Advertise on BaseballEvolution.com | Player Search by Baseball-Reference.com:


Fan Forum | About Us | Contact | Share |
Site Search by Google: BaseballEvolution.com

Hot Baseball Tickets!



FutureBacks.com
Insider coverage on Diamondbacks prospects and stars



Billy Beane’s Perfect Draft
by Richard Van Zandt, BaseballEvolution.com
April 13, 2006

According to Moneyball by Michael Lewis, as the Oakland A’s were preparing for Major League Baseball’s 2002 amateur draft (which ostensibly would show how “new and different” the Oakland Athletics’ “scientific selection of amateur baseball players” was), they had created a special list of players. This list, though “never formally written out,” detailed the “twenty players they’d draft in a perfect world. That is if money were no object and twenty-nine other teams were not also vying to draft the best amateur players in the country.”

 
The most famous GM in baseball
 

After recently (and finally) reading Moneyball, I pondered just how successful this new “scientific” method of drafting players really was. If this was his perfect draft in which money was no object, it stands to reason that for it to be considered a success a majority of the players on his list should make it to the Majors. With four years now gone, I wondered just how well the players on Beane’s imaginary list had done.

Concentrating primarily on college players and, armed with an unprecedented 7 first round draft choices, the A’s took 25 college players with their first 28 picks. So how did Beane and the A’s fare with their picks that year? Was their method truly revolutionary? And how does the A’s 2002 draft rate among their contemporaries?

To try to answer these questions, we will take a closer look at Beane’s imaginary wish list and see just how well the A’s did. Then we will look at the 19 High School players selected in the first round of that year’s draft (picks Beane considered “foolish”) and compare them with the A’s picks. Finally, we’ll examine how well all 29 other teams did in the draft in comparison to the A’s 51 draft choices.

Are the results suggestive of an innovative way of looking at and drafting players or do they suggest that the A’s scientific new method was a little less revolutionary than Moneyball leads us to believe?

We start our examination with Beane’s ultimate wish list.

The List


Obenchain...The Weakest Link?

Jeremy Guthrie
Joe Blanton
Jeff Francis
Luke Hagerty
Ben Fritz
Robert Brownlie
Stephen Obenchain
Bill Murphy
Nick Swisher
Russ Adams
Khalil Greene
John McCurdy
Mark Teahen
Jeremy Brown
Steve Stanley
John Baker
Mark Kiger
Brian Stavisky
Shaun Larkin
Brant Colamarino

We will separate these players into four categories; the good, the average, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

Joe Blanton, Russ Adams, Jeff Francis, Nick Swisher, Khalil Greene and Mark Teahen.

Every player in the good category has reached the Majors and is now contributing to some extent. Blanton is in the A’s rotation and Francis is Colorado’s top starter, Greene is the shortstop for San Diego and Adams is the Blue Jays starting shortstop while Teahen is the Royals’ everyday third baseman. Swisher, the man whom Beane said he would have made the top pick in the draft, plays regularly in the A’s outfield. 

While each has had their share of failures* as well as successes, the fact that each is in the Majors qualifies them as a success in so far as this analysis goes. 

*[Greene was listed in John Dewan’s The Fielding Bible as the worst defensive SS in the NL last year. Swisher hit just .236 last season. Jeff Francis’ ERA in the thin Colorado air was 5.68 and Teahen (whom the A’s likened to the next Jason Giambi) hit just 7 HR in 447 AB last season and has never had more than 8 in any pro season. Adams hit .256 as the Jays’ starter last year and Blanton’s K/9 has dropped to just 5.25 in the Majors]

The Average

Jeremy Brown, Robert Brownlie, Brant Colamarino, Jeremy Guthrie, Bill Murphy, Steve Stanley and Brian Stavisky

Jeremy Guthrie is the only player in the average category to have reached the Majors so far, and while you could argue that that would be enough to place him in the good category, one can look at his mixed results (only 7 games over two seasons at the big league level and a 31-31 record with a 4.75 ERA in the minors), his current status (he will begin the ’06 season with Triple A Buffalo) and his age (he turned 27 on April 8) and deduce that his Major League contract status (negotiated by Scott Boras) played more of a role in his quick rise to the Majors (he made just 9 minor league starts before his debut) than did his performance. The book may not be completely written on Guthrie, but time is quickly running out.

Robert Brownlie has just a .500 record in the minors (20-20) but his ERA in 3.74 in over 300 innings. However, that rose to 4.74 in 2005 when his BB/9 also rose to 3.62 and he ended up in the Iowa bullpen where the Cubs believe any future he might have lies. He got a look at camp this year with the Cubs, pitching in 4 games and as a former 1st round pick, the Cubs will give him every opportunity to make good, but like Guthrie (and in fact, all of the Moneyball picks), his time is running out.

