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In this guest post from Kyle Matte we look at data from past drafts and try to find trends that will help us identify the types of players the Blue Jays could target next month with their two very high picks. Follow Kyle on Twitter at @KyleMatte.

The 2014 MLB Draft begins with its first round on the night of June 5th, roughly one month from today. Unlike the other three major sports, baseball has its draft in the middle of its regular season, and not only that, but before the conclusion of the seasons being played by the amateur talent being acquired. In hockey, football, and basketball, the organizations have months to comb through game tape and interview potential selections in preparation. As such, a player’s most recent in-game performance carries less weight than the total package of data. Things are drastically different with baseball. A strong month or two in the spring can vault a prospect up draft boards — often termed “helium” —  while a very poor start to the season can severely damage the stock of a player, causing him to slide and lose hundreds of thousands in bonus money in the process. As a result of this unique situation, mock drafts are next to useless any earlier than just a few days before the actual draft takes place.

What we can do, however, is soak up as much information as possible from past drafts in an attempt to identify an archetype for what an organization looks for in amateur talent. There are thousands of draft-eligible prospects between United States post-secondary schools and high schools across the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, so it’s impossible for any scouting department to get eyes on everyone. By identifying trends in the historical data, you can develop a more precise idea of what the scouts might be watching for, and therefore who an organization might be targeting.

This brings us to the Toronto Blue Jays, the only organization in baseball to possess two picks in the draft’s first round (compensatory round not withstanding). We’re not talking about the late first round either – the selections are ninth and eleventh overall in what is supposed to be a talent-rich group. It would be less than truthful to claim June 5th has the potential to be franchise-altering, as even with first round picks it seems like you’re flipping a coin as to whether or not they’ll amount to anything whatsoever, but needless to say it will be a big day for the front office as they continue to try and fill the void created by the trades of the winter of 2012.

In hopes of defining a “Blue Jay Way”, I immersed myself in as much information as possible from the 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 draft classes. Starting with a list that exceeded 150 names, I slowly trimmed the group to 80. The sample is all prospects drafted (not necessarily signed, mind you) by the Blue Jays who had a notable signing bonus and/or an extensive pre-draft scouting report from which to gauge talent level. I believe by narrowing the list in this way, we have a conglomerate that best defines the attributes that the Blue Jays most desire. As an example, while Tucker Donahue was a fourth round pick in 2012, the fact he signed for a pittance by bonus standards indicates it was his signability that the club sought, not his talent. He, and players like him, were removed from the data cluster to avoid skewing the archetype away from the relevant information: talent and tools.

Defining The “Blue Jay Way”

I’ve been closely following the draft for a number of years now, and when it’s the Blue Jays turn to select, analysts almost uniformly use some combination of the words “athlete”, “projectability”, and “upside” when put on the spot to make a prediction for the club. With this investigation I was able to not only determine the validity of those statements, but to take it a step further and start attaching some numbers, trends, and thresholds to what could loosely be classified as the “Blue Jay Way”. The end-game of this exercise is to then project those patterns onto the 2014 draft class in hopes of identifying who might sit atop Toronto’s draft board. But first, some background on the historical grouping of 80:

  • 50 pitchers (63%), 30 position players (37%)

  • 58 high school (72%), 15 four-year college (19%), 7 junior college (9%)

These two points are likely unsurprising to even the most casual of draft followers. The Blue Jays love them some pitchers, and they really love them some high schoolers. If I had any talent with Photoshop, you’d be looking at a picture of Alex Anthopoulos’s head on Matthew McConaughey’s body in the incredible film Dazed and Confused: “That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.” [Note: turns out I'm not entirely awful with it -- A.S.]

Given where the draft picks played ball – not their place of birth – I summarized states into groups to help identify possible regional trends. Whether the trend is a result of an organizational bias or merely the density and/or location of scouts and cross-checkers, it offers valuable insight into where the club has boots on the ground. Below, you can see a breakdown of the seven regions I classified, as well as some of their notable states.

  • South: 22 (27%) – Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri

  • Southwest: 21 (26%) – California, Arizona, Nevada

  • Southeast: 14 (17%) – Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee

  • Midwest: 8 (10%) – Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky

  • Other: 7 (9%) – Canada, Puerto Rico

  • Northeast: 6 (8%) – New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts

  • Northwest: 2 (3%) – Oregon, Washington

With 15 of the 80 selections, California takes the crown as the dominant state from which the Blue Jays find their notable draft picks. Texas is an extremely close second with 14, and interestingly, the third highest is a tie between Florida and Canada with just 5. What’s even more intriguing is the positional distribution in the two headline states, which we’ll look further into shortly.

It’s natural to think that organizations seek different traits in pitchers and position players, so in addition to the overall, more general numbers above, the two groups have been separated to allow for a more detailed analysis. As they represented the larger sample, we’ll begin with the pitchers.

  • 30 right handers (60%), 20 left handers (40%)

  • 35 high school (70%), 10 four-year college (20%), 5 junior college (10%)

  • Primary breaking ball – curveball: 31 (65%), slider: 17 (35%), undefined: 2 (ignored for calculation)

  • Average height: 6 feet, 2 ¾ inches

    • 78% >= 6 feet, 2 inches

    • 90% >= 6 feet, 1 inch

    • 64% between 6 feet 2 inches and 6 feet 4 inches

  • Average velocity: 90.76 mph

    • 86% >= 89 mph

    • 52% >= 91 mph (“plus” velocity)

    • 72% between 89 mph and 92.9 mph

    • For pitchers with signing bonus >= $500,000: average velocity = 91.81 mph (53% >= 92 mph)

  • South: 15 (30%), Southwest: 11 (22%), Southeast: 10 (20%), Midwest: 6 (12%), Northeast: 4 (8%), Other: 2 (4%), Northwest: 2 (4%)

There’s a fair amount to digest there so we’ll dissect it in smaller pieces. The dominance of the high school pitcher isn’t shocking, but the right/left split is more noteworthy. According to the rosters on ESPN.com as of late April, of the 366 pitchers in the major leagues, 263 (72%) are right handed, and just 103 (28%) are left handed. I suspected the Blue Jays draft pick numbers would show a similar disparity. When thinking of pitchers on the farm over recent years, your mind likely jumps to Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, and the like, but lefties Daniel Norris, Sean Nolin, Matt Smoral, Justin Nicolino, and Jake Brentz are there, too.

The nearly two to one curveball-to-slider ratio stunned me as well, as for some reason I always thought of the Blue Jays as a fastball-slider-changeup organization. Reality, it appears, is tilted the opposite way. The list of curveballs in the draft classes is a long and impressive one, as of the eight names I just mentioned, six feature a curve as their primary breaking ball.

