Baseball Amateur Draft is More of A Crapshoot Than Thought (Second in series of three articles)

In my first article, "Sabean's Draft Record: Better Than Fans Think," I examined how the Giants did compared to other teams who were forced by their success to draft low in the first round. In this second article, I examine how teams in general have done in the draft since Sabean first handled the draft for the Yankees in 1986 and how that fits in with his tactic of signing free agents and giving up draft picks.

Here is the link to my article, "Baseball Amateur Draft is More of A Crapshoot Than".

Please leave any comments here, thanks.


Feliz signed for two years, $6.1M

Feliz signed a contract...Feliz signed a contract.
Feliz signed a contract for two years at $6.1M
(sung to Feliz Navidad)

I've been a Pedro Feliz fan ever since his big year at AAA, through thin and now thick. Maybe fan is too strong, since I didn't know if he would pan out or not, but I figured anyone who can hit 30+ homers like he did at Fresno should be given a chance to get full-time at-bats to see what he could do and not be traded away. Of course, that was when I thought he was a young 25 and not an old 27.

But it's not chopped liver what he's been doing the past couple of years. And I am glad they kept him despite all the fans calls for trading him, especially after the World Series where he did poorly. Which I didn't blame him for, Baker just threw him to the wolves; Baker should have started someone consistently throughout the series at DH so that that player would have gotten consistent AB instead of having a rusty Shinjo, Dunston, and Feliz play a game each.

I would have started Shinjo each time, plus play him in CF and Lofton DH the games at Anaheim, for the defense. He hit well for the Giants (and for the Mets the year before), hitting 6-7 in the lineup, and that was where he was used to batting in Japan, where he was an RBI guy, not a leadoff guy.

Baker horribly misused him all year because, apparently in Baker's head, the CF has to leadoff (though probably it was because there was no one who logically would leadoff so Baker said, "Why the hell not" to the idea of leading off with Shinjo). Then later he insulted Shinjo by batting him 8th, where he did terribly, whereas Bell was not only not insulted, but he excelled batting 8th (the Japanese players who come to the U.S. have a taboo about hitting 8th, it was quite an insult). Sanders, despite his HR power, hit terribly in the middle of the lineup and with men on base (a double whammy for an RBI guy), but excelled leading off, based on his career numbers. He should have been leading off and Shinjo should have been batting 6-7, which is where Sanders mainly hit.

Oh, back from memory lane, Yorvit also signed a contract for one year, $700K. Both signed for about what I expected them to sign for so my Giants payroll budget is still the same as I noted below.


Baseball players are hypocrites over steroids issue

Here's two drugs, one of which is steroids. One is a drug that allows a player to use his body to its optimum use, that it would not be otherwise naturally able to do, increasing his strength, endurance, and reaction time. It also can make the player restless and irritable. The other drug is steroids. What is the first drug? Amphetamines.

Here is a great article on the Chronicle's website about the problem in baseball with amphetamines that gave me this great info on the drug.

Why are these any different? I guess it is not as deadly to players in the long-run, at least that anyone can tell thus far with medical studies (and apparently rampant usage). But there are still people who can be affected by these drugs and perhaps die from it. And while the odds are lower, they are still gambling with their life by taking the drug because they don't know if they are that "lucky" low percentage. Then again, as the old saying goes, you take a big risk everyday when you go into the bathroom and take a bathe yourself.

But still, given all the huffing and puffing by players over the advantages that steroids give a user over a "clean" player, one might think that there would be an equal uproar, if not higher consternation, over the rampant use of this drug. This is because the pressure to use this drug is even higher than that for steroids since there's no "real" side effect to the players, i.e. long term health problems, unless, of course, you keel over and die right after taking it.

Sure the risk is lower, but that first time you take the stuff, you are still playing Russian Roulette and while you are pretty sure you'll be OK, you won't know until you survive your first time. Then you get to benefit from the advantages that amphetamines gives you, basically the same advantages that steroids give you, it sounds like from the article, because it gives you the boost you need to continue to exercise when your body would have told you that you were too tired to continue.

So how is that different? As one pitcher who anonymously admitted in the Chron article, players are so competitive that they would do anything to get an edge. According to Harold Reynolds, he said it was prevalent during his playing days and that it was "a joke how many guys did it. I saw them doing it every day." Tony Gwynn was quoted as saying that he estimated 50 percent of position players regularly use them (my emphasis).

The other illuminating thing this article gave me, which I realized after re-reading it, is that this rampant usage explains why there are some many players who are bad interviews: they are hopped up and irritable because over half the players are using. It won't excuse it but it does explain it.