How the Teams Were Built

Some of it depends on the philosophies of the front office, some of it depends on the market size, and some of it is pure luck of the draw. Every 40-man roster in baseball is built through different means, and each organization has its own unique quirks when it comes to roster construction.

This is a reboot of an exercise I did last year, with a couple fun additions. Relying mostly on RosterResource and our depth charts, I’ve got a couple spreadsheets containing every player on every 40-man roster, how they were acquired by their team, and their projected WAR for 2016, based on Steamer. Last year’s post focused mainly on the raw number of players, and the means by which they were acquired.

I’ve got a new version of that table, still sortable, and this year I’ve added international signings:

Roster Construction by Method of Acquisition
Team Am. Draft Free Agent Trade Int’l Waivers Rule 5 Total
Arizona 10 5 21 4 0 1 41
Atlanta 4 10 18 4 2 2 40
Baltimore 11 7 13 3 3 3 40
Boston 17 7 13 3 0 0 40
Chicago AL 9 11 11 2 6 0 39
Chicago NL 8 9 17 4 1 1 40
Cincinnati 14 5 12 4 2 2 39
Cleveland 16 3 15 5 1 0 40
Colorado 13 9 12 4 2 0 40
Detroit 10 10 15 5 0 0 40
Houston 9 6 15 5 3 1 40
Kansas City 14 9 9 8 0 0 40
Los Angeles AL 10 9 15 1 3 2 40
Los Angeles NL 8 7 17 8 0 0 40
Miami 12 5 16 4 2 1 40
Milwaukee 14 4 15 2 3 2 40
Minnesota 15 6 7 8 2 2 40
New York AL 14 7 14 4 1 0 40
New York NL 16 8 8 7 0 1 40
Oakland 4 6 26 1 3 0 40
Philadelphia 12 5 10 6 4 3 40
Pittsburgh 10 8 12 8 2 0 40
San Diego 6 8 21 3 0 2 40
San Francisco 24 7 5 3 1 0 40
Seattle 8 8 18 4 1 1 40
St. Louis 23 5 8 3 1 1 41
Tampa Bay 18 2 19 0 1 0 40
Texas 13 6 11 8 1 1 40
Toronto 12 5 14 1 7 1 40
Washington 14 8 15 3 0 0 40
AVERAGE 12 7 14 4 2 1 40

There’s some interesting information to be gleaned from this table, but not every free agent signing or trade acquisition is made the same. What we really care about is how each team’s key players were acquired. So, this year, I’ve added up the projected WAR of every player, and broke those down by the method of acquisition:

Projected WAR by Method of Acquisition
Team Am. Draft Free Agent Trade Int’l Waivers Rule 5 Total
Arizona 12.6 4.3 12.7 0.7 0.0 0.0 30.3
Atlanta 4.3 5.6 8.6 2.7 0.0 0.1 21.3
Baltimore 15.8 3.5 9.3 2.0 1.2 0.4 32.2
Boston 16.4 12.8 10.3 5.0 0.0 0.0 44.5
Chicago AL 10.6 10.2 7.7 3.6 0.2 0.0 32.3
Chicago NL 10.4 18.0 22.3 1.5 0.0 1.1 53.3
Cincinnati 15.4 1.3 10.1 2.8 0.0 -0.1 29.5
Cleveland 12.6 1.1 19.8 5.4 0.2 0.0 39.1
Colorado 10.2 4.6 10.8 0.1 1.1 0.0 26.8
Detroit 4.9 11.8 16.4 0.3 0.0 0.0 33.4
Houston 17.4 3.9 16.4 0.3 3.2 0.5 41.7
Kansas City 12.9 6.4 7.0 7.1 0.0 0.0 33.4
Los Angeles AL 16.7 6.0 12.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 34.7
Los Angeles NL 16.6 8.2 14.9 8.9 0.0 0.0 48.6
Miami 18.0 2.6 10.4 3.0 0.0 0.3 34.3
Milwaukee 10.8 3.4 7.1 2.5 0.5 0.1 24.4
Minnesota 12.5 6.4 5.2 7.5 0.0 0.1 31.7
New York AL 4.1 11.9 16.7 7.9 0.0 0.0 40.6
New York NL 19.1 7.9 10.2 4.9 0.0 0.2 42.3
Oakland 4.5 4.7 20.3 0.0 1.3 0.0 30.8
Philadelphia 3.9 1.4 7.0 4.2 0.7 0.7 17.9
Pittsburgh 13.5 6.1 10.6 9.3 0.0 0.0 39.5
San Diego 3.7 4.9 19.3 1.5 0.0 0.1 29.5
San Francisco 27.0 10.1 3.9 1.3 0.8 0.0 43.1
Seattle 7.7 8.2 10.8 9.6 0.0 0.0 36.3
St. Louis 21.6 4.8 10.7 3.5 0.0 0.0 40.6
Tampa Bay 11.9 1.4 21.3 0.8 0.1 0.0 35.5
Texas 4.8 6.9 12.0 9.2 0.7 1.0 34.6
Toronto 10.0 8.3 20.1 0.9 1.3 0.0 40.6
Washington 18.4 12.0 12.4 0.1 0.0 0.0 42.9
AVERAGE 12.3 6.6 12.5 3.6 0.4 0.2 35.5

And the percentage of each team’s WAR makeup:

