• Feb
    25

    The Draft: The First Round, Pick by Pick


    by Kerry Leibowitz

    The Draft:  The First Round, Pick-By-Pick

     

    In preparation for the assembly of this installment of the draft series, I went back and re-rated every player drafted in the first round from 1965 through 2002.  (Any changes in the overall first round numbers compared to the previous installment in this series are a function of this re-rate.)  It will come as no surprise that the higher first round choices pay larger dividends than the lower ones.  Here’s a rating of every first round choice, 1965-2002, including supplemental picks (which are technically considered first round selections by Major League Baseball).

     

    THE FIRST ROUND OF THE DRAFT, 1965-2002, SELECTION BY SELECTION

     

    Pick

    #

    0

    1

    2

    3

    4

    % BL

    % Reg

    % Star

    % Cont.

    % Non Cont.

    1

    38

    2

    2

    8

    17

    9

    94.7%

    44.7%

    23.7%

    68.4%

    31.6%

    2

    38

    4

    4

    9

    14

    7

    89.5%

    36.8%

    18.4%

    55.3%

    44.7%

    3

    38

    6

    3

    9

    16

    4

    84.2%

    42.1%

    10.5%

    52.6%

    47.4%

    4

    38

    9

    5

    5

    13

    6

    76.3%

    34.2%

    15.8%

    50.0%

    50.0%

    5

    38

    15

    9

    4

    5

    5

    60.5%

    13.2%

    13.2%

    26.3%

    73.7%

    6

    38

    9

    8

    8

    8

    5

    76.3%

    21.1%

    13.2%

    34.2%

    65.8%

    7

    38

    12

    7

    10

    7

    2

    68.4%

    18.4%

    5.3%

    23.7%

    76.3%

    8

    38

    13

    2

    13

    9

    1

    65.8%

    23.7%

    2.6%

    26.3%

    73.7%

    9

    38

    15

    3

    7

    10

    3

    60.5%

    26.3%

    7.9%

    34.2%

    65.8%

    10

    38

    7

    10

    7

    9

    5

    81.6%

    23.7%

    13.2%

    36.8%

    63.2%

    11

    38

    13

    4

    14

    6

    1

    65.8%

    15.8%

    2.6%

    18.4%

    81.6%

    12

    38

    14

    5

    9

    7

    3

    63.2%

    18.4%

    7.9%

    26.3%

    73.7%

    13

    38

    19

    5

    5

    5

    4

    50.0%

    13.2%

    10.5%

    23.7%

    76.3%

    14

    38

    12

    3

    11

    10

    2

    68.4%

    26.3%

    5.3%

    31.6%

    68.4%

    15

    38

    22

    3

    5

    5

    3

    42.1%

    13.2%

    7.9%

    21.1%

    78.9%

    16

    38

    10

    8

    8

    9

    3

    73.7%

    23.7%

    7.9%

    31.6%

    68.4%

    17

    38

    12

    6

    9

    9

    2

    68.4%

    23.7%

    5.3%

    28.9%

    71.1%

    18

    38

    18

    4

    8

    8

    0

    52.6%

    21.1%

    0.0%

    21.1%

    78.9%

    19

    38

    11

    9

    8

    8

    2

    71.1%

    21.1%

    5.3%

    26.3%

    73.7%

    20

    38

    16

    4

    7

    7

    4

    57.9%

    18.4%

    10.5%

    28.9%

    71.1%

    21

    34

    10

    2

    15

    6

    1

    70.6%

    17.6%

    2.9%

    20.6%

    79.4%

    22

    34

    8

    5

    8

    10

    3

    76.5%

    29.4%

    8.8%

    38.2%

    61.8%

    23

    34

    16

    6

    6

    5

    1

    52.9%

    14.7%

    2.9%

    17.6%

    82.4%

    24

    34

    12

    11

    6

    4

    1

    64.7%

    11.8%

    2.9%

    14.7%

    85.3%

    25

    26

    9

    4

    6

    5

    2

    65.4%

    19.2%

    7.7%

    26.9%

    73.1%

    26

    26

    13

    2

    8

    3

    0

    50.0%

    11.5%

    0.0%

    11.5%

    88.5%

    27

    21

    8

    3

    7

    3

    0

    61.9%

    14.3%

    0.0%

    14.3%

    85.7%

    28

    21

    9

    3

    3

    6

    0

    57.1%

    28.6%

    0.0%

    28.6%

    71.4%

    29

    16

    8

    3

    2

    2

    1

    50.0%

    12.5%

    6.3%

    18.8%

    81.3%

    30

    16

    7

    2

    5

    2

    0

    56.3%

    12.5%

    0.0%

    12.5%

    87.5%

    31

    13

    6

    3

    3

    1

    0

    53.8%

    7.7%

    0.0%

    7.7%

    92.3%

    32

    13

    5

    4

    4

    0

    0

    61.5%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    100.0%

    33

    12

    7

    1

    3

    1

    0

    41.7%

    8.3%

    0.0%

    8.3%

    91.7%

    34

    12

    4

    1

    6

    1

    0

    66.7%

    8.3%

    0.0%

    8.3%

    91.7%

    35

    11

    2

    6

    0

    2

    1

    81.8%

    18.2%

    9.1%

    27.3%

    72.7%

    36

    10

    5

    3

    2

    0

    0

    50.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    100.0%

    37

    10

    6

    3

    1

    0

    0

    40.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    100.0%

    38

    10

    7

    0

    1

    1

    1

    30.0%

    10.0%

    10.0%

    20.0%

    80.0%

    39

    9

    6

    1

    1

    1

    0

    33.3%

    11.1%

    0.0%

    11.1%

    88.9%

    40

    9

    8

    1

    0

    0

    0

    11.1%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    100.0%

    41

    7

    4

    1

    2

    0

    0

    42.9%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    100.0%

    42

    6

    4

    1

    1

    0

    0

    33.3%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    100.0%

    43

    5

    1

    1

    2

    1

    0

    80.0%

