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What types of players tend to mid and late round sleepers?


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#1 philly sox fan


  • SoSH Member


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Posted 10 June 2008 - 10:14 PM

It is just about impossible for a team to have consistently productive drafts without succeeding with its early round picks. It is in these rounds where the vast majority of future stars are found and to a large extent producing stars is the name of the game in player development. Itís those internally developed star players who are the most valuable assets in baseball.

While it is possible to win with a ďStars and (not really) ScrubsĒ roster, you canít win with stars and nothing. A steady pipeline of solid, complementary players is important too. Many of those players are also found in the early rounds, but the mid and late rounds can be important fertile ground too.

A mid to late round sleeper can come from any school type (HS, JC or C), play any position on the field and range from a decent complementary player to a Hall of Famer like 62nd round pick Mike Piazza. But are there types that seem to show up disproportionately? Looking closely at individual draft classes from the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, Iíve noticed two types that do seem to dominate the mid to late round sleepers Ė HS pitchers and C infielders. Iíve mentioned those two sleeper types before, but had never put the data together in one spot.

The format will be very similar to my previous post on players at the very top of the draft. Weíll look at the 1987-1996 drafts as one group with full WARP totals (pre-FA, career and in comparison to expected draft slot values) and then subjectively see if these patterns have persisted into the 1997-2001 and 2002-2006 intervals. And just to provide some additional context weíll look at the opposite school type, ie compare HS P to C P and C infielders to HS infielders.

HS Pitchers

The following table lists every HS pitcher who exceeded 20 WARP in his career and was drafted after the 100th pick. Thatís a fairly early cutoff for a true sleeper and weíll mostly focus on the players picked past the 200th pick, but I wanted to cast a wide net to start. Iíve also split the group into starters and relievers based on the belief that while quality relievers are nice to have in your farm the real value comes from finding starters.

Table
Year Rd Pick Team Name Position School State Pre-FA (slot) PreFA Pre(Act-Exp) Career (Slot) Career Car(Act-Exp)
1990 22 577 NYY Andrew Pettitte LHP HS TX 40.8 40.8 83.7 83.7
1991 8 206 Minn Brad Radke RHP HS FL 1.5 43.9 42.4 2.8 76.6 73.8
1991 8 214 Sea Derek Lowe RHP HS MI 1.4 44.0 42.6 2.4 64.1 61.7
1994 5 140 Mon Javier Vasquez RHP HS PR 2.1 40.7 38.6 3.6 60.8 57.2
1990 6 157 Sea Mike Hampton LHP HS FL 2.3 29.1 26.8 3.9 56.5 52.6
1993 11 320 Atl Kevin Millwood RHP HS NC 1.2 31.0 29.8 1.7 48.4 46.7
1991 8 205 Atl Jason Schmidt RHP HS WA 1.9 16.4 14.5 4.2 46.1 41.9.
1996 5 155 AZ Brad Penny RHP HS OK 1.6 21.1 19.5 3.0 34.9 31.9
1995 8 217 NYM A.J. Burnett RHP HS AR 1.0 21.9 20.9 1.9 31.4 29.5
1987 6 140 Chi-NL Frank Castillo RHP HS TX 2.1 12.7 10.6 3.6 28.7 25.1
1996 29 862 Chi-NL Kyle Lohse RHP HS CA 26.2 26.2 26.3 26.3
1990 4 103 Chi-AL James Baldwin RHP HS NC 0.8 22.7 21.9 1.3 25.5 24.2
1996 20 594 Hou Wade Miller RHP HS PA 24.7 24.7 25.0 25.0
1994 13 355 Bos Carl Pavano RHP HS CT 22.4 22.4 23.3 23.3
1993 17 469 KC Glendon Rusch LHP HS WA 15.8 15.8 22.6 22.6
1994 6 161 Sea Joe Mays RHP HS FL 2.3 22.6 20.3 3.8 22.6 18.8
1989 9 231 NYY Sterling Hitchcock LHP HS FL 0.7 19.0 18.3 0.7 21.9 21.2


Pettitte is commonly grouped with JC pitchers because he did attend JC for a year, but for draft purposes I think itís more accurate to treat him as a HS player since he was never available as a potential draft pick except as a HS player. This kind of ambiguity is one reason Iím glad the draft and fellow process was abolished. From Pettitte down to Burnett there were nine HS pitchers drafted no earlier than the 140th pick and the 5th rd who went on to have a very good career as at least a good #2/3 starter. Thereís another group of eight pitchers from Castillo down to Hitchcock who were at least useful starters for a period of time. Miller and Pavano had chances to be much more than that until injuries derailed their careers.