Pitcher height is topic of great discussion in the baseball community. Too short, and there are questions about your ability to create a downward plane and keep the ball in the park. Too tall, and the repeatability and consistency of your mechanics will be a focal point in your evaluations. While there are obviously exceptions (Stroman stands 5-foot-9; Smoral is nearly a foot taller at 6-foot-8), the Blue Jays clearly have a preferred height. The magic number looks like 6-foot-2, as 78% are that height or taller. There’s also a notable majority in the 6-foot-2 to 6-foot-4 range (64%), as you can see in the chart above.

Before delving into the velocity numbers in detail, a quick note about how the “average” was calculated – it’s really an average of averages. If, for example, at the time of his selection it’s reported that pitcher A throws 90-93 miles per hour and touches 95, I ignored the second aspect and instead focused on the range that the pitcher sits at comfortably. In this case, the number I’d use would be 91.5 miles per hour. If the numbers seem low, let this be a reminder that 70% of the pitchers are roughly 18 years old and have yet to grow into their frames. Despite regularly hitting the high-90s now, the velocity given to young Aaron Sanchez in this exercise was just 92.

The overall average velocity was 90.76 miles per hour and 86% of draft picks had fastballs that averaged 89 miles per hour or higher, but I feel those figures are far too broad to carry weight. The statistic that in my opinion is the most indicative of a draft strategy is the average velocity for pitchers with a signing bonus of $500,000 or more – 91.81 miles per hour. When Toronto spends big money, they’re spending it on pitchers who are already showing plus-calibre velocity. That figure approximates to a comfort range of 90-94 with the capability of touching the mid-90s, and that’s the type of velocity typically associated with top draft picks.

As a final note on the pitching angle, I mentioned the regional distribution by position was interesting. Texas – not the south region, just Texas – accounted for 12 of the 50 pitchers, a staggering 24% from one state. “Texan” is often tossed into scouting reports as a synonym for a pitcher who’s an asshole on the mound — a hoss. It certainly appears as if the Blue Jays have taken note.

The sample size for position players is distinctly smaller, but there are still plenty of observations to be made and patterns to be identified.

  • 1 catcher (3%), 9 middle infielders (30%), 7 corner infielders (23%), 7 center fielders (23%), 6 corner outfielders (20%)

    • 17 (56%) played an up the middle position (C, 2B, SS, CF)

  • 23 high school (76%), 5 four-year college (17%), 2 junior college (7%)

  • Average height: 6 feet, 1 inch

  • Primary tool – speed: 11 (37%), power: 10 (33%), bat: 6 (20%), arm: 3 (10%), fielding: 0 (0%)

  • Southwest: 10 (33%), South: 7 (23%), Other: 5 (17%), Southeast: 4 (13%), Midwest: 2 (7%), Northeast: 2 (7%), Northwest: 0 (0%)

Beginning with the positional assessment, the lack of notable catchers being drafted is both astonishing and unsurprising. For much of this front office’s tenure, catcher has been a position of abundance, not one of particular need. It was only a couple of years ago that J.P. Arencibia, Travis d’Arnaud, A.J. Jimenez, and Carlos Perez were all in the stable, so it was hard to justify spending a high pick on a catcher – where exactly would he play? Times have obviously changed, as only one of those four remains in the organization, and there are legitimate doubts – both because of his health and offensive development – as to whether or not he has a future as a starting catcher.

The first real indication that the “Blue Jays + Athletes = Love” stereotype has merit is that center field and shortstop – the two positions most often associated with athletes – were the two most common amongst draft picks, accounting for 43% of the total. Catcher and first base – the two positions most associated with base-cloggers – were the two most uncommon positions, accounting for just 13% of the total.

Much like the velocity chart, the tool classification likely requires some preliminary explanation. For each of the 30 prospects, I scoured the scouting reports and ranked their three best tools from 1 to 3. Primary is not necessarily synonymous with plus, it’s merely the draft pick’s best tool, whether that’s a 7, 6, or whatever on the scouting scale. The same can be said for the secondary and tertiary tools. It should also be mentioned that some prospects didn’t have a second or third tool worth noting.

The tool chart above is the second indication of the organization’s affinity for the smooth, athletic type. Over one third (37%) of prospects had speed as their calling card, and exactly one third (33%) were known primarily for the prodigious power. Bat (20%), arm (10%), and fielding (0%) were a distant third through fifth, which really speaks to the organization’s apparent philosophy. Theoretically, you can teach a player to improve his reads and actions on defence, and his approach at the plate, but you can’t teach a fast 60-yard dash time or lightning quick wrists. The thing is, for those strategies to work you have to actually execute in your coaching, development, and refinement of those baseball skills, something this franchise hasn’t seemed to have done a very good job of recently.

Unlike the pitchers where the South/Texas reigned supreme, it’s the Southwest region that has produced the most Blue Jays draft picks among position playes. Most notably, California, as 6 of the 30 (20%) selections hailed from the golden state. In fact, no other state in the U.S. has produced more than two. Canada, with Dalton Pompey and two later round picks, has been the second highest source of talent, with three.

Lastly, height is obviously far less important for position players, at least in the eyes of this organization, as the average is nearly two full inches shorter than that of the pitchers. Furthermore, while the two most frequent heights (6-foot and 6-foot-1) totalled 50%, to include the three most frequent heights you must extend the range from 5-foot-11 to 6-foot-4 due to a three-way tie for third most frequent. Hitters come in all shapes and sizes.

The 2014 Draft Class

Using the information identified above, I’ve created a rudimentary point system to analyze the 2014 draft class. Prospects will receive a point for each of the traits/trends that they meet, with, at least theoretically, the players garnering the most points being the closest to the Blue Jay Way archetype I’ve attempted to create. It would be unfair to lump pitchers and batters together given that we have more criteria for the former than the latter, so each grouping will be compared separately. Below is a breakdown of the point system.

Pitchers:

  • 1 point for being from high school (70% of ’10 to ‘13)

  • 1 point for featuring a curveball as primary breaking ball (65% of ’10 to ’13)

  • 1 point for standing between 6’2” and 6’4” (64% of ’10 to ’13)

  • 1 point for average fastball velocity >= 92 mph (53% of high-bonus picks in ’10 to ’13)

  • 1 point for playing in the South, Southwest, or Southeast regions (72% of ’10 to ’13)

  • 0.5 points for playing in Texas

Position Players

  • 1 point for being from high school (76% of ’10 to ’13)

  • 1 point for playing an up-the-middle position (56% of ’10 to ’13)

  • 1 point for having speed or power as primary tool (70% of ’10 to ’13)

  • 1 point for playing in the Southwest, South, or Other regions (56% of ’10 to ’13)

  • 0.5 points for playing in California

With this system, the prototype pitcher would receive 5.5 points, while their offensive counterpart would receive 4.5 points.

