Teams began receiving compensation draft picks shortly after the abolishment of the reserve clause in 1975. Free agent compensation was established as a way to maintain the balance of talent within the league. Generally speaking, when a player left one team to sign a free agent contract with another club, the player’s former club could receive the first- or second-round pick of his new club in the next draft, as well as additional supplementary—or “sandwich”—picks depending upon the quality of the player it had lost. The literary and cinematic success of Moneyball has contributed to rising interest in the draft, and recent iterations of baseball’s Collective Bargaining Agreement have added more compensation picks than ever, affording a considerable advantage to teams who are able to maximize their selections.
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Now that we've had some time to reflect on the new CBA's rules about the amateur draft, does it still seem like death to small-market teams?
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Dustin Palmateer once played division III junior college baseball, finishing with a career batting average below the Mendoza Line. He now writes about the game. You can reach him via email.
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.
The signing deadline for amateur draftees passed last night, but concerns about the system remain.
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Jason took part in a slow mock draft with other fantasy experts and is now here to share what he learned from the experience.
I recently had the pleasure of doing a slow—and I mean slow—mock draft over the past four weeks with a few of my friends and colleagues in the fantasy baseball industry. That group included most of the mlb.com folks, Fernando DiFino, and the legendary Joe Sheehan. The draft started on February 17 and survived a few lost weekends, DiFino’s nuptials (congrats!) and several copy and paste issues from some of us that are still using not-so-smartphones.
In the Nationals' and Orioles' battle for the local fan base, the team that blinks first may stand to gain the most.
This past month, I moved back up I-95 from Washington to Philadelphia, where I’d spent all but the previous eighteen months of my life. There has been only one major-league franchise in the City of Brotherly Love since the Athletics forsook Philly in 1955, but as I discovered during my sojourn in the District, many baseball fans in the DC area have been torn between the Baltimore Orioles, for whom many of them grew up cheering, and the Washington Nationals, who emigrated from Montreal in 2005. Neither team has been good during their years of geographic coexistence, and the metropolitan area has not seen a playoff game since 1997, but both teams have slowly begun to develop the young talent necessary to compete. Although animosity stemming from Orioles owner Peter Angelos’ opposition to a Washington franchise has cost the O’s some fans, many in the DC area have yet to determine their allegiance.
Giving up draft selections as compensation for signing free agents has often proved to be disastrous.
When Frankie Frisch, Hall of Fame infielder and manager, became a broadcaster, he became known for bemoaning walks. “Oh, those bases on balls,” he would cry whenever a pitcher put his team in a tough spot by throwing four out of the strike zone. If he was around today, he might be saying, “Oh, those compensatory draft picks.”
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.
Here is how we're now figuring the monetary value of individual players.
This article will follow up on the new version of MORP that I introduced yesterday with a more thorough description of my methodology and my reasoning for it. Firstly, I will restate that the definition of MORP (Market value Over Replacement Player) is the marginal cost of acquiring a player’s contribution on the free-agent market. The basic structure that I am using includes adjusting for draft-pick compensation, which adds to the value of free agents by 10-20 percent. It also looks at all players with six years or more of major-league service time, all years of their free-agent contracts, and makes valuations of their performance based on actual performance rather than the projections, which are biased. I am also adjusting MORP so it is linear with respect to WARP. The discussion of linearity and of the decision to use actual rather than projected performance to evaluate contracts has been detailed in earlier articles, and I won’t reiterate them here in the interest of space. The basic reason why linearity is a fair assumption is that teams frequently have enough vacancies that they can add the number of wins they choose without filling them all. There are exceptions like the 2009 Yankees, who added three front-of-the-rotation starters and an elite first baseman in one offseason. However, even the Yankees do this infrequently enough that it does not regularly impact the market, and without two teams bidding for several superstars every offseason, this is not a large issue. The reason that using projection is so problematic was detailed last week, when I showed how free agents who reach the open market are a biased sample and regularly underperform their projections. For more details of these results, please see my previous work. Here are links to my threepartseries as well as my article on free agents underperforming their PECOTA projections. I will introduce some of the newer concepts in this article.
With the CBA due to run out after the 2011 season, the industry is considering reforms of the ways amateur talent gets brought into the game.
When looking back at the economics of signing July 2nd talent, the amateur draft kept coming up. The draft indirectly ties to the Latin American market in a number of ways, and this relationship could be changing due to the other topic that kept coming up: the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which expires in December of 2011. The most talked-about reforms-mandated slots in the draft and a worldwide draft-have been kicked around in the past, but have gained more support in recent years. Covering amateur baseball is about looking forward, so I'll spend the next few articles breaking down the issues that both sides will be considering when they come to the table.