The late round HS ranks produced one very good closer in Nen and a handful of other useful relievers a couple of whom closed for a bit themselves.

Are there any similarities amongst the key players on this table? Not that I can see. There are pitchers from heavily scouted areas Ė Pettitte, Radke, Hampton and Nen from the big three of Texas, FL and CA. And there are pitches from what you might think of as underscouted regions Ė Lowe from Michigan, Vazquez from PR, Burnett from AR. There are a couple cold state player Ė Lowe again and Schmidt from WA, but most are from the more typical warm weather regions. My first instinct had been maybe teams get too hung up on the 15th best pitcher from CA instead of looking at the best pitcher from a smaller or colder state, but that doesnít appear to be the case.

You might think that these later round successes would tend to be more finesse types than pure arm strength and stuff pitchers. Lowe and Radke have been low K, relatively low stuff pitchers, but Burnett, Penny, Schmidt are all classic power pitchers with great stuff. Itís easy to see how teams could have missed Lowe and Radke, I think. Both achieved much of their value from being incredibly durable and how easy is that to project? But itís harder to see how the big arm strength guys slipped through the cracks. Itíd be interesting to see their amateur scouting reports. Are they late bloomers who picked up several mph in the pros? Beats me, but they were some how there late in the draft and they became tremendously valuable assets for their teams.

One other quick note you might have missed from the table Ė Schmidt, Radke and Lowe were all picked in the 8th round of the 1991 draft in slots #205-214. One of these days Iíll go through all of the drafts looking for a comparable group, but my guess is that no round in draft history has produced three HS pitchers at least that good. Itís certainly true from 1987 onwards. And weíll see in a bit that the college ranks produced another solid starter in Steve Trachsel as well. Itís just a random blip, but nevertheless fairly amazing.

How does that group of HS pitchers compare to C pitchers from the same slots? The following table lists those pitchers.

Table
Year Rd Pick Team Name Position School State Pre-FA (slot) PreFA Pre(Act-Exp) Career (Slot) Career Car(Act-Exp)
1989 4 111 Minn Scott Erickson RHP C AZ 2.4 35.7 33.3 4.2 55.9 51.7
1991 8 215 Chi-NL Steve Trachsel RHP C CA 1.4 24.0 22.6 2.5 55.0 52.5
1988 28 732 Tor Woody Williams RHP C TX 21.1 21.1 53.5 53.5
1991 18 477 Mon Kirk Rueter LHP C KY 21.5 21.5 35.6 35.6
1995 4 103 SF Russ Ortiz RHP C OK 0.8 34.7 33.9 1.3 34.8 33.5
1991 4 112 Cle Paul Byrd RHP C LA 2.6 18.1 15.5 4.4 31.7 27.3
1987 5 127 Tor Mike Timlin RHP C TX 2.7 16.3 13.6 4.8 55.7 50.9
1994 9 256 SF Keith Foulke RHP C ID 0.6 36.2 35.6 0.9 47.1 46.2
1989 6 161 Bos Paul Quantrill RHP C WI 2.3 22.4 20.1 3.8 42.2 38.4
1995 6 159 SF Joe Nathan RHP C NY 2.4 38.3 35.9 4.0 38.5 34.5
1987 7 165 Minn Mark Guthrie LHP C LA 2.3 14.1 11.8 2.4 29.1 26.7
1993 8 223 Cle Steve Kline LHP C WV 0.5 20.3 19.8 0.8 27.3 26.5


There were just six quality starters and three Ė Erickson, Ortiz and Byrd Ė were just over the #100 threshold and picked in the 4th rd. Theyíre pretty mild sleepers. Trachsel, Williams and Rueter were mostly back of the rotation complementary starters. Theyíre useful to have around, but not players that will dramatically push a team forward.

The college ranks did produce a couple very good closers (Foulke and Nathan) and some long term middle relievers. And if Iíd lowered the threshold to 10 WARP there would be tons of semi-useful, semi-fungible relievers that youíd recognize from the college ranks.

Overall, in terms of producing high quality starters the HS ranks were much better in this time period. Letís see if that carried forward.

