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Friday, May 15, 2009

Reds' first-round draft performance

Erik at BtB has been doing a series of recaps of old drafts. I noticed that after three such recaps (1994, 1995, and 1996), the Reds' first round selections had netted ... -2.1 WAR. Yes, that's a negative sign. First-round selections routinely perform much, much better than lower-round picks (see Rany Jazayerli's or Victor Wang's work on drafts for details), so three years with zero production isn't good.

I thought that, rather than wait on Erik, I'd take a quick look at the first round of drafts starting in 2005 (Jay Bruce's year) and going back as long as there have been drafts. WAR totals are from FanGraphs for recent players, and from Rally's career WAR estimates for older players. Note that any production you see isn't necessarily (and often is not) with the Reds, though I did try to discard to the guys who were drafted but didn't sign. A huge thank-you to Baseball-reference for their fantastic draft tool, which made getting a list of these players incredibly easy.

Year Rnd Type
OvPck Pos G G WAR Comments
1965 1
16 Bernie Carbo 3B 1010 18.3 Always lives in my mind as the guy drafted the round before Johnny Bench
1966 1 1sc 10 Dan McGinn LHP 211 -4.5
1966 1 6sc 11 John Dow OF


1966 1
13 Gary Nolan RHP 247 27.4
1967 1 1rg 7 Marvin Branscomb OF


1967 1 1sc 11 David Speas INF


1967 1 6sc 6 Frank Duffy SS 915 7.1
1967 1
8 Wayne Simpson RHP 80 -0.7
1968 1 1rg 14 Donald Shrum RHP


1968 1 1sc 16 Charles West OF


1968 1 6sc 5 Mel Behney LHP 5 -0.6
1968 1
13 Timothy Grant RHP


1969 1 1rg 13 John Jackson RHP


1969 1 1sc 17 Ross Grimsley LHP 174 6.1
1969 1 6sc 14 Johnny Grubb OF 1424 DNS
1969 1
14 Don Gullett LHP 254 16.6 Am I obligated to ask "what could have been?"
1970 1 1rg 16 Dale Harrington RHP


1970 1 1sc 18 Harold Wall RHP


1970 1 6sc 9 Pat Osburn LHP 6 -0.5
1970 1
15 Gary Polczynski SS


1971 1 1rg 22 Eddie Tobin OF


1971 1 1sc 12 Gaylin Pabst SS


1971 1
24 Mike Miley SS 84 -1.6
1972 1 1rg 8 Greg Sinatro SS


1972 1 1sc 16 Tom Hume RHP 554 6.4 Also former bullpen & pitching coach
1972 1
7 Larry Payne RHP


1973 1 1sc 9 Jeff Chandler LHP


1973 1 6sc 18 Gary Lucas LHP 334 5.4
1973 1
22 Charles Kessler OF


1974 1 1rg 24 Mike Armstrong RHP 22 0.4
1974 1 1sc 22 James Diventi RHP


1974 1 6sc 1 Mike Gatlin 3B


1974 1
23 Steve Reed RHP


1975 1 1rg 21 James Slaughter C


1975 1 1sc 5 Lawrence Pekarcik RHP


1975 1 6sc 14 Scott Burk SS


1975 1
22 Tony Moretto OF


1976 1 1rg 24 Roderick Patterson RHP


1976 1 1sc 22 Duane Walker OF 392 1.3
1976 1 6sc 3 Bruce Berenyi RHP 142 5.0
1976 1
23 Mark King RHP


1977 1 1rg 23 Gregg Lorenz LHP


1977 1 1sc 1 Bill Scherrer LHP 147 1.0
1977 1 6sc 15 Robert Potts OF


1977 1
24 Tad Venger 3B


1978 1 1sc 16 Wayne Guinn RHP


1978 1 6sc 9 Brad Lesley RHP 49 0.4
1978 1
17 Nick Esasky SS 810 7.5
1979 1 1rg 21 Kevin Waller OF


