $2M would have made any difference. It would seem that if reports were correct and Frasier had accepted the Phillies $1M then they would have spent $1M more.

    Point is you cannot reconcile your 2 positions, 1) that they need to spend more in the draft and 2) they are correct in offering fair market contracts to players.

    But since your next entry tries to use the records of the Phillies AAA/AA minor league teams as a way to evaluate their system as a whole I realize I’m wasting my time here.

    Have a good day.

  182. Does anyone have any information on Ethan Stewart? He was signed a month ago without much mention. He is on the GCL roster, but hasn’t pitched. Seems a 6’5, 19 year old LH pitcher would get some mention. Is he hurt?

  183. Wrong again. I never said they are correct in offering fair market value. I said they should be doing this. You are in such a homeristic rush to defend the team that you don’t read and try to understand what is being said. You have consistently misrepresented what I have said.

    There is no guarantee one way or the other they are offering fair market value. Any reasonable person knows that is would be impossible for them to be among the lowest spending teams year after year after year if they were offering fair market value to overslot kids on a consistent basis.

    I try to be friendly even when you have made yourself the defacto Phillies PR lackey. No problems. You have a good day too.

  184. Well, we’re thrashing this to death – let me try to add some light rather than more heat. Do the Phillies set a budget for yearly draft signings, and then basically sign whoever they can afford while staying in that budget, do they treat each draftee seperately, offering what they think are fair deals, or somewere in between? I would assume somewhere in between. If so, it is entirely possible that the reason they didn’t spend more this year is that an unusaul number of the players they were pursuing were asking more than the Phillies thought they were worth. Now, if that is the case it is entirely possible that the Phillies undervalued some of those prospects, but one can’t simply say that the Phillies should increase their “budget” for draftees.

    In order words, it may well be that the Phillies would have spent much more overall if Frazier had taken what appears quite possibly to have been a very generous offer.

    Now, the reference to other years is interesting, but what I would like to see are some numbers specifically regarding overslot signings – afterall, the question under dispute is whether they offer their overslot draftees market rate contracts. Once one controls for the fact that the Phillies have had low first round picks for several years, no first round picks on at least one occassion, and not a huge number of comp picks because they haven’t had a lot of free agents leaving, are they still “underspending” the average team. I don’t know. Neither do the critics. I suspect that, controlling for that stuff, they are right in the middle. The big money given to early first round picks really skews the averages. And that doesn’t even consider a few low payroll team who have adopted a concious strategy of spending more in the draft since they are effectively shut out of the FA market.

    Or not. Again, the point is we don’t know, and to spend so much energy bewailing the Phillies spending strategy, in light of that fact and in light of the success of the organization at both the major league and minor league level, seems to me to be a little silly.

    And finally, Nobody specifically: you make some good arguments and some not so good arguments, but every now and then you mix in something really absurd which IMO undercuts your credibility massively. In this case it’s the AAA record argument. Please, you’re better than that. Your not B____r or m__m__ or n_w___s. Sure, bring up records for AA, A and lower – they are of marginal relevance, but at least of SOME relevance. But AAA records – come on, that’s like the internet tradition in political arguments that the person bringing the nazis into the debate automatically loses the argument. Bringing up AAA records should be enough to automatically lose the argument.

  185. I agree AAA is probably the least important level organizationally. But even if you are using AAA as a parking lot for major league ready spare parts and running the occasional prospects thru there, does the AAA record reflect the quality of that overall help or not? To a certain extent it most certainly does. Especially when we are talking about them being 29th out of 30 teams.

    There are not enough Brett Myers, Ryan Madsons, Chase Utleys, Ryan Howards, Michael Taylors, Jason Donalds, Lou Marsons, Kyle Drabeks, Dom Browns, etc left in the system to make them at least respectable in AA and AAA. Utley got over 1,000 AB’s at AAA.

    The top half of the farm system was picked clean over the last 24 months. It’s great that we can feel good about Rookie, A-, and A ball level players. But the “whole” system isn’t in great shape. Only the lower levels are. The levels where guys just happen to be farthest from ever making MLB impact. So there is alot of wishing and dreaming happening right now with some of these guys (by me included) even though they haven’t yet proven they are worthy of it.