1997-2001

Table
[td=*]Ian Snell [/td][td=*]RHP [/td][td=*]HS [/td][td=*]DE [/td][td=*]2001 [/td][td=*]6 [/td][td=*]190 [/td][td=*]LA [/td][td=*]Edwin Jackson [/td][td=*]RHP [/td][td=*]HS [/td][td=*]GA [/td][td=*]2001 [/td][td=*]20 [/td][td=*]594 [/td][td=*]Pitt [/td][td=*]Zach Duke [/td][td=*]LHP [/td][td=*]HS [/td][td=*]TX [/td][td=*]2000 [/td][td=*]5 [/td][td=*]140 [/td][td=*]Ana [/td][td=*]Bobby†Jenks [/td][td=*]RHP [/td][td=*]HS [/td][td=*]ID [/td][td=*]2001 [/td][td=*]34 [/td][td=*]1009 [/td][td=*]TB [/td][td=*]Chad Gaudin [/td][td=*]RHP [/td][td=*]HS [/td][td=*]LA [/td]
Year Rd Pick Team Name Pos School State
1999 15 472 SD Jake Peavy RHP HS AL
2000 8 223 Chi-NL Dontrelle Willis LHP HS CA
2000 16 466 TB James Shields RHP HS CA
2000 26 779 Pitt


Peavy is an ace. Willis, while perhaps overrated (and now toast), was good and very valuable early in his career. Shields was a late bloomer, but seems to be developing into a pretty good pitcher. Snell, is having poor year to date, but certainly has been successful overall. Jackson was more highly regarded as a prospect, but seems to be transitioning into a semi-useful starter. Jenks is a notable closer.

For the most part, Iíd say the HS ranks continued to produce quality starters in the mid to late rounds in this period. Most of the successes were from warm weather, heavily scouted states although aside from Peavy Iíd say this group is a little lighter on pure stuff than the earlier group. Snell, as a small RHP, would qualify as someone who may have slipped through the cracks because his body type didnít fit the conventional scouting wisdom.

Here are the C pitchers from this period.

Table
[td=*]Year [/td][td=*]Rd [/td][td=*]Pick [/td][td=*]Team [/td][td=*]Name [/td][td=*]Pos [/td][td=*]School [/td][td=*]State [/td][td=*]1997 [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]6[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]185[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Oak[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Tim Hudson[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]RHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]AL[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2000[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]8[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]249[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]AZ[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Brandon†Webb[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]RHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]KY[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1999[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]6[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]195[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Tex[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Aaron Harang[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]RHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]CA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2000[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]4[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]105[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Mon[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Cliff Lee[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]LHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]AR[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1999[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]8[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]238[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]AZ[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Chris Capuano[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]LHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]NC[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1997[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]38[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1137[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Ana[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Scot Shields[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]RHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]TN[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1999[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]6[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]185[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Sea[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]J.J. Putz[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]RHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]MI[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1998[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]17[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]500[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Cinn[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Robert (BJ) Ryan[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]LHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]LA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1997[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]9[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]278[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Cinn[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Scott Williamson[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]RHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]OK[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1997[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]21[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]633[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Minn[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Juan Romero[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]LHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]AL[/color] [/td]


This is a much more impressive group than the one from 1987-1996. Hudson and Webb are elite pitchers and Harang is not too far behind. Lee and Capuano have been inconsistent, but useful starters in their careers.

Thereís another nice group of relievers although aside from Shields they havenít been terribly consistent or durable.

The top two collegiate pitchers are so good, Iíd probably have to give them the edge in this period. I canít think of any explanation for why the C ranks would be so much better in this period than from 1987-1996 except that when success is based on just 2-3 players itís most likely a fluke.

2002-2006

By necessity weíll have to be much looser in terms of whatís a real success from draft picks in this period. First the HS pitchers.

Table
[td=*][color="#000000"]Year[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Rd[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Pick[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Team[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Name[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Pos[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]School[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]State[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2002[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]6[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]173[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Fla[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Scott Olsen[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]LHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]IL[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2004[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]5[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]135[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]TB[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Jacob Mcgee[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]LHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]NV[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2002[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]4[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]113[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Fla[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Joshua Johnson[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]RHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]OK[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2005[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]4 †[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]118[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]TB[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Jeremy Hellickson[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]RHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]IA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2005[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]22 †[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]680[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]StL[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Jaime Garcia[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]LHP[/color] [/td][td=*] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]TX[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2003[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]16[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]468[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Cle[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Aaron Laffey[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]LHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]MD[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2004[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]12[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]366[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Chi-NL[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Sean Gallagher[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]RHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]FL[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2003[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]7[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]205[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Phl[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Kyle Kendrick[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]RHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]WA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2002[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]11[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]320[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Det[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Joel Zumaya[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]RHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]CA[/color] [/td]


