Author Topic: The Emperor's New Toys (2014 Edition)  (Read 1395 times)

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  • Chris Conley
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The Emperor's New Toys (2014 Edition)
« on: 23 Jun 2014 3:56:44 PM »
Pick 1.28: Josh Hader, LHP, Houston Astros

After trading away two earlier picks in the draft, the Yankees finally pulled the trigger at the end of the first round. Hader was an intriguing young lefty whose stuff exceeded his performance when the Astros picked him up in 2013. He's taken a significant step forward in 2014, improving his ability to hit the strike zone (though there's still room for further growth) while also seeing a big jump in his K rate. He's allowed a few more HR than in prior years, but given that he's pitching in the California League that's hardly a surprise, and 6 HR in 65 innings ain't bad anyhow. With further development he could possibly turn into a #2, but his more realistic ceiling is as a mid-rotation starter arriving around 2017.

Wanted: Lewis Thorpe, Touki Toussaint, Grant Holmes
Also Considered: Sean Newcomb, Derek Hill

Pick 2.13: Erick Fedde, RHP, Washington Nationals (UNLV)

Fedde had serious helium early in the collegiate season and likely would have been a single-digit draft pick if healthy. Unfortunately for him, that was not the case, as he wound up going under the knife in May. If healthy, he features the arsenal of a #2 starter, including a low-to-mid-90s fastball and one of the best non-Rodon sliders in the draft. In the mid-second round, gambling on that "if" seemed worth it to me. He should be ready to go close to the start of the 2015 season, and could be ready for the majors by 2017.

Wanted: Derek Hill
Also Considered: Braxton Davidson

Pick 2.26: Francellis Montas, RHP, Chicago White Sox

One of the hardest throwers in minor league ball, Montas was nevertheless a fringe prospect prior to 2014 given his struggles both to make progress with his secondary pitches and to consistently find the strike zone. He's taken a big step forward with the latter in 2014, cutting his BB/9 down under 2. As for the former, he's certainly fired off a few good sliders and changeups that have been captured on video, but there's still a lot of work to be done. The most likely outcome is that he winds up in the bullpen where he could be a force within the next season or two, but the White Sox seem committed to giving him a shot as a starter.

Wanted: Teoscar Hernandez
Also Considered: Michael Feliz, Aaron Blair

Pick 3.18: Aaron Blair, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

A supplemental pick in 2013, Blair has been sheltered from the spotlight as a result of following Braden Shipley first in the D'backs draft and then in the minors, but he's a considerable talent in his own right. He features a low-90s fastball with good movement and a strong (occasionally described as plus) changeup. The challenge for 2014 was to refine his breaking balls (he throws both a slider and a curve), and a big spike in his K rate to almost 11 K/9 suggests he might be doing just that. He could be a mid-rotation option for the Yankees as soon as 2016.

Wanted: Blair
Also Considered: Jose Ramirez, Jen-Ho Tseng

Pick 3.27: Jake Bauers, 1B, San Diego Padres

A 7th round 2013 pick out of high school, the Padres expected Bauers to spend the early summer in extended spring training and then head off to a short-season league, most likely the Northwest League where at 18 he would have been fairly young for the league. Instead, he impressed the team enough that he was sent to Class A in late April, where as one of the very youngest players in the league he has proceeded to post a 364/446/527 batting line with almost as many walks as strikeouts. He still has received zero attention from the scouting media, but if he keeps hitting like he has that's going to change.

Wanted: Tseng
Also Considered: Marcus Wilson, Miguel Castro

Pick 4.30: Abiatal Avelino, SS, New York Yankees

Signed by the Yankees in 2011, Avelino has a well-rounded skill set including good contact ability, strike zone control, some hints of power, and a solid glove at SS. Despite his age he doesn't have a ton of upside, but for a teenager he has a good shot at being a solid regular. ETA: 2017.

Wanted: Miguel Castro
Also Considered: Leonardo Molina, Micker Zapata, Andrew Velazquez

Pick 5.02: Leonardo Molina, CF, New York Yankees

A 2013 IFA, Molina is the opposite of Avelino: huge tools, considered the best athlete in the IFA class, but huge risk as well. He is a strong bet to stay up the middle given his plus-plus speed and strong-for-his-age defensive instincts, but the bat could be anywhere from special to worthless. The Yankees thought highly enough of him to bring him straight to the states despite the fact that he won't turn 17 until July 31. If all goes spectacularly well, he could take over the Yankees CF job in 2018 and hold it for a decade or more.