    20.0%

    0.0%

    20.0%

    80.0%

    44

    4

    2

    1

    1

    0

    0

    50.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    100.0%

    45

    2

    2

    0

    0

    0

    0

    0.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    100.0%

    46

    2

    0

    0

    2

    0

    0

    100.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    100.0%

    47

    2

    1

    0

    1

    0

    0

    50.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    100.0%

    48

    2

    1

    0

    0

    1

    0

    50.0%

    50.0%

    0.0%

    50.0%

    50.0%

    49

    2

    2

    0

    0

    0

    0

    0.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    100.0%

    50

    2

    0

    0

    1

    0

    1

    100.0%

    0.0%

    50.0%

    50.0%

    50.0%

    51

    2

    1

    0

    1

    0

    0

    50.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    100.0%

    52

    1

    1

    0

    0

    0

    0

    0.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    0.0%

    100.0%

     

     

    KEY:

    # = Total 1st Round Selections at Corresponding Slot

    0 = Never Reached Big Leagues

    1 = Cup of Coffee

    2 = Journeyman

    3 = Regular

    4 = Star

    %BL = Percentage Reaching Big Leagues in any Capacity

    %Reg = Percentage Achieving Regular Status

    %Star = Percentage Achieving Star Status

    %Cont = Percentage Achieving Contributor (Regular and Star) Status

    %Non Cont = Percentage Achieving Non-Contributor (not regular or star) Status

     

    Breaking the above table down into narrower segments will help make some sense of the numbers.  There were 183 supplemental picks in the time frame in question; the first supplemental selection was made in 1982.  The true first round picks—eliminating the supplemental choices, looks like this:

     

    TRUE FIRST ROUND SELECTIONS, 1965-2002

     

    Total

    985

     

    0

    326

    33.1%

    1

    142

    14.4%

    2

    219

    22.2%

    3

    218

    22.1%

    4

    80

    8.1%

     

    So, roughly 2/3 of true first round picks have reached the major leagues in some capacity; approximately 30% of true first rounders became contributors at the big league level.

     

    That’s far, far better than the profile of the supplemental selections:

     

    SUPPLEMENTAL SELECTIONS, 1965-2002

     

    Total

    183

     

    0

    88

    48.1%

    1

    33

    18.0%

    2

    40

    21.9%

    3

    19

    10.4%

    4

    3

    1.6%

     

    Almost half of supplemental selections failed to reach the big leagues, in any capacity.  Approximately 12% of supplemental picks became “contributing” big league players, and only three of 183 (1.6%) reached star status (by my reckoning):  Johnny Damon, David Wright and Brian Roberts.

     

    In one of the comments in the Hangout message board thread that covered the second installment of the series, it was pointed out that it makes more sense to look at the slot of player selections, rather than looking at things by round.  It’s a good point; after all, the 45th pick is the 45th pick, whether that comes in the form of a first round supplemental selection, the second round or the third round.  But there’s an administrative problem—draft data is invariably presented in round-by-round form, making it much more difficult to assemble on a pure slot-by-slot basis without a great deal of additional work.  So all of the selections outlined in this piece are officially part of the first round of the draft.

     

    Here’s a tight summary of the various slots that may help put the first round in perspective:

     

    FIRST ROUND DRAFT SUMMARY, 1965-2002

     

    Pick

    #

    0

    1

    2

    3

    4

    % BL

    % Reg

    % Star

    % Cont

    % Non Con

    1-4

    152

    21

    14

    31

    60

    26

    86.2%

    39.5%

    17.1%

    56.6%

    43.4%

    5-22

    642

    228

    92

    148

    128

    46

    64.5%

    19.9%

    7.2%

    27.1%

    72.9%

    23-30

    194

    78

    28

    45

    36

    7

    59.8%

    18.6%

    3.6%

    22.2%

    77.8%

    31+

    146

    75

    27

    32

    9

    3

    48.6%

    6.2%

    2.1%

    8.2%

    91.8%

     

    Note the dramatic discrepancy between the first four selections and everything that follows.  Roughly 86% of selections in the first four picks reach the big leagues and approximately 57% become contributing big leaguers.  Contrast that with what happens to the aggregate of players chosen with the fifth through 22nd selections (65% and 27% respectively) and then in the lower tiers.  The first four selections also have a 1 in 6 chance of turning into stars—the only grouping anywhere in the draft (first round or later) with anything beyond crapshoot status of producing star players.

     

    So when a team has one of the top four picks in the draft, it has a rare chance to make a major splash.  It’s an opportunity that a club can’t afford to miss; no other draft slot is nearly as rich with opportunity to produce a meaningful player via the draft.

     

    From here, the draft series moves to a direct analysis of the historical performance of the Orioles franchise.  We now have a context within which we can place the success (or lack thereof) in making draft selections.


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