Top 25 prospects in MLB signed since 2012: Illustrating the importance of top draft picks/highest bonus pools under the new CBA

One season ticket holder at the Cubs Convention said that fans deserve 81 win seasons instead of a 71 win season.  Perhaps that’s more palatable in the short term, but how does it affect the long term health of the organization?

One thing I hear from time to time is that it doesn’t matter where you draft.  Good scouting teams always get good players.

It is true that some teams scout better than others and some have drafted well despite not having top picks.  But much of that crafty drafting was done under the old CBA,  which made it easier to get extra picks.  Those picks, in turn, could be used on one of several players who slipped annually because of signing bonus concerns.

It was a different environment back then.  So that got me thinking, it’s been two years since the new CBA was approved.  Are those teams at the bottom of the draft still able to compensate for having low picks?  Now that the ability to easily gain extra picks and spend an unlimited amount of money has been taken away, are teams like the Cardinals, Rays, and Red Sox still outperforming the teams drafting ahead of them?

The short answer is no.

I used the top 100 list and listed the players that signed since the new CBA was approved.

*Jorge Soler was actually signed after the agreement but before the new CBA went into effect.

**Julio Urias was signed in the first year when every team had the same amount of money to spend, so better teams did not have a disadvantage yet.

  1. Byron Buxton, Twins, (1)
  2. Carlos Correa, Astros, (1)
  3. Kevin Gausman, Orioles, (4)
  4. Addison Russell, A’s, (11)
  5. Albert Almora, Cubs, (6)
  6. Mark Appel, Astros, (1)
  7. Jorge Soler, Cubs, (IFA)*
  8. Kyle Zimmer, Royals, (5)
  9. Max Fried, Padres, (7)
  10. Jonathan Gray, Rockies, (3)
  11. Kris Bryant, Cubs, (2)
  12. Corey Seager, Dodgers, (18)
  13. Andrew Heaney, Marlins, (9)
  14. Clint Frazier, Indians, (5)
  15. David Dahl, Rockies, (10)
  16. Lance McCullers, Astros, (41)
  17. Kohl Stewart, Twins, (4)
  18. Courtney Hawkins, White Sox, (13)
  19. Austin Meadows , Pirates, (9)
  20. Lucas Giolito, Nationals, (16)
  21. Colin Moran, Marlins, (6)
  22. Jose Berrios, Twins, (32)
  23. Trey Ball, Red Sox, (7)
  24. Eddie Butler, Rockies, (46)
  25. Julio Urias, Rangers, (IFA)**

Breakdown by Pick (Out of 23 draft picks)

In the Top 5:  9 (39%)

In the Top 10: 16 (70%)

Other notes…

  • It should also be noted that of the 7 picks outside of the top 10, 3 were taken by teams who had the largest total pool amounts.  The Twins, who had the 2nd pick in 2012, used that extra money to draft and sign Berrios.  The Rockies used a comp pick to select Butler.  The Astros, who had the most to spend in 2012, used the extra money to sign Lance McCullers.  So of the 23 highest rated draft picks, 83% were taken by teams with top 10 picks.
  • What’s more, all 3 of those players were drafted while the old Type A system was still in place.  Two of those players would have never have gotten the QO under the current system.  The Astros got the extra pick and the pool money that goes with it for the bargain price of letting Clint Barmes go.  Similarly, the Rockies were able to draft Eddie Butler for the relatively painless goodbye to infielder Mark Ellis.  Only Berrios was picked with a player that may have gotten the QO under today’s system (Michael Cuddyer).
  • No comp picks in the 2013 draft (and thus under the rules of the fully implemented CBA) made the top 100, though it may just be too early to tell on those players.
  • Of the top 10 drafted players in the list (top 36 overall), 7 were picked in the top 5 and 9 were picked in the top 10.  The lone exception?  Addison Russell who fell just outside the top 10 picks in 2012 at #11.