Percentage of Projected Team WAR by Method of Acquisition
Team Am. Draft Free Agent Trade Int’l Waivers Rule 5 Total
Arizona 42% 14% 42% 2% 0% 0% 100%
Atlanta 20% 26% 40% 13% 0% 0% 100%
Baltimore 49% 11% 29% 6% 4% 1% 100%
Boston 37% 29% 23% 11% 0% 0% 100%
Chicago AL 33% 32% 24% 11% 1% 0% 100%
Chicago NL 20% 34% 42% 3% 0% 2% 100%
Cincinnati 52% 4% 34% 9% 0% 0% 100%
Cleveland 32% 3% 51% 14% 1% 0% 100%
Colorado 38% 17% 40% 0% 4% 0% 100%
Detroit 15% 35% 49% 1% 0% 0% 100%
Houston 42% 9% 39% 1% 8% 1% 100%
Kansas City 39% 19% 21% 21% 0% 0% 100%
Los Angeles AL 48% 17% 35% 0% 0% 0% 100%
Los Angeles NL 34% 17% 31% 18% 0% 0% 100%
Miami 52% 8% 30% 9% 0% 1% 100%
Milwaukee 44% 14% 29% 10% 2% 0% 100%
Minnesota 39% 20% 16% 24% 0% 0% 100%
New York AL 10% 29% 41% 19% 0% 0% 100%
New York NL 45% 19% 24% 12% 0% 0% 100%
Oakland 15% 15% 66% 0% 4% 0% 100%
Philadelphia 22% 8% 39% 23% 4% 4% 100%
Pittsburgh 34% 15% 27% 24% 0% 0% 100%
San Diego 13% 17% 65% 5% 0% 0% 100%
San Francisco 63% 23% 9% 3% 2% 0% 100%
Seattle 21% 23% 30% 26% 0% 0% 100%
St. Louis 53% 12% 26% 9% 0% 0% 100%
Tampa Bay 34% 4% 60% 2% 0% 0% 100%
Texas 14% 20% 35% 27% 2% 3% 100%
Toronto 25% 20% 50% 2% 3% 0% 100%
Washington 43% 28% 29% 0% 0% 0% 100%
AVERAGE 34% 18% 36% 10% 1% 0% 100%

Now those are some interesting tables.

Let’s go over five of the most compelling team-building stories:

Chicago Cubs

When you hear about how the Cubs built the roster that’s currently the World Series favorite, you usually hear about the draft, and all the homegrown talent. Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez were all great draft picks who were able to quickly ascend to the majors and create a contender, and Jorge Soler was a nice pick from the international market who also counts as a homegrown player.

But, in fact, less than a quarter of Chicago’s projected 2016 WAR comes from homegrown talent. Where they’ve truly shined is the trade market. Of course, the most obvious example is the midseason 2013 deal with Baltimore that netted them Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger, one of the more lopsided trades in recent history. Nearly as integral to the Cubs’ success was the 2012 trade of Andrew Cashner and Kyung-Min Na, which netted them Anthony Rizzo and Zach Cates. Lest we forget about the acquisition of Addison Russell, Dan Straily and Billy McKinney for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel (now back on the Cubs), the move that brought Kyle Hendricks and Christian Villanueva to Chicago for Ryan Dempster, and the swap of Zachary Godley and Jeferson Mejia for Miguel Montero.

They’ve hit on their most important draft picks, and made the necessary moves in free agency to fill out their roster, but the true catalyst of the potential powerhouse Cubs are a series of shrewd deals made by Theo Epstein since taking over in 2011.

Houston Astros

Of course, the Astros have done well in the draft. Carlos Correa, Dallas Keuchel, George Springer, Lance McCullers and Jason Castro alone comprise 40% of Houston’s projected team WAR in 2016, and that’s just five draft picks since 2009. Jose Altuve was a key acquisition in the international market, and the addition of Carlos Gomez via trade could prove to be vital.

But perhaps the most interesting thing about the Astros’ roster construction is finding success where teams don’t typically find success. They selected Josh Fields in the Rule 5 draft from Boston in 2012, picked Collin McHugh off the waiver wire from the Rockies in 2013, and did the same with Will Harris from Arizona in 2014. Those three players all have key roles on Houston’s pitching staff, and are projected for a combined 3.7 WAR. That’s a full two wins more than any other team in baseball has through the waiver wire or Rule 5 draft.

Oakland Athletics

My favorite roster construction in baseball. This tweet says it all:

Four players! Only four members of Oakland’s current 40-man roster were actually drafted by the club. One of them is Sonny Gray, one is a pitcher who was drafted as an infielder, and the other two are inconsequential depth pieces. In addition, they’ve only got one international signee, and that’s Renato Nunez, a 21-year-old Venezuelan third baseman who hasn’t played a game above Double-A. Only five players on Oakland’s 40-man roster could be considered “homegrown.” The next-least homegrown team, Atlanta, has eight.

Billy Beane has used his prospects as trade chips to build the club in recent years and as a result, Gray will likely be the only homegrown player on Oakland’s Opening Day roster. Every single other player on the team, and 81% of Oakland’s projected WAR is the result of either trades (66%) or free agent signings (15%).

Pittsburgh Pirates

Once Kenta Maeda’s player profile, and subsequent projected WAR, is entered in the database (likely later today), the Los Angeles Dodgers will likely rise to the top of the international WAR leaderboard. The team they would usurp is Seattle, who hit on Felix Hernandez more than a decade ago and Hisashi Iwakuma and Ketel Marte in more recent years.