Bill Murphy is with his fourth professional (organization having spent one day as a Dodger as part of the Dodgers, Marlins and D’Backs three-way deal involving, among others, Steve Finley, Paul LoDuca and Brad Penny) and is also a career .500 pitcher (26-26) with a 4.36 ERA in 444 minor league innings. Last season while pitching for Triple-A Tucson, he posted a 5.65 ERA and he has a 5.86 mark over his last 29 minor league appearances (27 starts).  Possibly the one thing he has going for him is that he throws the ball with his left arm. He begins the season once again pitching for Tucson.

Perhaps the best of this bunch is OF Brian Stavisky, a 6th round choice who had been drafted twice previously (as high as the 12th round in ’99). Stavisky has a .313 career batting mark while logging a very Moneyball like .403 OBP. However Stavisky, as noted in the 2006 version of Baseball Prospectus, is terrible defensively and has been used primarily as a designated hitter and one must wonder if a career DH has much of a shot at making it to the Majors. He starts the ’06 season at Triple-A Sacramento though and if he gets hot he could yet make it.

Brant Colamarino, a 7th round choice of whom DePodesta said “might be the best hitter in the country,” hasn’t been quite that good but has improved and advanced each season. He got off to a great start last season at Double-A Midland (.321/.377/.594) earning a promotion to Sacramento though he stumbled there (.243/.297/.436). He was ranked in 2006 by Baseball America as the A’s 28th best prospect and called him “likely to be some teams rule V throwback.”  Baseball Prospectus called him the best defensive 1B in the A’s system, though with Dan Johnson and Nick Swisher at the Major League Level and a younger Daric Barton waiting in the wings at Sacramento, he faces a tremendous uphill battle. 

Steve Stanley is a fine defensive OF (.997 fielding percentage at Double-A Midland last season with just 1 error) with no power offensively but he nevertheless manages to get on base a lot (.374 lifetime OBP). At 5’8” and 155 pounds, he was considered by scouts to be too small for pro ball. He has excelled at the lower levels but slumped badly at Triple-A in 2004 (.227 in 74 games after hitting .419 in 36 games at Midland). Baseball Prospectus says of Stanley that he has “lost his allure as a Moneyball player” and he finds himself well back on the A’s organizational depth charts. He will begin this year once again in Double-A in what is likely his last chance to prove himself as a legitimate prospect.

The Bad

Stephen Obenchain, Ben Fritz, Mark Kiger, Shaun Larkin, John Baker and John McCurdy

Fritz, who was called the third best right handed pitcher in the draft by Paul DePodesta, has made 53 starts in the minors, winning just 13 games (losing 15) with a 4.69 ERA. He has walked nearly 4 batters per 9 innings (3.84) while averaging less than 5 innings per start (4.81). He will begin this season in Double A. 

Obenchain has appeared in 86 games (49 starts) while compiling a 19-20 record with a 4.32 ERA. However, he’s allowed 10.22 or more H/9 in each of his last four stops. Last season in Double-A Midland he allowed 11.67 H/9 while issuing walks at a rate of 5.05 per 9 innings. 

Larkin was drafted by Cleveland in the 9th round and has had a completely uninspired career thus far. Although he has shown some power, hitting double digits in home runs the last three years including 20 in Class A ball in 2003, but his career average is just .258 and his on-base percentage is only .348. Slated to begin the year at Double-A Akron, he turns 27 this September and is unlikely to ever reach the Majors.

Kiger (.267/.365/.375) reached Sacramento in ’04 at the end of the season (he played just 6 games there) but played the entire ’05 season in Double A. His one endearing quality seems to be his modestly high OBP. Labeled as too small for pro ball and possessing little speed (31 SB in 47 attempts) and almost no power (23 HR in 1,733 AB), he begins the year though at Sacramento with one final shot. Defensively he is likely more suited to second base (.988 F% last season at 2B, .969 at SS), yet he is slated to play SS for the River Cats. With Bobby Crosby at the big league level Cliff Pennington coming up from behind, Kiger is the epitome of a long shot.

Baker, though he has spent time on the A’s (released by the A’s after the ’05 season he also spent time on the Marlins 40 man roster before being released and resigned by Oakland), has been a resounding flop. Drafted in the fourth round, Baker has put up completely uninspired numbers, hitting .234 this past season and .269 for his career while striking out once every 3.81 AB. Called a “a poor man’s Daric Barton” by Baseball America, he was once high on the A’s depth charts, but is now no better than the A’s fourth best catching prospect behind Brown, Kurt Suzuki and Landon Powell. Nevertheless he will begin the season with Brown and Raul Casanova at Sacramento and despite his below average numbers, could be just an injury away.

John McCurdy (selected number 26 overall in the draft) was referred to by Beane as “the next Jeff Kent” and praised for having the highest slugging percentage in the country (.828 with the University of Maryland in 2002), yet he has never slugged higher than the .387 mark he posted last season with Class-A Stockton.  His career batting average is just .256 and his OBP is only .307. Beane was concerned that San Francisco, which had the only pick between his next two, might select McCurdy. “The Giants won’t take McCurdy right?  Take Blanton with 24 and McCurdy with 26.” The Giants instead selected a high school pitcher named Matt Cain, their current 4th starter. McCurdy, like Kiger a shortstop, will start the season at Class-A Stockton but with Pennington there, he will find playing time sparse. In the end, when injuries are discounted, McCurdy is likely to be considered the biggest bust of all of the A’s Moneyball picks.

