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The history of the #44, #68 and #82 draft picks

What does the past tells us about what the Diamondbacks might get with their other top 100 picks?

Cincinnati Reds v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

We previously looked at players who were picked seventh in the June draft, and concluded as follows: “Roughly, one quarter won’t reach the majors; another quarter will be replacement level or worse; a third quarter will have between 0-10 bWAR. There’s only about a 20% chance, your selected player will be worth more than ten bWAR.” But what are the odds of finding a diamond(back) in the rough, at the other picks Arizona has in the top 100? Unsurprisingly, pickings over the past decades have been thinner. But there have still been some good players to come out of those slots.

The #44 pick

Year Tm Name Pos WAR
Year Tm Name Pos WAR
2016 Braves Kyle Muller LHP
2015 Rockies Peter Lambert RHP
2014 White Sox Spencer Adams RHP
2013 Marlins Trevor Williams RHP -0.6
2012 Padres Travis Jankowski OF 1.0
2011 Mets Michael Fulmer RHP 7.0
2010 Tigers Nicholas Castellanos 3B -0.3
2009 Rangers Tanner Scheppers RHP 1.1
2008 Yankees Jeremy Bleich LHP
2007 Rangers Neil Ramirez RHP 0.4
2006 Red Sox Caleb Clay RHP
2005 Marlins Sean West LHP -0.1
2004 Mets Matt Durkin RHP
2003 Orioles Brian Finch RHP
2002 Reds Joey Votto C 49.3
2001 Rockies Jayson Nix SS 2.6
2000 Royals Mike Tonis C -0.1
1999 Orioles Scott Rice LHP -0.1
1998 Phillies Brad Baisley RHP
1997 Expos Bryan Hebson RHP -0.1
1996 Blue Jays Brent Abernathy SS 0.0
1995 Cardinals Jay Woolf SS
1994 Expos Jason Camilli SS
1993 Cardinals Nate Dishington 1B
1992 Royals Jon Lieber RHP 24.3
1991 Astros Mike Groppuso 3B
1990 White Sox Bob Wickman RHP 17.2
1989 Giants Clay Bellinger SS -0.2
1988 Mariners Greg Pirkl C -0.5
1987 Expos Richie Lewis RHP 0.2
1986 Orioles John Posey C
1985 Phillies Mike Young LHP
1984 Royals Luis de los Santos 3B -0.8
1983 Giants Jeff Robinson RHP 3.1
1982 Rangers Mike Rubel 1B
1981 Expos Mike Fuentes OF 0.1
1980 Tigers Charles Reese SS
1979 Giants Chris Brown 3B 5.9
1978 White Sox Benjamin Belue OF
1977 Pirates Michael Pill RHP
1976 Orioles Jerry Don Gleaton LHP 2.3
1975 Pirates Jeffrey Pinkus RHP
1974 Red Sox Jimmy Schankle C
1973 Astros Scott Gregory RHP
1972 Tigers John Valle 3B
1971 Dodgers Greg Reinecker RHP
1970 Tigers Mike Ibarguen RHP
1969 Cardinals Ed Crosby SS -0.6
1968 Yankees Richard Trapp SS
1967 Mets Gary Myers OF
1966 Red Sox Richard Hoban LHP
1965 Astros James Monin SS
TOTAL 108.8

[As in all the tables, players who did not sign that year are shown in italics, and their bWAR is not included in the overall total In the breakdown, we exclude the 2015 and 2016 picks as too recent; this also gives us a nice, round 50 picks with which to work]

  • More than 10 bWAR: 6%
  • 0-10 bWAR: 20%
  • Below replacement level: 20%
  • Did not make majors or did not sign: 54%

While the numbers reaching the majors below replacement and up to 10 bWAR are not dissimilar to those we saw with the seventh pick, we see a much greater chance of a #44 never reaching the majors at all, and sharply decreased odds of them being worth more than ten wins. Of the overall tally, almost half is due to a single player: Joey Votto, who was drafted 44th by the Reds in 2002. I hadn’t realised he was originally picked as a catcher - he never played there in the majors, and only seven times in the minor-leagues.

