2015 Amateur Draft Summary

One more year removed from Coppy’s initial draft, the 2015 draft class continues to take shape as many high picks have made their way to AA or higher.

Kolby Allard – 1st Round – If you accept that Allard is not going to be a top-5 pitcher in all of baseball, which most would, then it’s hard to have expected more out of his age-20 season. Bypassing A+, he began the year in AA and had his most rigorous workload as a professional. After pitching only 87.2 IP in 2016, his innings almost doubled to 150 IP across 27 starts, and scouts say his velocity dipped a little bit. But skipping a level and being very young for AA, he really impressed. He improved his BB/9, HR/9, BABIP, HR/FB, and accordingly, his FIP (3.27). His K rate slipped a little bit, but with improvements everywhere else, he ought to get a bit of a pass. There’s a possibility he could see Atlanta in 2018, but with another full year in the high minors, you’d think he’d challenge for a rotation spot in 2019.

Mike Soroka – 1st Round – A different type of pitcher than Kolby, but the results continue to mirror each other. His ceiling is similar to Allard’s as a #2/#3 starter, and his floor is equally comforting. It doesn’t seem he has some of the durability “risks” that Allard has, and after getting a bit of a “workhorse” reputation with his 143 IP in 2016, his workload didn’t increase much in 2017 (153 IP). Nonetheless, his K rate stayed around the same as he too jumped to AA at age 20, and he kept pace with his strong BB/9. However, his home run rate nearly tripled, and his groundball percentage went down a tick. It still equated to a strong 3.19 FIP. So as Atlanta continues to challenge these two to perform against older peers, they continue to impress. His track continues to look very similar to Allard’s.

Austin Riley – 1st Round Supplemental – Well, Keith Law recently said he has a slow bat, so there’s that. But if you believe the scouts and other talent evaluators, the Braves might have their 3B of the future here. Another 20-year old youngster, he spent a good bit of time in AA this year. You tend to think that a player will incrementally and consistently rise through the levels of the minor league system in preparation of the major leagues, but that didn’t really happen with Riley. He began the year in A+, and he didn’t exactly earn a promotion with strong performance: .252/.310/.408, .289 BABIP, 109 wRC+ in 339 PAs. Nonetheless, the Braves must have known something because after being promoted to AA, he produced a .315/.389/.511 line with a 162 wRC+ in 203 PAs. Certainly not the largest sample size, but his trip to the AFL has produced gaudy numbers: .357/426./.810 in 42 short ABs. It’s really hard not to get a little excited about another 20-year old handling his own against advanced competition. He has the physical skills and size to be a major league third baseman, and if he holds his own against another several hundred PAs of high minors work, he should get a shot in Atlanta soon as well.

AJ Minter – 2nd Round Supplemental – Minter is another one of the many that are challenging for permanent roster spots so quickly after this draft. And for a rebuilding team with few bullpen studs, Minter has developed a bit of a folklore as he has dominated at times through his rapid ascent through the minors, and some of his numbers have been performances you’d see in a video game: 14.9 K/9 at AA last year (his longest stint at any one level) and 15.6 K/9 in his short stint in Atlanta this year. His only issue is durability and injury concerns. After having Tommy John in college, the Braves were very cautious his two seasons in the system heavily limiting his work including not appearing in back-to-back days until he made it to Atlanta. He also missed time earlier this year with a groin injury. But if he can stay healthy, his comparisons to Billy Wagner may not be too far off.

Patrick Weigel – 7th Round – Atlanta took their fair share of college pitchers in this draft, and Weigel has been the best performer of them. Weigel had an excellent showing in 2016 at A- and AA, and then opened the season with another strong performance at AA. After 8 starts in AAA, though, he went down to Tommy John. He has an explosive fastball and the polished you’d expect from a college pitcher, and that has led to a 8.7 K/9 in his 279 professional innings. He would have challenged for a spot in Atlanta this year had he not gone down to injury. He won’t be back until 2019.

Chase Johnson-Mullins – 13th Round – Interesting big, tall lefty. He can get into the mid-90’s, throws at a three-quarter arm slot, and he’s 6’10”. I’ve watched him pitch a couple times, and others seem to agree that he struggles to repeat his delivery. He’s now also 23 years old. But he’s about as projectable of an arm as you can find in the 13th round, and he’s certainly the size and velocity to do something. He posted a 3.07 ERA at A+ with more than a strikeout per inning, but his walks were a problem (surprise, surprise).

