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Draft Special: Moneyball Draft Review

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In honor of the draft coming up tomorrow, I've decided to do my own review of one of the more popular drafts in recent history:  The 2002 draft of the Oakland Athletics, recorded in detail in Moneyball

What follows are the players on Billy Beane's "hit list" for the 2002 draft, players that he and others believed to be the best players for Oakland's unique system.  For a more detailed analysis of Oakland's philosophies I'll refer you to the book itself.  It was, whether you bought into what the book had to say or not, a high-profile draft, and so without further ado, here's a look at some of the major players.

Pitchers Drafted

Joe Blanton #24, age 26, RHP

Split      IP   G  GS   ERA   H/9  HR/9  BB/9   K/9
Minors  365.1  62  55  3.33  8.60  0.52  1.68  8.33
2004      8.0   3   0  5.63  6.75  1.13  2.25  6.75
2005    201.1  33  33  3.53  7.96  1.03  3.00  5.19
2006    194.1  32  31  4.82 11.16  0.79  2.69  4.96
2007     82.2  12  12  3.81  8.27  0.98  1.85  6.64

Blanton had a small setback in performance in '06, but seems to be much more himself as this season enters its third full month.  He's not allowing as many hits and his walk rates are the best of his career.  Twins fans witnessed for themselves exactly how good he can be when Blanton blanked the Twins for a complete game shutout on June 2nd.
Current Draft Grade:  A

Ben Fritz #30, age 26, RHP

Split  Level     IP  G  GS   ERA   H/9  HR/9  BB/9   K/9
2005    Rook   11.0  4   4  0.00  2.45  0.00  2.45  7.36
2005      A+    6.2  2   2  8.10 13.50  0.00  2.70  4.05
2006      AA   71.0 12  12  3.30  7.99  0.51  2.79  6.46
2006     AAA   97.1 17  17  5.83 10.26  1.39  4.07  5.36
2007      AA   61.2 11  11  3.50  9.24  0.15  2.93  4.84

Fritz underwent Tommy John surgery in the middle of 2004, thus the lack of innings pitched in 2005.  Since then he's come back successfully, but the A's are moving him along slowly, although with his current numbers he's bound to earn a promotion very soon.
Current Draft Grade:  B

Stephen Obenchain:  Obenchain reached AA with Oakland in 2004 and 2005, but spent 2006 splitting time between the Athletics rookie league and high-A squad, recovering from a bicep injury sustained in June of 2005.  He currently is not part of the Oakland system as far as I can tell.  His grade is difficult to give because injuries are difficult to predict, and could be altered if I find out he's playing elsewhere.
Current Draft Grade:  F

Bill Murphy #98, age 26, LHP

Split      IP    G   GS   ERA   H/9   HR/9   BB/9    K/9
Minors  545.2  129   94  4.59  8.20   0.91   4.85   8.07

Murphy was moved after 2003 to the Marlins, and then in the middle of 2004 to Arizona.  His ERA hasn't been lower since 5.57 in his 104 innings with the Marlins' AA affiliate in 2004, and his WHIP have been between 1.48 and 1.87 in that period.  So far in 2007 with the Diamondbacks' AAA squad, he's pitched 30 innings with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.  He's struck out 27 but walked 13, and at 26 needs to make an impact soon if he's to make a breakthrough in the major leagues.
Current draft grade:  D for talent, C for help provided to the team, as his trade brought Mark Redman in for one season of reliable pitching.  Redman posted a 4.71 ERA in 191 innings, going 11-12, striking out 102 and walking 68.

Position Players Drafted
Nick Swisher  #16, age 26, 1B/OF

Split     AB    R    H   2B   HR   RBI   BB   SO   Avg   Obp   Slg
Minors  1169  219  305   85   50   214  222  300  .261  .381  .476
2004      60   11   15    4    2     8    8   11  .250  .352  .417
2005     462   66  109   32   21    74   55  110  .236  .322  .446
2006     556  106  141   24   35    95   97  152  .254  .372  .493
2007     181   27  181   12    9    34   41   42  .298  .431  .514

Swisher has displayed a remarkable improvement by decreasing his strikeout rate as much as he has.  He's a dangerous hitter, now by any measure, and is understandably Beane's pride and joy of his 2002.
Current Draft Grade:  A

John McCurdy #26, age 26, SS

Split   Lvl   AB   R   H  2B  HR  RBI  BB  SO   Avg   Obp   Slg
2005     A+  341  47  86  16   8   44  34  85  .252  .321  .387
2006     A+  361  54  98  21  12   55  17  79  .271  .310  .429