The Ugly

Luke Hagerty

 
Dead Arm Luke 
After an impressive first year in pro ball (1.13 ERA in 10 starts), the tall (6’7”) left hander has struggled since missing the 2003 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

In 2005 Hagerty pitched in 14 games for Class-A Boise, logging only 6.2 innings pitched while allowing 14 hits and 26 earned runs for a staggering 31.50 ERA. Yet as bad as those numbers are, they aren’t nearly as bad as were his 30 (yes 30) walks and 9 wild pitches. 

Hagerty pitched in one game for Florida in spring training after being selected in the 2005 Rule V draft. He did not make the cut, though, and was returned to the Cubs. He will have to prove not only that he is healthy, but that he can once again find the strike zone before he regains the prospect label. He starts the year once again with Boise.

The Jeremy Brown Blue Plate Special

Aside from Nick Swisher, perhaps the player who drew the most focus in Moneyball was the former University of Alabama catcher Jeremy Brown whom the A’s scouts, in no uncertain terms, called fat.

In 2002, Baseball America listed its top 25 catchers in the draft. Brown was not among them. The A’s scouts called him “soft” and said that a body like Brown’s can be “low energy”. Behind the plate they said, he was “not mobile” and that his throws were all “slingshot throws” which tend to tail off towards the 1st base side of second. 

To Billy Beane, he was an on-base machine with power potential and a 1st round pick.

Selected with the 35th overall pick, Brown in his first pro season was on his way towards making Beane look like a genius. He hit .306 with 10 HR and posted a .450 OBP in 215 AB. His slugging percentage that season was .516. The next two years though at Double-A Midland, his average and OBP dipped (.275/.388 in ’03, .256/.361 in ’04) while he hit just 11 HR combined in 679 AB. His slugging percentage also dipped to .391 in ’03 and .357 in ’04.

Last season, his third at Midland, he may have resurrected his career with 20 HR and a .487 slugging percentage though he hit just .261 and saw his OBP dip another two points to .359. Baseball America ranked him this year as the A’s 14th best prospect making him the most likely of the bunch to become the 8th player on the list to make it to the Majors.

According to Baseball Prospectus though, one scout they spoke with admitted that Brown would “likely be taken more seriously if he hadn’t been written up in Moneyball.”

Brown came to camp with the A’s this year as a member of the 40 man roster, but was unable to unseat the incumbent backup Adam Melhuse. At 26 years old, he will begin this season at Triple-A Sacramento in what is likely to be a make or break season for the guy with the “bad body who owns the Alabama record books.”

Should starter Jason Kendall or Melhuse get hurt, or should Melhuse struggle, this could be the year of the Blue Plate Special. If he should struggle and slide further from the show, Beane’s perfect draft will be looking less and less perfect. 

Success or Failure…or Push?

 
Nick Swisher: a rare success 

Made it –
Adams, Blanton, Francis, Greene, Guthrie, Swisher and Teahen

Still dreaming – Brown and Brownlie

The dream is slipping away–
Baker, Colamarino, Murphy, Stavisky and Stanley

Not likely – Fritz, Hagerty, Kiger, Larkin, McCurdy and Obenchain

 

Four seasons gone and thus far 7 of 20 (35%) have made it to the show. Two more are probable (for at least a cup of coffee) and 5 others (possibly 6 if Hagerty gets healthy and regains his control) still harbor a dream, though none of them are still listed among their team’s top prospects and all are long shots to make it. The rest have virtually no shot. 

With the average age of all 20 players already 25 ½ years old, the very best case scenario at this point is that maybe 12 of the 20 make it - a success rate of 60%. More likely though a maximum of 10 (50%) will ever see the inside of a Major League clubhouse.

But is that mark a success or a failure or just an even push? One can assign an arbitrary number like 75% as one to achieve but that is merely a subjective number. How then do we measure the success of this “revolutionary” way of selecting players? There are three methods I will use to measure the success of Beane’s “perfect draft”. 

1) Since in Beane’s perfect world these would all be 1st round picks (and in fact if it were a perfect world and no other teams were vying for them, it then figures that they would be the first 20 chosen), we can rank his success rate against that of all 41 first round picks from 2002. 

2) Beane’s number one criteria going into the 2002 draft was to pick college players whom you could more accurately evaluate and project and who would likely be ready quicker. Therefore you can measure the success of the players on Beane’s list against the success rate of the 19 high school players drafted in the first round. 

3) We can also compare the A’s success rate with that of the other 29 teams in Baseball to see which team drafted more future Major Leaguers.