Breakdown by Team

  • Twins – 3 
  • Astros – 3
  • Cubs – 3* (includes Soler)
  • Rockies – 3
  • Marlins- 2


  • It is no coincidence that the team with the most top 100 prospects (Twins, Astros, Cubs)  are also teams that have had top 5 picks in each of the last two drafts.  The other team with multiple players, the Marlins, had two top 10 picks in each of the last two drafts.
  • The Cardinals do not have a single prospect drafted or signed in the last two years who made the top 100.  The Red Sox have one, but that was after their 2012 collapse where they were awarded the #7 pick overall.  The Rays also have no picks/signees from the last 2 years in the top 100.  In fact, no team in the Baseball America top 10 farm systems have drafted any of the top 25  prospects  since 2012 without a top ten draft pick that season (and thus the extra money to get an overslot later).  The Braves are the only top 10 farm system (#10) that drafted a current top 100 prospect (Lucas Sims, #93 overall) without a top 10 pick.  The 11th ranked Blue Jays organization picked Marcus Stroman (#92 overall), but they had the benefit of having 2 first round picks and the extra bonus money to sign a guy who many considered a top 10 prospect in the draft.  The Jays picked up that extra pick when they failed to sign Tyler Beede in the previous year.
  • The Astros, Marlins, and Cubs have top 5 picks in the 2014 draft.


The new CBA has made it difficult to acquire top 100 prospects (and thus, more difficult to build a stronger farm team) without a top 5 pick and it’s been extremely rare to get a top 100 prospect without a top 10 pick and the bonus money attached with that status.

It seems that it didn’t take long for the Cubs and Astros to pick up on this and have thus avoided adding meaningless wins because, while it was once possible to make up for having a lower draft pick with extra picks and unlimited draft budgets, those two loopholes have been closed by the CBA.  Top 5 picks have increased in value while win totals in the 65-75 range have simultaneously decreased in value.

Even teams with great farm systems and reputations for great scouting have struggled to pick up top prospects the past two seasons.

Under the new CBA, it’s no longer apparent that you can still easily build a top farm system without higher picks and the bonus money that goes with it.  So to that season ticket holder out there:  As painful as it may be, it really is better for the organization in the long run to have 71 wins than 81.

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  • fb_avatar

    Tom loxas:

    Hearing it is down to #Yankees and #Cubs for Tanaka derby.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I tweeted that earlier this morning.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Didn't you have some errands to run tomorrow????

  • In reply to historyrat:

    I won't be home in the morning :) and I do have some errands to run. Will try to get them done by noon.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    John, you need to find a reason to stay gone all day. You know major Cubs news, usually the good kind, almost always breaks when you're out. Lets not jinx it now.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I know. I think Mauricio probably has an article tomorrow. Maybe Fels. If they do, then I'll make myself scarce for awhile.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You know that commercial where it's not superstition if it do you feel about auditioning?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    sorry, I didn't catch that - but should have known it wouldn't have gotten past you!

    mind you, I'm still skeptical both ways, of positive asnd negative reports.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I think you should definitely be skeptical. Even I called it industry speculation when I reported it. I don't think anyone really knows except Tanaka and his agent.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Cross our fingers it's the Cubs.

  • fb_avatar

    I like the work here a lot, but I'd be interested in seeing it updated after the 2014 Top 100 are released on Thursday. (You aren't doing anything, are you?)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    It's MLB's so it's somewhat updated already, but .I can probably update it but depends on how much it would change. Would rather have used BP list.

  • This topic is the reason I have been 100% on board with a total rebuild. Once the organization has the foundation it needs, sustained success is easier to obtain

  • In reply to Tide23:

    Agreed and it is especially true under this new CBA.

  • fb_avatar

    Under the new system, there are rewards for being good (in titles). There are rewards for being bad (draft picks). There are none for being mediocre.

    Either contend, or don't. Teams like the Phillies and Brewers who seemingly can't decide what they are doing, and therefore split the difference, are the ones that are really going nowhere.

  • In reply to Zonk:


  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Zonk:

    Agreed 100%. Why Cubs fans can't grasp this concept is beyond me....or maybe they just don't want to.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Some don't grasp it, and some don't like to watch their team lose 95-100 games. I'm someone that doesn't like to see my team lose 95 games over and over and over again. As we all know, most prospects fail - so pinning your hopes on a handful of players that haven't even seen AA is about as good a strategy as shooting for 'mediocrity'. Seems like we constantly hear 'why would XX player want to come to the Cubs since they will be terrible in 201X'. Well, if we had an 81 win team and the prospects coming up, maybe XX player WOULD want to come to a team on the rise. The casual fan doesn't care about how many prospects we have in the system that are expected to impact the 2017 team.

    People just assume we are going to going to spend a bunch of money on FA once we are 'good'. And / or, they expect our Big 4 to go all Trout / Machado when they are rookies.