Was playing behind top organization SS prospect Cliff Pennington in 2006, but as for 2007 I don't see him on any roster in the Oakland system.  Even when he was drafted by the Athletics, Beane new McCurdy's promise was in his bat only.  Playing for the University of Maryland, his defense (at SS of all places) was sub-par.  McCurdy's draft grade could change if he could be located.
Current Draft Grade:  F

Mark Teahen #37, age 25, 3B/OF

Split     AB    R    H  2B  HR  RBI   BB   SO   Avg   Obp   Slg
Minors  1362  194  398  89  20  198  179  331  .292  .378  .424
2005     447   60  110  29   7   55   40  107  .246  .309  .376
2006     393   70  114  21  18   69   40   85  .290  .357  .517
2007     209   27   58  10   5   27   26   52  .278  .363  .416

Teahen was traded to the Royals as part of a three-way deal, and after a disappointing 2005 and start to 2006, Teahen came on strong and finished last season with a strong line.  While his power hasn't picked up exactly where it left off, he has the tools to be a solid offensive presence in Kansas City's lineup.
Current Draft Grade:  C+ for talent, B for 2004's return on Octavio Dotel, who recorded 22 saves in 50.2 innings, striking out 72 and walking 18 with a 4.09 ERA.

Jeremy Brown #35, age 27, C

Split   Level   AB   R   H  2B  HR  RBI  BB  SO   Avg   Obp   Slg
2005       AA  394  65 103  27  20   72  52  88  .261  .359  .487
2006      AAA  275  41  70  14  13   40  23  60  .255  .317  .447
2006      MLB   10   1   3   2   0    0   1   1  .300  .364  .500
2007      AAA   85   9  24  10   2   16  14  18  .282  .386  .471

Brown spent a couple of stints with the A's in early 2006, but currently isn't on the 25-man roster.  He shows okay power but projects to be a solid offensive contributor, as his minor league line was .267/.364/.433; not impressive but solid.  He should spent time with the Athletics at some point in 2007.
Current Draft Grade:  B

Steve Stanley:  Stanley only played 7 games last season, in Oakland's AA affiliate.  He's recorded no statistics for any of the Athletics' teams, and has recorded a .292/.371/.361 line through five years in the minors.  His grade could change if I locate him, but given his age it probably won't improve by much.
Current Draft Grade:  F

John Baker #128, age 26, C

Split   Level   AB   R   H  2B  HR  RBI  BB  SO   Avg   Obp   Slg
2005      AAA  346  43  81  24   5   41  30  90  .234  .303  .364
2006      AAA  293  49  80  19   4   38  40  77  .273  .361  .386
2007      AAA  111  21  31  10   4   53  12  24  .279  .357  .477

Baker was traded to the Marlins for infielder Jason Stokes on March 31.  Stokes is currently on the 7-day disabled list for the Athletics' AAA squad...so eventually, the second half of this grade will change.
Current Draft Grade:  D for talent F for talent brought to the team.

Mark Kiger #158, age 27, IF

Split   Level   AB   R    H  2B  HR  RBI  BB  SO   Avg   Obp   Slg
2005       AA  460  68  123  31   5   45  68  94  .267  .360  .367
2006       AA  251  43   77  12   6   20  30  58  .307  .379  .450
2006      AAA  176  34   41   8   3   14  30  47  .233  .348  .330
2007       AA  174  32   50  15   2   16  30  43  .287  .402  .420

Kiger is now with the Mets, and is the AA squad's starting third baseman.  Looking at his 2006 campaign with Oakland's AA team, it appears Kiger is ready to tackle the highest echelon of the minor league ladder.  Sadly, this isn't doing much for Oakland.
Current Draft Grade:  C for talent, F for system help.

Brian Stavisky #188, age 26, OF

Split  Level   AB   R   H  2B  HR  RBI  BB  SO   Avg   Obp   Slg
2005      AA  510  84 161  36  11   88  69  84  .316  .398  .475
2006      AA  329  60 104  22   6   49  64  53  .316  .429  .450
2006     AAA  109  16  26   6   2    8  16  23  .239  .333  .349
2007     AAA   61   5  13   4   1    5   3  13  .213  .250  .328

Stavisky, like Stokes, is listed on the 7-day disabled list for Oakland's AAA affiliate, the Sacramento River Cats.  So far, Stavisky hasn't been able to master the additional challenges of his current level, and at nearly 27 will need to adapt quickly.
Current Draft Grade:  D+

Brant Colamarino #218, age 26, 1B

Split  Level   AB   R   H  2B  HR  RBI  BB  SO   Avg   Obp   Slg
2005      AA  187  31  60  13  10   45  18  34  .321  .377  .594
2005     AAA  280  37  68  15  11   47  19  76  .243  .297  .436
2006      AA  495  69 141  35  17   91  60 109  .285  .364  .491
2007      AA  118  11  27  11   2   17   9  14  .229  .298  .373

Oakland thought that Colamarino could be the best hitter in the draft...but they still drafted him in the 7th round.  He has a promising minor league line, but at his age should be about to break into the major leagues if he were the hitter the Athletics thought he could mature into.
Current Draft Grade:  C-

Moneyball Targets Not Drafted by the Athletics

Jeremy Guthrie:  Rated as best pitcher in the draft, was taken by Cleveland 22nd overall.  Debuted for the Indians MLB club in 2004, but struggled mightily, allowing too many base runners.