Wanted: Molina
Also Considered: Velazquez

Pick 5.12: Wendell Rijo, 2B, Boston Red Sox

Another IFA, this time from 2012, Rijo is holding his own as an 18-year-old in full-season ball. That's somewhat less surprising given his background (he's the son of a scout), but there are an awful lot of amateur draftees who have had at least as much baseball exposure and are nowhere near ready for that kind of assignment. He has the defensive chops to stay at second and the offensive upside to be a first-division starter there, though as with everyone else in this draft class that's not likely to happen until at least 2017.

Wanted: Andrew Velazquez
Also Considered: Sergio Alcantara, Ketel Marte

Pick 5.23: Sergio Alcantara, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks

And the run on recent IFAs continues. Alcantara, a 2012 signee, was pushed straight to stateside ball in 2013 and held his own despite not turning 17 until the end of the season. He was noted particularly for his defensive acumen and his plate discipline, as he drew 44 walks against only 36 strikeouts in 48 games. There isn't much pop there yet, but he could develop at least fringe-average power as he matures. Given his age, he likely won't hit the majors until 2018 at best.

Wanted: Alcantara
Also Considered: Ketel Marte, Micker Zapata

And the picks that weren't:

Pick 1.11: Traded with a 2015 #4 for Picks 1.18 & 3.18 and a 2015 #5

Would have gone with Jeff Hoffman here with Vincent Velasquez as a backup, but there were enough other high-upside arms in the draft that I decided to move back and add another solid pick. Hoffman wound up going at 1.14, but Velasquez was still there at 1.18, so this worked out well from that perspective.

Pick 1.18: Traded with a 2015 #5 for 2.13, 2.26, and $2.5M in 2015

Velasquez was my guy here, but at the last minute decided to add more picks instead, one of which went for a guy I really like (Fedde) and one of which feels like a gamble and questionable value in retrospect (Montas).

Pick 4.24: Traded for 5.02 and a 2015 #5

This would have been Miguel Castro, and I have rather strong buyer's remorse over letting it go, even though in the abstract a 2015 #5 is a great return for moving down 8 picks late in the draft. Ah, well.

Pick 5.20: Traded for 5.23 and $0.8M in 2014

Pretty easy call for me, as I didn't have a clear favorite and the guy I would have taken (Alcantara) slid to me anyhow. Free money -- woo!

Pick 5.28: Traded for a 2015 #5 and $2M

Probably would have taken Ketel Marte here, with Micker Zapata and Devin Williams also under consideration. This way I get a couple $M to throw at a utility IF for the next year or two and a pick to shoot for upside as well.
« Last Edit: 23 Jun 2014 4:03:24 PM by Yankees CC »

Cardinals

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Re: The Emperor's New Toys (2014 Edition)
« Reply #1 on: 23 Jun 2014 4:29:26 PM »
I voted for Blair and thought he was a fantastic value pick for where he went.  But really, a lot of these picks were outstanding.

*  *  *

Hader felt like a bit of a tough-luck grab, since Holmes and Toussaint came off the board just prior, but he seemed like a solid choice for a late 1st.  At that point I had Hader ranked behind only Steven Matz on my board.

Fedde was another good pick, although I had both Michael Lorenzen and Francisco Mejia ahead of him on my board.

Montas looks like a bullpen guy to me, and I'd probably have gambled on one of the prep arms at that point.  First Yankees pick I'm not super-enthused about in retrospect, although the upside if Montas stays in the rotation is immense.

Blair was a frigging coup, going where he did.

Bauers is one of the few prospects that I have absolutely no clue about.  I don't know his pedigree, I don't know what his tools profile as, but the numbers and ARL are sure hard to ignore.  I would have taken Miguel Castro here (as people could probably guess by my flipping out when he finally got nabbed) but am guessing nearly everyone else would have called it an overdraft.  I think Bauers was a worthy gamble for this spot and I had him high on my list.

