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Saturday, December 30, 2006

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I could make a joke about Brito getting slaughtered next year, but that would be too easy.

The fact that the Phillies have had to pack their Triple A club with indy refugees suggests they had some pretty thin drafts 4 and 5 years ago, after the top 2 rounds. Most teams bank on the mid and later rounds to provide organizational players who have at least a chance to surprise on the upside. Maybe an ambitious Beerleaguer can go back and look at what happened to those later round Phillie draftees.

Speaking of Castro, I think he's a natural heir to Padilla's Flotilla and Sal's Pals. Guys in the upper deck can dress in Army fatigues with fake beards and wave cigars whenever Fabio comes into the game.

Nice score there, J, speaking as a hibernating "collector" who used to revel in acquiring Scott Service or Freddy Toliver in Phils togs.

Clout: It would take someone with the heart of a lion and the vision of a revolutionary to pull it off, but I'm behind you all the way. Way, way behind you. But what's the name of the group? And where can I get a good deal on fatigues?

HOT STOVE UPDATE: Aubrey Huff is close to signing a three-year, $19 million deal with Baltimore, according to FoxSports.

I totally agree Clout. I had posted a comment a couple of weeks ago commenting how Arbuckle has done a decent job of drafting players since '93 but his drafts have been really light. Arbuckle has only had 1 or 2 drafts since '93 where more than 2 players have seen MLB time.

It would be interesting to see someone do a more detailed look at the drafts since '93 and determine how many picks made it too AA (Reading) and higher.

if i had no time or life i would certainly go back over Arbuckle's 14 drafts and rate each pick...lol...i guess it would only take about a day to do it since each draft has oh about 50 rounds!

You could actually do it pretty quickly by using Baseball Cube and dumping into Excel. Baseball Cube has summary info of each team's draft by year. Includes every player taken and the highest league that player made.

Dissapointed in not getting Huff, $6M per year in this market is a steal. Poor defensive OF, but you'd be hard pressed to explain to me how Carlos Lee is a better hitter than Huff, or at least, $11M per year better.

Are the Phillies really set to go into the offseason with Vic or Werth as the everyday RF? They are both very good players as 4th OF or (in Vic's case) CFs, but will be below average offensively for a corner OF. I think we'll probably give back the offense in RF in '07 that we will gain from the upgrade at 3B.

The Phillies either need to land a legit offensive corner OF (Nixon probably the only one left) and go the basher route or shore up the pen. Right now, they aren't equiped to either outslug teams or win the close ones.

kdon: I'm with you. I'm surprised PG didn't at least make a try for him. Everyone is assuming Werth will be healthy and productive. I see no reason to assume anything of the sort. We need a lefty stick who can play RF. Vic is a great backup at all 3 positions and can sub for Burrell late in games on defense.

Regarding Nixon, I've read some things that suggest he can no longer play the field and should be a DH.

MG: Thanks for the tip. I went on the Cube just to look at 2 Phillies drafts, 2001 and 2002. Those drafts should've produced players in the middle rounds who would now fill a Triple A roster.

2001 was a great draft simply because the Phils took Howard in the 5th round. The 1st round pick, Gavin Floyd, has to be considered a disappointment. There were no 2nd or 3rd round picks, I assume due to FA signings. The 4th rounder was Terry Jones, a HS SS. He topped out at Clearwater, where he hit .204 and is out of baseball, as are most of the players in this draft. Two others worth mentioning: Chris Roberson in the 9th round and Jaramillo in the 39th. None of the others ever showed up on a prospect list that I can recall. Baseball Cube rated the Phils draft that year as 15th best out of 30 teams.

The 2002 draft also was a success because the 1st rounder was Cole Hamels. But again, the rest was dreck. BC rated the Phils draft 25th. The Phils had a pick in each round and the next 4 after Hamels were Zack Segovia, who some like (but not me), Kiel Fisher, a 3B from Drexel who topped out at Lakewood hitting .173; LHP Nick Bourgeois from Tulane who was cut from Clearwater in '04, spent a year in A ball with the Mariners and is now gone and pick #5, Jake Blalock, Hank's kid brother, who was traded to the Rangers with Tejada for Delucci. He can't field and was very mediocre at AA last season. He projects as a fringe player. The rest of the draft is a litany of heartbreak and misery, most gone, with the exception of Scott Mathieson (17th round) who I think can be a useful middle reliever.

The Phils have always been a team that focuses on athleticism while ignoring baseball skills. This method is more likely to produce stars than the Billy Beane method, but it requires more smarts and better judgment. Any dope, even a fan, can see if a player has baseball skills. But it takes real talent to judge which pure athlete can develop those skills. The Braves have followed this method very successfully over the years. The Phils, not so good. Maybe they should mix in a little Beane in those middle rounds.

What really stands out from looking at past drafts is just how many busts there are...there are a lot more Jeff Jacksons than Frank Thomases out there.

Just looking at the #1 overall pick, it is striking how poor the drafts have been (especially in comparison to basketball and football, where #1 picks are at least useful players, if not superstars).

Since A-Rod was drafted #1 overall in 1993, the best pick so far appears to be Mauer, but after him, it's possible that our own Pat the Bat may be the best #1 overall selection (I'm throwing out the last few years because we don't know yet). I like the big guy a lot, but you would expect better. Adrian Gonzalez may turn out to be a better player and it is possible Erstad was better because of defense, but overall, I think PtB will probably tuen out to be the best pick during a seven year period.

Further down, it is much more of a crapshoot, and I think it is unfair to criticize the Phillies for "only" getting stars like Howard, Utley, J-ROll, Myers, Burrell, and Hamels.

