Thursday, August 21, 2008

Drafted Players - Part I

Now that the signing deadline has passed, I thought it would be worthwhile to take a look at some of the early returns from the 2008 draft. As I've written before, short-season performance isn't always a great predictor for a number of reasons, but it's still fun to track. Today we'll look at the top 15 rounds.

Round 1 - Allan Dykstra, signed, Eugene - Currently working out to get his legs under him. He'll likely be activated shortly.

Comp #1 - Jaff Decker, signed, Peoria - As of today, he's leading the Arizona League in OPS (1.048), OBP (.522), runs scored (43), walks (49) and he's 5th in average (.338). To put his accomplishments in perspective, if Jaff were to go 0 for 56, his OBP would be a stellar .400. He's also stolen seven bases in eight tries and has played solid defense in the OF. Pretty ridiculous.

Comp #2 - Logan Forsythe, signed, Eugene/Peoria - Logan signed right away and reported to Eugene. Unfortunately, he injured his thumb on a slide in just his third game which required surgery. He is back now after rehabbing and has played the last three games with Peoria to work back into form.

Round 2 - James Darnell, signed, Eugene - With just two games under his belt, James is four for nine with a double and a walk. Though it took some time and additional dollars to get him signed, James doesn't seemed to have missed a beat. He also may have had the best signing day batting practice at a Major League stadium that I've seen in my years. His first swing in Petco was a homer, and it just got better from here as he sprayed hard line drives all over the field (including a number of more homers to both left and center field).

Round 3 - Blake Tekotte, signed, Eugene - To put it succinctly, Blake has been tremendous. A prototypical leadoff-hitting centerfielder, Blake has shown surprising power so far, banging out 13 doubles and six homers in just 139 ab's. As of today, a player in the Northwest League needs 167 plate appearances to qualify for the league rankings, and Blake has just 165. Assuming he gets the requisite pa's, Blake currently sits 1st in slugging (.554), 3rd in OBP (.424), 5th in average (.331), and tied for 5th in homers (6). All of this comes after he started one for nine with seven strikeouts in his first three games.

Round 3 Comp - Sawyer Carroll, signed, Ft. Wayne - Sawyer had a tremendous season in Eugene and was recently promoted to Ft. Wayne. Despite his promotion and missing some time with a small injury, Sawyer is still 1st in the Northwest League in slugging (.548), 2nd in extra base hits (25), 2nd in RBI (39), 2nd in homers (8), 4th in runs (41) and 10th in average (.299).

Round 4 - Jason Kipnis, unsigned - As a sophomore elgible this year Jason made the decision to go back to ASU for his junior year. On the morning of the draft we were informed that Jason was looking to sign if taken anytime during the first day (top six rounds), so when we took him in the fourth we didn't anticipate any problems with signing him. Nevertheless, Jason went to the Cape and over time decided he would prefer to return to school. Offering him over slot money didn't change his mind, and the deadline passed without his signing. We wish Jason the best and will certainly be scouting him again next spring.

Round 5 - Anthony Bass, signed, Eugene - A starter in college, we've used Anthony exclusively out of the pen this summer so as not to overload his innings. With a fastball that has reached 94 mph to go along with a good slider and changeup, Anthony has put together a terrific season. His 1.63 ERA and four saves both lead the squad.

Round 6 - Cole Figueroa, signed, Eugene - We knew there were going to be some signability issues surrounding Cole since he was sophomore eligible out of the University of Florida. Fortunately, we were able to get him signed, and he has been the player we expected to see. A left-handed hitting middle infielder, Cole currently has a .383 obp, has stolen four bags, and has more walks than strikeouts.

Round 7 - Adam Zornes, signed, Ft. Wayne - Adam was a late sign, so he played a few games in Peoria to get back in the groove, and then we sent him up to Ft. Wayne where he's played three games so far. As a 22-year old junior from Rice, we felt Adam was ready to compete at that level, so we weren't afraid to be aggressive with him.

Round 8 - Beamer Weems, signed, Eugene - Like Cole Figueroa, we expected that it would take above slot money to sign Beamer away from Baylor. Beamer is a very slick defender at SS with excellent hands, a plus arm, and an innate feel for the position. In fact, his defense allowed us to send him up to AA for five games when we needed someone to fill in there. Offensively, he's started to get his bat going after a slow start (1 for 16 to start and a .381 obp and .353 slg since then including his time in AA).