The next step in the exercise was comparing the measurable data and scouting information of the 2014 draft eligibles to the above point system in order to identify the prospects that most closely resemble the prototype. I assembled a list of players who, more or less, would be considered the current top 60 when combining the rankings published by Baseball America and MLB.com. Of the 60, 35 are pitchers, and that group was refined to seven names that scored 4.5 or more points – indicating they either met all five major criteria, or met four of the five and hailed from Texas. The 25 batters were narrowed down to five who scored 3.5 points or more – they met all four major criteria, or met three of the four and play ball in California. The twelve prospects are summarized in the two tables below:

Pitchers:

Name

Points

Position

School

State

Region

Height (in)

Avg. Velocity

Breaking Ball

B.A. Rank

MLB.com Rank

Brady Aiken

5

LHP

HS

CA

Southwest

75

93

Curve

1

1

Touki Toussaint

5

RHP

HS

FL

Southeast

74

92

Curve

13

16

Grant Holmes

5

RHP

HS

SC

Southeast

74

93.5

Curve

15

12

Dylan Cease

5

RHP

HS

GA

Southeast

74

93

Curve

N/A

68

Michael Kopech

4.5

RHP

HS

TX

South

76

91.5

Curve

42

45

Garrett Fulenchek

4.5

RHP

HS

TX

South

76

92

Slider

N/A

43

Zech Lemond

4.5

RHP

4 YR

TX

South

75

94

Curve

N/A

44

 

Position Players:

Name

Points

Position

School

State

Region

#1 Tool

B.A. Rank

MLB.com Rank

Alex Jackson

4.5

C

HS

CA

Southwest

Power

4

5

Jacob Gatewood

4.5

SS

HS

CA

Southwest

Power

16

21

Marcus Wilson

4.5

CF

HS

CA

Southwest

Speed

37

30

Derek
Hill

4.5

CF

HS

CA

Southwest

Speed

38

64

Ti’quan Forbes

4

SS

HS

MO

South

Speed

N/A

51

Obviously, by opening up the list of eligibles to anyone who ranked within a loose top-60 as opposed to a tight 5-15 range, you see a number of different tiers of prospects, from a potential number one overall pick down to players looking more like late second rounders. Just a few months ago, Brady Aiken was a pitcher who I thought was an excellent possibility for the Blue Jays, as I saw a lot of Daniel Norris-type upside in the lefty. Unfortunately for Toronto, he’s had one of the best springs around, and barring a devastating arm injury over the next month, is almost guaranteed a top-three selection. Alex Jackson, a catcher from California, ranks the second highest among the 12 prospects identified as strong fits. While not a realistic candidate for 1-1, most outlets consider him the best position player in the draft, and it sure sounds like he won’t escape the top six or seven. He carries plenty of leverage as a heavily recruited high school bat with a commitment to Oregon, however, and should his advisor float a bonus number that most teams in the top ten consider prohibitive causing a draft day slide, the Blue Jays and their two early first round picks could be in a position to pounce. With that being said, this is an unlikely scenario.

The trio of prospects that both score highly and have similar rankings to Toronto’s draft position(s) are right handers Touki Toussaint and Grant Holmes, and shortstop Jacob Gatewood. Toussaint and Holmes both scored 5 points out of a possible 5.5, with the only criteria they missed being their lack of Texan. Gatewood scored a perfect 4.5 and is a monstrous (6-foot-5) shortstop possessing 30 home run power potential, with the caveats being there are contact concerns and he profiles more like a third baseman. Given their strong scores and the organization’s propensity for high school pitchers, I would be shocked if June 5th came and went and one of Toussaint and Holmes wasn’t headlining the Blue Jays draft class, assuming of course they were available when the ninth overall pick was on the clock.

The remaining seven high-scoring prospects seem like reaches in the top half of the first round, barring a pre-draft agreement for a significantly below-slot signing bonus allowing the club the extra financial flexibility to steal an upper echelon talent who slides. Otherwise, they seem like better fits for the second round, where Toronto possesses the 50th overall pick. Two names from this group to keep tabs on: Michael Kopech and Dylan Cease. Kopech has the lowest average velocity of the group, but has touched 97 miles per hour during showcase events. His mechanics are complicated and might scare away some of the more conservative teams, but he only just turned 18 years old, has loads of projection on his lanky 6-foot-4 frame, and he seems criminally under-rated at this point. Cease is in a different boat, as he’s been out of action since late March with elbow soreness and is currently rehabbing in hopes of avoiding surgery. Cease was regularly touching the mid to high-90s prior to his injury, putting him in the discussion for the back half of the first round. I liken the situation to that of Clinton Hollon, a potential first round talent whom the Blue Jays took in the second round last June for a below-slot signing bonus after injury questions popped up.

There’s an awful lot to absorb here, but if the last four drafts are indicative of the organization’s way of thinking, there is definitely a “Blue Jay Way” at work behind the scenes. For fans with an interest in the amateur draft, the twelve names mentioned above should be of particular interest over the next four weeks, as they fit this model better than everyone else. When the draft is on the more immediate horizon, we’ll have a follow up detailing how the seasons of these “best fits” have played out, where they’re currently ranked within the draft class, and who the experts are slotting to Toronto in mocks during the final stretch. Happy draft season, folks.

(A tip of the cap to Baseball America, MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus, and Perfect Game for a vast majority of the draft data and scouting information used for this article.)

Comments (227)

  1. I agree that they’ll probably grab one of those high school arms at 9, but I think they’ll go college at 11 because the pick is unprotected. (Similar to the year they took Stroman for failing to sign Beade) They also seem to rank people differently than the prospect industry. Bickford was waaaay far away from #10 in most pre-draft rankings.

    • That Phil Bickford pick was a tactic, they deliberately picked him and they decided not to sign him, then they went out and drafted guys that were committed to school in the later rounds and sign them ( Brentz, Tellez). They knew this draft was deeper and they could get a better player at#11 this year than last year weak class.

      To back it up here’s a link from scouting report on Bickford this year from Keith Law.

      Mike (Toronto)
      Any early reports on Phil Bickford (sigh)?
      Klaw
      Terrible. Upper 80s at times, still no breaking ball. I criticized the Jays for taking what I saw as a second round talent at best with the 10th pick, but the end result will probably be OK for them.

    • The #11 pick is protected. There is 2 years of protection on unsigned picks. If we were to fail to sign #11 this year, then next year’s comp pick would be unprotected.

  2. Wow. Great work Stoeten. Definitely looking forward to the draft this summer.

    • I think you meant to say great work Kyle (unless you are referring to Stoeten’s photoshop of course)

  3. Nice post. Grant Holmes with 93.5 avg fastball out of high school… that sounds enticing.

  4. Maybe this will be the year. The Jays haven’t had a decent draft in 10 years.

    • I hope don’t really think this. 2010 was a very good draft year.

    • Let’s all pause and think about why that was a silly thing to say.

