Thank you for noting the abysmal rate of success in the first round. I’ve been harping on this since 2003, when I studied the success rate of drafting.
Furthermore, the success rate plummets even within the first round, it’s like a micro-climate, the first 5 picks have the best success rate, then it just falls steeply from there, so much so that the picks at the end of the first round are not that likely to ever become a good major league player, and even worse when you get to the supplemental first round picks.
Outside of the first 5 or so picks of any draft, it is pretty much a crapshoot trying to find a good major league player who can put in 6 good years for a team before going free agent. Injuries, lack of development, personal problems, they all contribute to a very poor success rate for any prospect drafted after the first 5 or so picks of every draft. But it’s the only game in town, so what can teams do?
Overall, I found around a 10% success rate in the last third of the first round, and about half that in the supplemental first round. So the Cubs record is not that unusual, particularly for a team that is regularly in the playoffs or contending for the playoffs, you just get a lousy first round pick and then it gets worse from there.
It’s like trying to drill for oil in a tough region. You are going to get dry caps for the vast majority of them, but you continue because that’s the only way you will ever find an oil gusher.
That’s why I’ve been saying that the best way to rebuild is to sink the whole team, trade off any vet who can bring you a decent prospect, and have a top 5 losing record for 3-5 years until you find a top player or two to rebuild around for your next round of success. The Tigers and Marlins have followed that route (not surprisingly Dombrowski GMed both teams), the Braves did that under Cox as GM before their great stretch, and the Rays has been doing it for years to build up a great treasure trove of top talent.
Seriously… that’s not very versed writing. Ed Wade became the Astros GM in late Sept 2007. He just completed his 2nd draft as Astros GM and Jason Castro, the 1st round selection in 2008, seems to be on track to finish the season at AA Corpus Christi and make the majors as an everyday backstop within 2 years. He may even see a September call up this season.
Ed Wade has made several trades as Astros GM and it’s easy to say they were foolish, but I can see both sides of most of them. Now, did I like the Lidge trade? Not a bit — Lidge was a still a god to me — but it’s looking OK now (not because of Lidge’s struggles this season, but because Bourn is being a functional lead-off hitter). Did I think sending Chad Qualls, et. al to Arizona for Valverde made much sense? In terms of giving Chris Burke a new opportunity, yes, but I always thought Qualls was a ML closer. And the trade for Tejada’s contract? I understand moving some bodies and that Luke Scott didn’t fit in an OF w/ Pence & El Caballo, but including Troy Patton was brutal… and he’s killing it at AA in his comeback this season. It’s a shame that the Purpura/Garner era didn’t afford Luke Scott enough playing time to be the centerpiece of that deal instead of Patton. The Tejada deal was a couple of years in the making and a couple of years too late. And I like Jeff Keppinger… a lot… and the Astros have needed him this season, but for Drew Sutton as the PTBN? I’m still working on that one. Ed Wade and Uncle Drayton couldn’t possibly believe the Astros are going to compete this season, right?
Ben Zobrist’s explosion in Tampa continues to be a painful reminder of just how inept Tim Purpura was as Astros GM and that Gerry Hunsicker is pretty savvy and much-missed.
How has Jim Hendry been a fine GM? He backloaded himself into a corner this past offseason and is now stuck with several untradeable contracts. The Cubs have the 3rd highest payroll in baseball, one of the 5 worst minor league systems in baseball, are 30 games away from Milton Bradley kicking in his ’11 option which will guarantee about $120m in salary to an aging OF ’10 and beyond, and they haven’t won a playoff game since ’03.
The Astros really were hurt by the time Tim Purpura served as GM. Hunsicker was a great GM, Wade has only been here a couple years. At worst, he has made some questionable decisions, but nothing too egregious.