But the Dodgers are the obvious team, and the Mariners’ status is propped up by a Hall of Fame selection made nearly 15 years ago. To me, the unsung heroes of the international market are the Pirates, who have hit on three impact international signings in recent years: Starling Marte in 2007, Gregory Polanco in 2009, and Jung-ho Kang last year. Hampered by a small market and a subsequent inability to spend, the Pirates were a bottom-feeder for decades. Andrew McCutchen‘s debut in 2009 is what helped turn the franchise around and into a contender, but it could be three frugal international signings that help them stay.

San Francisco Giants

The polar opposite of their neighbors across the bay in Oakland, the Giants are the king of the homegrown player. In San Francisco, 24 players on the 40-man roster were taken in the draft and developed through the system. Not only that, but nearly all the team’s stars are true homegrown talents. They hit on Madison Bumgarner in the first round of the 2007 draft. And Buster Posey, in the first round the following year, with Brandon Crawford coming in the fourth. Brandon Belt in the fifth round in 2009. Joe Panik in the first round in 2011. Then to top it all off, Matt Duffy came in the 18th round in 2012.

Exactly two-thirds of their projected team WAR are the result of homegrown talent, whether through the draft or the international  market. San Francisco’s drafted players are projected for 27 wins in 2016; no other organization tops 22. Whether it be drafting, coaching, or both, nobody has acquired, developed and maintained homegrown talent quite like the Giants.



Print This Post



August used to cover the Indians for MLB and ohio.com, but now he's here and thinks writing these in the third person is weird. So you can reach me on Twitter @AugustFG_ or e-mail at august.fagerstrom@fangraphs.com.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Bryon
Member
Bryon
3 months 25 days ago

This is an incredibly interesting article. Good work! This puts some real numbers behind subjective opinions about GM’s. Like the fact that Billy Bean manages like he is running a booth at a flea market with 66% of his teams WAR coming from trades with San Diego and Tampa right behind him.Other teams, if you include international signing and development, like the Royals, Giants, Cardinals, and Marlins prefer to field home grown talent with over 60% of WAR coming from amateur draft and international player development.

Shirtless George Brett
Member
Shirtless George Brett
3 months 25 days ago

Fangraphs is full of great articles but this is legitimately one of the most interesting ones I have ever read. Awesome work.

NotAnotherPun
Member
NotAnotherPun
3 months 25 days ago

It’s easy to forget how many good trades Epstein and Co. have made. The only bad one being the trade that sent DJ LeMahieu to the Rockies and brought Ian Stewart to the Cubs.

antone
Member
antone
3 months 25 days ago

I absolutely agree. There was also the Edwin Jackson signing (regarding other transactions), but wild speculation can say that that was just “part of the tanking plan” (which wouldn’t really make sense considering the 4/$52 term that expires after 2016.)

I saw a lot of bemoaning about the loss of Josh Donaldson and Chris Archer in the past few years – especially in ’15, but to be fair, they were traded back in ’08 and the ’08/’09 offseasons respectively, under the Hendry regime when their perceived ceiling was obviously lower than it ended up.

Even LeMahieu wasn’t graded very highly at the time he was traded. I agree – that one doesn’t look great looking back, but stacked up against all the others mentioned in the article, it certainly can’t be something Cub fans should complain about.

omar207
Member
omar207
3 months 25 days ago

How do I insert a little “Thumbs-up” icon here…

Shirtless George Brett
Member
Shirtless George Brett
3 months 25 days ago

It would be interesting if you could tie dollar amounts to the different categories as well. For example the White Sox are getting identical production from drafted players and free agents but I would be very curious to see what the gap is in terms of money spent between those two categories.

scatterbrian
Member
Member
scatterbrian
3 months 25 days ago

Mark Canha was a Rule 5 draftee. Oakland has a zero in that column.

Antonio Bananas
Member
Member
Antonio Bananas
3 months 25 days ago

They still had to give up players to acquire him.

Cory Settoon
Member
3 months 25 days ago

Red Sox, Cubs and Nats are the only teams to have double digits in Draft, FA and Trades.

Not sure what it really means. Maybe they are doing well in all facets.

obsessivegiantscompulsive
Member
3 months 25 days ago

Not really meaningful, other than they were able to do that, as the Giants didn’t have to trade since they have all the homegrown talent producing for them.

johnforthegiants
Member
johnforthegiants
3 months 25 days ago

While in general that’s true, the Giants general strategy of doing anything possible to keep promising homegrown players has backfired a bit in the last few years regarding the pitching staff in that the big long-term contracts giving to Cain and Lincecum discouraged them from taking serious steps to address their starting pitching problems through some other means, because every year it was assumed that somehow Cain and/or Lincecum would make a serious contribution to the team and every year this turned out to be wrong. This has been a significant problem the last 3 years. They managed to paper it over by getting Hudson and Peavy in 2014, but although this did help the non-Bumgarner part of the starting rotation limp through the post-season, it clearly wasn’t anything like a long-term solution. Finally this off-season, with the end of Lincecum’s contact, the near-end of Cain’s, and the complete meltdown of the starting rotation last year, they got serious and signed Cueto and Samardzija, but it’s something which in retrospect they should have done earlier.

rainaftersnow
Member
rainaftersnow
3 months 24 days ago

Yeah they’ve really been struggling the last 6 years. I don’t know how they’ve survived winning just 3 World Series with the pitching staffs they’ve had.

