How Are the Stars Acquired: Outfield & Summary

Same rules as before: ranked by WAR and 300 plate appearances at that position to qualify.

Center field

Franklin Gutierrez – traded
Matt Kemp – drafted
Nyjer Morgan – traded
Michael Bourn – traded
Mike Cameron – free agent
Ryan Sweeney – traded
Denard Span – drafted
Torii Hunter – free agent
Rajai Davis – waivers
Curtis Granderson – drafted

4 traded
3 drafted
2 free agents
1 waivers

Corner outfield:

Matt Holliday – traded
Carl Crawford — drafted
Justin Upton – drafted
Ichiro – free agent
Shin-Soo Choo – traded
Ryan Braun – drafted
Jayson Werth – traded
J.D. Drew – free agent
Raul Ibanez – free agent
Nelson Cruz – traded

4 traded
3 free agents
3 drafted

Overall, we sampled 115 of the league’s best and brightest. Of those, a combined 54 players were either drafted or signed as an amateur free agent by their current clubs. An additional two were plucked on waivers or through the Rule 5 draft and 44 more were traded for. Only 15 players were signed as major league free agents, and it’s hard to classify many of those signings as blockbuster in magnitude.

There are some teams that take the scouting and drafting game less seriously than they should. I doubt those teams read this website, but if they did and wanted to take one statistic – one message – from this series, it’s this: 47% of 2009’s best players were “just prospects” at one point or another. That’s not to include all of the players traded at early points of their career either. Meanwhile only 13% were signed as free agents.

Free agency may get all the hype and buzz, but the draft is where teams find impact talent.

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16 Responses to “How Are the Stars Acquired: Outfield & Summary”

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  1. Rob Moore says:

    This might have been asked and answered in one of the previous posts on this topic – but what percentage of players in MLB are signed to FA contracts by teams that aren’t their original teams (I noticed that players like Jorge Posada who were FA’s at some point are still considered to have been developed by their original team)?

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  2. neuter_your_dogma says:

    Jayson Werth was a Rule 5 FA to the Phillies. He was traded from the Toronto to the Dodgers however.

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  3. neuter_your_dogma says:

    Oops, maybe Jayson wasn’t a Rule 5, but free agent still.

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  4. Aaron/YYZ says:

    To be fair, in a typical year you would also have someone like Carlos Beltran heading the CF group and in MVP contention. I’m pretty sure the Mets don’t regret that deal.

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  5. GrandSlamSingle says:

    Werth was signed as a free agent by the Phillies.

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  6. Xavier says:

    “47% of 2009’s best players were “just prospects” at one point or another.”

    Aren’t essentially all players “just prospects” at some point?

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  7. walkoffblast says:

    This series has been often panned with good reason. Its an interesting idea but the conclusions leave a lot to be desired logically. If teams are getting about half their good players from the draft why should they focus heavier there than in the areas contributing the other 50 percent (especially when prospects are less predictable albeit cheaper)? The way you are counting trades ignores that to get these talented players you have to actually give up top prospects often, which create less net gain than you might insinuate. I think its borderline general knowledge that you cannot simple buy a team and there is significant value in draft picks and there are better ways to remind people of it than this. You just cannot take the money out of the equation, its not really how the teams got them that separates its how much they are paying them to contribute at this high level.

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    • Joe R says:

      And obviously paying the price in money is more beneficial to a team than paying it in talent.

      Example: would the Red Sox be better if they acquired Josh Beckett was a Free Agent and acquired that way? The answer is obviously yes, because they would still have Hanley Ramirez.

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    • WY says:

      There are also several uncorrected errors in terms of how players were acquired, which skews the conclusions a little bit (though how significantly, I can’t say). There’s also the likelihood that these numbers vary from year to year given the volatility of WAR, so it is hard to draw a lot of conclusions based on this evidence. R.J. has done some fine analysis for this site, but this series isn’t the best example of it.

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  8. neuter_your_dogma says:

    Paraphrasing from Stephen Wright, “If you could keep all of your prospects, where would you put them?” Also, scouting and drafting are part of the farm system equation. Equally critical is the proper development of prospects.

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  9. Nats fan says:

    I think the point is that most great teams are built by trading for stars from teams that can’t afford them. Most teams fair somewhat equally in the draft over the long term with some short term swings for luck, but the smaller market teams are forced to trade guys right as they are starting to peak rather than retain them while the Yankees and Red Sox can keep their stars and trade for other stars with the young talent they recently drafted. Trading is more effective because guys you draft may or may develop at a spot where your team has a need. Trades always fill a gap.

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  10. Dan says:

    It may also be worth mentioning that there were 1,521 players drafted in the 2009 draft, while there are about 270 potential free agents this year. So, we’re looking at a “draft” pool almost 6 times larger than the free agent pool. Even taking your analysis that the draft pool has about 3-4 times as many ‘stars’ this year, it’s a little less impressive.

    Now, most of these free agents will sign with their current teams or disappear from the map. So, it’s even worse…

    I get the point that FAs are often overvalued, but free agents that get deals are generally pretty good bets to play good ball.

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