Obviously, getting a player like Votto at #44 would be hitting the jackpot for Arizona. But there have been other decent selections: All-Star Jon Lieber, a twenty-game winner for the Cubs in 2001, and Bob Wickman, who led the American League in saves for the 2005 season. Michael Fulmer, originally a Met, but dealt to the Tigers in the Yoenis Cepedes trade, is clearly the best of the recent picks. Last season’s AL Rookie of the Year will likely join that trio in the 10+ WAR club soon: the 24-year-old is 17-10 in his career, with a 3.04 ERA.

The #68 pick

Year Tm Name Pos WAR
Year Tm Name Pos WAR
2016 Pirates Travis MacGregor RHP
2015 Orioles Jonathan Hughes RHP
2014 Cardinals Ronnie Williams RHP
2013 Nationals Jake Johansen RHP
2012 Padres Jeremy Baltz LF
2011 Cubs Dan Vogelbach 1B -0.8
2010 Tigers Drew Smyly LHP 9.6
2009 Blue Jays Jake Eliopoulos LHP
2008 Mets Javier Rodriguez OF
2007 Pirates Duke Welker RHP 0.0
2006 Braves Dustin Evans RHP
2005 Cubs Donnie Veal LHP 0.0
2004 Marlins Jason Vargas LHP 14.4
2003 Devil Rays Andrew Miller LHP 7.0
2002 D-backs Chris Snyder C 4.5
2001 Dodgers Brian Pilkington RHP
2000 Yankees Danny Borrell LHP
1999 Angels John Lackey RHP 36.2
1998 Giants Sammy Serrano C
1997 Astros Cameron Hahn C
1996 Cardinals Brent Butler SS -0.3
1995 Brewers Greg Schaub RHP
1994 Marlins Todd Cady C
1993 Athletics Mike Moschetti SS
1992 Twins Tom Knauss 3B
1991 Pirates Dave Doorneweerd RHP
1990 Dodgers Leroy Williams SS
1989 Cubs Billy White SS
1988 Phillies Tim Mauser RHP 1.1
1987 Padres Bobby Sheridan RHP
1986 Astros Tuffy Rhodes OF -0.2
1985 Braves Tom Abrell RHP
1984 Red Sox Brock Knight RHP
1983 Expos Randy Ray C
1982 White Sox Ken Williams OF -0.1
1981 Tigers Robert Williamson C
1980 Royals Doug Cook RHP
1979 Pirates Scott Kuvinka 3B
1978 Twins Dave Leeper LHP -1.2
1977 Mets Steve McQueen SS
1976 Orioles Andrew Davis 2B
1975 Pirates Don Robinson RHP 18.0
1974 Red Sox Ronny Patrick LHP
1973 Astros David Aloi RHP
1972 Tigers Jim Gideon RHP -0.2
1971 Dodgers Ricky Green RHP
1970 Tigers James Chamberlain LHP
1969 Cardinals Mick Kelleher SS -2.2
1968 Senators Alan Schwartz RHP
1967 Reds Fred Kendall C 1.0
1966 Angels Jim Suskiewich LHP
1965 Yankees Stan Bahnsen RHP 22.9
TOTAL 111.1
  • More than 10 bWAR: 8%
  • 0-10 bWAR: 14%
  • Below replacement level: 10%
  • Did not make majors or did not sign: 68%

Surprisingly, the total bWAR out of the 68th pick is fractionally higher than that produced by the 44th pick. This is due to the higher number of “stars” out of the lower slot. The margin seems likely to grow, with John Lackey and Jason Vargas still actively accumulating value, and Drew Smyly likely to join them in the category when he returns from the DL, likely later this month. #68 has also given us the “best reliever in baseball”, Andrew Miller, another man almost certain to be worth 10+ WAR before his career has finished. There’s be no complaints about the wheel o’ prospects stopping on anyone similar for us next week.

