Can't get any clearer than that before/after Brewers comparison. Consider me fully convinced Z and his crew are draft gurus. Where do you think he stacks up vs all the GM's in MLB on this front? I looked at Beane's recent drafts and he's not even remotely in Z's league. I don't follow well enough to know who else is considered great at it.
I wonder what Z's advantage/method is that's generated such a strong track record in the draft? I don't recall seeing any in depth analysis or interviews on the topic in the local media. Whatever it is, it doesn't seem to translate to him being anything more than average at MLB talent acquisition. Would be interesting to compare what makes the great MLB talent GM's (Beane, Gillick, etc) successful at that, vs what makes Z good at drafting. They appear to be different skills.
He's good at trades, usually, but his draft skills are null. The mariners are probably behind Washington, St. Louis, and perhaps another team or two for drafting...but that may be it
Drafting the best hitting prospect and best pitching prospect in a decade with the #1 pick each year, plus picking up Rendon (the best hitting prospect in his draft if GMs like ours weren't afraid of his injury history) doesn't take a ton of skill.
Nobody would have done differently in any of those slots. Might as well credit the Ms with being "skilled enough in the draft" to take Junior and A-Rod.
St. Louis has a fabulous draft-to-bigs program that lets players flourish on their own schedule. Wish we had that. Not rushing Zunino would have been nice. But I would say that St. Louis is what we're trying to build. With a top-5 drafting guru, it should be doable. He won't have to spend on too many free agents, just keep his own that work out, and be willing to let go of some to maintain his contender status.
I wasn't sure Jack's drafts were gonna kick in in time to save his job, since as bsr said he doesn't seem to have some of the other requisite skills of a top GM.
But since it looks like it will, assuming Paxton and Walker do what Paxton and Walker are SUPPOSED to do, St. Louis should be a model worth shooting for.
Another reason I'm hoping to slow down some bats as they come through the system from now on. Without the urgent black holes that need filling, maybe it won't take players 3 years to acclimate once they get up here.
That'll be better for everybody.
Let Pat (or someone like him) turn all this amazing raw material that Jack has gathered into a finished product.
But Jack has secured the gig for a couple more years at least, so let's hope that he can rely on his one superior skill to carry him in this gig while he improves at the rest.
Jack, along with his right-hand man Tom McNamara, have really turned this thing around. Tom started as a scout for us, don't forget, before he joined Jack in Milwaukee and they started destroying the draft together. It's nice to come full circle, I'm sure.
Now we just need a couple more of the blue chippers to turn into actual All-Stars. Nothing too big, right?
You laid this out wonderfully Gordon.
Now if we only had some success out of the DR / international draft that we could point out how much better that scouting group is now than before... but that evidence will take a long time to out shine Felix and a few others.
Always brings a smile to my face.
1) Logically, scouting high school and college players would seem to be MUCH harder than scouting existing major league players...since the latter already have a track record at the highest level. So how is it that an organization could be better at judging youngsters than the MLB talent they acquire?
2) At this point, how do we rate the work of Gwynn et al in developing players in our system?
There aren't a lot of good free agents hitting the market any more. Most of them have issues. Teams are locking up players for the best parts of their careers, and without as much of an HGH/roid induced flattening of the age curve, It's not normally a great bet to go in on a late-30s player (yes, I know we've done it twice - but that was the only way to get a player of that ilk).
So you have three sets of GMs:
1) the ones with enough money to play with that age curves are laughable and dead money is a relatively acceptable part of doing business (we do not have ownership that allows for this)
2) those who have to pinch pennies for a decade to be allowed to write even one decent check (we have owners who believe they are here without actually being here)
3) those who don't have a blank checkbook but also can afford some reasonable splurges year to year. This is now us.