Olsen and Johnson, both of the Marlins, are the only two with much MLB success to date and Olsen has been very inconsistent and Johnson already suffered a significant arm injury. The top four listed pitchers didnít slip that far in the draft, all were at least taken in the 100s. Interestingly, this group tends to be from underscouted areas Ė IL, NV, OK, IA, TX (by way of Mexico) and MD. It looks like the raw material is here for continued success, but weíll have to see how they actually pan out.

Here are the C pitchers:

Table
[td=*][color="#000000"]Year[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Rd[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Pick[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Team[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Name[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Pos[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]School[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]State[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2002[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]6[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]166[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Bal[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]John Maine[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]RHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]NC[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2002[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]4[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]112[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Chi-NL[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Richard Hill[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]LHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]TX[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2003[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]7[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]199[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]NYM[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Brian Bannister[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]RHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]CA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2003[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]4[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]114[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Bos[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Jonathan Papelbon[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]RHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]MS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2003[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]6[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]163[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Chi-NL[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Sean Marshall[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]LHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]VA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2004[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]27[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]820[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]SF[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Jonathan Sanchez[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]LHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]OH[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2002[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]15[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]459[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]AZ[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Dustin Nippert[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]RHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]WV[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2003[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]15[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]455[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]StL[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Anthony Reyes[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]RHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]CA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2004[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]13[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]375[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]TB[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Andrew Sonnanstine[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]RHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]OH[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2005[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]11 †[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]349[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]NYY[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]William (Alan) Horne[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]RHP[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]FL[/color] [/td]


Since theyíre on average three years older these pitchers should have been better able to establish themselves in the majors. So far only Maine can be considered a high quality starter. Hill had a nice year last year, but is now back in the minors. Bannister is a back of the rotation guy trying to squeeze all he can out of his talent. Papelbon, of course, has been a stud closer. The other guys Iíve listed have all seen some time in the majors or made prospect lists, but are pretty much already off the frontline starter path. Unlike the HS group the key guys on this table are from warm weather, heavily scouted states.

It looks like in the late 90s mid to late round college pitchers have largely closed the gap with HS pitchers, but the HS ranks have continued to produce quality pitchers or prospects in these rounds and may yet turn out to be better once again in these more recent drafts.

#2 philly sox fan


  • SoSH Member


  • 9748 posts

Posted 10 June 2008 - 10:20 PM

College Infielders

To some extent we would expect a relatively high number of sleepers to have been infielders since the group encompasses about half the players in a lineup. Thatís why looking specifically at HS infielders (and quickly C and HS outfielders) helps to provide context. This large group isnít just because Iím looking at a large number of positions. Additionally, these players Ė more so than sleepers at other positions Ė tend to have a lot of similarities in terms of future position changes and poor fit to traditional expectations for the position. And itís important to note that the listed positions are how the players were officially listed in the draft record and may not reflect their actual college position. Although many of these players are, of course, listed as shortstops I suspect that others were primarily shortstops in college as well.

Here are the notable C infielders drafted past #100 sorted by collegiate position.