So far in this draft, it looks like you might have 4 guys who could get big league hitters out: Allard, Soroka, Minter, and Weigel. Johnson-Mullins could surprise people. It doesn’t seem like Riley has done enough just yet to justify keeping the third base position uncommitted for the next few years, but he’s a projectable position player prospect who’s another strong stint at AA away from solidifying himself as a top prospect. If three of these guys hit, and you’d have to think there will be, then this could be one of the better drafts of this decade.

101 thoughts on “2015 Amateur Draft Summary”

  1. Thanks, Rob.

    @coop: I’m happy to report that the chapel bell is ringing loud and clear this morning.

  2. others of interest from that draft (skipping many)

    Lucas Herbert: 2nd round. Defense first catcher had decent year repeating the Sally

    Josh Graham: 4th rd. Position player turned reliever. Did well, walks too many.

    Matt Withrow: 6th rd. starting pitcher. Looked good to start year at Fl. Hurt.

    Ryan Lawlor: 8th rd. Starting pitcher hoping to become 4/5 or long relief. Suprising year.

    Justin Ellison; 12th rd. Corner of that scouts like. Good onbase skills, AA

    Brad Keller: 15th rd. Toolsy outfielder just starting to get interesting. Danville

    Matt Custred: 31st rd. Reliever. Great year at Rome. 0.88 WHIP, 12 SO/9 innings

  3. Thanks, Edward. Half of Brooks County, Georgia — all cousins of one degree or another — may be in the Pasadena pokey after their raucous celebration. Don’t know how the Pasadena police take to rowdy gutter barking.

  4. I propose a new 2018 poll.
    Which will be higher:
    -The 2018 Braves win total
    -John Schuerholz age in Oct 2018

  5. Currently a third of our viewers think the team is destined to be in the 60’s so far as wins are concerned (short of us making the World Series, Leo will still be 69 when the season completes). Personally, I take the over on Schuerholz, but I may be an extreme minority on that one. Of course, I am more bullish on the young pitching than is recommended.

  6. I’m really trying to get excited about Withrow and Lawlor, but my overall fear with our view of the draft classes is we’re starving to find the calvary over the hill, and I doubt we’re so good at drafting that we can produce even 5-6 major leaguers from any one class. My fear also is that some of these late round pitching prospects are getting overhyped like Chris Ellis, Rob Whalen, Tyler Jenkins, the guy we traded for Brian Matusz, etc. Weigel and Johnson-Mullins, to me, have the height, size and velocity to be really good, and obviously we know about Soroka, Allard, and Minter. Graham is interesting as a very live arm.

  7. We could get in the 75-81 win range if Dansby and Teheran both rebound, our catchers don’t turn completely into pumpkins, the bullpen holds up, 1-2 of the SP prospects become legit contributors, Acuna and Albies both perform well over a full season, and nothing unexpected (e.g. major Freeman injury) happens. Lot of things would have to go really right, though.

  8. Oh I agree and would be tickled to have even 1 of the guys I listed have an average MLB season: that’s why you draft a lot of these guys. Lawlor and Ellison are the fringey Whalen-types. The others have legit tools but low odds of ever figuring out how to effectively use them on a baseball field.

    Allstar, I would consider consulting the rosters of the fish, mutts and fillies before making such pronouncements. This one of the 2 or 3 worst divisions in history

  9. @9, Thanks to the unbalanced schedule, I think you’re right.

    Edit: Or, what snowshine said.

  10. Fortunately, we won’t have to wait much longer to find out. As it stands, every unit of the on-field team is improved: offense, defense, starting pitching, and relief pitching. Sadly, unless Walt Weiss is marked better than TP, I don’t see the managing/coaching being any better. But I do think we’ve upgraded in the FO as well. Hard to see how all of this would produce less than a 3 win improvement.

    And yes, Chief, I’m aware defense is not that important to you.

  11. @10 My predictions on your what ifs.

    Dansby and Teheran rebound. I predict Dansby will improve to around .250. Teheran to lower his ERA to the very low 4s as opposed to 4.50.