I’d call winning a World Series in 2014 a bit more than “papering it over”. Their homegrown focus is the reason for their recent post-season success. And their failure last year was as much due to injuries to key players (Pence, Belt, Crawford toward the end, Panik) and to the awful signing of a free agent (Mcgehee) as it was to a subpar starting rotation.

Shirtless George Brett
Member
Shirtless George Brett
3 months 25 days ago

I have to say, the biggest takeaway I have from this is; why does the rule 5 draft even exist?

I know the “official” reasoning is to stop teams from stock piling young players but it doesn’t seem to really have any impact at all.

AngelsLakersFan
Member
AngelsLakersFan
3 months 25 days ago

It acts as a deterrent. Teams act in ways to avoid the rule 5 draft, through trades or promotion. Without it teams would act differently.

Legeisc
Member
Member
Legeisc
3 months 25 days ago

It has an impact on the 30 or so players selected. It also makes a difference in the guys placed on the 40 man roster each year to prevent Rule 5 eligibility as it starts their options. It isn’t designed to really help the teams as it is expected the teams will place good players on 40 man roster.

obsessivegiantscompulsive
Member
3 months 25 days ago

It forces team to fish or cut bait on prospects who has spent a lot of time with them, freeing the prospect in case the team is missing something about his abilities that another team might see. I think we see enough big successes that it is still a good thing to have.

Nats Fan
Member
Nats Fan
3 months 25 days ago

A team would have to be pretty darn daft to have a player worth playing everyday available in the rule 5 draft. But some guys who are good enough for the bullpen, dh, or would make great role players might be trapped behind other players in some organizations and deserve major league jobs before they get to old. These charts are averaging out guys acquired in each a particular way, but since the rule 5 lacks any Harpers, trouts, etc the average will be much lower. It does not mean it is not useful for improving a few benches every season. It probably does improve organization depth for a few teams each year without taking much from the major league rosters from the teams the players leave.

levijs
Member
levijs
3 months 25 days ago

As others have said, this article is awesome.

Miami surprised me at first: an average number of amateur draft players, but much higher than average projected WAR. This was surprising until I realized this is the Giancarlo Stanton effect.

What other teams have just one player making such an impact in a single category?

realitypolice
Member
realitypolice
3 months 25 days ago

Uh, you’ve heard of Jose Fernandez, right? Steamer likes him almost as much as Stanton for this year.

And, as with any questions about one team getting a disproportionate amount of production from one player… Anaheim. Trout.

rosen380
Member
rosen380
3 months 25 days ago

Question. The Mets traded for Cespedes… then he became a FA [not a Met anymore]. Was he re-acquired via free agency and count in that bucket or is it that since he never physically went to another team that he stays in the trade bucket?

Smurrman
Member
Member
Smurrman
3 months 25 days ago

My guess would be FA since he hit the open market and he could have been signed by another team.

twardy18
Member
twardy18
3 months 25 days ago

I haven’t watched much baseball over the last few years, except for the playoffs, as my intrigue in it has waned the last several years… but I just wanted to leave a comment on how interesting this article is. It shows how important the draft is, as San Fran and St. Louis are by far the leaders by practically doubling the league average; both are perennial playoff teams and have been in a number of WS’ the last 12 years. But it also shows that the international market is also a key contributor with both WS teams — Kansas City and NYM — being tied for 1st and in 2nd, respectively… The Pirates and Dodgers are also perennial playoff teams with Texas nearly in the same boat.

And then you have the White Sox.. They’re near the bottom in draft selections and below the league average, they have the most FA signings on any roster, have the 2nd-most waiver pickups, and are almost near the very bottom in int’l signings. And they virtually have nothing to show for it. Clearly their formula isn’t working, but who knows, they could be a playoff team this year with as crazy as its been as of late.

Also surprising to me that St. Louis, San Fran, Boston, NYM, Cleveland, Minnesota, Kansas City and Texas are the only teams with at least 50% of their 40-man rosters being through the draft or int’l signings. I can see all of them, except maybe Cleveland, finishing above .500 this year and being threats to make the playoffs.

Great article and interesting read, guys.

Death to Flying Things
Member
Death to Flying Things
3 months 24 days ago

Maybe you should consider coming back to baseball! This is just my completely subjective opinion, of course, but I think the game is way more fun with the new generation of stars than it was a decade ago. In my mind the emergence of Andrew McCutchen in 2009-2010 was a watershed event. Now there are dynamic, likable young players all over the place. One of them is looking like he could be the greatest player in nearly a century. Certainly the “three true outcomes” still rule the game, but for fun we have stars that take defense and base running seriously. I think the game is in great shape.

brett
Member
brett
3 months 25 days ago

Great article.

I would love to see something similar that could basically answer the question “which teams are successful by buying big name free agents?”

In other words, if I acquire a AA player who 3 years later ends up with 3 WAR/season, I’d like to see the distinction between that and making a trade for an already established 3 WAR player.

The columns could be something like:

Am. Draft (same as yours)
Acquired before any major league experience
Acquired before amassing 2 total career WAR
etc.

elsean
Member
elsean
3 months 25 days ago

I might be misunderstanding something, but Altuve was an international signee, yes? Are you counting him as a FA for this exercise? Because I don’t see how his contribution would be 0.3 wins, which is what the Astros are projected for. Unless we’re seeing some heavy negatives from the other international signees on the Astros 40man, of course.