Round 9 - Kyle Thebeau, unsigned - Quite frankly, we probably missed on this one. We didn't miss him from a baseball standpoint - he's a nice looking pitcher - but rather from a signability standpoint. Kyle wasn't terribly interested in signing and will be returning to school this fall.

Round 10 - Andrew Albers, signed, Peoria - Shortly after signing Andrew, he experienced a little tenderness in his arm, so we decided to take the summer really slow. Fortunately, he is back on the mound feeling good and has pitched three shutout innings in Peoria.

Round 11 - Tyson Bagley, signed, Eugene - Basically a reliever in college, we wanted to expose Tyson to starting a bit this summer if for no other reason than pitch development. He already has a plus fastball and hard breaking ball, so we wanted to stretch him out a bit. In a mix between starting and relieving he has struck out 44 hitters in 37 innings and has posted a 3.86 ERA.

Round 12 - Matt Clark, signed, Eugene - Another player we knew would take more to sign, we were happy to come to an agreement with Matt and get him going in Eugene. So far he's been tremendous. A big left-handed hitting first baseman with monster power, Matt is hitting .333 with a .444 obp and a .540 slg in his first 100 pa's.

Round 13 - Erik Davis, signed, Eugene - A weekend starter for Stanford this spring, we wanted to take it easy on Erik this summer. He was pitching so well out of the pen, however, that we decided to give him a few starts before the end of the season. Erik's excellent command and changeup have led him to a 2.75 ERA along with 30 strikeouts compared to just four walks in 19.2 innings.

Round 14 - Robert Musgrave, signed, Eugene - Robert is another pitcher who had a significant workload this spring as a starter for Wichita St, so he's pitched exclusively out of the pen for Eugene. A left-hander, Rob has pounded the strike zone, and his plus changeup and curveball have left the hitters little chance. He has a 1.98 ERA with 57 strikeouts and just six walks in 36.1 innings.

Round 15 - Brett Mooneyham, unsigned - There's been a lot of talk around Brett on this blog, so it's probably appropriate that he completes this post. The have been a lot of rumors about what Brett wanted. The fact of the matter is that what Brett wanted was to go to school, and I don't blame him. He's a big left-hander with a plus arm, and he's headed to Stanford. Many people have suggested that we should have paid him whatever he was looking for, but I can tell you that such a scenario rarely ends well for anyone involved. Nobody should make a significant life decision, like going into pro ball instead of attending college, because they've been convinced by a check. The minors are a real grind, and unless that is absolutely what an individual wants to pursue right now, they should continue to attend school. I applaud Brett for making the decision, and we look forward to tracking his progress over the next three years.

As you can probably imagine, we're very excited with the early returns from this draft even when considering my caveat about short-season performance. It seems to be a very strong class, and it'll be fun to have many of them in Instructional League this fall.

22 comments:

Luke said...

i hope that you'll take the majority of the reader comments as a reminder of the "minority rules".

trust me in that there are many padre fans who listen to all the information before reaching a conclusion.

there are several things i disagree with regarding the current management, but i sincerely appreciate this blog as an unmatched rarity in baseball. at least, that i know of. hopefully, you won't be discouraged by the generic angry responses you get to your posts.

btw, i'm very satisfied with this draft. i think dacker, darnell and tekotte have a real good shot at being difference makers at the major league level.

Alex said...

Decker has been nothing short of incredible. If you guys valued Dykstra over him in the draft, it really makes me wonder the things Dykstra can do with a bat.

One of the biggest things Paul forgot to mention with Decker is that not only is he leading the league in OBP and OPS, but he is also one of the youngest players in the league. In fact, there are a number of players in the AZL about 4-5 years older than Jaff.

Of the players within one year of Jaff's age, only one is within about .198 points of Jaff's OPS, and that is Seattle 3B prospect Jharmidy De Jesus (and you thought Jaff was a weird name). DeJesus is hitting .339/.417/.591 and has about as many K's as Jaff does with 35 fewer walks. DeJesus is also more than 6 months older than Jaff.

The next closest guy in Jaff's age range is OAK prospect Rashun Dixon who is six months younger than Jaff, but is hitting .262/.325/.523 with 14/58 BB/K ratio.

