The 2000 draft serves as an example of why knee-jerk reactions to the draft are often premature.
Rankings are always of interest to sports fans, but many analysts are uncomfortable with the notion of slapping grades on players whose real value won’t be known for a number of years. This is particularly true in baseball, where players selected in the annual amateur (Rule 4) draft are further away from the major leagues than those of any other major sport. The majority of players taken in the football and basketball drafts have spent time performing under the bright lights, and against the premier competition, of NCAA Division I athletics, and the transition from amateur to professional is a relative breeze. In baseball, only a small percentage of the 1,500 or so players chosen each year hail from Division I baseball programs.
More than a decade ago, some were critical of the Marlins for allegedly putting signability before talent when they tabbed Adrian Gonzalez with the number-one overall pick of the 2000 draft. Gonzalez was regarded as the most polished high school hitter of that year’s crop, but few considered him the best talent available. As it turns out, Gonzalez has contributed the third-most wins above replacement (28.43) among players who signed that year, trailing only Chase Utley (36.26) and Jason Bay (30.53). Given the health woes of Utley and Bay in recent years, Gonzalez appears likely to usurp them atop the list. Joe Borchard, who received that year’s largest signing bonus ($5.3 million) from the White Sox, has the third-lowest WARP total (-1.55) among players who have reached the major leagues.
Players Receiving Signing Bonuses of
$2 Million or Greater, 2000 Draft
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Something interesting occurred in a recent Marlins/Diamondbacks game. What happened? Derek has a special edition of Game of the Week to tell you.
Since Art wrote in, even Joe Sheehan has given up on Arizona's chances for the Wild Card, but Art's letter piqued my curiosity enough for me to record the final game of the Diamondbacks/Marlins series. As you may have heard, it was not an uneventful evening. And so, without further ado, we have an abbreviated edition of Game of the Week. We'll show you the starting lineups, without comment, and on to the action:
Jeff wonders if fantasy owners should stock their farm system with young hitters or young pitchers.
Is the same true of a fantasy farm system? I've always believed so, and my experiences in keeper leagues have only reinforced that point of view. Take the RotoWire Staff League as an example. We now have three years under our belt, in an 18-team league where each team starts the year with a 10-man minor league roster. In those three years, I've drafted 19 minor leaguers (because some of those draftees were retained, I didn't have the full complement of 10 picks each season) and traded for three others:
The Braves get Marcus Giles back, and not a moment too soon. The O's, meanwhile, get Melvin Mora back, in their grasp for third place. The White Sox re-aquire Carl Everett. The Reds get one step closer to giving Brandon Claussen a shot in the rotation. Justin Morneau gets another chance to take Doug Mientkiewicz's job. Mike Mussina hits the DL for the Yanks, causing them to rely on the stylings of Alex Graman. And the Mariners continue to execute Operation Clean Sweep. All this and much more news from around the league in your Wednesday edition of Transaction Analysis.
The Red Sox wade through the darkness of bullpen troubles before the eventual dawn (i.e., the return of Scott Williamson and perhaps BH Kim). The White Sox lose Frank Thomas on the heels of watching Magglio Ordonez go down. Kerry Wood comes off the DL for the Cubs. Ken Griffey Jr. makes his annual trip to the DL with a bum hamstring. Eric Chavez returns to Oakland, and not a moment too soon. And the dismantling in Seattle continues with the release of Rich Aurilia. All this and much more news from around the league in your Tuesday edition of Transaction Analysis.
Troy Percival hits the disabled list for the Angels. The White Sox lose Magglio Ordonez for a couple weeks. Eric Chavez breaks his hand, forcing the rest of the A's offense to pick up the slack. Mark Prior makes his long-awaited return to Chicago's north side. Milton Bradley gets a four-game suspension for another temper tantrum. And Dos Molinas suddenly becomes Tres Molinas, with the addition of Yadir to the MLB family. All this and much more news from around the league in your Thursday edition of Transaction Analysis.
A two-sport star at Stanford University, Joe Borchard chose a professional baseball career in the Chicago White Sox organization over a career as an NFL quarterback. Now 25 years old, with talented outfielders in front of him (Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Lee) and behind him (Jeremy Reed), Borchard faces a pivotal point in his career. Told earlier this week that he'll begin the year at Triple-A Charlotte, he hopes to get back up to the big club soon, with an eye on claiming a starting job. BP recently spoke to Borchard--before news of his demotion--about his off-season training regimen, his quest for a steady job in the big leagues, his choice of baseball over football, and more.
Baseball Prospectus: You were highly regarded at Stanford as both a football and baseball player. How did you decide which sport to pursue? How much did the money the White Sox offered affect the decision?