Talking to the Snakes' scouting director in the wake of running his first draft.
The Arizona Diamondbacks arguably had one of this year's best drafts, and it happened under the direction of first-year scouting director Tom Allison. Formerly a cross-checker for the Milwaukee Brewers, Allison replaced Mike Rizzo as the man making the picks for the Snakes after Rizzo moved on to become an assistant general manager for the Washington Nationals last season. Allison was with the Brewers for seven seasons, and prior to that spent five years as a scout with the New York Mets.
Sitting down to talk to the Twins' scouting director after the draft to talk about his organization's picks and overarching organizational philosophy.
The Twins have one of the best farm systems in baseball, and Mike Radcliff is a big reason why. The longest-tenured--and arguably the most respected--scouting director in the game, Radcliff has a long track record of successful drafts. The core of the Minnesota lineup--Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, and Torii Hunter--are Radcliff picks, as are highly-touted pitching prospects Matt Garza, Glen Perkins, and Kevin Slowey. Radcliff joined the Twins organization in 1987, and has been the team's scouting director since 1994.
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Examining the past draft tendencies of major league scouting directors, Bryan predicts which amateurs teams will nab in this June's frenzy.
In football, every coach is assumed to have tendencies that can be discovered and schemed against, and as a result, coaches spend hours each week looking at game tape. Tendencies are a natural part of being in a high position in the sporting world -- in stressful situations, people go with what has worked before. It's natural, but yet we don't identify when it happens enough in the baseball world.
Everything you wanted to know about the BP Kings Charity Scoresheet Draft.
Peter Gammons' unfortunate incident focused the spotlight on cerebral aneurysms, but my connection is more personal. My mother had a cerebral aneurysm rupture way back in 1977 and was fortunate to survive.
Draft Strategy: Be strong at scarce positions offensively, avoided the dreaded Pitcher-AAA as always, and work on building a better bullpen to compensate for the lack of early starting pitchers. I sort of strayed from that strategy by taking John Lackey relatively early, and I might have a problem at second base if Jose Lopez doesn't pan out. I wanted to build a good core under the age of 30, and I did a fairly decent job of that. One of my harder decisions was my first one--Grady Sizemore vs. Joe Mauer. The consensus seems to be that I went the wrong with Sizemore--the consensus could be right, but I get the idea that three years from now Mauer won't be catching as often, to preserve his knees. Maybe that's too far forward to look, but at the same token, I see Sizemore as basically being risk-free.
I participated in the Mock Draft in the Scoresheet newsgroup, and because of that I expected the draft to be a little more prospect-heavy early-on. With the notable exception of Nate Silver, it wasn't, which suits me fine. I'm happy to have Brignac and Adam Miller among my top prospects.
Draft Strategy: Our only real strategy was to get big bats with the first few picks, then turn to pitching. Other than that, we basically reacted to the draft. We had the third pick, and in a league with an obvious top three, that made things easy. The one who's left is your guy, and that was Joe Mauer, whom we were happy to have. When Vernon Wells fell, we felt, to us at No. 22, we had our theme for the early part of the draft: Young, studly up-the-middle guys.
It's never too early for fantasy baseball, as injury expert Will Carroll gets the season started by participating in the first mock draft of the year.
I went into the draft armed with preliminary PECOTA projections and my own biases and leanings. I tend to go with the best available player regardless of position, relying on my ability to make deals in season. That strategy often bites me, often showing up as a failure to draft a shortstop. I miss out on the good ones and end up with Alex Gonzalez … or worse, having to trade Ben Sheets for Alex Gonzalez, as I did in 2003.