      • Why is it silly? You have to go all the way back to 2003 to find a Jays draftee (including ones they’ve traded away/released) to find someone with at least 10 career WAR. That would be Aaron Hill and Shawn Marcum, who are both 32 years old. The best player drafted since then is Romero, who is most likely permanently stuck at 9.7 WAR.

        Think of all the good young players in the majors younger than 32. The Jays didn’t draft any of them.

        • It is absolutely silly. In 2010 they drafted Sanchez, Syndergaard, and Nicolino. Sanchez is a top prospect still in the system, Syndergaard is a top prospect who was a key piece in the Dickey trade, and Nicolino is a ~Top 100 prospect who was a piece in the Marlins trade. In that same draft they landed Dalton Pompey who is currently blowing up and could be a Top 100 prospect next year as well as Sean Nolin who is a strong prospect himself.

          The 2010 draft was very strong for the Jays, even after you consider that Deck McGuire was a huge flop.

          • Its way too early to say that 2010 was a good draft. It may end up being so, but if you’re hanging your hat on the one draft in 10 years that *might not* end up sucking…..come on.

  5. It would be alot of work, but it would be interesting to see a mock draft using this type of data for each team.

  6. “Alright, alright, alright”…like that pic. Awesome movie.

    It’s obvious the Jays aren’t making right decisions last 4 drafts (i.e. Deck McGuire not Sale, Beede, Bickford, DJ Davis not Wacha). They need to take the best player available rather than filling a organization need, as these needs are dynamic. Plus if you want to use assets for trades you’ll get more return with higher quality. Signability is also a concern, but Jays need to manage this to mitigate likelihood of missing early round picks.

    Interesting that majority of previous farm quality was attained via compensatory picks in 2010 (Sanchez, Syndergaard, Wojciechowski, Nicolino). Just wondering if the Jays have a slightly more conservative approach when they have numerous picks to hit on?

    Jays need to look for more polish, high intelligence, and consistent improvement in their HS SP selections for early rounds; leave later rounds for high risk/reward scenarios and 2-pitch workhorses destined for the pen.

    I would take Toussaint with #11, but with #9 take Beede. If either is gone take Sean Reid-Foley.
    #49 take Keith Weisenberg or Ti’quan Forbes.
    #84 take Keaton McKinney, Carson Sands or Eric Skoglund. Lots of nice prospects over slot 80.

    I’d like to see your analysis against A’s, Rays, Cards draftee data.

    • While I thought the McGuire pick was a thoroughly disappointing pick at the time, it’s really not fair to look back and say “They took X when they should have taken Y”. 20-some teams chose to pass on Mike Trout. That sucks, but it’s hard to say they did anything wrong — it was clearly an industry consensus. Instead, the Angels did something right.

      I’m also not sure how you can say taking Beede in 2011 wasn’t the right decision, then suggest they take him at #11 this year. Teams need permission to select a player a second time, and I forget where exactly I read it, but the analyst said he could not see that happening. Weaver and Nola, two other former late round picks by the Blue Jays that could go in the first, are more likely to allow Toronto to select them.

      Like Trout, no one saw Wacha becoming what he is. You say take the two-pitch pitchers in the later rounds, the thing is, that’s exactly what Wacha was/is. He’s a fastball/changeup guy, and the lack of a reliable breaking ball is what tanked his draft stock. It’s only the last year or so that his curve has really come on as a third offering.

      Looking at Sanchez, Syndergaard, Norris, Nolin, Nicolino, Robson, and even Beede — all of whom were high school picks in 2010 and 2011, I’d say what the Blue Jays have been doing is just fine and dandy. People seem to forget that if not for the trades of 2012, we’d be a top 3 farm system in all of baseball despite never picking higher than 10th (Bickford, a pick we didn’t even sign) over the past four years. That’s a very strong track record.

      • Also – its one thing to say that the Angels chose right in getting Trout – but how do we know they weren’t ready to pick one of the guys taken in the few spots ahead of him and settled on him once their first choice was taken?

        The draft is and will always be a crapshoot. You can prepare. You can rank everyone to death – but in the end you’re ranking these guys in an almost entirely random environment in terms of how they project.

        You can’t project a guy like Trout. Even more so for a guy like Lawrie for example, who switches positions.

        • Sure would be nice if you could reduce some of than randomness through, oh I don’t know, PLAYER DEVELOPMENT!

          Argh! John Farrell’s comments about the Jays’ system still haunts me.

          • Player development, exactly. Its not like all these picks were out of nowhere and the Jays have been picking guys in the first round that other teams would wait out until later rounds.

      • I agree, hindsight can’t be helped, but it’s also feasible the Jays scouts decided against taking the best player vs organization needs at the time or deciding to select their idea of a prototypical SP (McGuire) vs less typical (Sale). This would be a mistake and unfortunately, only insiders know the answer.

        I mentioned signability being a factor that has hurt the Jays in recent drafts. Yes, they have got compensatory picks from them, but in the meantime lost out on a great pick and the extra year of development, not to mention all the effort and expense lost from scouting/leg work.

    • I think you’ve got it backwards. They’ll take a high school arm at #9 and a college kid at #11. The 11 pick is unprotected, and high school kids are tougher signs. As for your criticism of earlier drafts, it’s pretty easy with the crystal ball you’re looking back through now. But Sale’s delivery is a nightmare of an injury risk. So I can see why they went mcguire instead. And let’s see where DJ Davis is in four years before you criticize that pick. A LOT of teams passed on Wacha. Not just the Jays.

      • The 11 pick is also protected because it was protected last year. It’s protected up to 3 years (assuming we still don’t sign someone at that slot this year)

        • I don’t think that’s true.

          • It is, the 11th pick is protected because it’s a compensation pick from not signing the 10th overall pick and is draft pick compensation protected in general

            I asked this this question late alst year and that’s the asnwer I got.

            • It’s protected from free agent compensation (as in if they had signed one, they wouldn’t have had to give up that pick), but I’m pretty sure if they fail to sign the #11 pick this year, they won’t get it again next year.

      • HS kids use the NCAA verbal commitment as leverage. Offer enough ca$h and they’ll sign. I’m not sure of the slot amounts for Beede nor Bickford, but hopefully the Jays either didn’t offer enough or the kids really wanted that “college experience,” as these excuses seem more palpable. I would hate to think a pile of money was offered and a kid rejects the Jays because a) their farm for SP sucks and/or b) playing in Toronto is unappealing.

        • Agents play into this as well. A guy needs to once in a while have one of his prospects fail to sign so that his threats not to sign for everyone carry more weight. Beede and Bickford were both offered more than enough. Their agent likely told them they were good enough, and the injury risk was low enough that waiting would be find. Beede looks like he should do alright, but Bickford looks like he made a big mistake already. If he is even still in the 1st round next time I would be shocked.

    • ugh. Ya, why didn’t they draft Albert Pujols back then too? Man they must be stupid.