Robert Brownli:  Drafted 21st overall by the Chicago Cubs, didn't sign until March of 2003, and hasn't been able to pitch with any success above AA.  I haven't seen any stats for him with the Cubs at any level in 2007.

Shaun Larkin:  Drafted in the 9th round by the Indians, Larkin is too old for the level he's playing in, and in his age-27 season has posted a career minor league line of .257/.341/.421.  He's appeared in three games for their AAA affiliate in 2007, and six games for Cleveland's AA team, but it certainly appears that the Athletics aren't missing much.

Russ Adams:  Adams is currently in the AAA affiliate of Toronto, having played in 51 games.  He's hitting .255/.348/.406, and will probably get another chance to play for the Blue Jays MLB squad eventually, after splitting time between AAA and the Jays--he spent just 90 games in a major league uniform last season.  Adams hasn't lived up to his promise, which was high considering he was drafted 14th overall.

Khalil Greene:  Selected 13th overall in the 2002 draft, Greene made the 2004 All Star team and finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting.  He hasn't matured as a hitter, as his numbers have stagnated if not declined since that time.

Jeff Francis:  Selected 9th overall by the Colorado Rockies, he rocketed through the minor leagues and made his major league debut in 2004.  His minor league numbers were outstanding, so his lack of success in Colorado is disappointing.  I'm blaming the fact that he has to pitch in Colorado, as his hit, walk and home run rates all ballooned.  It could be the air or it could be that he hasn't been able to make the transition, but because the Rockies seem to have trouble developing any sort of a pitching staff I'm giving Francis the benefit of a doubt.

Luke Hagerty:  Drafted 32nd overall by the Chicago Cubs, has been unable to avoid the disabled list.  Pitched 22.2 innings in 2004, 6.2 innings in 2005 and 3.0 innings in 2007.  Yikes.

Other Draftees

Jon Papelbon, 40th round, 1208th overall
Papelbon was drafted by the Athletics in 2002, but decided to play for Mississippi State instead.  In 2003 he was drafted 114th overall (quite the change), and spent all 32.2 innings in low-A ball.  He then proceeded to rocket through the Red Sox system, making his debut in 2005.

Shawn Kohn #668, age 27, RHP

Split  Level    IP   G   GS   ERA   H/9  HR/9  BB/9   K/9
2005      AA  84.0  55    0  2.89  6.86  0.54  2.14  9.86
2006      AA  15.1  12    0  3.52  5.87  0.59  1.17 11.74
2006     AAA  53.0  40    0  3.40  7.13  0.85  2.55  8.15
2007     AAA  33.2  20    0  5.35 10.43  1.87  3.48  9.36

Kohn, apart from the unsigned Papelbon, has been a pleasant and unexpected surprised for Oakland from the 22nd round.  He's a strikeout reliever who, with any luck, could breach the majors in 2007.  If he can get the walks down just a bit and get back to his usual home run rate, Kohn could have a bright future.
Current Draft Grade:  B+

Conclusions

Much of this research was superficial for a number of reasons.  This is an extremely long post as it is, for one.  Another would be because everything I've gathered has been done over a number of days here in the UK, and I just don't have anymore time to delve deeper than I already have.  In these ways (and in many more), this analysis is weak.

It does, however, give you a general scope of how Oakland's 2002 draft has turned out.  Swisher and Blanton are the big winners, but Fritz, Kohn and Brown all have the ability to contribute to the Athletics at the major league level.  For many of them the jury is still out, but time is running short.  Perhaps Colamarino has the best chance to succeed from this specific sub-group.

Moving Teahen was a practical, and helpful, move.    He was blocked at the major league level by Eric Chavez, and even though you could have had him change position, acquiring Octavio Dotel was a good move.  Dotel gave the Athletics the relief help they needed, and if it weren't for injury, probaby could have been useful after the 2004 season.  Injuries, it's sad to say, ruin many good ideas.

Was Oakland's 2002 draft better than drafts of other teams?  I haven't done the research to answer that question with any certainty, but I can say that the A's found value with who they drafted.  This, in the end, was the aim of Moneyball:  Finding value where others didn't see it.