    Up until this point, I've largely been OK with the rebuild. But if we don't sign any impact FA this off season (Tanaka) and we put up another 90+ loss season AND don't sing any impact FA next off season - I will really be questioning ownership and the FO's willingness to put a contender on the field.

    Also, we could run this same analysis in 5 years, once the new CBA is in full swing, and you would still have a handful of teams that drafted / developed better than anyone else. And it wouldn't surprise me to see the Red Sox / Cardinals at the top of the list. The question is, will the Cubs be there too?

  • In reply to Roscoe Village:


    You gotta have faith that what the FO is doing is actually the right way to build it, not necessarily the fastest way.

    I feel your pain, but hang in there. We're getting closer!

  • In reply to Roscoe Village:

    This is the same refrain from fans who don't understand it's counterproductive to sign middling free agents with the hopes of winning 81 games instead of 71. Not only is the money wasted and potentially harmful to future seasons, it costs a team in the draft as this post illustrates, to an extent (more sample size needed when available).

    Here is the question again: who have the Cubs missed out on that they haven't been outbid for and should have gone after? This mystical idea that certain free agents should have been signed who A) would have not hurt the team long term with bad contracts and/or lost draft picks and B) would have made the 2012 and 2013 teams 80 game winners is without merit. Until you can demonstrate that you understand the limitations of the current CBA and its affects on bringing talent into your organization, you shouldn't be able to make blanket statements about ownership being cheap or having some sort of "unwillingness" to put a contender on the field. Of course they want a contender on the field every year, that's the best way to make money in MLB!

    The very same short-sighted mistakes have cost the Cubs a chance at a sustained, competitive team for at least my entire lifetime of four plus decades. The only way to build a consistent competitor and challenge for a playoff berth every season is the way the new regime is doing it. This is the way that the aforementioned Red Sox and Cardinals have done it and continue to do it; they build from within and stay away from risky, long term free agent signings.

    But it's not just the prospects that I'm hanging my hat on, it's also heavy investing in front office personnel, facilities, scouting, training and so on. It's about building a world class organization from top to bottom and THAT'S what ownership has been doing with their money instead of blowing it on free agents on the wrong side of 30.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Zonk:

    Well put

  • Let the offers for Jeff start coming in. Then in July Nate and others

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I wouldn't expect anything of consequence for Nate. He'll be an impending FA & he's pretty useless against LHers.

    Shark will bring back a decent return if Tanaka isn't signed.

  • Certainly agree with your points. One guy we are forgetting about is that darn Wacha, who is already pitching in the big leagues. Boy, did the Cardinals luck out with that compensation pick for Pujols. So far anyway.

  • Wacha was a bit of an anomaly. No way he should have lasted that long. Some even considered him as the top pick overall. That was just dumb luck. And by that, I mean the Cards were lucky that no team from #8 all the way until the Cards pick selected him. I think the top 7 picks were legit, but the Appel pick was questionable since it was known he wouldn't sign -- then every pick after that should have been Wacha. Teams outsmarted themselves and he fell in the Cards lap.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't believe in luck when they have been so good for so long. They are just smart enough to take advantage of others mistakes.

  • So your saying keep losing...
    Just kidding, I think we will look back at the 2011-2013 draft as a huge part of our success. Hopefully we will start picking a little later in the draft soon.

  • Ha! I'm saying if you're not going to at least have a shot at 85 wins or so, then you sell and get the pick.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And as it is, the Cubs have a potential other piece in the #4 pick in this years draft, and if things go according to the plan, trades in July, including potentially Samardzija, then it could be a top 5 pick again next year. The pick in 2016, not so shinny, and after that, the pickin's probably start getting a little thinner each year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Hahaha it's the right idea for sure! I am just glad Thibodeau doesn't manage the cubs, Bulls can't buy a loss right now. I hope the cubs can get to that point, as depressing as the bulls are b/c of no title hope, they will always out compete their opponent every night, no matter who is out there. Next man up

  • This draft, international signings in July and trades in July will be the
    last step in (re)building our farm system

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    The Cubs do have one more year with top picks/pool money so they have one more year to take advantage. But I really do hope it's the last time.

  • To answer your question is 71 wins better then 81 win?. I think it depends on the type of team you have and where they are in pro career. You can look at it in two different ways. Example if we win 71 games but half the big four don't pan out then you are pushing back the "rebuild" I would rather win 81 games and have 3 of top 4 prospects have a good year.
    At some point we have to stop saying just wait til then or look ahead. If you do that then you can never enjoy the present. I would like to see a competitive and improving team. If Castro and rizzo bounce back that should b a 10 games swing. If that cost us. 4 draft spots then so be it. If we win 71 games I would think those two didn't have good years.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Agreed. Context matters. I would rather have those extra 10 wins if we got them because our core was performing well.