    • I’ve read that Wacha didn’t have anywhere near the stuff he has now at the time he was drafted. Funny you bring up that draft since they struck gold with Stroman.

    • Add the Red Sox to your list.
      Their draft record is pretty damn good.

    • In the end they dodged a bullet with Bickford, he regressed this year. #11 could go a long way to making that situation right ala Syndergaard for Paxton before.

      • There is a lot of time for Bickford to rebound. Right now it looks like a miracle that he turned us down, but we’ll see where he stands after his Junior year. Way too early to tell.

  7. This is some really excellent analysis, Kyle. Good job! I look forward to reading your continue posts as the draft nears.

    Baseball Prospectus’s latest book (Extra Innings) had a great piece on high schoolers being the new “market inefficiency,” so it’s nice to see the Jays are disproportionately stocking up on them.

    PS. Stoeten, sign this guy!

  8. Great work and real food for thought here. I’ve long thought there were systemic problems on the farm and this does tend to suggest that. Fine if they have an organizational preference for a certain type of player. But they need to fully develop that player and recent history suggests that they haven’t been able to do that. If there is a house-clearing at the end of the season I’d like a thorough steam-clean of the minor-league guys.

    • I think the problems on the farm are more on the position player side. When you look at the wealth of pitchers we have, it’s hard to get up in arms too much.

      • We’ve had excellent pitchers but somehow a lot of them don’t work out once they get to us. Drabek was a top prospect and the centrepiece of the Halladay deal. He’s not in the major leagues now and maybe that has to do with how he’s been handled here. I agree about the position players. There’s a lack of good infield players at the high minor level. Some of this is down to JPR but not all of it given that he’s been gone for 5 years now. For me, it’s not so much who they pick but how they handle them.

    • The “problem” in the system is in the timing gap between the low-upside Ricciardi era college kids and the Anthoupolis era high school kids. And then he traded away some of those better kids also (who’d be on the brink now). AA has done a good job of drafting kids, they just need more time to develop.

  9. there’s some great names in this draft

  10. That photoshop….beauty!

    “Dem high school gurls…”

  11. Great article. The jays sure do seem to value speed and power as a tool and ignore the hit tool. They also seem to like buying lotto tickets with these high upside HS pitchers and cashing in the winners for more lotto tickets.

    • Thing is, rarely are these guys going to have all 5 tools (especially at 17/18 years old).

      Their theory, with position players, seems to be:
      1. You can’t teach power
      2. You can’t teach speed
      3. Hopefully the hit tool comes around…

      • I don’t like the way I crafted that first sentence, but you get the point.

        • Would be interesting to see the numbers on whether more guys with the bat tool develop power, or if it’s more likely that the power guys develop the bat tool.

          • I think it’s more that the bat tool is the hardest to judge. There’s nothing in the amateur world that compares to even rookie league pro ball in terms of consistency of pitching quality. Even at top end college programs, there might only be two guys that have the capacity to pitch professionally. So power, speed are more objectively observable. Same with pitching. A guy who throws ninety five throws ninety five. Etc.

  12. With 2 high picks in the draft, does that eat into the draft budget, or is additional cash space granted since one of the picks is technically from last year’s draft? Just wondering if they’l cheap out on one of the high picks simply for signability purposes.

    • They have the ninth and eleventh selections as well as the bonus pool money associated with those selections.

      According to Baseball America, #9 is valued at $3,080,800 and #11 at $2,888,300.

      The Blue Jays have the 4th highest total bonus pool for the first ten rounds at $9,458,500, behind only Miami (14.2 million), Houston (13.4 million), and the White Sox (9.5 million).

      • And to take it a step further, since you can go up to 4.99% over your pool without forfeiting future picks, the Blue Jays truly have 9.93 million to work with. That extra 500 thousand in wiggle room is huge.

  13. This was superb Kyle.

    • I’ve been following the draft for a little bit now, and I definitely think Touki Toussaint is the exact type of guy the Jays will love.

      Another guy who didn’t make the cut in your analysis, is Nick Gordon – because one other thing the Jays love is bloodlines – but it’s becoming more and more unlikely that he’ll be available when the Blue Jays pick.

      Worth noting that Ti’Quan Forbes, who is on your position player list, was apparently scouted by the Jays top scouts, according to Bob Elliott.

      • Personally, I think Gordon would be an excellent choice, but the point system just didn’t play out that way as he earned only 3 points. Another position player to keep in mind for the second round that didn’t quite make the cut: Forrest Wall.

  14. I love the way people make shit up to pretend the jays didn’t fuck up drafts. wacha was not some piece of shit. He was highly ranked. go to any mock draft and see he was ranked higher than where he was drafted, same for sale. deck mcguire was universally ranked lower and yet the jays took him. total fuck up. jays always seem to fuck up the 1st rnd pick. gotta take the safe pick.

    and after picking paxton 1st then why did they suddenly not want him next year when he went later and would have been even cheaper? now look at him. another fucked up pick.

    • If you draft a player and don’t sign them, you can’t draft them again without their permission. Think maybe that’s why they “didn’t want him” the next year. Beeston threw the kid under the bus why in the hell would he consent to the Blue Jays?

      As far as Wacha, no, he wasn’t a piece of shit, but he was a two pitch guy reported to have big bonus demands, and the Cards had to literally throw away another first round pick on a college senior to ensure they could sign him. Is that really what you’d have preferred?

      • I do not believe your first comment is factual. Do you have any proof of that? As long as you’ve offered them slot money I don’t see the issue.

        I’m pretty sure every 1st rounder has big bonus demands. remember beede’s demands? that didn’t stop the jays did it?

        and do you know what wacha actually signed for? your second comment is not correct either

        read this:

        Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the starting pitcher from Texas A&M will get $1.9 million, which is the exact slot bonus for the pick.

        Baseball America ranked Wacha as the eighth-best player in the class and ESPN.com rated him 15th, so the Cardinals did well to snag the 6-foot-6 right-hander who many considered the best college pitcher in the draft behind top-10 selections

        so this is a player ranked 8th by BA and the jays drafted 17th. It isn’t complicated

        • It’s more that a lot of teams, not just the Jays passed on Wacha. McGuire was rated in the top 10 by most outlets, and Sale had a lot of concerns with his delivery. Still does. I’m not saying that history hasn’t proven McGuire to be a bad pick. It has. But it was solid, if unspectacular at the time.

        • I didn’t say he SIGNED for a big bonus, I said it was rumored he his advisor was floating a big number. It’s the same with Daniel Norris — it was well known his asking price was 3.9 million, the Blue Jays got him for 2 million. The Blue Jays were obviously more comfortable they could get Norris down, the same way the Cards were more comfortable than others they could talk Wacha down.

          I’m trying to find the reference about being unable to re-select without permission. I’ll provide a link when I do.