The 41 against the 20

There were 41 first round draft choices in 2002. Of those 41 only one, John Mayberry, drafted 28th overall out of high school by Seattle, did not sign and instead elected to go to college (he was drafted again by Texas in 2005, 19th overall, and is now with the Indians organization). He can be counted, in terms of the 2002, draft as a failed pick since the Mariners got nothing for that pick even if he does eventually reach the big leagues.

So out of those 41, there are 19 (or 46%) who have thus far made it to the Majors (by comparison, of the A’s 7 first round picks, 3 have reached the Majors – 43%). In addition, of the first 20 picks in the draft, 13 have so far made it while 7 others have not yet (65%) though two (Hamels and Loewen) are likely to (raising the success rate to 75%). 

Of those 22 picks that have not yet made it, 5 could be deemed as likely to reach the show (including Brown) and another 6 could be still seen as possibilities. That would leave ten (discounting Mayberry) who would be considered unlikely to ever get there (including Fritz, Obenchain and McCurdy).

If among the 11 in the likely and possible categories, only the 5 most likely players make it, the success rate would stand at 58% (24 of 41). If those five plus half of the other six were to make it, the success rate would then be 65% (27 of 41). 

Some might say this is an unfair comparison in that Beane’s selections were not the first 20, that in fact most were sandwich picks later in the round and that they could not be expected to do as well as those picks, however it must remembered that his list is that of the “twenty players they’d draft in a perfect world,” where “twenty-nine other teams were not also vying to draft the best amateur players in the country.” Therefore, we can assume that in his perfect world those would be the first 20 picks of the draft and this comparison is therefore relevant.

Those “Foolish” High School Picks

He clicks off and turns to Paul. “He says if Kazmir gets to him he’ll take him.” Scott Kazmir is yet another high school pitcher in whom the A’s haven’t the slightest interest. Billy’s so excited he doesn’t even bother to say how foolish it is to take a high school pitcher with a first-round pick.

Nineteen first round picks were “foolishly” used on high school kids in Beane’s estimation of things. But just how correct is that thinking? Were teams really foolish to take high school players in the first round? Let’s take a closer look at those high school selections. 

Already there – Matt Cain, Prince Fielder (“too fat even for the A’s”), Jeff Francoeur, Zack Greinke, Jeremy Hermida, Scott Kazmir, James Loney and B.J. Upton

Likely to get there – Cole Hamels, Adam Loewen and Greg Miller

Windows still open – Clinton Everts, Chris Gruler, Sergio Santos and Denard Span

Missed picks – John Mayberry*, Scott Moore, Micah Schilling and Matthew Whitney (Schilling and Whitney were both selected by Cleveland)

So that’s 8 out 19 who have already made it (42%) and if Hamels, Loewen and Miller indeed get there that rate would rise to 58%. If two out of the four for whom the window of opportunity is closing were to succeed, that rate would then be up to 68% and in fact these players now have a distinct advantage over Beane’s picks in that they are an average of 3+ years younger and have higher ceilings. For them, time is on their side.

*Including Mayberry as a success should he reach the Majors (and if he does, one could argue the Mariners were right for thinking he would) and putting him in the likely category would raise those numbers to 63% and 73%.

“We take fifty guys and we celebrate if two of them make it”

“The draft has never been anything but a f***ing crapshoot,” Billy had taken to saying, “We take fifty guys and we celebrate if two of them make it. In what other business is two for fifty a success? If you did that in the stock market you’d go broke.”

Two out of fifty is a success rate of 4%. How did Beane’s Athletics stack up against that 4% figure and by comparison, how did the rest of Baseball stack up against that arbitrary 4%? 

1,484 players were selected in the 2002 amateur draft. No fewer than 64 of those have reached the majors, a success rate of 4.3%. However, those figures include four players who did not sign with the teams that drafted them in 2002 and were instead re-drafted before eventually making it. Those players were:

Houston – Scott Feldman (redrafted in 2003 by Texas)

Detroit – Anthony Reyes (redrafted in 2003 by St. Louis)

Cincinnati – Nick Markakis (redrafted in 2003 by Baltimore)

Oakland – Jonathan Papelbon (redrafted in 2003 by Boston)

Three of those players were drafted as college juniors and elected to remain in school for their senior year.  Markakis was drafted twice previously by the Reds as a pitcher, first out of high school and then out of Young Harris College, a two-year liberal arts school. He declined to sign both times, and was then subsequently redrafted in 2003 by Baltimore, this time as an outfielder, the position at which he reached the Majors this April. Papelbon, another of those three, was a throwaway pick by Oakland in the 40th round who had informed clubs such as Philadelphia that he would not sign and was going to return for his senior year in college.

If you exclude those four the overall success rate for the ’02 draft drops to 4.0%. So from those numbers we see that Beane had it just right. But how well did he and the A’s do against this figure and how did the other 29 teams do in comparison?