Which projections are you using?

elsean
Member
elsean
3 months 24 days ago

Dammit, August!

Answer! I don’t think there is enough negative projection from the rest of the 40man to push the entirety of Altuve’s 3.4 fWAR projection down to a minute 0.3 fWAR.

Jason B
Member
Jason B
3 months 24 days ago

Well, screaming and stomping like a petulant child should definitely help!

elsean
Member
elsean
3 months 23 days ago

I’m too lazy to tweet. I just figure he probably paid attention to it for the first few minutes after it was posted and hasn’t looked again. And if this is one inconsistency, what about the rest of the numbers?

phaddix
Member
Member
phaddix
3 months 25 days ago

One of the interesting subplots to the article is the commentary on Billy Beane’s draft strategy. As outlined in Moneyball he placed a focus on acquiring seasoned college talent in his drafts and shied away from High School talent. I will be honest in saying I am not an avid draft watcher and have not paid much attention to how OAK has drafted since the book was released. If Beane has stayed consistent with this strategy it would appear that this is one area where he has made a flawed assumption as it is pretty clear OAK has lagged behind other teams in actual draft performance – either that or he has seen the draft more as a way to acquire trade chips than an actual pipeline for player development.

Luy
Member
Luy
3 months 25 days ago

Until we establish that Beane only trades away players that he did not draft….don’t we have to assume that the players he drafts get used in the trades that fill the roster?

Shirtless George Brett
Member
Shirtless George Brett
3 months 25 days ago

I dont think the A’s have lagged behind others in draft performance. I think they have made the (correct) assumption you are more likely to aquire MLB talent through trades than the draft.

Ryan M
Member
Ryan M
3 months 24 days ago

But, in comparison to whom? The Oakland A’s making the playoffs 3 of the past 4 seasons, while leading the AL in WINS for 3 straight years from 2012 to 2014 and adding two division titles during that stretch, all with a bottom 5 payroll, was nothing short of amazing.

And this success all came from, as Shirtless George Brett stated, Beane making good moves in acquiring ML ready talent in exchange for prospects or sell-high candidates.

Don’t you think most franchises would trade their past 4 seasons for that success?

I’m thinking basically 25+ franchises would — not counting teams that have won in all during that stretch, of course.

obsessivegiantscompulsive
Member
3 months 25 days ago

Great article, just echoing the comments above.

Any chance to provide access to the data? Or a followup article? Another website just published a quadrant showing teams with the window open or the window shutting, and I would think a good way to do that would be to take another cut of your data, but by age. Some use 30 as the split, but I think 32 might be more appropriate, as to window closing, because many players are still very productive at 30-31.

dtpollitt
Member
Member
dtpollitt
3 months 25 days ago

Thank you August, this is very interesting. Well done sir.

wormflash
Member
wormflash
3 months 25 days ago

I was just reading an article earlier today about teams ‘tanking’ and seeing things like this confirm that people that were complaining are full of it. Seeing this shows that teams don’t have to let the market dictate them overpaying a player if they draft and trade right. I’m guessing the trades are including some of those deals at the deadline for prospects that become something when a losing team trades a big chip.

theeyesoftexas
Member
theeyesoftexas
3 months 25 days ago

Any way to split this again by pitching and hitting? I think some teams prefer to develop their own pitching and buy/trade hitting.

mr_hogg
Member
mr_hogg
3 months 25 days ago

Great article, material for lots of follow-ups. (Why do so many teams have no waiver claims? Because they were too good to hvae good position? How do the Jays have seven? Who are they?)

Do you doubt Sean Doolittle will be on the A’s opening day roster or was that a mistake?

Shirtless George Brett
Member
Shirtless George Brett
3 months 25 days ago

The Jays have seven waiver claims because Alex Anthopoulus was a waiver wire fiend. Dude was almost OCD when it came to roster moves.

The ones I know off the top of my head are Smoak, Venditte, and Matt Dominguez. The rest are all nobodies as far as I remember.

themarksman13
Member
themarksman13
3 months 23 days ago

Colabello isn’t really a “nobody.”

johnforthegiants
Member
johnforthegiants
3 months 25 days ago

The Giants’ apparent focus on developing homegrown talent is to a great extent the result of the management feeling a much-stronger-than-average sense of loyalty to any players who have established themselves with the team and fans rather than the principle of preferring homegrown players. Signing Denard Span as a free agent was an interesting example of this. On the surface, it appeared that with the impending end of Pagan’s and Blanco’s contracts and the precipitous decline (and age) of Pagan, the Giantsy thing to do next year would be to let a number of promising younger outfielders show what they can do next on the logic that, well, Duffy came out of nowhere last year and that was great, and Panik came out of nowhere the year before and that was great, so maybe something like that will happen again, and in any case serious rebuilding of the outfield will have to be undertaken soon (Pence is no spring chicken either). Plus the team had already spent a lot of money on Samardzija and Cueto and certainly the fans weren’t expecting anything else. But instead they chose to sign Span, which makes it plausible to move Pagan out of centerfield and the leadoff position with minimal damage to his ego and clubhouse chemistry, the apparent assumption being that as washed-up as Pagan appears to be both offensively and defensively, and as much as he hurt the team last year, they just can’t bench him. Even though he isn’t homegrown, he has a certain status on the team, and they’re very careful about messing with that.