In that bracket, you can trade for things with higher price tags, but because you ALSO happen to be a top-5 drafter you will lose more talent in said trade than another team. Our #5 prospect tends to be better than a lot of others. Even this year - let's say you take Miller, Taylor, Zunino, Paxton, Walker AND Elias off the table. That still leaves you with 3 top-100 bats (I expect Jackson, DJ and Marte to all fall into the 40-100 range, and probably in that order), plus Kivlehan (discounted because of age, but every bit what DJ has been with even less experience), plus Austin Wilson. Austin Wilson is the college version of the Brewers' top-2 prospect Tyrone Taylor, with the added benefit of actually hitting for power in games and being in the bigs quicker.
It's very hard to lure free agents to locations that flash 95 losses every year. So during the rebuild Jack had to offer on guys with discounts due to injury or attitude, or try to trade for useful pieces. His record there is mixed at best.
Life as a GM gets easier when you have a winning team, and money to spend. Now that we have both of those things, voila! Cruz appears. Still would have wanted to add Melky or the like, but if you're Jack and you believe that Austin Wilson is Dave Winfield, or DJ Peterson is Hunter Pence, then what need have you for Melky on a 4 year deal? And with Jack's drafting record, why wouldn't he think he could hit on one of a dozen guys in the minors to get the star he needs?
I just think Jack has a talent in upside projection that does not work when considering downside projection. So he can find minor leaguers with great talent who can REACH that talent, but can't tell when Cinderella's time at the ball is about to expire. Which means he might be the guy you want drafting Seager and extending him into his early 30s, but not in making calls on mid-to-late 30s bats (which is another reason why Cruz understandably unnerves some folks).
And it's also why Jack decries the value of his prospects around the league, because he sees the packages that are offered in trade and thinks he should be able to give away his 15th best prospect just because that's the equivalent of someone else's #5. Sadly, it doesn't work that way. The price of a deep system is losing major league talent when you make a swap. How much of that is Gwynn's doing, I don't know. I still feel like we don't do the job we should in preparing our young talent for immediate success in the bigs, but part of that may be the enormous rush to get them TO the bigs in the first place.
We certainly seem to churn out a couple of new big-leaguers every year, which means there should be plenty of credit to spread around to all the coaching and developments staffs.
But we're starting to reach the point where all we should have to sell off are our duplicates. Where we can do what the Indians did and trade a Richie Sexson because you have Jim Thome at first and you don't really need him (And he can't replace who you already have there). Which is fine... until the minor league well dries up. Let's hope that doesn't happen to us for a good long time, because I want a really significant run at not just this ring but a handful to come in the following seasons.
It's weird to be the best at the hardest thing, but some people can do quantum physics but can't tie their shoes or coordinate their wardrobe. Might be an easier skill, but it's also a different one. Jack's just good at hard things - which is great, since in theory that should mean that either he can learn to do "easier" ones or there's a larger pool of assistant-GMs who can be chosen from to do that thing.
There's a definite benefit to already having the hardest one to master already locked down.
Awesome stuff, Gordon.
This one was particularly thought-provoking:
I just think Jack has a talent in upside projection that does not work when considering downside projection.
:: taps chin ::
Hrm, hoom, no need to be hasty
:: purses lips ::
We all knew what we were dealing with here, in terms of a coin-op draft machine, but who knew it was to this extent. (And Nick Franklin, practically an afterthought in this system, brought in a legit minor star for CF.)
Honestly think that Zduriencik has been snakebit with his Smoak, Montero, Ackley, Pryor, Capps, Saunders etc talent or the turnaround time would have been shorter.
Am inclined to think that when the talent influx is *this* good then you've got to keep the guy almost regardless of his other shortcomings. It's like saying, in your roto league, Smerdley is the dumbest guy there but he brings $360 to the table rather than $260. Not much way to keep him out of the top three.
Your thoughts G-Money? Having waited as long as you have, for some minors stuff worth drooling over, I'd think you would be first in line to get Zduriencik a lifetime deal :- )
Gillick has lots knowledge, but he was also a contributer to the dwonfall to ths team. He and Bavasi traded away many good prospects that flourished elsewhere. The Mariners farm system was almost totally depleted by these guys. I agree that Gillick can put a winner on the field, but not sure he his drafting was any good. Look at the Phillies system now that Gillick and the Amaro have left it hurting also.