The A’s selected 51 players in the 2002 draft. Of those 51, (including Papelbon whom they knew full well would not sign with them) 4 have thus far made it to the Majors. That is a success rate of 7.8%. Without Papelbon, that rate drops to 5.9% (or 3 out of 51), not quite as good but still above the league average though only 11th best in the Majors and only marginally better than 2 for 50. 

But is it the best in the Majors? If Beane’s method is truly revolutionary, it stands to reason that the A’s should have bested their competition. But that is not quite the case. Four teams (San Francisco – 8%, Florida – 8.8%, Colorado – 9.8%, Chicago White Sox – 10%) have better success rates and that rate includes Papelbon. If you exclude Papelbon then all four of those teams have had more successes thus far (SF – 4 out of 50, Fla – 5 out of 57, Col – 5 out of 51, Chi – 5 out of 50).

However those numbers do not take into account players who might still make it to the show. The A’s drafted four players that year that could be considered as still having a legitimate chance to make it (Brown, Baker, Murphy and Shane Komine who was a 9th round pick that year). In a best case scenario where all four were to make it, their percentage would rise to 13.7%. Is that enough to make their draft the best? Possibly so, but only if other teams have already maxed out their potential successful picks. 

However the White Sox have had 5 players reach the Majors so far (Royce Ring, Jeremy Reed, Josh Rupe, Brandon McCarthy and this year’s spring sensation Boone Logan) and selected three others who still have legitimate a shot at making it (Sean Tracey, Christopher Getz and Daniel Haigwood who was traded to Philadelphia in the deal for Jim Thome). If all three of those players are successful in their bid to ascend to the majors, the White Sox success rate would rise to 16%. 

The following chart reflects the success rate and projected success rates of all 30 teams from the 2002 draft*.

Ch White Sox

5

50

4

0.100

0.180

LA Dodgers

2

52

4

0.038

0.115

Colorado

5

51

0

0.098

0.098

Chicago Cubs

2

56

4

0.036

0.107

Florida

5

57

0

0.088

0.088

Texas

1

46

0

0.022

0.022

San Francisco

4

50

2

0.080

0.120

NY Mets

1

48

0

0.021

0.021

Toronto

3

40

0

0.075

0.075

Tampa Bay

1

50

0

0.020

0.020

Milwaukee

3

42

0

0.071

0.071

Minnesota

1

50

4

0.020

0.100

Pittsburgh

3

43

0

0.070

0.070

LA Angels

1

50

1

0.020

0.040

Baltimore

3

49

3

0.061

0.122

Cleveland

1

54

0

0.019

0.019

Kansas City

3

50

0

0.060

0.060

Cincinnati

1

57

3

0.018

0.070

Arizona

3

50

1

0.060

0.080

Boston

0

49

0

0.000

0.000

Oakland

3

51

4

0.059

0.137

NY Yankees

0

48

0

0.000

0.000

Atlanta

3

52

2

0.058

0.096

Philadelphia

0

48

1

0.000

0.021

Detroit

2

45

2

0.044

0.089

Houston

0

48

2

0.000

0.042

Expos

2

50

0

0.040

0.040

St. Louis

0

48

1

0.000

0.021

San Diego

2

50

3

0.040

0.100

Seattle

0

50

3

0.000

0.060

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

60

1484

44

0.040

0.070

* Does not include draftees (like Papelbon) who did not sign.

A)    Number of successful picks so far

B)     Total number of draft choices

C)    Estimated number of picks who could potentially still reach the Majors

D)    Success rate

E)     Potential success rate

Now it must be pointed out that this is not a perfect world, as Beane and the A’s simply did not have the same kind of money available to them that other teams had. Thus, they were unable to match up with other teams with regards to money and being able to afford whomever they wanted. Therefore one could argue that this type of comparison is unfair and that they should have been grateful to have done so well.

Yet Oakland’s first 13 selections that year were all players on Beane’s preferred list (Colamarino being the last of those choices, taken in the 7th round with the 218th overall pick) meaning that they were successful in drafting almost exactly who they wanted to up to that point. And since he considered those picks to be the 20 best in the country, the 13 players they did take in that regard could be looked at as first-round picks (as they were in Beane’s estimation). Therefore one could reasonably expect (if the A’s evaluation was correct) the success rate of those players to be better than those of players taken after the first-round.

Meanwhile, 3/4ths* of the players that were selected before Colamarino have so far reached the big leagues, which means that anyone chosen after him that succeeded in making it was defying the odds to begin with. What that means is that no team, the A’s included, could reasonably expect picks taken after that point to pan out and therefore, the A’s lack of money should not be used as an excuse for why other teams did better.

Granted this world is not a perfect world, and with money and other teams being involved, Beane was not able to draft every player he coveted. So to a small extent, I will admit that this comparison is not completely accurate and that Beane and the A’s should be given credit for doing as well as they did on a limited budget. However, it can also likely be assumed that money or not, every team had players on their wish lists that they did not get, in which case the A’s possibly did better than the other teams; their first 13 picks were all on their wish list.

