15 June 2011

Cup of jO's: Should Dylan Bundy get a Major League deal?

Game Wrap
Toronto 6, Baltimore 5
Box Score / Play-By-Play / AP Summary

The Orioles once again find themselves in the midst of a losing streak, dropping their third straight game, and third straight to divisional opponents not housed in Boston or New York. Baltimore fought back in the late innings after Toronto grabbed the early lead against Chris Jakubauskas. The momentum seeming to shift definitively in the O's favor after Matt Wieters launched his sixth homerun of the year in the eighth inning -- a two run blast off of reliever Mark Rzepczynski. But Felix Pie was stranded at third base in the eighth, Nick Markakis was stranded at second base in the ninth, Derrek Lee was stranded at second base in the tenth, and Adam Lind ended the game in the bottom of the eleventh with a lead-off walk-off homerun off a hanging splitter from Koji Uehara. Jake Arrieta will try to stop the skid this evening.

Of interest...
Of interest to me this morning is an article by Baseball America's Matt Eddy, who took a look at the track record for college pitchers that signed Major League deals out of the Draft between 2001 and 2010. As part of my responsibilities as an associate scout for a Major League organization, I spent Saturday at the ball field with my area scout watching one of our draftees, speaking with his family and trying to figure out how much our organization should offer the young man to try and entice him to sign. Throughout the game we touched on a couple of our other signees and our progress towards signing them, the draft in general, and the media coverage of the draft (the loudest chuckle came when it was mentioned that one prominent outlet referred to a pre-glasses Ricky Vaughn-esque prep arm as a "strike thrower"). We eventually made our way to discussing Dylan Bundy (Baltimore's First Round selection) and our best guesses as to what a final contract would look like.

Much has been written about Bundy, and a few minutes of "Googling" will reveal a common sentiment that Bundy is generally as advanced as the college arms in the class, and thus could move very quickly through the minors. In presenting my best guess as to the final deal, I stated that the primary sticking point will likely be whether or not Baltimore gives him a Major League deal. My colleague took the opposite stance, stating they'll have no issue doing as much, and would be right to do so. To be clear, our opinion on the matter should have no impact on the actual negotiations, and neither of us saw enough of Bundy this spring to provide actual insight into how the process should shake down -- this was just two evaluators (one good; one learning) spitballing.

It is natural that Matt Eddy's piece caught my eye when I scanned through my morning readings, and as soon as I hit "publish" on the blogger.com interface I am going to forward the article to my Area Scout to stimulate further discussion. Essentially, Eddy concludes that the players offered Major League deals were "worthy" according to draft time evaluations, but neither the size of their deal nor the number of options they ultimately burned through (anywhere from zero to four) correlated with their future success. The group of 14 arms was a true mixed bag, with successes such as Justin Verlander, Mark Prior, David Price and Jeremy Guthrie (with Brian Matusz and Max Scherzer each showing promise) and flops the likes of Dewon Brazelton, Craig Hansen and Andrew Miller, with a whole lot of tweeners and TBDs*.

While the article doesn't point us in a particularly useful direction with regards to determining the correct course of action for Baltimore and Bundy, it does illustrate that even the surest arms in a given draft are not necessarily "safe", and even the arms that ultimately make it can take drastically different paths on their way to productivity.

* - Jeremy Guthrie's name was orginally mentioned twice in this sentence.


Oriole85 said...

Guthrie was a success? He got DFA'd by the Indians. Noticed you listed his name twice, so you must be really high on him.

I'm also a bit puzzled how you qualify Prior as a success? He's not necessarily a failure given his injury history but I don't think the Cubs got what they paid for.

Jon Shepherd said...

I'm not Nick, but I might have some relevant thoughts...

Re: Guthrie - he produced in a long relief role and eventually a starting role for the Orioles as soon as he arrived. This would make it appear more as an evaluation issue with the Indians instead of a development issue. You could make the argument that by signing him to a minor league deal they could have taken a longer time evaluating him and make a beter decision, but it seems that there was enough information.

Re: Prior - ~12MM for four years of above average performance? Yeah, I think the Cubs got more value than they had to pay here.

Oriole85 said...

Guthrie was not a success with the Indians, the team that drafted him. I agree he achieve success with the Orioles. He had a 6.08 ERA and lasted 16 total games over parts of three seasons.

In Prior's case, I'll concede the value argument. However, being that he was a #2 overall pick (and could have been #1) and has been so hampered by injuries. And with the high expectations, I don't think the Cubs would exactly deem him a "success." Andy might say otherwise.

Jon Shepherd said...

I don't think where Guthrie had his success matters much. Looks more like Indians made the wrong decision on evaluating him.

With Prior, I determine a player is successful if what he produces is worth the same or more than the resources you used to get him. Under that perspective, one would be hard pressed to say Prior failed. When considering the rate of success for other players taken in that draft range, it is also quite difficult to call him a failure.

Nick J Faleris said...

A review of Guthrie's "career" with Cleveland showed, in my opinion, an arm that was ready for MLB but ran into a rotation that was unbelievably healthy -- affording no opportunity.

As Jon points out, it does not appear tha Guthrie required more development, as his success with Baltimore was almost instantaneous. Cleveland rolled the dice by letting him walk, and ended-up making the wrong decision. With seven starters ahead of Guthrie on the depth chart, it simply didn't make sense to continue with him.

Nick J Faleris said...

Regarding Prior: The Cubs easily made back their investment with Prior. It obviously did not end as they would have preferred, but I think any organization would take that exchange (money for production over four years) if given the choice.