A little lower, we also see the only previous time the D-backs had one of these picks, selecting catcher Chris Snyder here in 2002. That didn’t work out too badly. But the harsh truth is, success at this point is a good deal less likely than failure, with more than two-thirds of the players chosen, never making it to the majors for the team that drafted them. Finally, let’s pause to acknowledge the awesomeness of Tuffy Rhodes. He hit three homers off Dwight Gooden on Opening Day 1994 and still had a below replacement career in MLB. But he then went to Japan, where he infamously tied Sadaharu Oh’s NPB record with 55 homers in 2001.

The #82 pick

Year Tm Name Pos WAR
Year Tm Name Pos WAR
2016 Brewers Braden Webb RHP
2015 Cubs Bryan Hudson LHP
2014 Rockies Sam Howard LHP
2013 Royals Carter Hope RHP
2012 Dodgers Paco Rodriguez LHP 2.1
2011 Padres Austin Hedges C -0.6
2010 Yankees Angelo Gumbs SS
2009 Mariners Kyle Seager 2B 24.6
2008 Giants Roger Kieschnick OF -1.0
2007 Cardinals Jess Todd RHP -0.4
2006 Tigers Brennan Boesch OF 0.4
2005 Royals Chris Nicoll RHP
2004 Pirates Eddie Prasch 3B
2003 White Sox Clint King OF
2002 Indians Jason Cooper OF
2001 Expos Mike Hinckley LHP 0.9
2000 White Sox Mike Morse SS 4.0
1999 Cardinals Josh Pearce RHP -0.3
1998 Padres Beau Craig C
1997 Rays Kenny Kelly OF -0.1
1996 Cubs Skip Ames RHP
1995 Indians Chad Whitaker OF
1994 Cardinals Corey Avrard RHP
1993 Cubs Vee Hightower OF
1992 Mariners Chris Widger C -0.4
1991 Orioles Alex Ochoa OF 6.5
1990 Pirates John Schulte OF
1989 Dodgers Phil Nevin SS 15.8
1988 Blue Jays David Weathers RHP 10.9
1987 Mets Tim Hines C
1986 Pirates Joel Forrest LHP
1985 Giants Bobby Jackson 3B
1984 Mariners Steve Rousey RHP
1983 Reds Mike Goedde RHP
1982 Blue Jays Chris Johnston 1B
1981 Blue Jays Scott Pleis C
1980 Padres Neil Bryant LHP
1979 Braves Kenneth Ames RHP
1978 Athletics Mike Woodard 2B -0.3
1977 Braves Allen Wesolowski RHP
1976 Twins Warren Allen SS
1975 Expos Andrew Dyes OF
1974 Angels Thad Bosley OF 2.5
1973 Braves William Downing SS
1972 Angels Dave Machemer SS -0.1
1971 Indians Donnie Howse 3B
1970 Dodgers Rick Nitz RHP
1969 Pirates Jim McKee RHP -0.4
1968 Brewers Marty West C
1967 Cubs Terrell Jones C
1966 Athletics Dave Hamilton LHP 3.9
1965 Pirates Bob Settle RHP
TOTAL 68.0
  • More than 10 bWAR: 4%
  • 0-10 bWAR: 14%
  • Below replacement level: 18%
  • Did not make majors or did not sign: 64%

The overall value here is about half of the other two picks. The percentage of picks who never reach MLB level is similar, but there are only a couple of good players who have been found here, and a sharp increase in the number who were below replacement level. Even recently, with improved scouting, there hasn’t been much to shout about, with just two players after 2000 reaching even a single WAR. Kyle Seager is easily the most valuable man to have been picked at this spot, and has produced more WAR thus far, than 80 of the 81 who were picked ahead of him. [The other’s some guy called Mike Trout]

The other is Paco Rodriguez, who reached the majors at 21, and posted a 2.53 ERA over 124 appearances for Los Angeles, before his career was cut short by injury. He was last heard of this spring, getting cut by the Braves, and may be done. Note that the figures above exclude the output of former Diamondbacks’ farm manager Phil Nevin. He was almost a Dodger, but didn’t sign with them after they drafted him out of high school here in 1999. Three years later, he was the overall #1 pick, but never quite lived up to that potential either.