1979 1 1sc 3 Bill Bordley LHP


1979 1 6sc 16 Larry Mikesell LHP


1979 1
20 *Dan Lamar C


1979 1
22 Mike Sullivan RHP


1980 1 1rg 20 Mark Bowden LHP


1980 1 1sc 22 Scott Meier C


1980 1 6sc 3 Kevin Maroney OF


1980 1
19 Ron Robinson RHP 202 7.9
1981 1 1rg 15 Daniel Durst RHP


1981 1 1sc 3 Rob Murphy LHP 396 4.0
1981 1 6sc 24 Don Long SS


1982 1 1rg 24 Orsino Hill OF


1982 1 1sc 13 Rickie Carter OF


1982 1 6sc 7 Kal Daniels OF 727 16.8 Tons of talent, but what a frustrating player
1982 1
22 *Scott Jones LHP


1982 1
23 Billy Hawley RHP


1982 1s
28 *Robert Jones 1B


1983 1 1rg 1 Ted Langdon RHP


1983 1 1sc 1 Tracy Jones 3B 493 1.5
1983 1 6sc 20 Rob Dibble RHP 354 8.8 I still can't reconcile Talk Show Dibble with Crazy Dibble.
1983 1
2 Kurt Stillwell SS 998 1.5 Aren't iffy-fielding shortstops supposed to hit?
1984 1 1rg 6 Dusty Rogers LHP


1984 1 1sc 22 Fred Carter 3B


1984 1
5 Pat Pacillo RHP 19 -0.7
1985 1 1rg 3 Scott Willis RHP


1985 1 1sc 11 Tom Powers RHP


1985 1 6sc 19 Jeff Forney OF


1985 1
4 Barry Larkin SS 2180 70.1 My favorite player of all time
1986 1 1rg 18 Ron Wenrich OF


1986 1 1sc 16 Rick Parker C


1986 1 6sc 7 Greg Lonigro INF


1986 1
17 Scott Scudder RHP 71 -1.6
1987 1
18 Jack Armstrong RHP 116 2.2 Hr/9 dropped to 0.5 for 1990. Was it all an illusion?
1989 1
20 Scott Bryant OF


1990 1
7 Dan Wilson C 1299 13.5 I always regretted this trade
1991 1
20 Pokey Reese SS 856 6.0 Recently cited by Tango as one of the best gloves of the past decade
1992 1
5 Chad Mottola OF 59 -0.9
1993 1s
32 *Pat Watkins OF 116 -0.1
1994 1
9 C.J. Nitkowski LHP 95 -2.2
1996 1
25 John Oliver OF


1996 1s
33 *Matt McClendon RHP


1997 1
14 Brandon Larson SS 109 -0.7 I'll never understand what happened
1998 1
7 Austin Kearns OF 791 16.3 I still like him
1999 1
14 Ty Howington LHP

injury
2000 1
23 David Espinosa SS

Released by Detroit after '07, played Indie ball in '08
2000 1s
34 *Dustin Moseley RHP 64 1.7 Ramon Ortiz
2001 1
20 Jeremy Sowers LHP 51 DNS Still angry
2002 1
3 Christopher Gruler RHP

injury? I forget
2002 1s
40 *Mark Schramek 3B

Washed out in Sarasota
2003 1
14 Ryan Wagner RHP 146 0.2 I'll never understand what happened
2004 1
7 Homer Bailey RHP 16 0.1 There's still time
2005 1
12 Jay Bruce OF 140 2.0 Bruce!

So, after the once in a lifetime drafting of Barry Larkin, the only 5+ career WAR players from the first round were Dan Wilson (who returned the less-valuable pre-Seattle Brett Boone), Pokey Reese, and Austin Kearns (who we traded for Majewski and Bray...). I don't have a control here, but my perception is that this is pretty lousy performance. There have been contributers from other rounds, of course, but poor (at least as measured by outcome) first-round drafts are clearly one of the reasons the Reds have struggled over the past decade.