Crash Bag, Vol. 16 – What Makes a Good Draft?

The Phillies have played 12 of 15 games against the Mets and Nationals and have come out of those games with a 5-7 record (and a positive run differential). Not bad for losing your starting left fielder, having a starting pitcher arm explode, and watching Jeanmar Gomez do exactly what we expected him to. This week deals with none of that. Instead, I go down a draft wormhole, and a questioner gets some moving advice.

Next week, Brad (@bxe1234) will be doing the Crash Bag while I am Philly.

@ethan_witte: What makes a draft class a success? Having multiple players secure multiple WAR over a career, or just one or two guys that are really good?
@JesusZoidberg: If you get a prospect from a draft, and then trade him for a legit player, but the prospect fails, is that a bad pick(draft)?

I have two different definitions for the minimum for a successful draft class. The first is that it gets you an above average regular either from the players in it or in trade. The second is that it gets you an average regular and some ancillary pieces. If you get a first division regular or borderline all-star and nothing else, that is a success. If all you get is a bunch of bench players or middle relievers, that is not a successful draft, but it is also not a complete waste. With that in mind, I went back 10 years to go through the 2007 to 2014 drafts, since the 2015 and 2016 drafts have barely had time to play and grow. For each class I have divided it into players who reached the majors, notable prospects, players still in the minors, and players traded.

2007:
MLB: Joe Savery (1), Justin De Fratus (11), Tyson Brummett (7)
Traded: Travis d’Arnaud (1s), Michael Taylor (5), Brian Schlitter (16), Matthew Spencer (3), Jake Diekman (30)
Outside of Jake Diekman (and two good years of De Fratus), this class provided almost no major league value to the Phillies on its own. But what is interesting is the trade portion where you have 2/3 of the Halladay trade, a minor piece in the Blanton trade, and the entire Scott Eyre trade. Taylor flamed out in the majors and d’Arnaud is always hurt, but the value gained by those two in the Halladay trade is immense. Verdict: Success

2008:
MLB: Jonathan Pettibone (3s), Michael Stutes (11), B.J. Rosenberg (13), Michael Schwimer (14), Tyler Cloyd (18), Steve Susdorf (19)
Traded: Anthony Gose (2), Jason Knapp (2), Vance Worley (3), Trevor May (4), Jarred Cosart (38)
As was typical of this time for the Phillies, this draft class provided very little to the major league team. Vance Worley had some good years, Pettibone had a good year, and Stutes was fine until his arm blew up. These players on their own do not make this draft a success. What is here is a piece from the Oswalt trade, the entire Ben Revere trade, the headliner from the Pence trade, and the headliner from the Cliff Lee trade. The Phillies bombed the top of this class, and if they kept everyone they get nothing. They cashed in this class for immediate help, and it sustained their run. Verdict: Success, but not for the long term future

2009:
MLB: Aaron Altherr (9), Darin Ruf (20)
Traded: Jon Singelton (8), Josh Zeid (10)
We have the other headliner to the Pence deal, along with a minor piece in the deal. For 1.5 years of a contract (for this purpose I am ignoring the second Pence trade), that doesn’t carry the class. Ruf had some moments on bad Phillies teams. Altherr is still young enough to be something, but he has yet to really provide much value. Verdict: Failure, unless Altherr suddenly becomes a long term everyday regular for the Phillies

2010:
MLB: Cameron Rupp (3), David Buchanan (7), Mario Hollands (10)
Hanging Around: Chace Numata (14)
Cameron Rupp is probably a backup catcher, as is Numata if he hits his ceiling. That is fine as your second or third piece behind a good player. The same with Buchanan or Hollands, who would look nicer as minor pieces. Verdict: Failure, and there isn’t a player here who could bail it out.

2011:
MLB: Roman Quinn (2), Adam Morgan (3), Cody Asche (4), Colton Murray (13), Brock Stassi (30)
Hanging Around: Harold Martinez (2), Mitch Walding (5), Logan Moore (9), Yacksel Rios (12), Jesen Dygestile-Therrien (17)
Traded: Ken Giles (7)
Morgan, Asche, Murray, and Stassi all could end up as fringe players, and while it is nice to get some late contributors, they don’t carry a draft. Roman Quinn has the talent to carry this draft class if he hits his ceiling, but he has had his share of problems staying healthy. The real star of this draft class is Ken Giles in the 7th round. He gave the Phillies above average regular performance early in his career, and the trade to Houston could net them even more depth.
Verdict: Success. If you just sub in Velasquez, Eshelman, Appel, and Arauz for Giles this class looks really deep.

2012:
Prospects: Dylan Cozens (2), Andrew Pullin (5), Drew Anderson (21)
Hanging Around: Shane Watson (1s), Zach Green (3), Cameron Perkins (6), Hoby Milner (7)
With no players in the majors and no big trade pieces, the Phillies have gotten zero value out of this class 5 years later. With only three real prospects left, the class is running out of options. Verdict: Jury still out, but running out of time. Cozens, Anderson, and Pullin all could be major league regulars, and if two of them make it, they could make this class a success. However, they all have enough risks to keep it from being a sure thing.