Philip Dubeau
Member
Philip Dubeau
3 months 24 days ago

You are trying real hard to explain away the Giants minor league system strength despite the evidence. And you are doing it projecting yourself as some fat guy bathing in pigs grease. Your summary reeks of a little man who never competed for anything, but only critiqued. That was my nice comment. Pagan is going to be paid it is in his contract, but he is not going to be coddled, that is apparent with the signing of Span. Pagan will have to compete for a position. To stretch it into your tangled web is a manifestation of your twisted isolated and lonely mind. I can help you get some help dude. just reach out to your giants community. We are here to help.

obsessivegiantscompulsive
Member
3 months 24 days ago

That’s not a very accurate statement from my viewpoint. The Giants under Sabean has been very adamant about keeping their best homegrown prospects on the team, only trading their best prospects when they don’t think that they will produce. I think it was Jorge Arangure who wrote about this, just before a recent draft, I think for USA Today, that another team would be stupid to trade with the Giants for prospects, as their record is pretty good overall. Liriano, Wheeler, Foulke, Howry, Villanueva top their list of prospects who went on to produce well for another team. Players that they picked up by trading prospects include Jason Schmidt, Hunter Pence, Randy Winn, Robb Nen, Livan Hernandez, Freddy Sanchez, Marco Scutaro, Jake Peavy, Shawn Estes. They have gotten a lot of value without giving up a lot of talent.

I don’t view it as simply a sense of loyalty. If that was true, they would not have benched Rowand for Torres in late 2010, skipped over Zito for the playoff roster in 2010, sat Sandoval for the 2010 World Series, pushed Huff to LF, where he was uncomfortable in 2011, in order to give Belt a chance, eventually DFA Rowand even though there was roughly $15M left on his contract, and pushed Lincecum out of the playoff starting rotation twice.

The Giants, the way I see it, values production, particularly proven production, especially current production. They will give guys who produce a lot of rope, some fans only focus on the vets, but I’ve seen them do that with Lewis and Schierholtz, where they started them 1-2 months during very cold streaks before conceding that they needed to sit them down. Veterans obviously have an advantage because they have a history of production, and their team of coaches and scouts use their knowledge and expertise to provide judgement on whether that player can still do it or not.

The Giants, clearly, from their pattern of how they handle and trade prospects, prefer to keep their prospects with the best chance of becoming a starter, and install them into the starter’s role. And starters, whether homegrown or acquired, will be given preference (i.e. loyalty), but if the backup is producing more than the starter, like Duffy last year surpassing McGehee, they will go with their young guy.

obsessivegiantscompulsive
Member
3 months 24 days ago

The problem with your Pagan scenario is that the Giants had no legitimate CF prospect in the minors to start in the majors, let alone contemplate pushing Pagan off of CF. Parker and Williamson are corner OF, Parker has played CF before (maybe Mac too, come to think), but neither are legit CF. To push out Pagan from CF, they needed a legit CF.

And just because Panik and Duffy (and really, Susac too, many prospect ranking services noted that he would be starting for a number of teams if not for Posey) are good MLB players does not mean that either Parker or Williamson will be. That’s like thinking, “you know, the jello stuck to the wall the last time I threw it there, maybe the tampioca will stick too if I throw it.” The past success of prospects have nothing to do with current prospects.

And I like Parker and Williamson. Parker is a wildcard, maybe he’ll be like a Goldschmidt and continue to hit well in spite of horrendous strikeout rates. But the vast majority of players who strike out like that end up out of baseball with just the cup of coffee. Williamson I give a better chance of working out eventually, as he performed great in the AFL, but he wasn’t that great in AAA or MLB (good but not MLB good), and need some more time to develop in AAA, I believe.

The Giants got Span for two very good reasons: he’s been an excellent leadoff guy and defensive CF (or at least was, when he was healthy before). Pagan, even when healthy, has not been that good a defensive CF. There’s a reason his nickname is “Crazy Horse”, his routes can get a little crazy. And last season with Aoki, showed the value of having two guys who could leadoff.

Plus, with Span, the Giants have good to great hitters in every starting position, assuming that Pagan can still hit well now that he’s healthy and rested. But even if not, as I noted above, the Giants would have no problem sitting him down to start Blanco in LF, and if that creates any problems in the clubhouse, they will DFA him like they did Rowand and Tejada in 2011.

The lineup could now be this: Span, Panik, Duffy, Posey, Belt, Pence, Crawford, Pagan. And even if Pagan hits .635 OPS like he did in 2015, instead of the .731 OPS he hit in 2014, in 2015, the average #8 hitter had a .653 OPS, so he would not be that great a liability offensively. And he did that while badly injured in his knees and aching all over, he was messed up physically last season, so one would think he would hit better healthy. Which he did in September, hitting .762 OPS (.315 BABIP; career .318 BABIP, .323 BABIP with the Giants) after returning from his long stint on the DL in August.

The Giants got Span because Blanco has been a great team player, willing to play the backup role (and doing well in that role, as he basically has been the starter every year he’s been here, at some point and a lot of points), and that gives them excellent depth in the OF so that should an injury happens, they got Blanco in there and producing, and then got Parker, Williamson, and I would add Blanks, who has actually produced OK in the majors previously and played decent OF defense given that he’s a big boi.