          • From the Twitter machine:

            MLB Pipeline‏@MLBPipeline·Dec 4
            Think he’d have to sign a waiver; don’t see it happening. @mikeleelop: will #bluejays draft Beede again?

            Jim Callis‏@jimcallisMLB·Feb 21
            Ever. @condonchris: can’t redraft in back to back drafts or ever without consent? Thinking Beede and @BlueJays.

            With that being said, according to Keith Law, Beede has apparently passed on his right to block the Blue Jays from drafting him:

            keithlaw@keithlaw·Feb19
            Yes, he did. RT @House4545: @keithlaw Any idea if Beede allowed himself to be re-drafted by Toronto?

            Callis then said he didn’t think the Blue Jays would be interested in picking Beede anyways:

            Jim Callis‏@jimcallisMLB·Apr 29
            Don’t think they’d take Beede. @Rule4Rumblings: #BlueJays have issues re-drafting Beede, Nola or Weaver? Bad blood w/any? #DraftPipeline

            But then yesterday, Jamie Campbell was informed the Blue Jays WILL select Beede at #9, with the disclaimer “if he was the best available”:

            Jamie Campbell‏@SNETCampbell·16 hrs
            MLB Draft: I’m told the @BlueJays would select Tyler Beede if he was best available. Beede ranked #8 by MLB. Jays have 9 and 11 overall.

            • I’d be really surprised if they take a college pitcher (Beade or otherwise) at #9. They’ll swing for the fences with a tough sign high school pick, but not necessarily one we’re all anticipating from the media outlet scouting sources. They’ll go for the safer college sign at #11. (Although I really hope it’s not Nola. Good numbers, but average stuff. Or so I read…)

            • ok I guess you are right then! It makes sense for beede to waive his rights. jays have 2 high picks and substantial slot money could be lost if he didn’t.

              re paxton though, he went 4th rnd. if the jays had him 1st then they should have told him they’d take him 2nd or 3rd. he only signed for 1 mil I think.

              • I also think it’s funny how people kill AA for a draft year (2010) where he also landed Sanchez, Syndergaard, Nicolino and Nolin.

                • I guess Deck is considered that big of a fuck-up as to negate all that. Maybe if more than Sanchez and Nolin were still around they might consider it better.

      • Beeston didn’t throw anybody under the bus. The kid tried to play semantics about having an agent. The Jays called, the family indicated for all intents and purposes that they had used the services of one. They tried to play cute and got burned. The rules about this are black and white and could not be spelt out to NCAA athletes and their families.

  15. I echo the idea that the Jays will try to make a “safer” selection at 11. Would be really great if they got another Stroman type, after picking a high school guy at 9.

    You can never have enough pitching, man.

  16. Great article!

    If I had one quibble with your methodology, it might be the awarding of a point for being from the south or southwest region. I don’t have the numbers, but it seems like these regions generally produce more players and the bias for these regions is therefore baked into the selection of players. (ie 60% of players eligible and on the top __ list are from these regions, so naturally the jays selection will reflect this same ratio).

    I do, however, think that your 0.5 point awards for state is fair. I also concede that I did not look into the numbers as much as you and may be wrong on this and I certainly don’t think it invalidates your conclusions. Thanks again for this article – really enjoyed it.

    • I think it’s fair to award points that way.

      As an example, if you have 15 scouts travelling around the South looking at prospects and just 2 or 3 in the Northeast, you’re able to get multiple looks and opinions on the first group and maybe one on the second. Obviously the shear volume of players plays a huge factor, but more scouts = more reliable data = more comfort with not only the player’s tools, but his signability.

      • Thanks for the reply. That’s a fair point.

        I guess the bias towards certain regions is probably a function of both the volume of players in the regions and the number of scouts the org sends to these regions. These two variables would be difficult to separate from each other and are probably even somewhat related.

        I was making the assumption that the org would match the number of scouts in an area to the volume of players (while also assuming that this would lead to nutrality of regions), but this is not necessarilly the case. I believe that my point on the “baked in” of the volume of players from the region is still valid, but I think there is a logic to accounting for number of scouts.

        • I think Big Toe is right re. the “baked-in” point — it’s like double counting. Maybe more so for college players than HSers. Just speculating, but I imagine the HSers are more evenly distributed around the country than the college players, who’d mostly be attending the big baseball colleges in warm-weather states. So if they tend to draft HS kids from a particular region, I could see that being a bias deserving of an extra point in your system.

      • It’s not only that, it’s the competition as well. Scouts have much more confidence in a player’s performance if he’s playing against better competition. For positional players, it’s much easier to get a read on their OFP if they are in Florida 6A and facing guys throwing over 85mph every time out, versus playing in Wyoming (see: Brandon Nimmo) and having to trust your gut that the guy would still mash Florida pitchers

        My only quibble is that region matters less for college players than it does for high school players. The top-2 teams right now are UVA and Oregon State. 5 of the top 10 wouldn’t be in your southeast, south or west regions. It’s not quite clear to me if you factored that in for college teams.

  17. awesome article Kyle!

  18. I do have a problem with what the Jays do with their picks. I can understand passing on Wacha as signability was going to be an issue and they wanted to save money to spend lower in the draft.
    Saving that money for Alford was a big issue though. He wanted to play football and he has not had any development time to work on baseball skills.

    • It’s tough to properly judge AA’s drafts yet because most of the guys he picked were high school kids. They take time. And just because Wacha is good right now, doesn’t mean in five or six years he’s going to look like the best player they could have picked at that slot.

    • So far, that looks like a poor move, but I loved what they did to get Alford from day one because it’s smart to take risks once in a while in hopes that things work out. They managed to get one of the most talented players available, and even if he never returns to baseball, it was a worthwhile chance to take.

  19. I enjoy reading your posts Kyle.The work involved is enormous.That said, I guess I’m the only one who doesn’t agree with your analysis.
    Just my opinion,but it doesn’t make a lot of sense logically.
    Sorry to be negative,I think you have a great future writing.

    • You’re a miserable human being. If you’re going to disagree at least say why.

      Trollbag.

      • Like I said, I may be the lone desenter.
        Trying to determine draft picks based on a mathematical formula that is based upon past drafts,doesn’t take into account what the end game was in each of those drafts.
        Others seem to take the conclusions as fact.
        I like Kyle’s writing and willing to look at things from a different angle.Makes me think and learn.This time,I respecfully disagree.
        You’re gonna have to deal with it.

        • I think a lot makes sense about this. Breaking down their draft picks regionally provides insight into where they are concentrating their scouting focus. Breaking it down by tools provides insight into what their scouting department likes. For example, they have drafted a ton of speed tool guys.

          I don’t think Kyle is trying to tell us who the Jays will draft but rather trying to give us an idea of who they are LIKELY to draft.