Perhaps Jaff's most impressive stat is that 49/27 K/BB ratio factored in with his age. THIS is a polished hitter, and while we are talking about less than 200 PA's in the AZL, Jaff is doing about as well as anyone could hope for a top pick.

a) Dominating his league. Easily the most productive offensive player in the AZL
b) At an appropriate age for his level (one of the youngest)
c) Shows a great mastery of the strike zone with his BB/K ratio.

I wouldn't put Jaff past Kulbacki yet on the prospect list, but if he keeps this up, he very well could shoot past him

Tom said...

Decker, Darnell, and Forsythe were my three favorite picks. It may be against company policy, but it would be great to hear what the team's plans are with regard to their future positions. I've read that Darnell has the athletic profile for RF and that Forsythe may fit at 2b or even behind the plate; the latter switch would seem to be the kind of the thing you do quickly so the guy's not 26 before he makes the big leagues.

Any insight on unsigned players Conaway and Tunnell?

RMDoyle said...

Paul,

Thanks for the update. Any word on our kids in the Domincan? I saw the post on Galvez and Hernandez, but can you fill us in on any insight in regards to how our pre 17 signings are doing (i.e. Adamson, Portillo, Aristy etc.). I believe they can not play this year, but how are they taking in the experience and how are they taking to our coaches?

Padman42 said...

Mr DePodesta,
First off, amazing blog, I check the site daily for insight into the organization.
Slightly surprised that you forgot one of my favorite top draft picks..Sawyer Carrol. In 46 games in Eugene Carrol hit .299/.403/.548/.951 with 14 2B, 3 3B, and 8 HR as well as 41 RS and 39 RBI. Even though he was promoted to Fort Wayne over a week ago he is still 12th in the league in 2B, Tied for 2nd in HR (8), 4th in RS (41), 2nd in RBI, and leading the league in both SLG (.548) and OPS (.951)
Im also very intrigued about Conaway, he seemed like a great draft selection, but I didnt hear anything as to whether or not we were even close to signing him.
Finally is their any updates on Kellen Kulbacki. You mentioned a week ago that he was taking BP and should be playing soon, and then the next day I see he was put on the 7-day DL. Will he be back in time for the playoffs?
Thank you again for the blog

AztecAlum said...

Paul - I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to keep us informed with such great insight. I think I speak (write?) for the majority of readers here that this blog has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise disapointing season for both the team and the fans. We get insight to our team that fans of the other 29 teams don't get. Those of us here are very passionate about the Padres and I hope this blog will continue into the off-season and in to the 2009 season.

hector said...

I really like the draft and how the kids are progressing. The organizations is looking great for years to come...

Paul DePodesta said...

SAWYER CARROLL!!!

How could I have left him out! padman summed it up pretty well, and I'm an idiot. Carroll has had a great year. Despite his promotion to Ft. Wayne, Sawywer is still 1st in slugging in the Northwest League (until Tekotte qualifies), 2nd in extra base hits, 4th in runs, 2nd in homers, 2nd in RBI, and 10th in average.

Huge, huge oversight on my part. Thanks for pointing it out!

Paul DePodesta said...

padman42,

Kellen continues to progress. He had a little bit of pain late last week taking bp, so we went ahead and put him on the DL (only seven days in the minors and he had already missed five or so). He has been hitting off a tee without pain the last couple of days, and he'll continue to move through the hitting program to get back.

field39 said...

As a fan, I am very pleased with this year’s draft. With a little good fortune, this could be the kind of draft that launches the Padres to championship level. You combine this draft with some of the players already in the system, and the future looks bright. Only one problem: The big club is pacing 100 losses and 2009 doesn’t look any better. By the time 2010 gets here and players like Kulbacki are ready; the only people showing up at Petco will be cheering the other team. Please provide some insight into how you expect the Padres to compete, while awaiting the fruits of the farm.

deathlydemise666 said...

We as fans really psyched ourselves up for Mooneyham and it's completely on us for the negative PR you will be getting for taking a flyer on the "Hardest player to sign in the draft".

Dykstra is Dykstra - You guys set yourselves up for the disdain of the pick by selecting a position of strength. A position where there's little room for failure. What makes the perception of this pick worse is that Kyle Blanks and Adrian Gonzalez are both young and the questions it begs are "When are we going to trade Gonzalez or Blanks for prospects?" or "Why did we draft Dykstra when we were just going to trade him away, why not select based on need like the lack of power arms in our system?"