The Inevitable Conclusion

So what conclusion can we draw from this analysis? We have compared the rate of success of the players on Beane’s list against that of all 41 first-round picks from 2002 and found that so far at least, Beane’s choices are lagging behind. Further analysis tells us that they are not likely to surpass that rate either even with the most generous projection.

We have also compared Beane’s picks against the top high school picks from the first round and found that again, Beane’s choices do not compare favorably and with the A’s draft picks an average of 3 ½ years older than the high school draftees they are not likely to catch up either.

And finally, we compared the entire Athletics 2002 draft against those of the other 29 Major League teams and found that while overall it is better than the 4% success rate that Beane correctly predicted, it is not the top rate in the league. Nor when all is said and done and the book on the ’02 draft is finally closed, can we expect it to be. 

So was this new “scientific method” truly innovative and revolutionary, or does it fail to live up to the hype?

Taken alone, without the buildup of Moneyball, the A’s 2002 draft was successful. Their success rate was above the league average. But was it revolutionary? The inescapable answer to that is no. 

I need to stress, though, that in no way whatsoever am I suggesting that Billy Beane is not a good general manager. In fact I consider him among the very best in the game, and the A’s record during his tenure (799-660) proves it. But good does not represent anything revolutionary. 

Billy Beane may have gone about things in a different manner and ended up with above average results, but at the same time he too has had his share of failures and setbacks. In no category that we looked at did the A’s achieve the best results and in that regard, I must conclude that the hype was just that, hype. 

Beane’s top 20

Jeremy Guthrie – Drafted by Pittsburg 2001 (3rd round)/Cleveland 2002 (1st round – 22nd overall)
3 year minor league total – 31-31, 4.75 ERA
Major League totals - 7 games – 17.2 innings -5.09 ERA
Debut - 2003
Status – Triple-A Buffalo (Indians) - on 40 man roster
Age - 27
Joe Blanton – Drafted 1st round by Oakland 2002 (24th overall)
3 year minor league total – 23-18, 3.33 ERA, 365.1 innings
2 year Major League total 12-12, 3.61 ERA, 209.1 innings
Debut – 2004
Status – A’s Rotation
Age - 25
 
Jeff Francis – Drafted 1st round by Colorado 2002 (9th overall)
2 year minor league total 28-12, 2.71 ERA, 346.0 innings
2 year Major League total – 17-14, 5.60 ERA
Debut – 2004
Status – Rockies Rotation
Age - 25
Luke Hagerty – Drafted by Chicago Cubs 1st round 2002 (32nd overall)
3 year minor league total – 5-7, 5.24 ERA, 77.1 innings
2005 totals – 14 games, 6.2 innings, 14 hits, 26 R 23 ER, 4 K 30 BB
No Major League totals
Status – Class-A Boise (Cubs)
Age - 25
Ben Fritz – Drafted 1st round by Oakland 2002 (30th overall)
4 year minor league total – 13-15, 4.69 ERA, 255.1 innings
No Major League Totals
Status – Double-A Midland (A’s)
Age - 25
Robert Brownlie – Drafted by Colorado in 1999/Chicago Cubs 1st round 2002 (21st overall)
3 year minor league total – 20-20, 3.74 ERA, 317.2 innings
No Major League Totals
Status – Triple-A Iowa (Cubs)
Age 25
Stephen Obenchain – Drafted by Oakland 1st round 2002 (37th overall)
4 year minor league total – 19-20, 4.32 ERA, 310.2 innings
No Major League Totals
Status – On the DL for Double-A Midland (A’s)
Age – 25 in July
Bill Murphy – Drafted in 1999 by SF Giants, drafted by Oakland 3rd round 2002 (98th overall)
4 year minor league total 26-26, 4.36 ERA, 444.0 innings
No Major League Totals
Status – Triple-A Tucson (Diamondbacks)
Age – 25 in May
Nick Swisher – Drafted by Oakland 1st round 2002 (16th overall)
3+ year minor league total - .261/.381/.476, 50, 214 – 1,169 AB
1+ year Major League Total - .238/.325/.443, 23, 82 – 522 AB
Debut - 2004
Status – A’s OF/DH
Age - 25
Russ Adams – Drafted by Toronto 1st round 2002 (14th overall)
3 year minor league totals - .283/.364/.393, 13, 124 – 1,272
1+ year Major League Total - .262/.329/.401, 12, 73 – 553
Debut - 2004
Status – Blue Jays starting SS
Age – 26 in August
Khalil Greene – Drafted by Cubs in 2001, drafted by SD 1st round 2002 (13th overall)
2+ year minor league total - .294/.353/.446, 22, 108 – 780 AB
2+ year Major League total - .259/.321/.437, 32, 141 – 985 AB
Debut – 2003
Status – Padres starting SS
Age - 26
 
