A Detailed Look at the Early Results From the 2008 Draft

On Monday I explored the question of when you could start grading a draft. While you can always apply a grade to a draft, it’s hard to get a grade that looks final until a few years down the line.

A lot of the times people will grade drafts based on what kind of results they think a team should have. These results usually aren’t based on what other teams have actually done. On Monday I pointed out some of the actual results, noting that only 14 players from the last four drafts have reached the majors and have put up a career WAR of 2.0 or better. To get a better idea of the individual drafts and the expectations that should surround them, I figured I’d expand on the early results from the 2008 draft.

I mentioned on Monday that the 2008 draft has only seen eight players put up a career WAR of 2.0 or better so far in the majors. The following is a breakdown of the early results from the 2008 draft, with round-by-round results, and comparisons showing what the Pirates did in each round. Credit to Baseball-Reference for the WAR numbers.

Pedro Alvarez has a -1.4 WAR so far in his major league career.

Round One

Players in Majors: 22 (out of 46 drafted)

Significant Playing Time: 12

WAR Breakdown

4.0 or better: Buster Posey

3.0-4.0: Ike Davis

2.0-3.0: Brett Lawrie

1.0-2.0: Gordon Beckham, Jemile Weeks, Eric Hosmer, Brian Matusz

The most successful player from the top of the 2008 draft so far has been Buster Posey, who has a career 4.4 WAR. Only four players taken in the top ten overall picks have a career WAR of 1.0 or better. Five if you count Aaron Crow, who was drafted 9th overall, but didn’t sign in 2008.

Pedro Alvarez has a -1.4 WAR to date.

Round Two

Players in Majors: 8 (out of 31 drafted)

Significant Playing Time: 2

WAR Breakdown

4.0 or better: N/A

3.0-4.0: N/A

2.0-3.0: N/A

1.0-2.0: N/A

So far the second round of the 2008 draft hasn’t produced much. There have been a few pitchers, with two pitching in 33-35 games. Most of the pitchers have been relievers the bulk of their short career.

The Pirates didn’t sign their second round pick, Tanner Scheppers.

Round Three

Players in Majors: 10 (out of 35 drafted)

Significant Playing Time: 4

WAR Breakdown

4.0 or better: N/A

3.0-4.0: Craig Kimbrel, Vance Worley

2.0-3.0: Danny Espinosa

1.0-2.0: N/A

The third round has some interesting talent. Craig Kimbrel looks like a dominant young closer. Vance Worley did well in the Phillies’ rotation last year. Danny Espinosa hasn’t show the best hitting, but his defense has been good at second. Some interesting prospects who have cracked the majors are Zach Stewart, Chris Carpenter, and Brent Morel.

The Pirates drafted Jordy Mercer in the third round. Seattle drafted Aaron Pribanic, who was later traded to the Pirates.

Round Four

Players in Majors: 5 (out of 30 drafted)

Significant Playing Time: 0

WAR Breakdown

4.0 or better: N/A

3.0-4.0: N/A

2.0-3.0: N/A

1.0-2.0: Jason Kipnis

The fourth round hasn’t produced much yet at the major league level. Dee Gordon and Brandon Crawford were both drafted in this round, and both have reached the majors, but neither has made a big impact.

Chase d’Arnaud is one of the five players to reach the majors, although he hasn’t made an impact either, with a -0.8 WAR in his limited time in 2011.

Round Five

Players in Majors: 5 (out of 30 drafted)

Significant Playing Time: 2

WAR Breakdown

4.0 or better: Daniel Hudson, Alex Avila

3.0-4.0: N/A

2.0-3.0: N/A

1.0-2.0: Anthony Bass

The fifth round has produced the two biggest steals of the draft so far. Daniel Hudson has a 6.5 WAR after one and a half strong years in the majors. Alex Avila established himself as a strong starting catcher in 2011, breaking out with a .295 average and an .895 OPS. Avla came up in 2009, and struggled in 2010 with a .228 average and a .656 OPS before his breakout season.

The Pirates drafted Justin Wilson in the fifth round. Seattle drafted Brett Lorin, who was later traded to the Pirates, and was recently taken by Arizona in the Rule 5 draft.

Round Six

Players in Majors: 5 (out of 30 drafted)

Significant Playing Time: 0

WAR Breakdown

4.0 or better: N/A

3.0-4.0: N/A

2.0-3.0: N/A

1.0-2.0: N/A

There hasn’t been much of an impact in the majors from the sixth rounders. Josh Harrison was drafted by the Cubs, and has the highest WAR of the group, with an 0.8. He also has the most playing time, with 195 at-bats. The Pirates took Robbie Grossman in the sixth round.

Round Seven

Players in Majors: 2 (out of 30 drafted)

Significant Playing Time: 0

WAR Breakdown

4.0 or better: N/A

3.0-4.0: N/A

2.0-3.0: N/A

1.0-2.0: N/A

Eric Thames just missed the significant playing time mark, with 362 at-bats. In that time he has a .262 average and a .769 OPS, for a 0.8 WAR.

The Pirates drafted Benji Gonzalez.

Round Eight

Players in Majors: 1 (out of 30 drafted)

Significant Playing Time: 0

WAR Breakdown

4.0 or better: N/A

3.0-4.0: N/A

2.0-3.0: N/A

1.0-2.0: N/A

The eighth round has only seen one player reach the majors. Andy Dirks has 219 at-bats with a .251 average and a .703 OPS.

The Pirates took Jeremy Farrell.