Table
Year Rd Pick Team Name Position School State Pre-FA (slot) PreFA Pre(Act-Exp) Career (Slot) Career Car(Act-Exp)
1988 8 200 Pitt Tim Wakefield 1B C FL 1.3 29.3 28.0 1.9 69.9 68.0
1988 6 140 LA Erik Karros 1B C CA 2.1 35.6 33.5 3.6 61.6 58.0
1989 5 127 NYY J.T. Snow 1B C AZ 2.7 21.6 18.9 4.8 42.4 37.6
1987 18 456 Bal David Segui 1B C LA 13.0 13.0 35.9 35.9
1993 6 181 Oak Scott Spiezio 1B C IL 1.9 21.0 19.1 2.8 26.6 23.8
1990 5 131 Sea Bret Boone 2B C CA 1.7 27.5 25.8 3.3 58.3 55.0
1995 20 562 NYY Mike Lowell 2B-C C FL 35.4 35.4 52.8 52.8
1990 9 246 NYM Fernando Vina 2B C AZ 0.7 28.9 28.2 0.9 38.5 37.6
1989 20 521 Tor Jeff Kent SS C CA 22.6 22.6 96.9 96.9
1989 11 288 Cinn Trevor Hoffman SS C AZ 1.8 36.3 34.5 2.8 80.6 77.8
1993 7 207 Mil Mark Loretta SS C IL 1.6 18.8 17.2 2.9 46.3 43.4
1988 5 121 Bos John Valentin SS C NJ 2.0 40.9 38.9 2.9 44.9 42.0
1992 24 678 Tex Rich Aurilia SS C NY 27.0 27.0 42.9 42.9
1988 5 120 Phl Mickey Morandini SS C IN 2.1 27.8 25.7 3.0 40.2 37.2
1993 15 414 SF Bill Muellar SS C MO 22.1 22.1 37.8 37.8
1992 11 319 Col Craig Counsell SS C IN 0.9 18.1 17.2 1.2 32.8 31.6
1991 7 201 Pitt Anthony Womack SS C NC 1.3 17.2 15.9 2.2 20.7 18.5
1988 8 199 Bos Tim Naehring SS C OH 1.3 13.3 12.0 1.9 15.7 13.8
1989 4 109 Bos Jeff Bagwell 3B C CT 2.1 60.8 58.7 3.5 137.2 133.7
1987 58 1216 KC Jeff Conine 3B-OF C CA 24.9 24.9 53.5 53.5
1991 11 286 Mil Jeff Cirillo 3B C CA 1.6 39.3 37.7 2.4 50.8 48.4
1994 26 715 Minn Corey Koskie 3B C CAN 30.0 30.0 35.9 35.9
1991 11 288 KC Joe Randa 3B C TN 1.8 20.4 18.6 2.8 35.2 32.4
1987 20 512 Oak Scott Brosius 3B C OR 21.0 21.0 30.7 30.7
1987 6 146 SD Dave Hollins 3B C SC 1.6 20.4 18.8 2.3 20.5 18.2
1996 7 189 Tor Casey Blake 3B C KS 1.3 16.9 15.6 1.5 17.0 15.5


There are a couple very successful position player to pitcher transformations here in Wakefield and Hoffman. Iím not making the argument that crappy, late round C infielders are likely to be highly productive knuckleballers or HoF closers.

Looking at the other 1B, Karros was a traditional 1B power bat. Snow, Segui and to a much greater extent Spezio did not fit that mold at all. Snow and Segui at their best were productive as line drive hitters and quality defenders.

Vina is a typical quick, pesky 2B, but Boone was much more of an offensive player than you expect at 2B. Itís hard to believe that Lowell was a 2B-C. I do wonder if those were projected pro positions.

The big group of C SS includes just about nobody who spent the majority of his MLB career as a SS. Loretta, Aurilia, Morandini, and Womack were predominantly 2B. Valentin and Naehring played some SS, but moved to 2B and/or 3B. Kent played 3B and 2B and as at least borderline HoF player is way at the high end of what you can expect from this type of player. Mueller was a 3B. In general, these players tended to be guys without any great singular strength and they certainly did not have the athletic tools to play SS in the majors, but they were complete players without any great weaknesses. As a result they were not great players (with a couple of exceptions). They were merely pretty good and highly valuable. I assume scouts were too concerned with what they could not do athletically and missed that they had enough tools to handle 2B or 3B even if their offensive profile doesnít fit what teams traditionally want from that position. Mueller is the classic example of that where he became a very valuable player at 3B despite not possessing the power expected of a 3B.

Bagwell is an even bigger exception than Kent. The other 3B Ė Cirillo, Randa and Brosius in particular Ė fit the profile of solid all around players who didnít traditionally profile as 3B because of their modest power potential. Someone like Brosius who was a fairly athletic 3B is also a candidate (to me) to have maybe been a SS in college.

In comparison to these twenty-six successful C infielders there were only seven successful C outfielders (Finley, Lofton, Eric Young, Higginson, Greer, Chad Curtis and Darren Lewis). The pool of C infielders should have been 1/3 larger, but produced nearly 4-fold more successful players.

Now letís look at the HS infielders.