Just at random, I decided to look at the 1998 5th round and only 11 of the 29 players ever reached the majors. THe dirty dozen (minus one):

Jason Hart
Scott Chaisson
Steve Stemle
Josh Hancock
Ryan Sheale
Ryan Drese
Craig Brazell
Scott Proctor
Ryan Voglesong
Aubey Huff!
J.D. Closser

If you have heard of more than half of these guys, give yourself a medal (and this, remember, is only the guys who made it to the show!). Only Huff has even approached being a consistenly above average player.
The next time I hear people complain about the Phillies poor drafts, I challenge them to find a team that consistently gets 3rd-6th rd. players. I guess the A's and maybe the Braves, but that's it.

The one problem the Phillies had was mentioned by clout...all the Ed Wade FA signings that cost the team draft picks. Guys like David Bell and the endless bullpen rotation hurt this team's famr system as much as the major league team.

If Huff or Nixon were classified as type A (meaning we would lose our 1st rounder), I might be a little more hesitant about signing them.

Hey clout, you're report get me to looking at Fisher, because I've never heard of him before. Looks like a he got real unlucky with an injury, he posted OBPs above .420! in both Rk ball and low A while only 19, but missed all of 2004 (I'm assuming injury). WHen he returned, .173/.229/.214.

It makes you wonder how many potential big leaguers get derailed because of injuries or whatever...makes a story like Coste's even more amazing.

Also, the 1998 draft turned out to be a great one for the Phillies...Burrell, Valent, Michaels, Madson, Geary, Punto. It rated #5. 1997 too, if you look at it only from the perspective of talent evaluation. Drew (ha!), Wolf, Turnbow, Lance Niekro and Johnny Estrada.

Actually looking at it, the Phillies did do way bette with Thomas than with Wade, mostly due to losing all the draft picks.

2003, for example, was just brutal...only Bourn has even sniffed the majors and only 3 other players made it to AAA, none of whom I've heard of.

Clout, The Phils actually drafted Jamarillo twice. He was signed after the 2004 draft. But I agree with the premise about lack of depth in drafts 2001 - 2004 . The drafts that actually concern me were 2003 and 2004. They didn't have many high picks to begin with due to free agent signings and their high draft picks (Moss, Golson) have been washouts. Bourne, Jamarillo, and perhaps some pitchers (Happ, Biensensus, Overton) may emerge, but none of them have high ceilings. And Costanzo at 23 will need to show something this year at Reading to still be considered a prospect.

On Trot Nixon: Actually he is regarded as a fine defender. I just checked his defensive statistics in 2006 and they are all average to good (fpct, zone, range, assists). Better than Abreu or Dellucci. What I would be concerned about with Nixon is his declining power numbers. But I still think he would be a good platoon option in right that you should be able to get at a reasonable price. The only other team with interest seems to be the Pirates.

Back at the Sydney 2000 olympics I saw the USA play Cuba. At the game were about 50 Fidel Castro look alikes dressed just as Clout describes it. Fatigues with fake moustaches and cigars . Very funny.

Kdon, the reason Carlos Lee is worth an extra $11 million per year is that he's basically a little better offensively than Pat Burrell, though a notch worse defensively. About equal, in other words.

Spot on about the loss of draft picks. This MUST be factored in when evaluating drafts. The question becomes, does the free agent's contribution make up for the loss of a typical 2nd-round pick? I would argue that this is the round the Phillies MUST NOT LOSE when signing picks, since their record with second-round picks -- going back to Schmidt through Rolen and Rollins and Wolf -- is unsurpassed. Look at the list of Phillies second-round picks. I would take a team of Phillies 2nd-rounders against most teams' first-rounders.

Billy Mac, my Bosox friends tell me Trot's wheels are bad. The defensive numbers are fine as far as they go, but the more he plays the field, the more it takes out of him. I think we might ought to pass, though I would never undersell his heart.

I recognized six of the 10. Do I win a prize?

I agree that Arbuckle had a few less picks in 2003 and 2004 but the draft prospects look pretty bleak from these drafts. I will be surprised if any players from '03 and '04 drafts contribute much to the Phils at any point.

Keep your fingers that Hamels stays healthy otherwise the '02 draft is a bust too. A team can afford a bad draft or two but bad drafts for 3 or 4 years in a row really take their toll.

BM, I think Nixon's stats are skewed by playing at Fenway. Because RF is so large there, he makes a lot of plays that other players couldn't make (because they end up as HR or foul balls. This also might account for Dellucci and Abreu's low numbers.

I would say from observation that he is an adequate defender who plays balls well but is lacking in athleticism or speed. I agree that we should sign him, though, he would be a perfect platoon partner with Werth.

Alby, amazingly Lee will actually make less then Burrell in '07 and '08. 11 vs. 13M this year and then 12 vs. 14M next year.


But...after that, Lee goes to $18.5M for the next 4 years! The 'Stros are screwed.

I think Burrell will be slightly overpaid the next few years, but not by much...considering there are only two years left on his contract, it is a pretty good deal. I think if PtB were a free agent, in this market he would get a better deal than 2 years, $27M.

ANyway, I would take Huff over both of them at $6M per.

No prize man, as I said, "give YOURSELF a medal."

kdon- guess I gotta give myself a medal too, as I indeed have heard of 9 of those players in the 1998 5th round draft. Then again, I'm a baseball nerd...not that there's anything wrong with that.

let's all collectively hope that Scott Boras is not Howard's next agent.

From yesterday’s Boston Globe - “[David] Wells, who said he definitely will pitch in '07, has also drawn interest from Philadelphia, San Diego, and Arizona. Don't be surprised if the Mets kick the tires.” Can anybody tell why PG would be even remotely interested in David Wells? He would certainly want to start wherever he goes, so he cannot be a bullpen option.

Iron Pig: don't believe everything you read in the papers. Also, "Interest" could mean a lot of different things.

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