Friday, June 8, 2012

Post-draft analysis of the 2012 Indians' draft

The Indians completed an interesting draft on Wednesday.  Here are some numbers and comments:
·         By Baseball America's count the Indians drafted 17 players from BA's top 500 draft prospects.  This placed them in a tie for 5th in the major leagues with all the teams drafting more top 500 guys being teams with extra picks in the first 3 rounds
·         Tyler Naquin.  He is not projected as an impact prospect as he projects to have only 3 above average tools (hit for average, throw and speed).  He had to be drafted to save money for later picks. 
·         Mitch Brown (2nd round) will probably be a tough sign, requiring up to $300,000 over slot.  He also was a late comer not being ranked highly this spring. 
·         Kieran Lovegrove is a HS pitcher who was a slight overdraft, should sign for slot and projects to be a decent but not great prospect
·          4th rounder D'Vone McClure, 5th rounder Dylan Baker and 7th rounder Josh Schubert-McAdams, might require overslot bonuses that could total $250,000 over slot. 
·         The Indians drafted 3 college seniors, Joe Wendle, Jacob Lee and Josh Martin in the first 10 rounds which should save them roughly $400,000 of their  $4,582,900 allotted budget to sign players in the first 10 rounds.  This extra money can be applied to overslot bonuses.   
·         In later rounds the Indians took flyers on Andrew Calica (17th round, ranked 173, drafted with the 533rd pick) and Corey Raley (33rd, 158, 1013).  Both should require bonuses over the $100,000 limit for those draft slots, maybe up to $500,000 combined over slot. 
·         Later round picks of note who may sign for $100,000 are Logan Vick (11th , 259, 353), Jeremy Lucas (12th, 264, 383), Joe Sever (21st, 431, 653), Richard Stock (23rd, 451, 713), Cameron Cox (25th, 375, 773), Randall Fant (29th, 440, 893) Matt Fultz (34th, 395, 1043) and Anthony Hawkins (40th, 363, 1223).  Signing each of these guys would require at least $25,000 to $50,000 over slot meaning, to sign all of these guys we would need to find another $250,000 savings in our budget.
(EDIT: I mean, and should have said, that, overall, based on the available talent pool, that I like this draft on paper.  However, I see the overall talent pool as weak and, like the draft in 2000, I would have gone for it in the first round as I think this draft has a chance to be a one-and-done draft, i.e., what impact (all-star and top-line regulars) talent existed was only in the first round and there wasn't even much of it in THAT round so if you get a chance to 'go for the gold' you go for it in the first round. That being said, if the Indians thought there was no impact talent left at 15, their strategy was REALLY solid for their evaluation process)  Talent-wise.the Indians drafted a bunch of GOOD prospects but not even one great prospect.  Hey, an astute (and lucky) team with good player development can get impact players from later rounds.  Grady Sizemore, Kenny Lofton, Cliff Lee, Travis Hafner, Albert Belle and others were all drafted after the first round.  However, the Indians, historically in the draft, don’t appear to be very astute nor do they appear to possess a good player development program.  Thus, if they sign these players, they look like guys who would populate, eventually, the 6th through 15th slots on future Indians’ top 30 prospect lists.  That is, guys who project to be solid major leaguers to role players but no potential all-stars.  Things can change but that’s what it looks like now…IF they can sign these guys.
Financially, the Indians have issues with this draft.  While they saved $400,000 on the 3 college seniors and may add $100,000 savings on Naquin, that money won’t go very far.   Mitch Brown appears a tough sign and they may have to use most of it to up his slotted bonus of $639,700 to closer to the $1 million it may take to sign him.  If that happens they will have little to no extra money to sign McClure, Baker, Calica and Raley.  In fact, guys like Vick, Lucas, Hawkins, Sever, Cox, Fant and Fultz may not sign as it is doubtful we can get them for $100,000.  I would project that we would need a $750,000 savings under slot from our 3 college seniors plus Naquin to even have a chance to sign all of our first 10 picks and another $300,000 savings to be able to sign Calica and Raley.   Add another $250,000 for Vick, et al and you are looking at finding $1.3 million to sign all of our good prospects, if you only consider the BA-ranked prospects.
So, overall, the Indians had an intriguing draft which could be VERY good, depth-wise (not impact-wise), if they sign their first 10 picks plus Calica and Raley.  As you start to remove guys because you won’t have the budget to sign them this draft could quickly move to average or even below average.  That is not acceptable for a small market team with the 15th slot in the draft.   Let’s hope the Indians are ‘cap’ geniuses and can sign all these guys.  Otherwise, it just adds to the length of time before we are competitive again.  If you add more,, lower-ranked prospects you don't increase the  overall quality depth much but you give yourself a much better chance that some guy would over-achieve who was only a middling draft prospect like Vick, et al. 
Next I will post two shadow drafts: One they way I would have drafted it and one, using the Indians selection methodology, that I think would have turned out better.

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