Table
[td=*]HS [/td][td=*]NY [/td][td=*]0.6 [/td][td=*]12.9 [/td][td=*]12.3 [/td][td=*] [/td][td=*]0.9 [/td][td=*]22.0 [/td][td=*]21.1 [/td][td=*]1994 [/td][td=*]8 [/td][td=*]207 [/td][td=*]Mil [/td][td=*]Ron Belliard [/td][td=*]SS [/td][td=*]HS [/td][td=*]FL [/td][td=*]1.6 [/td][td=*]26.3 [/td][td=*]24.7 [/td][td=*] [/td][td=*]2.9 [/td][td=*]34.5 [/td][td=*]31.6 [/td][td=*]1991 [/td][td=*]13 [/td][td=*]355 [/td][td=*]Tor [/td][td=*]Alex Gonzalez [/td][td=*]SS [/td][td=*]HS [/td][td=*]FL [/td][td=*] [/td][td=*]16.2 [/td][td=*]16.2 [/td][td=*] [/td][td=*] [/td][td=*]29.9 [/td][td=*]29.9 [/td][td=*]1990 [/td][td=*]10 [/td][td=*]256 [/td][td=*]Atl [/td][td=*]Anthony Graffanino [/td][td=*]SS [/td][td=*]HS [/td][td=*]NY [/td][td=*]0.6 [/td][td=*]12.2 [/td][td=*]11.6 [/td][td=*] [/td][td=*]0.9 [/td][td=*]20.2 [/td][td=*]19.3 [/td][td=*]1995 [/td][td=*]1 [/td][td=*]28 [/td][td=*]Mon [/td][td=*]Michael Barrett [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]SS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]GA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]6.0[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]14.7[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]8..7[/color] [/td][td=*] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]8.7[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]18.0[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]9.3[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1990[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]7[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]185[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Cle[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]David Bell[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]3B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]OH[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1.6[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]16.1[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]14.5[/color] [/td][td=*] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2.0[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]27.5[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]25.5[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1987[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]6[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]148[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Mon[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Greg Colbrunn[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]3B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]CA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1.4[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]18.2[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]16.8[/color] [/td][td=*] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1.8[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]21.0[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]19.2[/color] [/td]
Year Rd Pick Team Name Position School State Pre-FA (slot) PreFA Pre(Act-Exp) Career (Slot) Career Car(Act-Exp)
1989 5 114 Atl Ryan Klesko LHP-1B HS CA 1.9 19.5 17.6 2.8 53.3 50.5
1993 24 671 Cle Rich Sexson 1B HS WA 34.6 34.6 52.5 52.5
1990 5 129 Chi-AL Ray Durham 2B HS NC 2.0 32.5 30.5 3.5 63.7 60.2
1992 6 155 Mon Jose Vidro 2B HS PR 1.6 27.9 26.3 3.0 39.2 36.2
1996 53 1511 Atl Marcus Giles 2B HS CA 33.7 33.7 33.6 33.6
1992 10 280 Det Frank Catalanotto 2B


Even without looking closely, smaller table means fewer mid to late rd HS sleepers. Interestingly, itís the right side of the infield that produced the best players. The HS 2B, at least the players officially drafted as 2B, were much more productive than the HS SS. Itís also true that of the very best of this group of players only Sexson (big gangly 1B) and Giles (short, powerful 2B) were deep sleepers drafted past #200.

High quality HS infielders were very infrequently drafted in the mid to late rounds. Whether that speaks to the quality of scouting that very few slip past the early rounds or to the fact that the lower bonuses from these rounds didnít provide enough incentive for second tier HS position players to chose pro ball over college is impossible to know.

That was also true for HS outfielders. There were only four notable HS OF drafted past #100 in this ten year interval, although the four Ė Jim Edmonds, Brian Giles (finally a pattern, just draft Gileses out of HS!), Mike Cameron and Garrett Anderson Ė were all very good to great players.

Overall, C infielders yielded many more productive players than their HS counterparts or outfielders from either type of school.

