As the Prince Fielder sweepstakes continue, refresh your memory with five examples of times when Scott Boras refused to settle for less.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
One of BP's co-founders returns to reveal an important amateur draft inefficiency.
Everyone missed on Mike Trout. Don’t get me wrong: Trout was a well-regarded player headed into the 2009 draft, a certain first-round talent. But he wasn’t—yet—a phenom. Everyone liked Trout; it’s just that no one loved him. Baseball America ranked him as the 22nd-best player in the draft. No one doubted his athleticism or his work ethic; a lot of people doubted the level of competition he faced as a high school player from rural New Jersey. The Angels drafted him with the 25th pick overall, and they’ll tell you today that they knew he was destined to be a special player. What they won’t tell you is that they had back-to-back picks at #24 and #25, and they announced Randal Grichuk’s name first.
We resume the series that made Matt Wieters famous with six more players, including another present-day selection.
Back in March, I began running down a list of the most disappointing prospects of all time (part one, part two, part three), setting out to chronicle an in-no-particular-order top 50. In honor of draft week, I am resuming the series after a long hiatus.
As with the first three segments, the emphasis here is not on wasted draft picks, but player who were, ironically, good picks, who showed promise early on in their professional careers and were acclaimed as top prospects, but who failed to follow those accolades with major-league success. They have been a mix of draft and pre-draft players, from a period when success came down to raw scouting ability and money, but mostly the former.
In each of the three segments, I have nominated a current player whom I believe now qualifies for this list, or is at least well on his way to carving out a place on it. Though this installment adds only a half-dozen players to the list, I have not broken with the practice. Unlike previous choices, I don’t expect today’s selections to be controversial.
Though a large percentage of professional baseball players got where they are by going through the draft, some had to find their own road to the majors.
The three-day event that is baseball’s First Year Player Draft wound to its conclusion Wednesday, and now the 1,525 young players chosen face choices. For high school seniors, should they play professionally or go to college? For most college players, stay in school or go pro?
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The players teams select in the draft over the next three days can make a big impact on their future.
The 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft begins tonight, presumably commencing with the Washington Nationals calling the name of Bryce Harper. The draft will be televised for the fourth year in a row, thanks to increasing fan interest. Unlike basketball and football with well-exposed college stars that fans are already familiar with, the baseball draft has always been filled with obscure names and generated less interest historically. However, the collective bargaining agreement in Major League Baseball keeps salaries of young talent especially suppressed when compared with other sports, meaning that drafting well can allow even a small-market team to become successful. As fans have become more cognizant of this, and as the Internet has made learning about amateur stars easier, the draft has become a bigger deal and more people are taking more notice.
Stephen Strasburg's daunting task of following in the footsteps of the few, the first, and too often, the ill-fated.
The Strasburgians: Fourteen pitchers have been taken #1 overall since the draft began in 1965. Perhaps Stephen Strasburg is the best prospect of the lot. Given that the hopes of turning around their franchise will be pinned on his arm, not to mention quite a lot of money, the Nationals had best pray that he is, because the history of such picks is not encouraging. With the high expectations attendant on these picks, clubs tend to treat pitchers taken so high differently, working them harder and pushing them faster, often with deleterious results. Top-drafted pitchers have become above-average starters in the majors, but there have been no Hall of Famers in the mix, nor even a single Cy Young Award. If you were to pick one word to describe the 13 pitchers that preceded Strasburg, the word would have to be "disappointment." Of course, prospects don't always disappoint merely on their own-quite often they have help. Thus if there is one lesson to be learned from this litany it is this: bad teams make bad decisions.
There is truly nothing new under the sun, and to understand a thing you must first know its history.
While the Pedro Alvarez story is still sending shockwaves through the industry, many people are talking about this as if it's a new scenario, but we're hardly in uncharted territory. From Tim Belcher's holdout in 1983, to the incredible inflation created by the representation of top talents Ben McDonald, Todd Van Poppel, and Brien Taylor from 1989-91, the structure of the modern draft has Scott Boras' fingerprints all over it. Even filing a grievance against baseball is nothing new, as Boras has commonly used it as a tool to gain leverage (and therefore money) for his clients. Here's a quick overview of five of Boras' biggest draft moments that actually resulted in Major League Baseball's involvement.
The Senior Circuit's surprising champs are mostly the product of a multi-channel home-growth player development system.
This article isn't designed to explain how the Rockies have gone a perfect 7-0 in the postseason, or how the team won 14 of 15 games in the first place to get there. No article could do that, although many are trying. Instead, we'll see how the team was assembled in the first place, and like fellow LCS teams Arizona and Cleveland, the Rockies are primarily built from within, and more importantly, built to last.
Through strong drafting and several savvy trades, Mark Shapiro and the Indians have the pieces in place for a multi-year run atop the AL Central.
For the most part, the Indians are a self-built team, getting good production out of their top prospects, but also valuable contributions from some unlikely sources. More importantly, based on the team's age and the contract status of its players, this squad is built to last.
Bryan continues his analysis of the draft tendencies of scouting directors.
This series is my attempt to identify the drafting tendencies of Major League scouting directors. In looking at the scouting directors, I'm hoping that the past might tell us something about the future. I'm analyzing them in multiple categories: Best Player Produced, Best Prospect in Minors, Notable Steals (any notable player that was drafted after round five), Five-Round Strategy (total picks in first round divided by college and high school selections), and Strategy in a Nutshell (subjective look at the scouting director's choices). Finally, I use this information to look into the 2007 Draft Crystal Ball and determine if we can forecast choices merely based upon previous tendencies. Today, we move to the NL Central. You can find the AL West here, the NL West here, and the AL Central here.