On the Rev's list of Top 8 moves of the offseason, his Number 8 choice is closer to my personal Number 1 -- getting in position to re-stock the depleted farm system by hoarding high draft picks. We now have the #24 and 25 picks for sure (compensation for Teix and Frankie), and depending on which of the remaining free agents sign with new teams, we should be picking near the following spots: 43, 44, and 49.
What does this mean? As we'll see below, among other things this means that we have more selections this year between numbers 24 and 50 than we have had for the last thirteen drafts COMBINED. I'll let that soak in.
A while back I looked at the drafts from 1998-2002, using our then-projected draft order (which has improved somewhat since then) to see what kind of players can be had within that band. But it's also instructive (and fun!) to look back through Angels draft history and see what we did with equivalent picks over the years. So, adjusting for the number of teams drafting (for example, a 24th pick in a 30-team draft in 2009 can be seen as having the same value as the 16th pick in a 20-team draft in 1967), here is a history of Angel draft picks between 24 and 50:
2006: Hank Conger (25)
2005: Trevor Bell (37)
2001: Jeff Mathis (33)
2000: Jared Abruzzo (50)
1995: Jarrod Washburn (31)
1994: Norm Hutchins (40)
1993: Ryan Hancock (45)
1992: Jeff Schmidt (29), DeShawn Warren (46)
1991: Jorge Fabregas (34)
1989: Joe Grahe (39)
1987: John Orton (25), David Holdridge (31), Mike Erb (43)
1986: Lee Stevens (22), Terry Carr (25), Mike Fetters (27), Daryl Green (28)
1985: Bob Sharpnack (43)
1983: Mark Doran (23)
1977: Gary Johnson (33)
1976: Bob Ferris (30)
1975: Jim Anderson (25)
1974: Mike Martinson (34)
1973: Bruce Tonacsia (31) -- did not sign
1972: Bruce Bochte (34)
1971: Ron Jackson (37)
1970: Dan Briggs (34)
1969: David Chorley (29) -- not sure if he signed
1968: Gordon Carter (32) -- did not sign
1967: Dave Kingman (29) -- did not sign
1966: David Frost (28) -- not sure if he signed
1965: Sandy Vance (31) – did not sign
So: 33 players, of whom a maximum 29 signed. Of those 29, 15 played major league ball, and a 16th, Hank Conger, has a pretty good shot at not just making the bigs but making a strong impact there. Among the 15 winners,
* 4 were pretty good players (Bochte, Washburn, Stevens, Fetters)
* 3 were useful contributors (Ron Jackson, Fabregas, Mathis)
* 4 were hangers-on (Grahe, Orton, Briggs, Jim Anderson)
* 4 had cups o' joe (Hancock, Schmidt, Holdridge, Ferris)
Since 6 out of 9 top-50 picks during the Scioscia era have gone on to make the bigs (with a 7th, Conger, threatening), I think we can err on the side of being generous when applying these percentages to our 2009 draft class. So, let's say it's reasonable to suspect that 3 of the 5 picks will make the big leagues; 1 will be at least pretty good, 1 will be useful, and the last will be a scrub.
By letting our free agents walk, and signing just one guy requiring us to forfeit picks, Tony Reagins could easily have produced the next Jarrod Washburn, Ron Jackson, and Jim Anderson. With some luck and skill, the cache could be much better than that.
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