1997-2001

Table
[td=*][color="#000000"]Year[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Rd[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Pick[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Team[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Name[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Pos[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]School[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]State[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2001[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]5[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]140[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Phl[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Ryan Howard[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]MO[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2000[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]5[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]137[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Col[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Garrett Atkins[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]CA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2000[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]11[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]317[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Col[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Brad Hawpe[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]LA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1999[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]18[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]538[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]AZ[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Lyle Overbay[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]NV[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1998[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]14[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]411[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Tor[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Jay Gibbons[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]CA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2001[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]7[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]221[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Oak[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Dan Johnson[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]NE[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1999[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]9[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]271[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]KC[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Mark Ellis[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]FL[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1997[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]19[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]581[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Bos[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]David Eckstein[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]FL[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2000[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]17[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]491[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Fla[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Josh Willingham[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]AL[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2000[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]11[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]332[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Bos[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Freddy Sanchez[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]OK[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2001[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]4[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]114[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Pitt[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Jeff Keppinger[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]GA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1997[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]5[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]149[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Tor[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Michael Young[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]SS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]CA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2001[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]11[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]338[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]AZ[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Dan Uggla[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]SS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]TN[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2001[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]13[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]390[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]SD[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Jason Bartlett[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]SS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]OK[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2001[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]7[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]218[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]AZ[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Chad†Tracy[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]SS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]NC[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2001[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]8[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]243[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Bos[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Kevin Youkilis[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]3B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]OH[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1998[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]5[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]162[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]TB[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Aubrey Huff[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]3B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]FL[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1998[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]17[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]496[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Chi-NL[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Eric Hinske[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]3B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]AR[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1998[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]9[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]272[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Hou[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Morgan Ensberg[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]3B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]CA[/color] [/td]


Howard easily qualifies as the classic power hitting 1B. Although Hawpe plays a passable RF, he would better profile as a power 1B as well. Overbay and Gibbons better fit the sleeper 1B mold as primarily doubles hitters.

This is a decent group of 2B that do fit the solid overall sleeper stereotype although there are a couple odd moves up the defensive spectrum Ė Eckstein to SS and Willingham to C and then to LF.

In the SS group we see more solid all around players who moved positions Ė Young and Uggla to 2B and Tracy to 3B. Young did move back to SS, but probably shouldnít have.

Youkilis fits the profile as a 3B without the traditional power teams like to see from 3B. The other three had decent power strokes in their primes, but also enough defensive issues to see a lot of time at 1B.

The other thing to note is that a number of these players were lost by their original organizations for little or no value. Ellis was traded away as an A ball throw in. Eckstein was lost on waivers. Uggla was lost in the rule 5 draft. Bartlett and Hinske were traded away in very minor deals. Young was prematurely dumped by the Jays. So while we have to give these playerís drafting organizations credit for signing them, it isnít exactly true that they knew what they had either.

Considering this interval is half as long as the previous one thatís a very solid, deep group of sleepers.

Letís put the C infielders in some context. There were only four sleepers from the C OF ranks Ė Eric Byrnes, Juan Pierre, Ryan Church and Jason Bay.

Here are the HS infielders from this period.


Table
[td=*][color="#000000"]Year[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Rd[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Pick[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Team[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Name[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Pos[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]School[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]State[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1998[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]7[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]210[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Col[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Matt Holliday[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]3B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]OK[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1999[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]3[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]105[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Tex[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Hank Blalock[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]3B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]CA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2000[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]9[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]274[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Tex[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Edwin Encarnacion[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]3B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]PR[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1997[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]4[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]132[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Col[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Chone Figgins[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]SS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]FL[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1998[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]6[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]176[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Mil[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]William Hall[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]SS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]MS[/color] [/td]


Holliday doesnít really count because he was a two sport signability player who received a 885k bonus. Blalock as a 3rd rd pick barely over #100 isnít much of a sleeper either. That leaves just three true sleepers and for what itís worth all three are minorities Ė Encarnacion from PR and a couple African-Americans whoíve made it as super-utility players.

The class of HS outfielders is actually a little better than the HS infielders in this interval. It includes Chris Young, Corey Hart, Nate McLouth, Shane Victorino and Jason Kubel. Nevertheless, I think it remained generally true in this period that mid to late rd HS sleepers were quite infrequent and if anything they were of a lesser quality than the ones from 1987-1996.

College infielders maintained their place as the most fertile ground for mid to late round sleepers up through 2001.

2002-2006

Table
[td=*][color="#000000"]Year[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Rd[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Pick[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Team[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Name[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Pos[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]School[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]State[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2003[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]17[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]496[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Tex[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Ian Kinsler[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]SS-2B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]MO[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2004[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]16[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]476[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]AZ[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Mark Reynolds[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]SS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]VA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2003[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]6[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]168[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Cle[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Kevin Kouzmanoff[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]3B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]NV[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2005[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]8 †[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]241[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Pitt[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Steven Pearce[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]1B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]SC[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2005[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]4 †[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]121[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Pitt[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Brent Lillibridge[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]SS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]WA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2004[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]4[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]110[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Col[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Christopher Iannetta[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]NC[/color] [/td]


Kinsler and Reynolds fit the sleeper profile pretty well as both were C shortstops who moved to either 2B or 3B and broke into the majors without spending much time on any top prospect lists. Kouzmanoff, Pearce and to a lesser extent Lillibridge are ďperformanceĒ prospects whoíve received more buzz from performance oriented analysts than scouts. All three are struggling this year so itís unclear whether they will truly rate as significant draft sleepers.