  • If you were going to pick one guy from the last two years that will break into this list, who would it be?

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    From the Cubs or overall? I guess either way Pierce Johnson would be a good answer.

  • International signings not so much, since I believe that the Cubs can't sign anyone for more than 500 thousand. Could be less if they sign any more high priced prospects.

  • I think the Cubs tried to put together a team that could compete in 2012&13 limited somewhat by contracts that could not be moved. 2014 however is kind of a do over year because of the bad years from Castro, Rizzo, Barney, and Jackson. I'm anxious to see how those players rebound and react to Renteria and the new coaches.

  • fb_avatar

    we need a volunteer. JAL flight 010 arrives non-stop from Tokyo to O'Hare at 0745 every weekday....

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Ha! My parents live pretty close and we're housesitting for a few days. I'm pretty obsessed, but not quite enough to make me want to go down there. Would be a great way to break a story though!

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Haha! But ANA, United (2 a day) and 1 or 2 other airlines have direct flights from Tokyo too! I think that person would have to camp out all day at O'Hare!

    Given that Tanaka was still hopping around Japan yesterday, I'm guessing the decision gets announced, and he doesn't appear for the signing intro in said city until next week.

  • fb_avatar

    So, this looks good for the Cubs for the upcoming draft, and most likely the 2015. By then, of course, the Cubs will be competing year in and year out. So, if it's extremely difficult to find impact talent lower in the draft under the new system, How do the Cubs sustain a strong farm system when they are in the playoff hunt year after year?

    Although, I guess that's why the new system was put in place, so the same teams don't stay on top year after year...

  • In reply to brober34:

    That last sentence answered your question. I do still think there are ways and one is to resist re-signing players to multi-year deals once they get too far past prime -- but still make those QOs since you probably wouldn't mind keeping them for one year. If they reject the QO, you get those extra picks and bonus money.

  • In reply to brober34:

    Good question, brober, but it's a quandary we'd love to have - how to sustain success, meaning the initial rebuild has worked.

    I think the land grab for top young Latin talent this past year was one aspect of their strategy for creating success. These 16 & 17 year olds are further off but could provide another wave of impact talent. Brilliant to do this before an international draft kicks in.

    Grabbing a few more Cuban defectors and continuing to invest in Asian postings & free agent veterans another solid strategy.

    And I suppose the stronger scouting & development departments are part of Theo's & Jed's strategy. In addition to trying to find, especially pitching, prospects throughout the draft, strong scouting helps you find better talent in trades.

  • fb_avatar

    I am pretty sure Michael Wacha would have made the top 100 had he been eligible. He was a comp pick, but he signed for slot. Also, John, you twice reference Eddie Butler as a Twins pick. He was a Rockies draft pick. Speaking of Butler, he signed for under slot at $1 million. He's a perfect example that going above slot isn't the only way to find talent in the back end of draft.

    I do think, however, that this list is a little premature. The players picked and signed after the 2012 CBA have had only a season and a half to play at most. So I think the MLB prospect rankings tend to reflect more draft position and signing bonus than on the field results and/or scouting reports from professional games (Josh Vitters was a top 20 prospect after he was drafted). Also, the CBA sets a team's bonus pool to their draft selections. So if the Cubs want to go over slot with one player they have to go under slot with another. You have more flexibility to do this in the top half of the first round because you can make a bigger difference between actual and slot value. But the Cubs have not deployed this strategy at all. Really, only Kansas City and Houston have attempted this and it will be interesting to see in a couple of years if they made the right decision.

  • In reply to Joey Maassen:

    He certainly would have, but there was a lot of luck with that pick. As we already stated, teams should have picked him much earlier and people like me who follow the draft knew it all along.

    We can split hairs, but the numbers are pretty obvious. You can hope for some occasional luck like Wacha or Butler. Incidentally,. Butler is near the bottom of this and many think will be a reliever, so we can't make too much out of his ranking. We certainly can't casually equate him to the impact talent at the top of the list. It doesn't change the fact that the top 10 players on this list -- the ones most likely to be impact guys -- were all high picks, all but one in the top 10 and the exception was #11. Which is also why you don't scrimp on top of the draft picks to get better 2nd round picks. Statistically, players picked at the top of the draft are far more likely to succeed and an occasional outlier doesn't change that fact.