    Catchers- One will fall off the map, the other will fall off, but not completely. I’ll say Flowers to fall off the map, Suzuki’s HRs to decrease by half.

    Bullpen- Struggle city. Weakness to major weakness. FWIW Lindgren has a 0.36 ERA for me in OOTP18 near midseason of 2019 so that’s something to look forward to.

    No SP prospects make an impact this year. Fried’s ERA in ~120 IP is in the mid/high 4s.

    Albies will be solid but not majorly impactful. Acuna comes out of the gate solid, struggles, then gets it together in the last 1/3 hitting somewhere around .275 with 12-18 HR and 65 RBI.

    Freeman stays healthy but regresses some from last year.

    ~68-73 wins

  12. A lot of talk of position players taking pillow deals. I’d love for the Braves to pick up Frazier or Walker on a 1-year deal. If Walker were willing to move to 3B, that’d be better defense than Frazier. As of now, we’re looking at Nick Markakis, Clean Up Hitter.

  13. By all accounts Frazier is a strong defensive player, while Walker, as a 2b at least, has been less than desirable.

  14. Roll Damn Dawgs. Though I doubt they have much left in the tank after this past weekend. Head says Bama in a snoozefest, heart says we somehow finally get to hold that trophy.

  15. Defense will be better because Acuna> Kemp, of course – not sure it’s a lot different elsewhere (maybe 2B) but agreed it will improve, if marginally.

    I’m optimistic about the bullpen, though bullpens are volatile by nature. JJ’s gone so that’s nice.

    SP over the course of the season should be better just because we won’t have two months of Bartolo, but in terms of being better than it was at the end of last season – again, depends on JT rebounding and the young guys developing. We’ll see.

    I’m pessimistic on the offense being much better. Kemp was good 1st half, bad 2nd half, overall not embarrassing. Acuna should be better eventually but not sure he gets there as a rookie – would be lovely if he did. I expect some regression from Camargo and from C, improvement at 2B, hopefully at SS – I dunno, I still see a pretty punchless offense.

    Good point about the schedule and the division though – had not considered that.

  16. As low as I already had Chief in my esteem, he just used “impactful” in a sentence. Gawd.

  17. both Dansby and Teheran post 2+ win seasons

    Suzuki loses 100 points of OPS and is traded at the deadline. Flowers continues his late career renaissance but isnt quite as good.

    The bullpen is upper third until the break but overuse causes them to fall apart in the 2nd half.

    Gohara is a 3 win pitcher, Newk and Folty 2+. Fried starts in the bullpen and takes a spot once Mccarthy breaks/is traded.
    Kazmir will be shockingly effective in limited duty.

    Albies will be a steady 750 OPS with excellent D. This will be worth about 2.5 wins. Acuna will OPS 780 and also be worth 2.5 wins.

    Freeman will “only” be a 5 win player.

    Projected win total = 78 (3rd base and LF could change this assessment. I’m assuming slightly below league average production there. This is wishful thinking at this point)

  18. Andrelton tops the list of Defensive Runs Saved at SS from 2013-2017

  19. I’m not optimistic about the offense improving. Surely there will be a regression at catcher and left field, and as third base sits, we have a hole there. The bench should be much better, though, and SS and 2B should be improved. I expect CF, RF, and 1B to largely stay the same. The bench will be better offensively, but I don’t know if it will wash the regression. We really need a 3B.

    The defense, though, should be much improved. As shiny as Brandon Phillips’ batting average was, he was a 1.6 fWAR player across a full season, and his defense is mediocre. 3B, SS, 2B, and LF defense should be much better. Defensive substitutions should be much better. I expect Suzuki and Flowers to have a better influence over more talented and more experienced young pitchers, though they didn’t need to have impact on 3/5 of our rotation last year.

  20. A friend just texted me:

    “According to DOB on Twitter, he has seen two ballots with Johnny Damon and no Andruw.”

    Morons, moronically proud of their moronic moronicness.

  21. I’d take Andruw but I think its closer than BJ would want to contemplate. Damon has almost 3K career hits and .285 BA lifetime.

    Defense is undervalued, and rightfully so. I’m glad that the learned members of the BBWA agree with me… LOL. The difference in a .250 hitter’s value and a .300 hitter’s value is MUCH bigger than a poor fielder and a great fielder’s value AS a fielder. And its not close. And the sentiment around the grand game reflects that.