  186. Wait a second, so people are unhappy that AA and AAA are bare because the Phillies traded away the prospects to improve the parent club? So that the Phillies can enjoy their present run of success which includes a world title? Wow, some people are never happy…

  187. Guru,

    If by some people you mean me, I am fine with the trades. It is quite rare what the Phillies have been able to accomplish with those trades. The history of trading high value prospects for veteran pitching is full of disasters and mistakes…mostly for the teams acquiring the veterans. But the Phillies have seemed so far to have made mostly the right decisions trading for 5 pitchers in just over 24 months (Blanton, Lidge, Lee, Halladay, and Oswalt). The Phillies…CORRECTLY I think…are trying to maximize a unique World Series window based on a run of rare good luck in the MLB draft from 1996 thru 2002.

    My point about the impact on the farm system is that I did expect the Phillies to be a little more aggressive than “usual” in re-stocking the farm system due to the attrition. After the amount of money they spent for the 2008 draft, I assumed (wrongly) that the Phillies would spend a little more in the draft going forward. Instead they were not very aggressive at all getting overslot guys signed in the 2009 or 2010 drafts…at least not based on the end results as it relates to expenditures.

    And considering this site is “Phuture” Phillies I thought it was a relevant discussion point when evaluating system attrition over the past 24 months…and how that could impact the future…compared to what amounts to very conservative draft and international spending budgets for 2009 and 2010.

    But it seems more individuals than not are happy with what the MLB club has done the last 5 years and aren’t all that concerned about the impact on the future at this point. Not surprising…that is just human nature. It’s why the current financial crises took so many by surprise when really the handwriting was on the wall for years.

  188. Trust me, I’m all for the development of future players. I want the Phillies to sustain winning beyond Rollins, Utley, Howard. But it’s not like our lower levels are bare, and it looks like there are logjams at certain positions already (OF), and yes, it’s a nice problem to have. I’m sure the Phillies wanted to sign everybody but sometimes they can’t. It’s debatable why they couldn’t and I don’t want to go there in detail since others have already expressed their opinions more eloquently than I am capable of. The fact is, the baseball draft is a massive crapshoot. Nobody will know if the draft is bad or not until years later. And nobody knows why Frazier didn’t sign (except for the Phillies and Frazier’s people). So right now, I’m giving the Phillies the benefit of the doubt since they have put us in this winning run. Getting greedy because we should have signed everybody makes us sound like…Yankees and Red Sox fans. Let’s leave that to them and root for the guys that did sign.

  189. steve,

    An interesting list. And while it does I think confirm what everyone already knows – the Phillies are a bit below average – it also confirms what some of us have been saying: a lot of the apparent disparity is because of lack of high first round picks, and the fact that certain small market teams are spending a ton in the draft to make up for lack of spending in the FA market. Looking at the teams substantially ahead of us, you see mainly teams fitting one or both of the above categories. The exceptions are the Red Sox, well known for spending on the draft (probably appropriately, even if that money hasn’t always been spent as effectively as the Phillies have spent theirs), and to a lesser extent the Yankees, who have an effectively unlimited budget.

    Which isn’t to say that they couldn’t/shouldn’t be spending more, just that the raw numbers are probably a little deceptive.

  190. Anon – I hear you but we are bottom three. That will catch up with us at some point. Hey, I don’t want to complain in this golden age but if you couple this with what seems to be a small international budget, then I worry about some of the long term prognosis.

  191. From Keith Law’s 9/9 Chat:

    “Forgive the tangent, but I love how the Phillies just backed up the truck for Howard two years before they had to, and yet still give Marti Wolever and his amateur scouting staff one of the smallest budgets for signing players every year. Where does ownership think all these good teenage prospects come from? How did they get Halladay and Oswalt? Oh, yeah, by trading the guys Wolever and his team drafted. They’ve done a great job the last three years, especially finding later values like Singleton and Cosart.”

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