2013:
MLB: Andrew Knapp (2), Mark Leiter Jr. (22)
Prospects: J.P. Crawford (1), Tyler Viza (32)
Hanging Around: Cord Sandberg (3), Jan Hernandez (3)
Traded: David Whitehead (34)
This class has been purged way more than the 2012 version, but it has a better chance of long term success. Andrew Knapp is a solid second piece as a backup/second division catcher. Whitehead netted Charlie Morton’s contract, and Tyler Viza could be a backend starter. Crawford is the real key here, and even though he has struggled, he is still the top prospect in the Phillies system. Verdict: If Crawford hits his median outcome as an everyday shortstop, this class is a success.

2014:
MLB: Aaron Nola (1)
Prospects: Rhys Hoskins (5)
Hanging Around: Aaron Brown (3), Brandon Leibrandt (6), Emmanuel Marrero (7), Matt Hockenberry (9), Drew Stankiewicz (11), Austin Davis (12), Damek Tomscha (17), Joey DeNato (19), Derek Campbell (20), Joel Fisher (23)
Traded: Sam McWilliams (8), Chris Oliver (4)
Unlike some of the previous drafts, the 2014 draft still has a lot of filler around, but it has become essentially a 2 player draft. Rhys Hoskins has been hitting since he was drafted and now sits on the edge of the major leagues. Aaron Nola is now in his 3rd MLB season and, despite a down second season, looks like a future building block for the Phillies. On the traded side, Sam McWilliams was traded for Jeremy Hellickson and Chris Oliver got half the money needed to sign Jhailyn Ortiz.Verdict: If Aaron Nola is a #3 starter for the Phillies going forward, this draft is a complete success. If Hoskins can be an everyday first baseman for the Phillies, then the Phillies could turn a very shallow draft into an organizational win.

@wkgreen06: I’m moving on Saturday. Which Phillies would be the best and/or worse to help in this situation?

If you are moving, the first people you want are those that are going to be helpful and able to carry the heavy objects. Immediately Cameron Rupp and Aaron Altherr come to mind. I don’t know how much Rupp can lift, but he looks like he would have no problem moving all of your heavy furniture by himself. Altherr is another big and strong guy who seems to try really hard and listens to instructions. The worst to me is probably going to be Freddy Galvis. He seems like the guy who is too helpful and tries really hard to make it a better experience for you. However, I also get the feeling all of your stuff is going to be moved into the wrong rooms in the wrong order. It also doesn’t help that while he is strong when he goes all out, he is literally half the size of Rupp.

@DashTreyhorn: Over/Under on Rhys Hoskins getting called up: May 30.

I am going to go over, barring injury. Tommy Joseph’s struggles in the majors, coupled with Hoskins’ hot start in AAA, have certainly opened the conversation up. Joseph is not a veteran, but he hit well enough last year that I think think that the Phillies are likely going to give him some time to work through his struggles. Even if Joseph continues to struggle, it would make sense for the Phillies to give Stassi some at bats against righties before turning to Hoskins. If the over/under point was June 15, it is a much tougher decision.

@PompeyMalus: Do kingery or Hernandez have position flexibility?

Kingery, maybe. Hernandez, no. Kingery played center field in his first two years at Arizona before moving to second base. I don’t have a scouting report on Kingery, but I find it plausible that he could handle left and center with some reps out there. There are some people who think Kingery might be passable at shortstop, and there is a chance he has the glove for it, but I don’t think his arm is strong enough to play it any situation that isn’t an emergency. Hernandez was a disaster in the outfield when the Phillies tried him out there. He has the speed to play center, but his instincts didn’t work there. The Phillies have had him play shortstop and third base, but his arm makes him a liability on the left side of the infield. So at best, the two of them could play left and center field, which doesn’t really help solve things.

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6 comments

  1. Norm

    April 22, 2017 08:23 AM

    I cannot pretend to know what makes for a good draft, but I think having Cliff Claven chime in might actually behoove us.

  2. Bob D

    April 24, 2017 07:18 AM

    I have Odubel Herrera as the worst to move since he is most likely to bat flip your furniture into place

    • Michael C Lorah

      April 24, 2017 11:06 AM

      Haha

  3. rlh1004

    April 24, 2017 12:45 PM

    I have Cesar as the worst to help move because he is the most likely Phillie to attempt a steal.

    Although the danger is mitigated somewhat by the fact that you have roughly a 33% chance of catching him in the act…

    • Nehi

      April 24, 2017 12:58 PM

      Clever. Over/under on people taking this as a racist joke instead of taking it as a stolen base joke?

      • rlh1004

        April 25, 2017 10:26 AM

        Hmm… That might work if he were the only non-white player on the team.

        I believe that the majority of people in our society still have at least a loose grip on rationality. So I put the over/under pretty low.

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