John McCurdy – Drafted by Oakland 1st round 2002 (26th overall)
4 year minor league total - .256/.307/.361, 21, 173 – 1,479 AB (1 K/4.31 AB)
No Major League totals
Status – Class-A Stockton (A’s)
Age - 25
Mark Teahen – Drafted by Oakland 1st round 2002 (39th overall)
3+ minor league total - .287/.369/.409, 18, 184 – 1,283 AB (1 K/4.02 AB)
1 year Major League total - .246/.309/.376, 7, 55 – 447 AB (107 K)
Debut - 2005
Status – Royals starting 3B
Age – 25 in September
Jeremy Brown – Drafted by Boston (19th round) 2001, drafted by Oakland 1st round 2002 (35th overall)
4 year minor league total - .269/.382/.429, 41, 199 – 1,288 AB (1 K/4.95 AB)
No Major League totals
Status – Triple-A Sacramento (A’s) - on 40 man roster
Age - 26
Brant Colamarino – Drafted by Oakland 7th round 2002 (218th overall)
4 year minor league total - .276/.353/.461, 65, 304 – 1,680 AB (1 K/4.81 AB)
No Major League totals
Status – Triple-A Sacramento (A’s)
Age – 25
 
Steve Stanley – Drafted by Florida (2001), drafted by Oakland 2nd round 2002 (67th overall)
4 year minor league total - .294/.374/.365, 10, 147 – 1,623 AB (1 K/7.27 AB)
.227/.324/.305 at Triple-A Sacramento in 220 AB (2004)
No Major League Totals
Status – Double-A Midland (A’s)
Age – 26
John Baker – Drafted by Oakland 4th round 2002 (128th overall)
4 year minor league total - .269/.357/.407, 28, 212 – 1,404 AB (1 K/3.81 AB)
No Major League totals
Status – Triple-A Sacramento (A’s)
Age - 25
Mark Kiger – Drafted by Boston 1997 (27th round)/Oakland 5th round 2002 (158th overall)
4 year minor league total - .267/.365/.375, 23, 194 – 1,733 AB (1 K/4.84 AB)
No Major League totals
Status – Triple-A Sacramento (A’s)
Age – 26 in May
Brian Stavisky – Drafted by Montreal 1999 (12th round)/Chicago Cubs 2001 (33rd round)/Oakland 6th round 2002 (188th overall)
4 year minor league total - .313/.403/.480, 37, 221 – 1,456 AB (1 K/5.25AB)
No Major League totals
Status – Triple-A Sacramento (A’s)
Age – 26 in July
Shaun Larkin – Drafted by Cleveland 9th round 2002 (274th overall)
4 year minor league total - .258/.348/.437, 56, 252 – 1,562 AB (1 K/6.40 AB)
No Major League totals
Status – Double-A Akron (Indians)
Age – 27 in September

The High School Draftees

B.J. Upton – Drafted by Tampa Bay 2002 (2nd overall)
3 year minor league total - .304/.396/.474, 40, 187 in 1,402 AB (1 K/4.22)
Major League total - .258/.324/.409, 4, 12 in 159 AB (46K)
Debut – 2004
Status – Triple-A Durham (Devil Rays) – 40 man roster
Age – 22 in August
Christopher Gruler – Drafted by Cincinnati 2002 1st round (3rd overall)
3 year minor league – 2-4, 5.33 ERA, 77.2 innings, 22 games
No Major League totals
Status – Tommy John surgery May ‘05/DL (Reds) *Torn Labrum 2003
Age – 23 in September
 