    As it should.

  22. Johnny Damon: .284/.352/.433 .785 (104 OPS+)
    Andruw Jones: .254/.337/.486 .823 (111 OPS+)

    Andruw was more valuable on offense alone. When you add in his generational greatness defensively, it’s not even close. Unless you’re an idiot.

  23. I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re real players in some of these big guns. It would make the NL East very interesting.

  24. List of pitchers rumored by either Braves beat writers or the tea leaves of the 40-man to be in the bullpen at some point in 2018:


    16 players for 8 spots. All either a) out of options b) actually good and deserve a spot or c) were Rule 5’ed and would go back to their former team if not given a spot. And there’s only 1 spot on the 40-man to add any decent position players for them to report to camp. So you’d have to think that by DFA or trade some of these guys will go elsewhere to open up opportunities for position players.

  25. It’s funny to me, because Yelich (who I’d love to acquire for a reasonable price) is more or less a young Nick Markakis.

  26. I would love for the Braves to have a young Nick Markakis. He was a valuable player between 24 and 28. From 29 on he has been his below average self that we’ve gotten to know. For some reason I’m much more optimistic about Yellich after 28, but he still has a few years to go.

  27. Yelich could hit 30 HRs in WFF. Not sure if we want to win a bidding war for him though. As always, it depends on what the price is. He’s worth a few prospects for sure.

  28. As I said, I’d love to grab Yelich at a reasonable price. It just amuses me that folks are all up over him when he’s basically the younger version of the guy everyone is hating on the most (now that Kemp is gone.)

  29. I wonder if we could get both guys if we took on Prado, sent them Markakis but paid most or all of his salary, and sent back Flowers, Newcomb and maybe 2 other not-ML ready guys (legit prospects). I’d do that deal in a second – agree with @39 that getting those guys and adding a SP would be an immediate game changer.

  30. some back of the napkin calcs:
    Yelich 2018 ZIPS WAR projection:4.5
    ~ value of WAR $8M
    length of contract 5 years
    cash owed during that time: $60M

    ergo: 4.5*8*5=$180M less amount due $60M = $120 excess value (assuming WAR and value of WAR stay constant over the 5 years).

    ‘reasonable price’ for this player then seems very high, unless I have made some logical error.

  31. Yes. In today’s market, 1 WAR goes for about 8M dollars. For all the sturm and drang about Markakis, 2017 was probably the first season of his contract with Atlanta where he did not earn his paycheck. (He didn’t over produce, but he produced enough to warrant a moderate $11m contract in today’s game.)

    In 2017, his defense collapsed and negated what slight offensive value he brought to the table. His 0.7 bWAR was under-performance.

    Also, in case anyone really cares, Andruw is currently up 9-2 on Johnny Damon in publicly available balloting.

  32. I forgot the link to the HOF ballot tracker: Here.

    The real idiot voters are the people voting for Omar Vizquel but not Andruw.

  33. @45 Sam – Yes, 1 WAR costs about $8M to acquire on the free agent market these days, but that cost-per-production number breaks down at the lower and upper bounds. A player who produces 1 WAR over ~700 PAs (which basically describes Markakis over the last few seasons) is actually not very hard to find and should be available for a few million a year at most; basically, that level of production is more like what you see out of a bench/utility guy (and they get paid accordingly).

    On the other end of the spectrum, true stars (6+ WAR a year) are probably worth even more than the standard $ per WAR calculation because star players give teams a ton of production out of a single roster spot. On the other hand, valuing those case is also complicated by the *risk* of having so much of the team’s production (and payroll) tied up in a single player…

  34. I’d like Yelich, but if the cost was 2-3 of Wright, Gohara, Allard, Soroka, and Anderson do you do it?

    Granted it’s the Marlins, but were it me, I’m absolutely asking for that. As a Braves fan, it gives me some sticker shock, but I’ll also admit I’ve been following these prospects for a while now and am biased/invested to the extent I’m not sure I’m objective.

    What do you guys think?