Avelino is the second Yankees pick that I'm not so sure about.  The top two guys on my list at this point were Marcos Molina and Wendell Rijo, but I suspect the same sorts of warts could be laid at their feet as Avelino's.  I think I'm just naturally more inclined to go with upside at this point in the draft.

Rijo was an outstanding pick.  I think he could be a Top 100 prospect by next mid-season.  Performance is great, tools are very good.  Love that pick.  Paul Blackburn was the only other guy I was strongly considering for my pick a few spots later, and was happy to get him as a consolation prize.

Alcantara should have gone earlier than he did, although I personally wasn't interested in adding any more shortstops with that profile.  But yeah - another outstanding pick, I think.

*  *  *

That's three home runs, two guys that look like overdrafts to me, and three more guys that weren't at the top of my list but were close enough to count as successes.  Very polished draft, very well done!


Blue Jays SH

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Re: The Emperor's New Toys (2014 Edition)
« Reply #2 on: 23 Jun 2014 4:34:32 PM »
great summary of the draft and your thought process. I hope they all flop (unless you trade them to me).

Scot.
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Yankees CC

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Re: The Emperor's New Toys (2014 Edition)
« Reply #3 on: 23 Jun 2014 5:13:43 PM »
Bauers is one of the few prospects that I have absolutely no clue about.  I don't know his pedigree, I don't know what his tools profile as, but the numbers and ARL are sure hard to ignore.  I would have taken Miguel Castro here (as people could probably guess by my flipping out when he finally got nabbed) but am guessing nearly everyone else would have called it an overdraft.  I think Bauers was a worthy gamble for this spot and I had him high on my list.

Given that Castro was one of the others I considered for the pick, I certainly wouldn't have called it an overdraft. Definitely wish I'd pulled the trigger on him at 4.24.

As for Bauers, the thing I like is that he's doing almost everything well right now -- not just hitting for average and controlling the strike zone, but showing at least some pop (for an 18-year-old) and even swiping a few bases (though not at a terribly good rate) which suggests some athleticism. If you're going to scout the stat line, you might as well scout the whole thing! ;D

Pre-draft, BA gave him "a chance to be an average hitter with fringe-average to solid-average pop down the road. I have to think his hit tool ceiling is up a couple of notches at this point. James Loney-esque ceiling?

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Re: The Emperor's New Toys (2014 Edition)
« Reply #4 on: 23 Jun 2014 9:11:30 PM »
As a relatively poor person, that's one thing I've wondered about - how much of an edge the BA handbook or something similar provides.  Did you find it useful?

And yeah - Bauers is so young and there's so much projection involved that I have no problem imagining that people were off with his estimated hit tool (or that he improved dramatically).

Yankees CC

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Re: The Emperor's New Toys (2014 Edition)
« Reply #5 on: 24 Jun 2014 12:38:21 PM »
As a relatively poor person, that's one thing I've wondered about - how much of an edge the BA handbook or something similar provides.  Did you find it useful?

I'm somewhat of a baseball info junkie -- I've bought Sickels' book for many years, started buying the BA Handbook a year ago, got a BPro subscription with my fantasy co-owner, and renew my ESPN the Magazine subscription when there's a $5 special solely for Insider access (I find the mag itself essentially unreadable).

Truth is that it's more for enjoyment than utility, though. The books are probably more useful in shallower leagues and/or leagues with winter or spring drafts. In a league like this, most of the top-10 prospects who aren't destined to be MLB relievers are long gone, and the writeups for breakout guys are rather out-of-date almost by definition.

That said, they do help evaluate how meaningful a breakout is, e.g. Andrew Velazquez posting a .162 ISO as a teenager in full-season ball when the main knock on him is the doubt that he'll ever show any semblance of power. They don't really help differentiate between short-season ball guys, since all but the well-known elites wind up with the same generic 50E/C+ grade. (Which is only fair, as it's really really hard to separate the wheat from the chaff at AA, let alone the GCL...)