That’s been Sabean’s M.O. in recent seasons, what I call risk mitigation practices, having players on the bench and/or farm system who could step up and hold the fort until the injured starter can return to health and production. With players who can play multiple positions, the Giants got coverage across the field and pitching staff, shifting people as necessary, bringing up depth from the bench and minors.

johnforthegiants
Member
johnforthegiants
3 months 24 days ago

The instances which you mentioned were back in 2010-11, I think the philosophy seems to be a little different now. I frankly don’t see any reason other than loyalty why Pagan should be started ahead of Blanco, including (in fact especially) in center; the course of action many might have done would be put Blanco in center or at least platoon with Pagan and try the young guys in left. In any case, I didn’t say that the Giants don’t stick with their young prospects, I didn’t even suggest this, I just pointed out that this is just part of a larger pattern.

obsessivegiantscompulsive
Member
3 months 24 days ago

Lincecum was in 2012 and 2014.

Pagan is starting in CF ahead of Blanco because when he’s at his best, he produces at lead-off. Unfortunately, he’s been injured. His wOBA has been mostly in the .320’s+ until last season; last season was the first time Blanco was above .320 for us. And Pagan has done that at leadoff, Blanco in prior seasons did not do well in leadoff, and some noted that he was better in 2015, but I looked at the PA and felt that was SSS, because when he took over the Pagan in 2013 in CF, he also did well initially then went into a tailspin that landed him back at the lower part of the lineup.

And defensively, while Blanco has been better previously in his career, he was actually negative in 2015, so he’s starting to show his age defensively, he was -13.1 UZR/150, and he wasn’t injured. That was worse than what Pagan did in 2013-2014.

So now, Blanco should not have necessarily been starting over Pagan in 2015, it has nothing to do with loyalty (other than loyalty to the ones who produced for you previously when healthy).

That’s the key word right there regarding the young guys in LF: “try”. The Giants are going for the ring by paying a ton of money for Cueto and Samardzija (or at least putting it out there, depending on Cueto’s opt-out). They are not going to “try” to see if the young guys got it or not in LF, because if they fail, then you got no bench again, Blanco in LF, Pagan in CF. That’s why they ponied up for Span.

I’m not sure what you are talking about regarding sticking with their young prospects. I basically disagreed with your premise and laid out what I’ve seen of their M.O., irregardless of what you said. Basically, they stick with guys who perform well, and the longer you do it, the longer they will stick with you, unless there’s someone who can do it better than you, then you take a seat, whether young, old, or in-between.

johnforthegiants
Member
johnforthegiants
3 months 24 days ago

Sorry, I have very little idea of what you’re talking about. I assume you’re trying to bait me but about the only other thing I can make sense of is that you think that Pagan is only going to play this year (left field, presumably) if he actually performs better than for example Blanco, and if you seriously think that, you haven’t been paying much attention to the team.

Spudchukar
Member
Spudchukar
3 months 24 days ago

Both Wainwright and Grichuk were acquired by trade, but both were minor parts of deals, and spent a number of years in the minors where they were developed. So to some extent they too “came through” the system too.

Johnston
Member
Member
Johnston
3 months 24 days ago

The two teams with the most homegrown players are perpetual contenders. The two teams with the fewest homegrown players are embarrassments. I can’t say that I’m surprised by that.

ndbrian
Member
ndbrian
3 months 24 days ago

I think it’s fair to assume that the last 6 NL pennants have been won through the draft. Giants, Cardinals, and Mets have accumulated more WAR through the draft than any other team in baseball. Interesting.

Ryan M
Member
Ryan M
3 months 24 days ago

But…all have a Top Payroll as well.

I do agree with you though, they’ve had amazing drafts which have helped to build their core.

Jason B
Member
Jason B
3 months 24 days ago

I think there’s quite a low ceiling on how successful Oakland can and will be as long as that “amateur draft” figure is so low. They will rarely if ever pay full freight to bring top-line free agents in (and often rightfully so), but given that they won’t pay for the top FA talent it leaves them dumpster diving on the Billy Butlers, Danny Valencias, and the Rich Hills of the world. Those types of players are not going to be centerpieces of a 90+ win World Series contender, so they simply must do better at hitting on their homegrown talent to have any real chance of fielding a competitive team on a consistent basis.

johnforthegiants
Member
johnforthegiants
3 months 24 days ago

I think there is a ceiling, but I don’t know if it’s that low. The A’s have consistently put a very competitive team on the field. Even last year, run differential data suggests that they were better than their won-lost record showed. But if they stick to their strategy, I can’t see them doing much better than they’ve been doing. The problem with trading off your talent young is that you don’t get the benefits in terms of both strong performance and great value when they do come through. The Giants have been paying Bumgarner, Belt, Panik, Crawford, and Duffy relatively little because they are all solid players who haven’t been playing long enough to be free agents, and by taking a chance on Bumgarner and Crawford they’ve extended they’re control over them. That frees up money to spend on other people to fill the remaining gaps (like the entire outfield). Sonny Gray is pretty much the only player Oakland has stuck with that way.

Jason B
Member
Jason B
3 months 24 days ago

“The problem with trading off your talent young is that you don’t get the benefits in terms of both strong performance and great value when they do come through.”

