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What was the best Brewers draft of the last 20 years (Part 4)?


ClosetBrewerFan

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This is the fourth and last post of my review of the Brewers past 20 drafts.  Check out my previous post for years 2021 - 2016, years 2008 - 2015, and for years 2002 - 2007
What was the best draft of the last 20 years?  That is not easy to judge since some of those players are still playing and could continue to improve and put up impressive stats.  I’m using career WAR as one way to evaluate the players.  Is a draft successful if only one or two stars make it?  The team still has to fill out a roster and the Brewers more than most teams need to rely on the draft to keep their payroll low.  So is quantity better than quality?  Below is a summary of these past 20 drafts:

Summary 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Totals
ML All Star 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 16
ML Regular 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 2 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 2 0 0 0 13
ML Role Player 2 3 0 1 1 3 3 0 2 2 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 21
ML Callup 1 2 2 3 1 3 1 4 1 4 2 1 4 2 2 2 0 1 0 0 36
Total ML Players 6 6 4 6 3 7 6 8 5 7 6 4 5 3 4 3 2 1 0 0 86
Still in Minors 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 6 11 12 16 5 16 72
                                           
Career WAR 32.3 17.5 58.6 80.9 8.5 18.3 30.5 33.4 8.3 -0.6 20 7.3 11.6 6.5 9.7 0.7 1.9 -0.2 0 0 345.2
                                           
Draft Order 7 2 5 5 16 14 16 26 14 12 27 No 1st (17) 12 15 5 9 21 26 20 15 -
Supplemental picks 0 0 0 -1 0 -1 4 3 0 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 15
Total Picks 42 50 50 49 50 46 54 53 50 51 42 40 41 41 41 41 41 39 5 21 847
% made it to bigs 14.3% 12.0% 8.0% 12.2% 6.0% 15.2% 11.1% 15.1% 10.0% 13.7% 14.3% 10.0% 12.2% 7.3% 9.8% 7.3% 4.9% 2.6% 0.0% 0.0% 10.2%

 

If you like quantity, it's hard to beat 2009.  Mike Fiers, Kris Davis, Scooter Gennett, and Caleb Thielbar round out selections who made regular contributions in the majors.  Four other players made the majors as well.

The 2004 draft was also excellent.  Gallardo and Cain headlined this draft that had a total career WAR of 58.6.  There was little behind these two picks though.

However, I am going to go with the 2005 draft.  In terms of career WAR its hard to beat with Braun and Brantley making up the brunt of the 80+ career WAR.  Four other players made the majors with Braddock at least filling a role for a couple of years.  This is a good combination of MLB success as well as quantity of major leaguers.

Can another draft beat out the 2005 draft?  Two All stars and four other major leaguers is a tall order.  As for pure success, the 2014 draft had Woodruff and 2016 had Burnes.  These two should be raking in WAR for years to come, but it does not look like any other player from those drafts could be all stars.  I think the 2018 draft has some potential.  Rasmussen and Ashby are both good pitchers on the rise.  It would not surprise me at all if they became all stars at some point.  Turang, Reese Olson, Jarvis, K. Howell, and Joe Gray all have talent to potentially make the majors some day.  Only time will tell.

As for the opposite end of the spectrum, only 3 out of the 50 picks in 2006 made the majors and they had a career WAR of 8.5.  The worst career WAR (not including recent drafts) was 2011 in which 7 players made the majors but had a combined career WAR of -0.6.  Maybe Jorge Lopez and Nick Ramirez can continue to put up good numbers to get it to a positive number someday.

Other interesting things I found during this study.  There was almost always one all star out of each draft.  From 2016 - 2002, only two drafts had no all stars.  Three drafts produced two all stars each.  That’s way more than I would have guessed.  Granted an "all star" is somewhat dubious way of measuring talent, but its still noteworthy.  Each draft produced at least 3 and as many as 8 major leaguers.  There were a lot more players drafted back then, though very few players beyond the 20th round made it (8 to be exact).  Mike Fiers and Brent Suter were the only ones of note.  It explains why MLB has decided to trim the draft down to 20 rounds now.

In the past 20 years, 847 players were drafted and 86 made the majors (10%).  I'll admit this is a misleading number since this includes players who were not signed (I did not track how many), but I still consider those as lost opportunities by the Brewers.  It also includes a lot of late round picks (20-50) and the MLB has already trimmed that down to 20.  So going forward, the odds should look better, but still will be difficult.  There are 72 more players in the minors, so that number could go up yet.  Regardless, those are long odds for a newly drafted player to deal with.  We all have big hopes for the Brewers draft class but in reality, its tough for them to even get to the majors, let alone succeed there. 

Thanks for taking the time to read through my blog ramblings.  Leave a comment if you found this interesting or have feedback for me.
 

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Another consideration - though a very difficult one to quantify - would be opportunity cost.  For the players that "made it to the big leagues", but produced negative WAR, you introduce an "opportunity cost".  In other words, we have someone a chance to play in the big leagues that didn't make it.  That is an opportunity where we might've been able to find another free agent (yes, budget constraints) that could've produced better (even league average 0 WAR is better than negative) for those seasons.  

So not only did we incur the negative WAR, we missed the opportunity of trying someone else there too. A double negative on those players and a painful impact of the 2011 draft.

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