Ray Montgomery (2011-2014)
Living WAR Doc - Updated regularly, so numbers may not match (last configured May 31, 2023)
Ray Montgomery signed 140 players during his time as Scouting Director (Four Drafts). Of those 140 men, 25 reached The Show. That’s a 17.9% success rate. All of Montgomery’s drafts still have active players. There is one Montgomery drafted guy still playing and waiting on an MLB debut - Jamie Westbrook.
Hall of Fame Draftees
None so far, and no one looks like they’ll even make it onto the ballot, let alone survive the first year... Trevor Bauer, Archie Bradley and Andrew Chafin have been varying degrees of good, but they are not going to be Hall of Fame caliber names.
Generalities found in draft history based on WAR
With only four years of pretty lackluster drafts, there isn’t a lot to say about Montgomery’s generalities. He started fairly strong and petered out from there over the years. In 2011, he took arms. A lot or arms. Perhaps too many arms... in 2012, he attempted to diversify at the top of the draft, but then took a ton of arms later on. By 2013 he had evened out his selections/signings a lot. And in 2014 he went back to his tried and true strategy of arms.
Unfortunately the arms (and bats) he took have mostly busted. Even if you take out the players who signed and never made The Bigs, the names aren’t intimidating or impressive. You’ve got his “big four” in Bauer, Bradley, Chafin, and Keller from the mound and then Jake Lamb from the box. But then there’s Toussaint, Diaz, Cron, Marshall, Barrett, Palka, Blair and Shipley... Ooof. Dah.
Were these successful drafts
Unfortunately for Montgomery, the young men he selected never really panned out. To the horribly realistic possibility that the 2014 draft ends up with negative WAR by all metrics... Of the 32 signees that year, only six made the MLB and only five are still actively playing; none of them look like they are about to bring their WAR totals above replacement level. Yikes!
But ignoring that final abysmal year, this is the man who drafted Trevor Bauer, Archie Bradley and Andrew Chafin. And two years later, Brad Keller. Those names have all been success stories at one point or another.
There is another thing to note about Montgomery’s guys though... His final draft was the first one overseen by Tony LaRussa (who eventually hired Dave Stewart). While TLR likely had little effect on who was chosen in the 2014 draft (he was two months into his brief tenure), his regime was notorious for believing in exclusively “old school” methodologies instead of embracing analytics. There is a very valid argument to be made that the failings of Montgomery’s drafts may actually lie at the feet of TLR/DS’ inability to develop baseball players or run a healthy franchise.
Best First Selection Performer: Trevor Bauer (2011 1st Round 3rd Overall 21.4 aWAR)
Best First 10 Round Performer: See Trevor Bauer above
Best “Sleeper” (Round 11 or later) Performer: Steve Hathaway (2013 14th Round 420th Overall .2 aWAR)
Was Ray Montgomery a successful Scouting Director?
Is Arizona a better a team because of Montgomery’s influence
In a word: No.
Too blunt? Probably. There were certainly highlights from his guys. Bauer’s compulsive NEED to throw the ball from foul pole to foul pole. Archie Bradley’s beard, 2017 regular season and THE TRIPLE. I personally may not understand the fascination with Andrew Chafin, but there’s no denying he’s a fan-favorite! Jake Lamb came from Montgomery.
But... so did Braden Shipley. Aaron Blair (top prospect used to get Shelby Miller before he failed). James “Jimmie” Sherfy. Touki Toussaint (Bronson Arroyo Trade). Isan Diaz (Segura Trade). Kevin Cron. Stryker Trahan. The list of disappointing or downright bad players goes on.
Perhaps the best legacy Montgomery’s drafts will leave is this:
Be it his inability to draft well or his superiors’ successor’s unrelenting need to play by old rules, the horrendous state of the franchise as a whole because of his drafts led Ken Kendrick and Derick Hall to hire Mike Hazen who has overseen a complete overhaul of Arizona’s draft and development philosophy. I’m a well-known Hazen lover, but I do understand there are plenty of fans who dislike his approach for various reasons (too analytical, too lenient, poor free agency record, issues with his trade history, etc.). Despite those beliefs, I think you’d be hard-pressed to say he hasn’t overseen a highpoint in Arizona Diamondbacks Draft history. But more on that in a few days when the final part in this series publishes.
Ray Montgomery’s AZ Stats:
Total AZ aWAR - 17.9
Percentage of Total aWAR in AZ - 38.49%
Average AZ aWAR - 4.5
Median AZ aWAR - 4.2
Is Arizona better off for Ray Montgomery’s tenure?