  35. @42

    I don’t think we have the money to do that trade. It seems like, at most, we have about $7-8M to play with. If we dealt Teheran, that opens up $8M. If you include Realmuto, thus making Suzuki/Flowers attractive to Miami, then that opens up $4M for Flowers or $3.5M for Suzuki. Prado is at $13.5M and $15M for the next 2 seasons, so maybe Miami values pushing more money into 2017 vs. 2018, thus maybe making Markakis attractive to them, but I don’t see a scenario where we take on a ton of negative value. We already did that.

  36. There is no way Tim Hudson should be inducted into the Braves HOF before Andruw. This is a fucking disgrace.

  37. Jose de Jesus Ortiz didn’t vote for Chipper. But did vote for Kent, Thome, Clemens, Vlad, Kent, McGriff, Musina, Visquel and Wagner.

    That’s odd

  38. @47 – yes, in a more perfect world you’d spend your FA dollars on generational talent with huge price tags (even if you have to overpay at the end of the contract) and fill in the marginal role players from your farm system. But in 2014-15, the Braves didn’t have that player in their farm system. They had Joey Terdoslavich.

  39. @47

    Bingo. Very well put. If I understand it correctly, someone takes all of the AAV of the most recent FA class, divides it by WAR, and gets a round number. But to your point, I feel like it ignores all of the variables into valuation. Hometown discounts, positional scarcity, multi-year AAV discounts, pillow deals where a guy takes a higher number for a shorter commitment, and the exponentiating effect of the elite player’s disproportionate value on a single roster spot get lost. And which WAR do you use, bWAR or fWAR? I think you also have to include the pre-arb extensions into those numbers as that is absolutely a market consistency, but that would blow the numbers up quite a bit. At the end of the day, a player is worth what he’s worth on the open market, nothing more, nothing less, and I don’t know if you can put a static number on that.

    Plus, Kakes has got Veteran Presents. You just can’t replace that. As Michael Scott said, “Let’s see Josh find another Stanley. You think Stanleys grow on trees? Well, they don’t – there is no Stanley Tree. You think the world is crawling with Phyllises? Show me that farm…with Phyllises and Kevins…sprouting up all over the place, ripe for the plucking…Show me that farm.”

  40. Jose de Jesus Ortiz didn’t vote for Chipper. But did vote for Kent, Thome, Clemens, Vlad, Kent, McGriff, Musina, Visquel and Wagner.

    Looks like he voted for guys near the cut off point or nearing their final ballots, then Thome (1st ballot) and Vizquel (1st ballot.) You can justify the strategic voting for the first 8, and you can justify Jim Thome by any measure. But Vizquel is just some fan boy bullshit.

  41. Andruw is in the Braves HOF

    Yes. You’re correct. I am conflating the team HOF with retired numbers. The fact that 25 isn’t hanging in the OF never to be worn again is a travesty on the order of Andruw being a one-and-done HOF candidate while Omar Vizquel’s tetchy ass will get multiple voting years.

    This is a peeve of mine, if you haven’t figured it out yet.

  42. Kruger, you can’t assume 4.5 WAR per year through the length of the contract though. $90M is a better estimate of Yelich’s excess value. I think we could get there by taking Yelich, Prado, Chen, and Ziegler and including 1 top prospect and some filler.

    This would add 40-odd million to this years and 30-odd to next year’s budget. I guess we would see if Liberty is serious about letting the Barves keep the added revenue from the Battery.

  43. Haven’t done the math, but I’d have to say that I prefer a team of Kemp, Yelich, Prado, Chen, and Zeigler vs. Markakis, Kazmir, McCarthy, Culberson, and A-Gon’s corpse.

  44. The $ / WAR discussion sometimes seems a bit too simplistic. If you sign a 1 WAR guy for a 1 year 8M contract, you probably are really bad at your baseball job. The 7 and 8 WAR guys that hit free agency might command 40M / WAR or higher. They skew the averages plenty. At the low end of the spectrum, I don’t think you can use the free agent aggregates to say that “Markakis still is nearly worth his contract”. 1 WAR is not what you want at any regular position, and certainly should be valued closer to league minimum (and not 8M).

    You don’t want to use FA to get below-league-average players. That’s such a huge waste. It’s not the only reason we suck, but it hasn’t been helping.

  45. Jose de Jesus Ortiz didn’t vote for Chipper because of a couple of tweets basically invoking the character clause.

    Not a decision I’d make, but then again, I dock Curt Schilling points for being a raving lunatic asshat, so glass houses, etc. If you’re going to go that route, there are far better 10th vote options than Omar Vizquel.

