Believe it or not, occasionally 500 Level Fan actually spends some time doing research, collecting data, organizing the results, and forming an educated and informed opinion. With the MLB first year player draft coming up on June 7th, this is one of those times. This year’s draft will be the first for the Jays under the direction of new GM Alex Anthopoulos. AA spent much of the offseason revamping the scouting department, beefing it up in hopes of increasing Toronto’s ability to find good, young, and cheap players. The first year draft will be his first real opportunity to use the knowledge he has acquired from this initiative.
So with the draft on the horizon, I thought it would be interesting to look at how Anthopoulos’ predecessors fared in the draft while they were at the helm of the Jays. Now, even a small child can tell you that the draft in any sport is a crapshoot, but baseball is the biggest shot in the dark of them all. The sheer volume of players, rounds, and minor league teams and levels, make baseball drafting an inexact science at best, and a blind dart shot at worst. But that being said, today I am armed with perfect 20/20 hindsight, giving me the ability to see where the Jays messed up and where they didn’t.
To make the study a bit easier, I focused only on Toronto’s first round selections, ignoring subsequent rounds and supplemental draft picks. I placed each first round pick into one of four categories:
Good: These are players who were successful Toronto Blue Jays. Not necessarily All-Stars, but good, solid contributors while wearing the blue bird on the uniform.
Decent: These are players who ended up being fairly successul major league players, but not for the Jays. Technically the draft pick was good, just not for the right team.
Bad: These are players who made the Blue Jays and either were not very good, or outright sucked.
Ugly: First round draft picks who never even made the major leagues.
For every pick that was not classified as “good”, I looked at other players the Jays could have selected in their draft slot but passed over. Of course, as I said, I have 20/20 hindsight, so I know what players ended up being All-Stars or Hall-of-Famers. But this is supposed to be fun, so I took creative license.
The Blue Jays have had three general managers before AA, and while we can effectively close the book as to how Pat Gillick and Gord Ash fared in their drafts, many of the players JP Ricciardi selected are still working their way up through the minors. But I think we can get a pretty good idea whether they’ll make it or not. Enough said – on with the game.
Contestant 1 – Pat Gillick
Tenure: GM from 1977 – 1994, 18 drafts with 18 first round selections
Good – Lloyd Moseby (2nd overall, 1978), John Cerutti (21st, 1981), Ed Sprague (25th, 1988), Shawn Green (16th, 1991), Shannon Stewart (19th, 1992)
Decent – Steve Karsay (22nd, 1990 – was traded for Rickey Henderson), Chris Carpenter (15th, 1993)
Bad – Matt Williams (pitcher, 5th, 1981), Matt Stark (9th, 1983), Alex Sanchez (17th, 1987), Eddie Zosky (19th, 1989), Kevin Witt (28th, 1994)
Ugly – Tom Goffena (25th, 1977), Jay Schroeder (3rd, 1979), Gary Harris (2nd, 1980), Augie Schmidt (2nd, 1982), Greg David (25th, 1985), Earl Sanders (26th, 1986)
Notable Players passed over – Ozzie Smith, Tim Raines, Tony Gwynn, David Cone, Dwight Gooden, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Dave Justice, John Smoltz, Mo Vaughn Continue reading Battle of the GM’s – Draft Edition