Round Nine

Players in Majors: 1 (out of 30 drafted)

Significant Playing Time: 0

WAR Breakdown

4.0 or better: N/A

3.0-4.0: N/A

2.0-3.0: N/A

1.0-2.0: N/A

Like the 8th round, the ninth round has been uneventful so far. The Pirates took Matt Hague.

Round Ten

Players in Majors: 3 (out of 30 drafted)

Significant Playing Time: 1

WAR Breakdown

4.0 or better: N/A

3.0-4.0: N/A

2.0-3.0: N/A

1.0-2.0: N/A

The only player with significant playing time has been Robbie Weinhardt, who pitched in 30 games with a 6.39 ERA. The best results have come from Tom Milone, who has a 3.81 ERA in five games for an 0.5 WAR.

Rounds 11-20

Players in Majors: 8

Significant Playing Time: 4

WAR Breakdown

4.0 or better: N/A

3.0-4.0: N/A

2.0-3.0: N/A

1.0-2.0: Tony Campana (13th), Louis Coleman (14th)

Most of the players who had significant playing time were relievers. The best player from rounds 11-20 so far has been reliever Louis Coleman.

Players the Pirates Signed: David Rubinstein (11th), Calvin Anderson (12th), Mike Colla (14th), Chris Aure (15th), Wes Freeman (16th), Jarek Cunningham (18th), Quinton Miller (20th)

Rounds 21-30

Players in Majors: 6

Significant Playing Time: 1

WAR Breakdown

4.0 or better: N/A

3.0-4.0: N/A

2.0-3.0: N/A

1.0-2.0: N/A

The best player from this group, and the only player with significant playing time, is left hander Josh Spence, who has 40 appearances in the majors with a 2.73 ERA.

Players the Pirates Signed: Brent Klinger (21st), Brian Leach (25th), Edwin Roman (27th), Kyle Saukko (28th)

Rounds 31-50

Players in Majors: 3

Significant Playing Time: 0

WAR Breakdown

4.0 or better: N/A

3.0-4.0: N/A

2.0-3.0: N/A

1.0-2.0: N/A

Not a surprise that there weren’t many results from this group. Most of the players who sign from this group are used for organizational depth, which was the case with the Pirates’ signings. The Pirates drafted Matt Curry in the 37th round this year, but he went to TCU.

Players the Pirates Signed: Mark Carver (33rd), Matthew Payne (34th), Tyler Cox (35th), Kyle Morgan (36th), Alan Knotts (38th), Albert Fagan (39th), Chris Simmons (41st), Cole White (42nd), Mike Williams (44th), Allen Ponder (45th), Owen Brolsma (48th), Zach Foster (49th), Craig Parry (50th)

Overall Results

Players in Majors: 79 (out of 1504 players drafted)

Significant Playing Time: 26

WAR Breakdown

4.0 or better: 3 players

3.0-4.0: 3 players

2.0-3.0: 2 players

1.0-2.0: 8 players

Looking at the results, it’s still pretty early for any expectations from the 2008 draft. Based on the position the Pirates drafted, they should have one of the 16 players with a 1.0 WAR or better. That points to the disappointing results from Pedro Alvarez thus far.

Only one other player from the draft has reached the majors, and that was d’Arnaud. Harrison reached the majors, but he wasn’t drafted by the Pirates. I don’t really go with the approach that if another team has a mid-round guy reaching the majors, the Pirates should have one. Looking at the results above, it’s almost a bonus for teams to have a guy in the majors from the middle rounds. I’d give bonus points to those teams, but wouldn’t give negative grades to all of the teams who don’t have a mid-round guy producing in the majors yet. The Pirates’ high draft position gets brought up, but that’s irrelevant after the first round or two. Once you get to the middle rounds, the odds are pretty much the same whether you’re picking 2nd or 30th.

As I said on Monday, the 2012 season will be a big one for the 2008 draft. The Pirates have four players from the college ranks that need to make the jump to the majors. Their high school guys will be in high-A or AA. Had they gone to college, those players would have been starting their first full season as pros in 2012. Most importantly, the Pirates need to see a rebound from Pedro Alvarez in 2012. It would be hard to get good overall results from this draft if Alvarez doesn’t come close to his potential.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • http://twitter.com/jlease717 John Lease

    The interesting thing to me so far is Daniel Hudson.  He obviously is the biggest steal of that draft class so far, yet lasted until the 4th round.  Was he originally slated to be a 1st rounder that people didn’t think would sign?  I do agree it is still too early to be very definitive of this draft, but it still isn’t looking good so far with the Pirates.  Avilla too is obviously a talent.

  • Anonymous

    @John.  Hudson was a college junior at Old Dominion who had a disappointing season after having a nice sophomore season and a good showing in Cape Cod.  He was not in Baseball America’s top 200 for the draft, although he seemingly just missed that grouping.  They were pretty complimentary about his stuff in the scouting report but said his command was inconsistent.

    Sounds like someone who just overachieved his scouting reports.

  • Anonymous

    very good and detailed post.  Thanks for research.

  • F Lang

    I think if you had to grade this draft you’d give Alvarez a D and the rest of the draft an incomplete.

  • F Lang

    But there still are a lot of guys that have progressed well and could make solid contributions.

  • Anonymous

    F I wish we had drafted Lawrie. Hindsight’s always 20/20 though…

  • http://twitter.com/Jcsteel Jimmy

    Seriously when can the Pirates overachieve for a change and pick up some good players in the draft like Hudson and Avila?

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