I think there’s something to this. Sure, they don’t want to get hung with guys as their arbitration raises (and eventually their FA prices) begin cranking up, but at some point you probably want to enjoy the on-field benefits of your homegrown players’ talents and not just turn them into more lottery tickets. Bird-in-the-hand and all.

johnforthegiants
Member
johnforthegiants
3 months 24 days ago

It isn’t just bird in hand for the team, it’s bird in hand for the players as well. It was kind of surprising how cheap the giants got crawford to resign for this offseason and bumgarner’s contract looks like quite a bargain for the team as well, but the players chose to be safe and doubtless appreciated the faith that the team showed in them. Of course, lincecum and cain didn’t work out so well…

Ryan M
Member
Ryan M
3 months 24 days ago

Wait a minute, are you criticizing Oakland and consistent success? You have your stats wrong my friend, or have a very short term memory.

The Oakland A’s just spent 3 of the past 4 seasons in the playoffs, adding 2 division titles to their crowded trophy case while leading the AL in WINS from 2012-2014. They finished 2015 winning less than 74 games for the first time in 17 years (yes, since 1997! Only the Cards and the Yankees can say the same). They are nearly the definition of consistent success, despite their vast limitations in payroll, stadium, territory, etc.

The cherry on top, they have 8 postseason appearances since 2000. That is Top 5 in the sport. So, yeah….I disagree

Jason B
Member
Jason B
3 months 24 days ago

Oh, for sure, they have had much success, and quite recently too. I’m just thinking this particular strategy with this particular group of players is destined for like 75 wins.

Ryan M
Member
Ryan M
3 months 23 days ago

Oh I see, and I was basically responding to John for the Giants, Jason. But I agree with you, as currently constructed, I too see this 2016 Oakland A’s team in the 75-80 win range….while they wait on their newly loaded farm and young talent to be ready for 2017 (some of their top prospects are close.)

Chickensoup
Member
Member
Chickensoup
3 months 24 days ago

This is a wonderful article on its own but it has me wondering, should we be really looking at one year on this? My gut feeling is that 10-15 years of data (admittedly that would take a while to accumulate) would give a more full picture of team strategy than a single year. For instance the Brewers right now have a strategy of get rid of players who have worth on the trade market, yet over the past decade that has not been their MO.

This does bring up a lot of other random questions though. When looking at teams like the Giants and their homegrown talent, how much of the production is post arbitration years? Compare that to the relatively poor teams (in terms of money) who can typically only extend one major player to a large contract (Braun or Stanton or Longoria). Looking at charts like this, it would be easy to make an assumption that the Giants are just better evaluators of draft/international talent than others, but I’m not sure that’s the case. They can just retain players easier because they are less constrained on money than all but a handful of teams in baseball.

What about % of each type that are major league average or above? Washington’s 18 WAR from draftees looks decent enough, until you realize about half comes from Harper. That means the other 16 draftees and international players accumulate about 9ish WAR which is pretty poor. Not that I would want more 2WAR players instead of Harper necessarily but it does muddy the waters slightly.

Nivra
Member
Nivra
3 months 24 days ago

FWIW, the only players I can think of on the Giants right now that are past 6 years of service time are Cain and Romo. Although Bum and Posey are extended through their FA years, they both have <6 years service time.

Nivra
Member
Nivra
3 months 24 days ago

only drafted players, that is.

johnforthegiants
Member
johnforthegiants
3 months 24 days ago

I think that’s right, and Cain hasn’t been important to the team for some time. But even though Posey is still prearbitration, they did preemptively give him a pretty huge salary for a 10-year contract, and I think a lot of teams wouldn’t have been able to do that and might be in danger of losing him now. And they did a lesser version of the same thing with Lincecum although that wound up being a failure.

obsessivegiantscompulsive
Member
3 months 24 days ago

10-15 years would give a fuller picture of their strategy, but ignores where the team is in its re-building/competing cycle, which would dictate different tactics, in spite of the strategy. It also ignores change in ownership.

For example, the Giants were in compete mode, as Magowan decreed that they were going to try to win it with Bonds. Thus not a lot of prospects were kept, and they signed a lot of free agents in order to keep the team more competitive. But once Bonds was gone, then they got lot better draft picks, and nailed the picks, and then soon Magowan was gone, and the new edict was to make plans on the baseball side of operations, present it to the managing owner, and the owner will see if he can make the money happen to do the move, something that was missing in the Magowan years, as evidenced by the decision to pass on Vladimir and getting two handfuls of mediocrity.

Meanwhile, the only good prospects that they developed during that period, Matt Cain and Jerome Williams, were kept, not traded away, though Williams eventually was traded because he could not keep the weight off. But a 21 YO with a 3.30 ERA in 21 starts had a lot of potential.

Some might view the Giants as their window shutting, but when 62% of their WAR is being produced by their guys under 30 YO, and a good number of them are 26 YO or younger, the window is open. And when the 30 YO’s age out of the league, the Giants have a fair number of prospects rising, as they already have a good core of players, they don’t need Top 100 prospects to continue to do well, they need OK prospects who can contribute and keep the ball rolling with the young core. And, of course, 30 YO’s gone means more money available, they can buy replacements.

Twin Billing
Member
Twin Billing
3 months 22 days ago

How does Tampa have 0 international players on it’s roster, but 0.8 WAR from international players?

Does the WAR value include players not on the 40 man roster?

wpDiscuz