Deric Ladnier (2015-2021)
Living WAR Doc - Updated regularly, so numbers may not match (last configured May 31, 2023)
Deric Ladnier signed 179 players during his time as Scouting Director (Seven Drafts). Of those 179 men, 21 have reached The Show, with 77 more still playing associated ball. So far, that’s a 11.73% success rate (theoretically it could end up as high as 54.19%). All of Ladnier’s drafts still have active players.
Hall of Fame Draftees
It is obviously far too early to say whether or not any of Ladnier’s draftees will become Hall of Famers someday, although in terms of prospect shine, he has done fairly well, with guys like Varsho, Thomas, Carroll, Pfaadt all considered consensus Top-100 Prospects at times in the last few years. Plus, he has plenty of other guys still vying for Top-100 glory toiling in the minors. There are even plenty of later round guys still playing in the Minors that a sleeper or two could break out and have a huge career (Dan Uggla style)!
Generalities found in draft history based on WAR
Generalities in WAR are hard to find/justify when you’re looking at a grand total of 36.3 aWAR and two full classes without any real shot at making the MLB yet. But Ladnier started by taking “safe” guys and those early years suffered for it. Dansby Swanson, Alex Young and Taylor Clarke all leave something to be desired when looking at the entirety of their careers versus expectations. In 2016, he had no 1st Round selection because the team signed Zack Greinke. But Andy Yerzy, Jon Duplantier and Curtis Taylor don’t look great as later picks either.
But by 2017, he’d shortened his learning curve and gotten better. He still played it safe, taking college guys in Smith, Drew Ellis, and Varsho, but at least Varsho is doing well. 2018 appears to have been his turning point, taking McCarthy and Thomas early and from there on, there was a good mix of upside/floor picks that so far has paid dividends for the team.
Were these successful drafts
It’s still a tad early to determine where Ladnier’s Legacy will fall on the Bad <—> Successful scale, however it certainly looks to be on the right track currently. The 2019 draft in particular looks like it could end up rivaling 2006 and 2009 for best draft in franchise history. But more like 2009, the 2019 draft could do it on the backs of multiple players instead of a single guy (Scherzer). It’s also possible guys like Carroll, Nelson, Jameson completely flop and 2019 goes the other direction, but of all the drafts with a wide-open array of final positions to be determined, this one has that special feel.
The 2015 & 2016 draft classes leave a lot to be desired, even with a goodly amount still actively playing ball. Outside of Dansby Swanson, there isn’t much to write home about. The 2017 and beyond classes do look very promising. You’ve got Pavin Smith, Daulton Varsho and Buddy Kennedy from ‘17, McCarthy, Thomas and Blaze Alexander from ‘18, the powerhouse class of ‘19, Pfaadt, Jarvis, Cecconi and Vukovich of ‘20, and Lawlar, Bliss, Steinmetz of ‘21! And that’s just naming the top performers so far - other names may already intrigue you (Tawa?) or become late bloomers!
Best First Selection Performer: Dansby Swanson (2015 1st Round 1st Overall 17.8 aWAR)
Best First 10 Round Performer: See Dansby Swanson above
Best “Sleeper” (Round 11 or later) Performer: Colin Poche (2016 14th Round 419th Overall .4 aWAR)
Was Deric Ladnier a successful Scouting Director?
Is Arizona a better a team because of Ladnier’s influence
Much like every other facet of Ladnier’s time, it’s a tad early to make a judgement call on this one. But early-mid returns are favorable. The farm is ranked among the best in baseball, largely on the backs of his draftees. The very young MLB team is succeeding, with key contributions from his draft classes.
But it could all come crumbling down for any number of reasons. Positions above his (one of which he actually now holds himself - Special Assistant to GM) could choose to trade the wrong guys. Or his draftees could fail to make the final adjustments necessary to succeed at the MLB level and flame out. We’ve seen it often enough to know all too well how possible that is.
If nothing else, he’ll know that he drafted Corbin Carroll, and that’s going swimmingly in the desert so far!
Deric Ladnier’s AZ Stats:
Total AZ aWAR - 14.2
Percentage of Total aWAR in AZ - 39.12%
Average AZ aWAR - 2.0
Median AZ aWAR - .2
Is Arizona better off for Deric Ladnier’s tenure?