        • I don’t think anyone’s trying to draw any conclusions based on this information. The analysis is pretty clearly stating that these are some players who most closely match the average profile of players drafted by Alex Anthopoulos over the last four years.

          And I get your point about the “endgame” of each draft coming into play, but Anthopoulos has been pretty clear over the last few years that his “endgame” is to get as much talent into the system as possible. I don’t think that’s really going to change.

        • I’m not sure what you’re disagreeing with. He’s breaking down what he thinks the Jays are going to do based on what they’ve done previously. He’s not talking about the outcome years down the road or whether these are the guys they should draft. You’re always so anxious to be contrary – as if there’s a prize for that.

          • Actually Linz I’m not anxious.
            That’s why I didn’t go into detail.
            Actually a fan of Kyle but if you want to blow sunshine up his ass,feel free.
            If he expects none of his post to be scruntinized then don’t post.
            But he seems pretty smart and analytical so he may appreciate that not all agree.

  20. Gut feeling that the Jays draft a HS Pitcher at #9 and a collage bat at #11. If I had to pick names Toussaint and Turner (SS, N. Carolina St.). Also the Jays seem to do a bit of fan service the last few years by drafting regarded Canadians (Robson/Kellogg) I’d expect something similer in some of the later (10+) rounds.

    • Turner is an interesting name, but when was the last time Toronto took a college position player early?

      Actually I just looked over my spreadsheet and the highest notable college bat in the last four years was Andy Burns, and he was an 11th round pick. They’re just really not AA’s jam.

      • AA should probably try different types of jam (and maybe throw some peanut butter in for good measure). All those toolsy HS athlete types he seems so fond of also seem to be allegic to plate discipline.

  21. If I was a GM, i would always go for the who had the highest possible upside.
    One superstar that comes up through the farm completely re-shapes your major league outlook.
    you can buy average 25th man guys everyday, but if you strike it and happen across a bryce harper or chris sale or trout or fernandez or whoever, it’s worth the other 80% of your draft picks flaming out.

    • The problems with that is you can’t accurately judge upside in an 18 year old. Everyone evaluates differently and so much can change between the day that player is drafted and when he reaches his peak.

      Harper was supposed to be a superstar, but Sale, Trout, and Jose Fernandez were all selected later in the first because they had their warts, Their warts just happened to be washed away in the player development process.

      • but that’s probably why they take speedy guys, or guys that can crank home-runs,
        you’ll never teach a guy to become lightning fast, and it’s a long road for a slap hitter to learn how to really turn around a baseball.

      • Also, there’s serious luck involved. Nobody really knows how these guys tools are going to translate to the pro game. The jump in the quality of opposition between amateur and pro in baseball is massively huge. (Let’s not even talk about amateur to big league.) Even pitching command is hard to evaluate because so many of the amateur hitters aren’t capable of hitting meatballs when they’re thrown with serious velocity. It’s harder to consistently find the strike zone when the hitters can actually hit back.

  22. Great post, dude.

  23. Jesus what happened to this group? The postings today are inciteful and informative. What happed to the Gibby and aa suck and should be fired?

  24. Outstanding article. Well done.

  25. Outstanding work Kyle. Seriously, exactly what I want to read. Now just churn out something similar about the Jays development process and you win.

    Your analysis lines up well with past comments from AA about drafting upside, up the middle, and premium velocity. I also see Touki, Holmes and Gordon as early targets for the Jays, but in a class rich with arms I can’t see them taking a position player early unless someone like Jackson falls.

  26. Great article but i have to quibble with it a bit.

    It’s hard to say the Jays have a type by looking at the analysis above without comparing it to a larger pool.

    If the Jays have drafted 65% of their pitchers with a curve ball as their primary off speed pitch that leads us to believe that the Jays “type” would be curve ball pitchers. But if (for example) 80% of players drafted that year use a curve as their primary off speed pitch….. Doesn’t this mean the Jays are avoiding it to a degree?

    Same thing for the height distribution numbers. Does this vary from the regular pool of players? Thea are just examples. I certainly have no idea how many draft eligible players throw a curve ball.

    The lefty/righty split you compared to the MLB average which makes sense…. But it seems like the rest of the numbers need a benchmark too.

    Sorry. It’s great analysis, an interesting read and a lot of work to put together. And would be a lot more with this added analysis (which I am certainly too lazy to do).

    I hate to be “that guy” but felt I should point this out.

    • You raise very good points, and while those comparative figures would be beneficial and paint an even more accurate picture, I think the analysis above still has merit and can stand on its own legs without it.

      30 teams x 40 rounds x 4 years = 4800 draft picks. I don’t have that kind of time.

      • Oh agreed.

        Didn’t intend to be critical of your work. It’s a great job and does help provide some insight into the Jays tendencies.

        For what it’s worth I agree the Jay’s may swing for the fences with a high upside high school pitcher with their protected pick. Likely go with a college guy at 9 or an easily singable high schooler. This just makes sense.

        Would love to see the Jays throw everyone a curve and grab Max Pentecost for an underslot deal with their unprotected pick. A low ceiling, good defense, high floor Catcher close to to MLB ready seems just about right for the Jays in 2015 and beyond. Would free up some cash for overslot “swing for the fence signings” in later rounds.

        • Sorry. College guy at 11 I meant. I think.

          The pick at 11 is the unprotected one. Correct?

          • I’m of the mind they’re both protected (and yes I know there’s a difference between free agency protected and failure to sign a draft pick protected lol), but don’t quote me on it!

            Think we went through this song and dance two years ago and the industry consensus was that the Stroman pick (22nd overall) was protected.

  27. Interesting article, appreciate the work Kyle.

  28. Thank you for the wonderful article Kyle.

    You actually provide some insight, as opposed to that fat hipster Stoeten.

  29. My very quick methodological notes based on my very (very!) basic social scientific graduate training: very interesting work and lots of grunt work involved which we all appreciate, but very limited because there’s no league-wide baseline stats to compare with. The interesting question isn’t necessarily which regions or tools do the Jays favour, but how much more or less do they deviate from the rest of MLB – which would obviously be an insane amount more work, but would tell us much more meaningful things about the Jays in comparative context and the degree to which the Jays might differ.

    Also, the case selection at the beginning (primarily who is excluded) seems very perfunctory – a massively important step in terms of defining your data set, but besides Fuck Donahue, I’m not sure about how else you do it. Signing bonus + available pre-draft scouting reports = is Kevin Pillar included? (a 32nd round pick with a presumably tiny signing bonus). Girodo and Gravemen from the last draft, as very cheap senior signs in the top 10 who are playing well in the lower minors? Which non-signed players are you including? Seems like your method of case selection would not be very reliable insofar as it would be difficult for other researchers to replicate your results.

    The latter point (case exclusion) is important, I think, b/c the best Jays drafting of the AA era IMO has been college sleepers like Burns, Pillar, DeSclafani, Dyson, or Nolin, just in terms of value and getting the most at middling picks.