    As for the strategy you spoke of, the Astros were able to do it because they saved on Carlos Correa -- but it was at the cost of passing up the best player in the minors in Byron Buxton. Was that worth McCullers? I'm not so sure. And if you ask me if I'd rather have Buxton and Berrios or Correa and McCullers, I'm taking the first one. correa is very good, but Buxton could be special. As for the ROyals, they got two players but to get Manaea, they picked a 2nd round talent in the top 10 and passed up on top 100 prospect Austin Meadows. Neither guy the Royals got is considered to be as good at this point.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I dont think this list does enough to prove that the CBA made it that much harder to find impact talent late in the draft because there is no baseline to compare it to. As Joey pointed out, guys drafted high are almost always going to be ranked high (Hayden Simpsons not withstanding). Guys drafted lower take longer to develop a reputation with scouts because they werent as highly regarded.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    Guys picked higher in the draft are rated higher because historical data shows they are much more likely to succeed. With signability causing less top talents to slide, there is going to be even less opportunity to find guys later in the draft.

    We can wait to see what happens in the next couple of years but I'm willing to bet that there is a trend developing here.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    If you go to 2011, before this new CBA, and check out the ranking, there are 20 players taken in the 2 drafts prior to that ranking in their top 50 -- same time frame leading up to the ranking in the article. Of those 20, 13 were taken after the top 10. That is double the rate of the players who made the 2014 list. In fact 5 were taken at pick 40 or lower. The general success rate still favored those picked in the top 10, which we would expect, but there were significantly more players picked outside the top 10 that made top prospect status.

    We also mentioned that 9 of the top 10 prospects were picked in the top 10 from the previous 2 drafts for the 2014 list. In 2011, it was 5. If we stretch this out to 11 to accomodate Russell, then we can say zero prospects in the top 10 were taken after the 11th round for the 2013 list. For the 2011 list 5 of those 10 were taken after the top 11. That's a signficant difference.

    I'd say it was a lot easier to find top talent after the top 10 just 2 years ago.

  • Great article John. Very interesting.

    To add to the point that mediocrity is a killer and that top draft picks do equal a much better chance at good players, I direct everybody's attention to Michael Jimenez's article (the View from the Bleachers) where he did his own study tracking the success rate of every draft pick in the first round from 1990-2006...

    The results...

    "One question I wanted definitively answered was if tanking actually helped teams rebuild quicker. I would answer that with a resounding YES after seeing how successful the higher draft picks were compared to the mid to low picks especially when separated into the brackets."


    "Teams that chose in the top half of the draft had at least a 36% to find a successful player moving forward. Teams choosing in the top 5 had nearly a 50/50 chance. While teams had a little better than a 1 in 5 chance to land a quality player in the 16-25 range, if you weren't making the playoffs, you absolutely wanted to draft as high as possible.

    As you can see the chance to find a superior player also drastically decreases the further you get in the draft. It was even more important for rebuilding teams to stay in the bottom 10 in the standings to have the best chance at acquiring impact talent. After the top 10, there is a significant drop off that levels off until the final bracket."

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Chance to find a Successful player in the draft...

    Draft Picks by Slot...
    1-5: 48%
    6-10: 39%
    11-15: 36%
    16-20: 24%
    21-25: 21%
    26-30: 10%

    Chance to find a Superior player in the draft...

    Draft Picks by Slot...
    1-5: 30%
    6-10: 26%
    11-15: 16%
    16-20: 14%
    21-25: 11%
    26-30: 6%

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Thanks for posting that. Exactly what I'm talking about.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    It would probably take more years for a better sample size but I would like to see that broken down by Hitters and Pitchers... I suspect hitters have an even higher chance early.

  • In reply to Rudy:

    Sure, more data is always better but 16 years is a pretty good sample, ...also their have been other studies done which I didn't post but are equally obvious in the conclusion that after the top 10 draft picks the rate of both success & stardom drop dramatically.

  • fb_avatar

    Most 2013 draftees ranked in the top 100 are ranked there because they were so highly regarded pre-draft.

    Prospect rankings of players drafted that year are naturally going to be biased towards high picks because there isn't a big enough sample size to form a reliable opinion.

    Despite an awful debut, Josh Vitters was still a top-25 prospect for 2008 because he was so highly regarded pre-draft. On the other end of the spectrum, despite a great debut, Matt Moore wasn't ranked nationally on 2008 top prospect lists because he was a low pick.

