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Collette Calls: Draft Roulette

Jason Collette

Jason Collette

Jason has been helping fantasy owners since 1999 at RotoJunkie, Fanball, Baseball Prospectus and now here at RotoWire. He covers the Tampa Bay Rays at theprocessreport.net. You can hear Jason weekly on many of the Sirius/XM Fantasy channel offerings throughout the season as well as on the Towers of Power Baseball Hour Podcast on iTunes. He was selected as the Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year by FSWA in 2013.

Greetings from the open road of western Ohio where my business travels have me this week. Unfortunately, the Dayton Dragons are on the road making me 0-4 in getting Fifth-Third Field to a game while in town on business. Monday night, 33 new young men received the honor of getting the phone call from a major league team to tell them they had been selected as a first-round pick and I thought MLB Network's coverage this season was its best effort yet despite Bud Selig's very drab delivery with each pick. I know that older locals call it "Cincinnata," but does anyone really call LA, "Los Angeleees"?

The draft is at best a crapshoot for real teams and even worse for fantasy leaguers. A good rule of thumb is to expect the college draftees to take 2-3 seasons to get the majors while the high school draftees are at least 3-4 years out so using a roster spot in your dynasty league for these players tests one's patience. In my local leagues, we have 40 roster spots, just like real teams, so any one of the draftees FAAB'd cut into bench and spots available for injured players.

Thanks to Baseball-Reference, we can go back and look at the success/fail rate of each draft slot in every year dating back to when the draft started in 1965. The table below show the percentage of players that have made it from each draft slot as well as the average Wins Above Replacement value for each draft slot.

Pick % Making Majors Career WAR/Player 2011 Draftee
1 89 19 Gerrit Cole
2 84 12.6 Danny Hultzen
3 78 12.1 Trevor Bauer
4 78 13.7 Dylan Bundy
5 60 10 Bubba Starling
6 71 14 Anthony Rendon
7 71 6.6 Archie Bradley
8 63 7 Francisco Lindor
9 58 7.8 Javier Baez
10 84 9.8 Cory Spangenberg
11 65 3.2 George Springer
12 60 8.4 Taylor Jungmann
13 54 10.1 Brandon Nimmo
14 69 6.6 Jose Fernandez
15 43 10.8 Jed Bradley
16 67 7.4 Chris Reed
17 30 7 C.J. Cron
18 26 3.7 Sonny Gray
19 69 8.9 Matt Barnes
20 52 12.6 Tyler Anderson
21 65 4.2 Tyler Beede
22 63 11.1 Kolten Wong
23 50 4.8 Alex Meyer
24 56 3.6 Taylor Guerrieri
25 52 4.2 Joe Ross
26 45 5.2 Blake Swihart
27 56 3.7 Robert Stephenson
28 58 3.4 Sean Gilmartin
29 50 9.3 Joe Panik
30 56 12.5 Levi Michael
31 32 8.1 Mikie Mahtook
32 50 4.1 Jake Hager
33 41 2.4 Kevin Matthews
The second column highlights the crapshoot of the draft as only the top two draft slots have a success rate of at least 80 percent while the rest of the slots are rather all over the place. For example, just 26 percent of players taken in the 18th spot of the draft have made it to the major leagues but 69 percent of players taken one spot after that have made it to the major leagues. The average WAR value per position can get a bet skewed by a single player as well. For example, the high number at 30 is due to Mike Schmidt and 31 is where Greg Maddux was taken. This is not an exact science, but it is helpful to know how history has treated each position in the draft. You can find productive players anywhere in the first round, but once you get out of the top ten, there is at least a 30 percent chance your investment will never see the light of day. A few thoughts about the first round: - NL-only dynasty players that took Rendon before the draft assuming he was a lock to the Pirates have to be happy that both the Mariners and the Orioles passed on him. In mixed leagues, the fact Rendon won't have to play in Safeco Field is just as welcome. - I know the wait will be long, but I'm more interested in Starling and Nimmo than I am the early pitchers. TINSTAAPP rings loud and clear for many and when in doubt on FAAB or draft day, I always go hitter. - I love the Cron p



The second column highlights the crapshoot of the draft as only the top two draft slots have a success rate of at least 80 percent while the rest of the slots are rather all over the place. For example, just 26 percent of players taken in the 18th spot of the draft have made it to the major leagues but 69 percent of players taken one spot after that have made it to the major leagues. The average WAR value per position can get a bet skewed by a single player as well. For example, the high number at 30 is due to Mike Schmidt and 31 is where Greg Maddux was taken.

This is not an exact science, but it is helpful to know how history has treated each position in the draft. You can find productive players anywhere in the first round, but once you get out of the top ten, there is at least a 30 percent chance your investment will never see the light of day.

A few thoughts about the first round:

- NL-only dynasty players that took Rendon before the draft assuming he was a lock to the Pirates have to be happy that both the Mariners and the Orioles passed on him. In mixed leagues, the fact Rendon won't have to play in Safeco Field is just as welcome.

- I know the wait will be long, but I'm more interested in Starling and Nimmo than I am the early pitchers. TINSTAAPP rings loud and clear for many and when in doubt on FAAB or draft day, I always go hitter.

- I love the Cron pick by the Angels and glad to see a guy that may need to play DH get taken by an American League team so Cron's climb to the big leagues will not be extended due to a positional issue as it is for NL prospects.

- The Rays fan in me hates the Red Sox got exactly what they needed and wanted in Parker and Swihart. That said, no chance I would invest FAAB on a first-round catcher given the history of the position as I covered last month.

- Speaking of the Rays, their two selections were not supposed to be in those slots. If they can get Guerreiri to forgo his commitment to South Carolina, he would be in their Top-10 prospect list next season. Mahtook could move through the organization quickly because there is not a lot in his way once Brandon Guyer and Desmond Jennings get out of Durham.

- While it is not a sexy pick, I am intrigued with Atlanta's selection of Gilmartin. He did not have a good first round of the NCAA Regionals, but I've seen him a few times on television and like how he pitches.

My apologies for the brevity this week but it is a terribly busy travel week for me which is why I can't make a radio appearance this week. I will, however, make a commitment to check the comments to this article a few times a day so please leave your questions about anything minor-league related and I will get back to you ASAP.