    Also of interest would be including the 2009 draft. I get 2010 as a cut-off b/c AA, but 2009 is interesting (besides not signing 3 of the 4 top picks) b/c some of the best value picks have been HS – 2009 is a kind of prelude to the 2010-2014 draft strategy of all HS athletes, all the time w/ Marisnick in the 3rd and Hutchison in the 15th (though Loup and Gomes are really interesting college value picks in the 9th and 10th). Not a huge point, but just based on the idea that a full reckoning of the Jay’s HS-heavy strategy should include 2009 as well.

    Also, in retrospect, 2009 looks like an excellent draft despite not signing so many top picks – Hutchison, Gomes, Loup, Marisnick, even Goins and Daniel Webb (and Paxton has exploded in value with the Mariners, far beyond his 1-37 pick out of HS in 2009).

    • I sound much bitchier here than I meant to – I really appreciate the work and find it very interesting as a draft nerd, was just trying to think through what would take it to the next level.

    • As mentioned, having league wide data would definitely provide a more accurate and meaningful result, but I don’t have the time or knowledge of other farm systems to pull that off.

      As far as what the cut off was: some were easy cuts, like Donahue, others were easy keeps, like say Marcus Stroman. The middle ground was my call, as I consider myself decently knowledgeable when it comes to the Blue Jays minor league system.

      If they signed and never played for an affiliate for non-injury reasons, they were out. If I could find no scouting information — and thus couldn’t use them as anything more than a position/school/height measurement, they were out. If they were a late round pick with a small bonus who has made some noise on the farm in recent years, they were in.

      If it helps you have a better idea, of the names you mentioned, Donahue/Girodo were excluded, while Pillar, Burns, DeSclafani, Dyson, Nolin, and Graveman all made the cut.

      • just abstractly, I think the most interesting league-wide comparison would be with region. Your analysis paints the Jays as heavily favouring Southern and SW players, and thus picks out a list of likely Jays picks influenced by that apparent regional bias. My completely non-quantitative gut reaction is that every team basically has similar biases for region (the South – CA, FL, and TX in particular – b/c that’s where the best programs and most players are*), and that the Jays are the opposite – they’re more comfortable drafting cold-weather HS players like Beede high (or Smoral and Comer) , and have a number of Canadians (Crouse, Pompey, Atkinson, Dawson, Kellogg, Robson). but its entirely possible that the Jays’ apparent comfort w/ cold weather players doesn’t stand out from the league-wide mean.

        *implying that the regional points you give to potential picks shouldn’t be there – the Jays don’t particularly like Southern picks, that’s just where most of the good players are so they’re appropriately represented. Knowing region, then, wouldn’t help us predict Jays picks.

      • that is to say in sum, that the completely understandable lack of league-wide data means that some of the indicators you include in your final predictive measure may be less or more important than others and shouldn’t be treated as equals. The aforementioned example would be something like region not telling us much of interest while tools or position or HS/C might tell us something really interesting about the Jays’ tendencies, and should be given greater weight in a predictive measure.

        again, interesting analysis! got me thinking about how to build such a predictive measure.

  30. I’m afraid I have to join in with the methodology nit-pickers, even though I want to make clear that this was an extremely interesting and well researched post. It’s just that, while the piece is phenomenal from a descriptive standpoint, if we’re going to try to use it in something of a predictive manner (i.e. establishing a “Blue Jays Way” and seeking players who might fit within it) then it’s pretty necessary to have the figures for the entire league. Obviously this is an absurd amount of work that I wouldn’t expect anyone to undertake without financial incentive, so that is by no means a slight to the tremendous research you’ve already done. I hope you don’t take it as such.

    For example (and having done absolutely no research myself), I suspect that there would be a league-wide preference for pitchers with plus velocity and who are between 6’2″ and 6’4″. Not to mention that there are a lot more people in the general population between those heights than there are +6’4″. Perhaps if 6’7″ pitchers grew on trees that would be the preference, but they just don’t. Similarly, there are just a lot more low-mid 90s throwers to choose from than upper-90s flame throwers which would impact how frequently those players are selected.

    However, I could see organizational preferences for main secondary pitches varying quite a bit. You always hear about the Rays preferring players with a change piece, the thinking being that it’s easier to teach a breaking ball than the feel for a change. I almost feel like an analysis of secondary pitch preference league-wide would be an incredibly valuable undertaking all on its own.

    For position players, I would again suspect that there’s a league-wide preference for up the middle players. Where I’d expect more variation would be in the preferred “top tool”. Given that I read somewhere at FanGraphs that the hit tool seems to best translate to Major League success, it might be nice to see that as the organization’s top look-for. Still it’s hard to even say that unless we know how much their preference for top athletes deviates from the league norm.

    High school vs. college would be another area I could see showing significant variation between organizations, but I’d expect the regional bias to be pretty standard across the board. The bias against “cold weather” players is pretty well documented in baseball.

    None of this is to diminish the quality of your work. The fact that I’ve thought this much about it since reading it is a testament to that. It’s just that it’s opened up a whole new can of worms for me, and I wish there were answers to all my questions!

    See if Stoeten can round you up a pack of interns to do the research or something. I’m sure there are a few kicking around the Score that need some shit to do.

  31. Stoeten — forgive me for telling you how to run your blog, but why would you bury this thoroughly-researched and extensive article on a day when you have several other articles posted? In just a few hours it was old news. Couldn’t this have been saved for a weekend when nothing else is being published?

  32. […] Jays Links An outstanding article at DJF from Kyle Matte as he takes a very in-depth look at the “Blue Jays Way” of drafting. There […]

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  36. I used to follow the draft closely – however – my head exploded when the TV machine announced McGuire to the Jays. I’ve never recovered.

    SO – here’s my TWO options for this draft:

    ONE: Sign the two best guys you can with 9 and 11. We’ve about 100 thou under 6,000,000 bucks between the two. SINCE I have no TRUST in their ability to pick a true number one guy – I suggest instead…

    TWO: We sign two OK, but clearly not premium guys to $1,000,000 (or less) each contracts. Have the contracts PRE agreed to. (REMEMBER – if you don’t sign a warm body for the position you LOSE the whole amount of the cash for the position)

    Now – you’ll have two warm bodies AND $4,000,000 cool cash to go fishing for guys (like Rowdy Tellez – round 30 last year) . I’ve way more confidence that IF we sign a lot of really good guys who definitely aren’t going to sign because they actually want an education (morons, eh?) – that when we wave a cool million at them in the 20th (or so) round the first 4 or so who melt and sign will be better than signing McGuire and my Grandmother (who by the way, had a pretty good overhand curve in her day – and she’s a lefty – them old lefties can always find a job in the bigs…)

    AA – just ferkin do it, eh.

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