  • fb_avatar

    Now I see our plan. If we can lose 100 games every year we'll get good draft picks. A good draft is not measured by how many "prospects" you have. It's measured years later by how many of your picks became Major League rs and had an impact on your team.

  • Kolton Wong isn't on the top 100 list? Also, Wacha would be on the list if he didn't pitch enough innings last year.

    I think this is a good assessment of things, but at the same time, it takes a few years for things to shake out. I.e., some 3rd round pick with nice upside wont get any love until he performs well at AA for example. That countered with the fact that top picks always get more love based on where they were drafted, makes picking the winners and losers of drafts dicey after only a few years.

    I think where the Cubs will benefit is a greater focus on player development. Some teams, like the Red Sox and Cardinals always seem to get the most out of their prospects.

  • fb_avatar's 3B rankings are out. Bryant is second behind Sano. They give Sano a slight edge in power -- 75 to 70. Fair, I guess, but I think Bryant will be seeing Wrigley long before Sano sees Target. Mike Olt's prospect status freefall continues: he didn't make the last.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Something screwy with the site, because this shows Olt @ #3 behind Sano & Bryant...

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    You're in the 2013 list. The updating is a little confusing. Go to the tab marked "Archives" on the bar above the pictures and select 2014.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I noticed Mike Olt's drop off the top 10 list too. He did have a horrible year statistically, but they did not give him a mulligan for getting hit in the head and eye issues. No real problem though, it is only a prospect list. I think he still needs a little more time to get the rust off and get in a groove in AAA. In a couple months bring him up and let him hold down the 3B position. I think he can do it.

  • a) This isn't new to the new CBA. Elite prospects have always come from the top of the draft, and that's never stopped solid farm systems from being built without them.

    b) Michael Wacha would easily be on this list if he hadn't been simply too good to keep in the minors.

  • This was a brilliant piece, John. Maybe one of your best analysis of things many of us don't have a good grasp of.

    Thanks for breaking it down like that. It kinda supports my feelings that the Cubs are better off with high picks (top 10 or better) for a couple of years to help rebuild the farm system.

    Wish the average fan could see this and just chill-out for a couple of more years.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Thanks. Top 10 picks are historically better but I think it will be even more the case under this new CBA. It's interesting to look back to even recent history and see Boston prospects picked in the 20s or even 40s crack top 100 lists within the first 2 seasons. That is in no small part because they capitalized on players sliding down the draft. No longer will it be so easy to draft an Anthony Ranaudo, Jon Lester, or Clay Buchholz after the first round. It's a challenge but so far the FO seems up to it.

  • I think that John has an excellent point, and its been backed up with solid evidence. It certainly is easier to predict future success based on draft position. I think what all of us would like to believe is that a priority placed on scouting and development will make the chances of finding that diamond in the rough a bit better.

    One thing I know I also often do is think of scouting only in terms of finding talent. Scouting can help the big club prepare pitch selection and strategy. Of Greg Maddux, people often said that he was one of the smartest in the game, and it's because he was prepared for every hitter that he might face. It never hurts to get a bit smarter.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    Thanks. I think guys who slip through the cracks like Maddux are fascinating. You realize that even the best scouts don't get it right all the time. Every team missed on Maddux at least once.

    That uncertainty is why FOs like to play the odds. Historically you are more likely to find those good players at the top of the draft rather than later. You may not get that impact guy at the top either, but the odds are better that you will. You have to play this game of probabilities to mitigate the uncertainty to the greatest degree possible.

  • I hope I'm not repeating someone else's comment (as I skimmed them), but the Cubs seem to be doing the right thing by the CBA... and the CBA this way seems to be bad for baseball and parity.

    In sports like basketball and football, top picks go to the Show right away and thus make an impact right away, so teams can improve rather quickly so long as they hit on their pick. In baseball (and to a lesser degree hockey, though top players often join the Show immediately there too), the process is much longer and thus doesn't allow for the immediate turnaround.

    So the Cubs are doing well here, but it also means that once the Cubs compete it will be tough for them to land impact talent simply through the draft. I hope the next CBA changes this rule. It's silly and really doesn't help many people. The easiest way I can see a change is to allow draft picks to be traded. For the life of me I can't see why this doesn't happen already.

    Oh, and this also makes me think that maybe those compensation picks aren't so bad to lose when they're of the second-round type.

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