Drafting Pitchers - It's a numbers game.

Many recent, and not so recent, posts have detailed the failure of Dayton Moore to have put together a decent starting rotation at this point in his process.

I view the failure in two parts - inability to draft and develop starting pitchers, and the lack of success/effort in acquiring quality starters while waiting for drafted players to develop.

Moore's often repeated quote that pitching is the currency of baseball would suggest that he drafts a lot of pitchers, then trades them for needs. To find out how he applies the currency logic, this analysis looks at two periods of seven years each, comparing how the Royals, Braves and Athletics have drafted, and the success rate of the drafted players.

For the purpose of this analysis, success is defined as a pitcher making it to the big leagues, even if for only one game.

The analysis is limited to the first twenty rounds, even though teams occasionally draft talented players in later rounds for various reasons. Some of the drafted players counted in this study did not sign with the team, or were traded and made the big leagues with another team. Some years, teams had numerous compensatory picks.

Interesting observations:

-Fewer pitchers are being selected in recent years (why?)

-Pre-Dayton Royals era drafted less than others, had lower success rate

-Dayton era drafts appear similar to ATL, but would not be considered overdrafting




The origin of the current pitching problem appears to be the drafts between Greinke and Hochevar which should have produced members of the current rotation. A secondary point that doesn't show in these numbers is whether the drafted pitchers projected to be starters, relievers or not a factor in drafting.

What could Dayton have done? In the Moose draft, he could have followed with 19 college starting pitchers. Then, in the Hosmer draft, followed with 19 high school pitchers. If the success rate is roughly 25% making it to the majors, you would expect about nine guys - not necessarily all starting - fighting for a spot in the current starting rotation.

It's a numbers game.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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