  46. Livingston, the other non-Chipper voter is the idiot who wrote a column last year saying he was abstaining from voting, but signed and mailed in a blank ballot. This year he decided to vote for just the Indians he enjoyed covering.

    There is a defensible reason for not voting for Chipper: he is going to sail in and won’t be unanimous, so with the crowded ballot, I could see withholding a vote for Chipper, to vote for Andruw or Rolen and keep them on the ballot.

    My ballot would be:


    But I’d like to vote for:

    and perhaps even Johan Santana who will be 1 and done

  47. @64, I don’t disagree necessarily, but it does provide a good starting point in the discussion of what the Marlins could be asking for. i.e. it’s going to be more than 3 lotto tix.

  48. $/WAR is more like $10M now. If you’re interested in this topic, I think Matt Swartz is one of the best writing on this now (considering JC doesn’t do as much with this anymore). He’s an actual economist with baseball analyst experience, and he’s worked for the Nats even, I think. Here’s his piece on recent FA pricing: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-recent-history-of-free-agent-pricing/

    He also gets into the linearity of WAR question and a bunch of other good stuff. https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/author/matts/

    Oh, and people should go back and read JC’s books. You can really tell who hasn’t …

  49. I think the terrible value prop in the FA market is why there’s so much cheating going in with 14 year olds in foreign countries.

  50. How bout this trade … Inciarte , eihter Folty or Gohara , and then either Allard or Soroka … for Yelich and Realmoto … I would prefer Inciarte, Folty and Soroka … would rather keep Gohara and Allard .. might swap Riley for Inciarte .. thoughts ???

  51. @70 – yes. Every decision MLB makes is fundamentally structured on the question “how can we not pay the talent for what they do?”

  52. @74 meaning, outside of Acuna, any bat in the minors that cannot be slotted into 3b should be packaged into the deal. I cannot imagine we have enough, but it’s a good start.

  53. Yes, but it’s not the slam dunk it seemed when he left the barves. I won’t be surprised if he has to wait for the veteran’s committee for enshrinement.

  54. @76 Not pointless, but the gap between the best defensive OF and the worst isn’t wide enough to account or rival the gap in production between the best hitting OF and the worst.

    That’s my point. When I say I don’t care about defense, what I mean is that I do not believe that enough runs can be saved via defense to make up for any offensive liabilities.

    Obviously we’d all love for our players to be Willie Mays and be great at O and D. But given a choice, I’d pick an offensive stalwart any day of the week.

    My former pupil Daniel Murphy is a good example.

  55. So Chief, just for clarification: Given the opportunity to put Ryan Klesko in the outfield instead of Andruw Jones, from 2000 to 2007, you would have done so?

    E: For what it’s worth, I do consider Andruw to be a fringey HOF case, but I’m a pretty small hall guy and defensive metrics are still in my mind unreliable to determine “generational” greatness, only “better than your contemporaries” – I’d be more inclined to bang the gong for Scott Rolen who has been criminally unappreciated, as is par for third base. I do take offense to the idea that Omar Vizquel is in any way more deserving than either Andruw or Rolen though.

  56. If they were to trade for Yelich and Realmuto, you’d have to think they really like their pitching. The multitude of viable options in the pen, the ceilings of the pitching prospects, the rebound of Teheran. If you feel like you have the pitching to compete, AA’s going to feel like an idiot if he could have traded for two elite position players and stood pat.

    Interesting that Luke Jackson passed through waivers. He had a 4.24 FIP last year, and he’ll be 26 next year. He’s not a terrible guy to stash at AAA. It’s certainly an indication that he’s buried behind some relievers Atlanta think are pretty good.

  57. You get a ton more chances to create runs than to save them. We’ve been over this a million times. Defense isn’t value-less, it’s just not as valuable.

  58. Christian Yelich
    has created his very own shell-niche
    multiple young arms are required
    Dansby too, his 2 WAR hair widely admired.

  59. a slugger who hoped to be traded
    aware that his bat speed had faded
    his u-tube video
    adjusted to kideo
    the truth irrevocably shaded.