Paul DePodesta said...

deathlydemise,

As an organization, we were quite happy that we were finally in a position to start taking the best player available as opposed to worrying about specific needs. A lot of things can happen over the next four or five years that we can't predict. That's why St. Louis took Brett Wallace in the first round even though they have Pujols and why the Reds took Alonso (and gave him a Major League deal) even though they have Votto. The fact is that there were tremendous first base talents in this draft, and they were too good to pass.

Peter said...

rField39,

2009 & 10 should look more like 2005-7 than 2008.

The Padres got nothin from catcher and shortstop, nothing from Iguchi and Edmunds at 2B & CF, we had injuries to our better starters, and the pullpen didn't start the year well...

But seriously, would you want to replace Adrian, Kouz, Headley, and Giles? And even Gerut & Hairston have been better than expected...

We still have solid starters, I'm willing to give Towers a mulligan for the 2008 bullpen, we need to solve SS, but after that, we have a good team.

CptJack said...

I have no doubt that your intentions were to pick the BPA and that this was without doubt the deepest pool of First Baseman in a long while.

The problem stems from the grass looking greener on power arms from a drafting standpoint or barren from a farm standpoint. Unless you can dispel the notion that our system is lacking power arms. You'll continue to be questioned on the selection, more so than the normal amount of second guessing anyways.

Laura said...

Paul,

When Cory Adamson turns 17, where is the organization going to put him. It doesn't seem like it makes a whole lot of sense to send him to the Dominican, seeing as how he already speaks english and will probably adjust to American culture just fine.

Ace2110 said...

The whole thing about Dykstra and Blanks is kind of funny to me....last I checked the Brewers drafted LaPorta which was the same type of pick-looks like that turned out pretty well for them.

If the Padres can trade Blanks for a league average or better pre arbitration SP this off season-what's there to complain about? That certainly seems like a better plan then paying Maddux/Wolf 18M a year.

hector said...

Laura,

According to Jerry Coleman, people from Australia speak Australian, but it is very similar to English.

I don't remember the exact quote, but it was an instant classic.

I love Jerry Coleman, he is like our Yogi.

Alex said...

I heard Hayhurst was making his debut tomorrow as a starter. As far as I know he only relieved in the minors, so is it going to be a situation where he throws 2-3 innings and then it becomes a bullpen game?

What kind of PC will he be looking at?

Nonetheless, good for him, I just wish he could have made his debut at PETCO so the fans could shower him with cheers, but this is very cool nonetheless, I just hope that game is on FOX and not some Dodgers game

field39 said...

What has gotten into McBryde lately? Twenty three strike outs against one walk in his last two outings. I am curious as to how he will fare in the California league next season.

Paul DePodesta said...

field39,

McBryde has had one of the more unusual performance lines so far in his pro career. On the one hand, he's a guy with a good three pitch mix (FB up to 94 and will touch an occasional 95), throws a lot of strikes, and has always struck a lot of guys out (7:1 K to BB ratio this year). On the other hand, he has given up a relatively high number of hits considering the above.

At this point I think it's a matter of him learning his own stuff and becoming more comfortable in setting up/putting away hitters. He's done an outstanding job of that lately yielding just 19 hits and 3 walks over his last 29 innings while punching out 43. When you combine his stuff with that kind of strike throwing ability, it's usually just a matter of time before it all comes together.

Wes said...

Great run-down -- Kudos to the FO on putting together a solid approach to building our farm system. I think what you guys are doing is the key to a competitive future for our team.

And Paul -- thanks for this blog. It's refreshing to have a prominent FO member doing this and actually responding to fans. I've become a fan of yours, my friend.

RC said...

I believe the disappointment over Mooneyham has to do with the Padres draft history in terms of "lost guys". Whether it be the drafting of Matt Bush because of financial restrictions OR losing out on Chad Cordero/Andy LaRoche, there is some skepticism.

As I watched college baseball, it is a painful reminder that both Grant Green (USC SS ... probable top 5 pick) and Christian Colon (really good looking SS from CSU Fullerton) were Padres picks.

That said, kudos on the draft.