Adam Loewen – Drafted by Baltimore 2002 1st round (4th overall)
3 year minor league total – 14-17, 4.07 ERA, 258.2 Innings
No Major League Totals
Status – Double-A Bowie (Orioles)
Age – 22
Clinton Everts – Drafted by Montreal 2002 1st round (5th overall)
3 year minor league total – 11-14, 3.16 ERA, 225.1 Innings
No Major League Totals
Status – Class-A Vermont (Nationals)
Age – 22 in August
Zack Greinke – Drafted by Kansas City 1st round (6th overall)
3 year minor league total – 16-5, 2.15, 184 Innings
Major League total – 13-28, 4.99, 328.0 Innings (8-11, 3.97 rookie year)
Debut – 2004
Status – Major League Roster/DL (Royals)
Age – 22
Prince Fielder – Drafted by Milwaukee 1st round (7th overall)
4 year minor league total - .297/.398/.524, 91, 327, 1,635 AB (1 K/5.10)
Major League total – 39 games .288/.306/.488, 2, 10
Debut 2005
Status – Brewers Starting 1B *Rookie
Age – 22 in May
Scott Moore – Drafted by Detroit 1st round (8th overall)
4 year minor league total - .254/.338/.420, 44, 208, 1,362 AB (1 K/3.40)
No Major League Total
Status – Double-A (Cubs)
Age- 22
Jeremy Hermida – Drafted by Florida 1st round (11th overall)
4 year minor league total - .284/.399/.433, 34, 183, 1,378 AB (1 K/4.59)
Major League total – 23 games .293/.383/.634, 4, 11
Debut – 2005
Status – Marlins OF *Rookie
Age – 22
Scott Kazmir – Drafted by New York Mets 1st round (15th overall)
3 year minor league total – 9-12, 2.40, 228.1 Innings
Major League Total – 12-12, 4.06, 219.1 Innings
Debut – 2004
Status – Devil Rays Opening Day Starter in 2006
Age – 22
Cole Hamels – Drafted by Philadelphia 1st round (17th overall)
3 year minor league total – 11-3, 1.54, 152.0 Innings
No Major League Totals
Status – Class-A Clearwater (Phillies) *shoulder (2003), triceps (2004), hand and back (2005) problems
Age – 22
James Loney – Drafted by Los Angeles Dodgers 1st round (19th overall)
4 year minor league total - .280/.352/.411, 27, 181, 1,604 AB (1 K/5.94)
No Major League Totals
Status – Dodgers 1B (recalled to take the roster spot of the disabled Nomar Garciaparra)*Rookie
Age – 22 in May
Keiunta “Denard” Span –Drafted by Minnesota 1st round (20th overall)
3 year minor league total - .289/.370/.344, 2, 78, 916 AB (1 K/6.02)
No Major League Totals
Status – Double-A New Briton (Twins)
Age – 22
Jeff Francoeur –Drafted by Atlanta 1st round (23rd overall)
4 year minor league total – .282/.330/.478, 53, 222, 1,413 AB (1 K/5.41)
Major League Total - .300/.336/.549, 14, 45, 257 AB (58 K, 4.43), 3rd in 2005 NL ROY
Debut – 2005
Status – Braves Starting RF
Age – 22
Matt Cain – Drafted by San Francisco 1st round (25th overall)
4 year minor league total – 27-15, 3.33, 397.2 Innings
Major League Total – 2-1, 2.33, 7 games
Debut – 2005
Status - #4 starter Giants rotation *Rookie
Age – 21
Sergio Santos – Drafted by Arizona 1st round (27th overall)
4 year minor league total - .266/.328/.418, 42, 222, 1,517 AB (1 K/4.52)
No Major League Totals
Status – Triple-A Syracuse (Blue Jays) - on Jays 40 man roster *Part of Glaus deal
Age – 23 in July
John Mayberry Jr. – Drafted by Seattle 1st round (28th overall)
Did not sign, went to college – redrafted by Texas #19 1st round 2005 draft
Status – Class A Spokane (Indians)
Age - 22
Greg Miller – Drafted by LA Dodgers 1st round (31st overall)
3 year minor league totals – 16-7, 2.22, 215.0 Innings
No Major League Totals
Status – Double-A Jacksonville (Dodgers) - on 40 man roster
Age – 21
Matthew Whitney – Drafted by Cleveland 1st round (33rd overall)
3 year minor league total - .254/.341/.397, 21, 91, 665 AB (1 K/3.35)
No Major League totals
Status – Class-A Kinston (Indians)
Age – 22

Micah Schilling – Drafted by Cleveland 1st round (41st overall)
4 year minor league total - .237/.332/.321, 9, 120, 1,102 (1 K/3.69)
No Major League Totals
Status – Class-A Kinston (Indians)
Age - 23
*(players chosen after Colamarino and who have made it to the Majors, the pick used to select them and the team that picked them: Clay Hensley - 247 SF, Eric Reed - 265 Fla, Jason Bergmann - 317 Mon, Joel Zumaya - 320 Det, Ryan Sheely - 321 Col, Mike Esposito - 351 Col, Paul McAnulty - 355 SD, Dustin Nippert - 459 Ari, Dana Eveland - 465 Mil, Brandon McCarthy - 510 WS, Chris Denorfia - 555 Cin, Boone Logan - 600 WS, Kameron Loe – 592 Tex, Craig Breslow -769 Mil)




Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Richard resides in San Francisco, California and can be reached at richard@baseballevolution.com.

Random Player


Latest Headlines
Top 15 Not in the
Hall of Fame


2013 Predictions

How Good Is
Mike Trout?



More News, Notes, and Headlines

New Baseball Voices audio CD available in The Baseball Evolution Store:


Ron Santo: Cubs Legend

Pat Hughes and Ron Santo were the Chicago Cubs' WGN Radio announcing team for 15 seasons. Their unique on-air chemistry became known as "the Pat and Ron Show" with fans tuning in as much for their eccentric banter as for Cubs baseball itself.


Hot Baseball Tickets!
Texas Rangers
Philadelphia Phillies
Miami Marlins
Detroit Tigers
LA Angels





www.BaseballEvolution.com
Player Rankings | Hall of Fame | Statistics | Heated Debates | Teams | Predictions
Keith | Asher | Tony | Richard | Gregory
About Us | Advertising | Submissions | Facebook
BaseballEvolution.com is licensed under a Creative Commons License