Bauers, however, was totally a shot in the dark, as he not only didn't make BA's Top 30 Prospects for the Padres, he didn't even make their expanded depth chart or their 2013 draft highlights. (The quote above was presumably from their pre-2013 draft issue or online scouting report -- I got it from a Padres blog somewhere.) Same with Molina, as he was well-regarded prior to signing but seems to have fallen off the radar a bit since then. We'll see how going against the grain works for me, I guess.
« Last Edit: 24 Jun 2014 5:55:25 PM by Yankees CC »

Blue Jays SH

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Re: The Emperor's New Toys (2014 Edition)
« Reply #6 on: 24 Jun 2014 12:50:56 PM »
As a relatively poor person, that's one thing I've wondered about - how much of an edge the BA handbook or something similar provides.  Did you find it useful?

Since I had so many picks this year, I went all out for draft prep. I had a spreadsheet that listed the BA player rating/risk, Sickels' grade, BP's future potential and realistic expectation rating, and minor league performance through June 1. I ordered the spreadsheet by the BA rating, but used all sources to varying degrees to select players. I selected Thorpe because of the glowing reviews from BA, BP, Sickels despite the limited performance record; Souza got middling reviews, but I bumped him up for the performance. I found the writeupes from BA/Sickels to be particularly valuable in the middle rounds where there were lots of options - guys like Treinen and DeSclafani who were considered as decent middle-of-the-rotation prospects, who were backing that up with current performance. Some players got dropped from consideration due to performance and/or injuries; some guys I liked got dropped because BA/BP/Sickels didn't like them.

(FWIW, at the end of the draft there are still 2 players that BA gave "60" grades to, both with extreme risk. 6 "55/high risk". 26 "55/extreme risk". 3 "B" grades from Sickels; 34 "B-"s. From BP, there were 6 guys with a "6+" OFP (overall future potential) grade; 26 with a "6"; 14 with a "5+"; BP's RFP (realistic future potential) had 1 "6" and 33 "5"s left).

Scot.
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Re: The Emperor's New Toys (2014 Edition)
« Reply #7 on: 24 Jun 2014 12:58:37 PM »
(FWIW, at the end of the draft there are still 2 players that BA gave "60" grades to, both with extreme risk.

Alberto Tirado is one -- who's the other?

Blue Jays SH

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Re: The Emperor's New Toys (2014 Edition)
« Reply #8 on: 24 Jun 2014 1:07:12 PM »
(FWIW, at the end of the draft there are still 2 players that BA gave "60" grades to, both with extreme risk.

Alberto Tirado is one -- who's the other?

you want me to give up my 2015 draft list already? ;)

SS Amed Rosario in the Mets system.

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Re: The Emperor's New Toys (2014 Edition)
« Reply #9 on: 24 Jun 2014 1:10:09 PM »
Nats have him already.

Blue Jays SH

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Re: The Emperor's New Toys (2014 Edition)
« Reply #10 on: 24 Jun 2014 1:11:03 PM »
Nats have him already.

Doh! I obviously missed a couple players when weeding through our "draft ineligible" list.

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Re: The Emperor's New Toys (2014 Edition)
« Reply #11 on: 24 Jun 2014 1:30:55 PM »
That said, they do help evaluate how meaningful a breakout is, however; e.g. Andrew Velazquez posting a .162 ISO as a teenager in full-season ball when the main knock on him is the doubt that he'll ever show any semblance of power.

This is exactly how I ended up picking him. I didn't write him down as a target in my first pass through the book because they stuck the utility infielder label on him. But after seeing the numbers he was putting up, I referenced BA's scouting report again and realized the lack of power last year was the main reason they tagged him with that. While he's clearly not a big home run threat, I figure the gap power he's displaying this year will be enough to vault him into Arizona's top 10 at the end of the season and change his profile to that of a starting middle infielder.

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Re: The Emperor's New Toys (2014 Edition)
« Reply #12 on: 24 Jun 2014 5:40:55 PM »
As a relatively poor person, that's one thing I've wondered about - how much of an edge the BA handbook or something similar provides.  Did you find it useful?

And yeah - Bauers is so young and there's so much projection involved that I have no problem imagining that people were off with his estimated hit tool (or that he improved dramatically).

I have always wondered this, too, and been too embarrassed to ask.

As usual, Chris, we have similar tastes.  Hader, Blair, Bauers, Avelino, and Rijo were all guys I was hoping to land at some point in the draft.  They seemed to always be on the shortlist, but never the pick.  Great start at turning around the Yank's farm system.
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