The offseason free-agent signings for players coming to and leaving Los Angeles have shuffled the draft picks for the Dodgers. Signing A. J. Pollock resulted in forfeiting their second-round draft pick in 2019, which would have been about 65th overall, and losing $500,000 in international free agent money.
On the other side of the ledger, for having Yasmani Grandal signed away by the Milwaukee Brewers, the Dodgers gained a pick after Compensation Round B and before the third round, about 79th overall.
But what kind of player might you expect to land in this range of draft selections?
I’m certainly no prospects expert, nor can I expound on what sort of equivalent monetary value such a pick may have, but we can certainly take a sampling of historical picks in this region and draw some general conclusions.
It’s also worth noting that with these picks come (or go) the slot money associated with them. The Dodgers overall budget has decreased by the slot dollars difference between the two picks above. In 2018 that was about $235,000.
I chose to look at the 2010, 2011 and 2012 drafts, and overall picks 61 to 85. I selected these years to strike a balance of “old enough that a decent feel for player outcomes are known” and “recent enough to be reasonably reflective of current scouting and evaluation processes”. The draftees from high school in 2012 are a little young at around 24, but the college players from 2010 might be 30 now.
I always wanted to limit this exercise to a sample size I could handle without spending an inordinate time on this. Also, note that all this information was extracted from the invaluable baseball-reference.com.
Here’s the information from the three drafts. WAR is the cumulative major-league WAR to date.
That’s a lot of white space in the WAR columns! Only 39 of these 75 players, or 52%, have seen the major leagues at all. Roughly a coin flip’s chance that you never see this draftee on the big club.
Andrelton Simmons is the clear outlier in WAR at about 35, while Alex Wood and Drew Smyly are a small group of their own in the 10-WAR vicinity. Ten players fall between 2.0 and 6.2 WAR. These 13 are only 17% of the drafted players and 33% of those that reach the majors.
Very roughly 80% of these draftees provide less than 2 WAR or don’t even reach the majors.
The Dodgers draftees? Paco Rodriguez, Alex Santana and Ralston Cash. Uh huh.
Perhaps you recognize a name or two that isn’t in the majors yet, but I eyeballed it and spotted no top prospects.
On the other hand, Tony Renda, chosen 80th overall in 2012, will receive a World Series ring this year because he made one August appearance for the Boston Red Sox, as a pinch-runner. (He did score the walkoff run in that game.)
There’s always a chance that a high-school or college athlete selected in this range will turn out really well for the drafting team, and for that player. But the odds don’t seem to be in their favor.