  60. Right, there’s all these side conversations in regards to defense, and that’s not what I asked. Is a run saved worth as much as a run created? Yes. How you value run savers and run producers is another conversation, and the opportunities are another one. But if it’s a 3-3 ballgame, and you create a run, that creates a one-run swing. If you then give up a run the next inning, there’s another one-run swing. So the way I see it, each run is equally valuable. So, Chief, you can’t just say “defense isn’t as important as offense”, because you don’t actually believe that. It seems like your hang-up is over the Jason Heyward debacle, but a big reason why that was a debacle is because his offense has not improved, which was the crux of their large offer. I think everyone universally agrees on that.

  61. And man, it is sad to see what has happened to Heyward. Heyward slashed .293/.359/.439, stole 23 bases at a high clip, and played Gold Glove defense in right field. Fangraphs had him at 6.1 WAR, and I’d agree that the full package of hitting, speed, and defense made him that $20M player. And, he only made $15M in 2016, the year they won their World Series, so you’d have to think that deferral helped the Cubs quite a bit. But now he put in 1.5 fWAR the first year, and .9 fWAR the second year. I don’t think his contract and current negative value is some referendum on the over-inflation of defense; he just sucks. Poor guy. Fangraphs’ valuation says he didn’t get to as many balls in the field, didn’t throw out as many runners, didn’t steal bases, and his offense has cratered. Talk about a misrepresentation of the value of defense.

  62. My posts don’t have anything to do with Heyward. I’m speaking in gross generalities.

    @89 is a situational argument. Of course I would use defensive substitutions, etc.

  63. Tim (Ya know) Hudson all set for our Hall
    remember to listen to none of his interviews at all
    Ya Know insanity beckons
    twenty of thirty a pop we reckons. Ya know.

  64. @90

    that is sad…did not realize the rot had spread so widely…it’s in his head, the hitting at least…remember writing here so long ago the he was going to be the one, Ivy League parents plus that body…DNA did not come through when he found himself having to rebuild that swing… though maybe it surfaced for a moment two years ago when his teammates all wanted him to make the big speech in the rain delay…talk to the Cubs, Jason, retire this or next year…settle on a payout figure, 1/3 to you, the rest to charity…be remembered.

  65. @86 Chief, there’s no question that the best hitters add far more value with their bats than the best defenders do with their gloves. For the sake of putting some numbers to this general statement: the best hitters (Judge, Votto) last season were worth 6 fWAR on offense last year while the best defender (Simmons) was worth about 2 fWAR on defense.

    Obviously, the easiest way to be a valuable position player is to be a great hitter; however, you can also get there by being an all-around good performer. For instance, Fangraphs has Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Rendon as both worth 6.9 WAR last year; Stanton was 1.5 WAR better at the plate than Rendon while Rendon 1.5 WAR better than Stanton on defense.

    Theoretically speaking, WAR is just as valuable whether it’s earned hitting, fielding or running the bases. As fans, we may have personal preferences about what player traits we enjoy watching (power hitting! SPs who go deep in games! etc.) but at the end of the day, value is value. The Braves will succeed if they can collect and deploy players with as much of it as possible, regardless of whether that team has a bunch of bombers or a lot of speed-first players.

  66. blazon, it’s hard to feel sorry for a person of his wealth, but it is still sad to see the rot, indeed.

  67. you can also get there by being an all-around good performer.

    As fans, we may have personal preferences about what player traits we enjoy watching (power hitting! SPs who go deep in games! etc.) but at the end of the day, value is value.

    Yeah, when Heyward signed his deal, people were negative about it because he was a better fielder than hitter, but after his season with the Cardinals, it wasn’t a huge difference. In fact, it’s probably a smaller difference than, say, Carlos Santana’s difference between his offense and defense, and yet you didn’t hear the negative reaction to Santana’s deal as much.

  68. @98 My suspicion is that the Chiefs of the world understand the concept of defensive value but suspect that the dWAR measures overstate the real-world value created (but without articulating a solid basis for this position). From what I understand, dWAR is more difficult/squirrely to measure than oWAR, and thus it’s fair to argue that dWAR figures should be taken with a larger grain of salt than oWAR numbers. Chief, however, oversalts his baseball (IMO).

    Also – man, the rest of JHey’s contract is U-G-L-Y. The Cubs are going to pay him $128M over the next six seasons, plus a $20M signing bonus in four annual installments of $5M beginning in 2024.

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