How Sabean Uses the Draft to Build the Giants (Part 3 of a 3-part series).

The implications of the results I have found on drafting on the Giants draft strategy and on how Sabean builds the Giants. The article has been submitted to sfdugout.com and has been published there.

Parts 1 and 2 covered how successful Sabean has been in the draft relative to other teams who had to draft high because of their success and what the odds of drafting a useful, good, and star player is in the first 100 picks.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what a great breakdown. Let's hope you are right about bright future of the farm system.

Fri Feb 25, 12:55:00 AM PST  
Blogger obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I answered the below on a comment on McCovey Chronicles: RE: return on draft investment

Throwing in the twist of finding usable trading chits would require a whole new level of detail that would be a lot of work. However, my article did compare the Giants relative to other teams who have been good during Sabean's reign. The Giants have been about as successful as the A's (who's better depends on how recent drafts work out eventually but A's look ahead now but the Giants were ahead the year before) and probably more successful than the Braves and definitely more successful than the Yankees. But I have no idea on how they did relative to other teams. But throwing in trades, you can't do much better than Sabean getting Jason Schmidt and Livan Hernandez in trades for prospect that he drafted.

Looking strictly at how successful they have been in the draft, first off, the odds are depressingly low even as high as the 21st pick (9:1 odds against picking a good or star player; all playoff teams draft below the 21st pick for their regular draft pick) as I noted in my article on the draft on sfdugout.com.

I didn't cover this in my article (but now wish I did) but assuming that these odds hold and the Giants are competing for a playoff spot every year (meaning our pick in generally 21-30 or worse), on average you find 1 good or better player every 9 years of 1st round picks. By this measure, Sabean could be looking to be called a certified genius in a few years, with Williams, Lowry, and Cain looking to be good or better, plus possibly Aardsma, Foppert, Hennessey and Whitaker, just from the drafts of 1999-2003. So where the average good team (picks 21-30) drafter would find about 1 good or better player during the 8 years Sabean has been GM, Sabean could be looking at at least 3 and up to 6. But right now, he is not even at 1 yet because Williams hasn't proven himself yet as a good player.

As I noted in the article, the odds get much worse for a good or better player as the odds were about 1 in 25 for supplemental 1st, 2nd, and most of 3rd round picks, 1 in 67 for picks 91-100. I have no idea how the odds between, say, rounds 4 and round 50, other than most probably it is lower; but by how much? I assume that the odds plateau at some point but where and how much?

Based on data I saw in another study of the draft, the odds are probably between 0.5% and 1%. Assuming a 1% odds plateau for picks from Round 4 and above (most teams stop at 50 rounds), the expected "value" for a good or better player in any draft year is about 0.66, which means you can expect to find two good or better player every three years. Dropping the odds to 0.5% makes it two good or better player every five years. So it looks like most teams, on average, find two good or better players every three to five years.

As I noted in my article, it takes about 4-5 years for most prospects to develop to a good and above performance, so it is too early to judge most of Sabean's draft results. Clearly, 1997 and 1998 are pretty big busts and 1999 has Jerome Williams and Kurt Ainsworth. 2000 has been a bust and looks to stay that way unless Ellison, Niekro, or Threets break out in this fifth year.

2001 and beyond appears to be where Sabean's has gotten the Giants scouting into the shape he had the Yankees in during his hey day there. Each year has at least one clearly good player and others who may reach it. 2001 has Lowry, Foppert, Hennessey, and Linden looking to be good or better. 2002 has Matt Cain, Fred Lewis, Kevin Correia, Dan Ortmeier, and Travis Ishikawa as top prospects. 2003 has Aardsma, Nate Schierholtz, Craig Whitaker, Brian Buscher, and Pat Misch plus BA likes Marcus Sanders and Mike Mooney. 2004 has Eddy Martinez-Esteve, John Bowker, and Clay Timpner as hot prospects.

To sum, overall by now, Sabean should have developed at least three good and better players in his 8 seasons; on average about four or five. Only two can be tentatively called good players, Williams and Lowry, with Foppert, Aardsma, and Cain looking close to bringing Sabean up to average, and if any of the other prospects make it, that would push him into above average category, though not probably not significantly so.

Consequently, based on the results so far, the bonus money has not been spent well since he did not even develop an average number of good players. However, there are enough players on the cusp of being good that I think it is safe enough to say that Sabean has been about average in terms of developing good players, for their draft position. In addition, there are enough good developing prospects in the pipeline that I think that there is a good chance that he eventually could be above average in developing players for the time he's been GM.

Thu Mar 03, 10:04:00 PM PST  

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