This definitely appears to be a dramatic decrease from the previous fifteen years. There are two obvious explanations. The first, is that many of these late sleepers are late bloomers. I suspect there will be at least a couple more players that will jump onto the list eventually. I donít think that completely explains it though. The second explanation, is that teams may have become far better at drafting these players earlier. There is some anecdotal evidence that this may be the case. Players like Dustin Pedroia, Matt Antonelli and Chase Headley were all drafted very early with questions about their positions (and all have changed), power potential and ultimately their ceilings. The scouting reports for Conor Gillaspie this year are perfect examples of this sleeper type right down to the inevitable comparison to Bill Mueller. This may also fit into the post-Moneyball growth in statistical performance as an important criterion in ranking amateur players.

As we get further from these drafts it will be interesting to see if the distribution of successful college infielders changes within the draft. Where it had been the case that collegiate star level infielders were drafted early and solid complementary players were drafted late, it may now be the case where most successful college infielders are drafted early. Anecdotally, it does appear the MLB as an industry has become better at clustering successful picks at the top of the draft (with the notable exception of signability kids who fall for purely financial reasons).

It may also be that there are simply fewer successful college infielders overall. Teams are better at finding and signing these players out of HS. Or perhaps the sleeper college infielders are moving up in the draft not to augment the already present elite college infielders, but to replace them. If teams are using more and more picks on college players that that will drive the former sleepers closer to the top without any real improvement in indentifying them.

The idea that there are simply fewer sleepers of any type is supported by looking at potential sleepers amongst C outfielders and HS infielders and outfielders.

As of now, I donít see any successful mid to late round C outfielders from these drafts.

The list of potential HS sleepers is also brief although these younger players still have plenty of time to break out yet. Here are the potential HS sleepers:

Table
[td=*][color="#000000"]Year[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Rd[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Pick[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Team[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Name[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Pos[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]School[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]State[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2002[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]8[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]238[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Bos[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Brandon Moss[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]GA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2005[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]15 †[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]455[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Chi-AL[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Vernon (Chris) Carter[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]3B[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]NV[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2005[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]4 †[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]140[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]StL[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Bryan Anderson[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]C[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]CA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2005[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]3 †[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]107[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Atl[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Jordan Schafer[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]CF[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]FL[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]2003[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]6[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]181[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]LA[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]Matthew Kemp[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]RF[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]HS[/color] [/td][td=*][color="#000000"]OK[/color] [/td]


Moss may not project as much more than a 4th OF. I listed him mostly because heís a Sox. Carter is a solid prospect at best. Iíve previously excluded catchers because itís an oddball position, but left in Anderson who profiles as a good average, modest power backstop. Shafer barely qualifies as a sleeper as a 3rd rd pick and is now dogged by PED issues anyway. Kemp is the one and only high upside stud HS sleeper and one player certainly does not a trend make.

It may be that we are now in an era when true sleepers, at least amongst position players, are exceedingly rare. The inherent unpredictability of pitchers almost insures that there will always be pitchers who come out of nowhere and succeed in the majors.

I wouldnít give up on the notion that C infielders tend to be the place to find mid to late round sleepers, but the time that they represented a significantly large opportunity that could be consistently exploited may have passed.

#3 plnii

  • 101 posts

Posted 11 June 2008 - 07:50 AM

HS Pitchers
The following table lists every HS pitcher who exceeded 20 WARP in his career and was drafted after the 100th pick. Thatís a fairly early cutoff for a true sleeper and weíll mostly focus on the players picked past the 200th pick, but I wanted to cast a wide net to start. Iíve also split the group into starters and relievers based on the belief that while quality relievers are nice to have in your farm the real value comes from finding starters.


Interesting information. Looking at the first table (HS Pitchers), I would split the pitchers into sinkerballers (Lowe, Hampton), low velocity pitchers with good change of speed (Castillo, Radke), and then possibly pitchers who got substantially better--by adding a pitch, gaining velocity, or gaining command--after being drafted. Without a scouting report from that time, it's pretty difficult to tell who fits that last category.