Since the news about the Yankees is discouraging (achieving the heady heights of .500, they stopped hitting again, and lost twice despite good pitching) I thought I would try a bit of ad hoc analysis. During the Yankees’ recent heyday, the presence of the “Core Four” caused them to lead all baseball in value derived from their own system. I was noticing this year that this is not really true at present: the Yankees sport relatively few players who were developed by them. I found an easier way to do this analysis, but it changed the definition of home-grown.
For the present post, i define home-grown as a player who was DRAFTED BY THE ORGANIZATION in the Amateur draft, and is still with them. Minor league free-agents, rule five acquisitions, and trades for minor leaguers no longer count: if a player only played for you in the majors, but was acquired in trade, then he is not home-grown. This is a practical definition: Baseball-Reference lists “how acquired” and Amateur draft is a category. Minor-league free agent is also a category but potentially misleading: for example, this season Nick Swisher is a minor-league free agent!
So what i plan to do is to ask the question: what percentage of the team’s bWAR (WAR according to Baseball Reference) was acquired in the draft? I may look at last year as well, since this year is barely 25% complete.
The ONLY players with actual WAR this year, and acquired via the draft, are: Gardner 0.9, Nova 0.8, Betances 0.6, Goody 0.3 and Romine 0.1. This is 2.7 of 9.4 which is 28.7%, higher than i would have guessed. There are two caveats to this number: 1) Nova was actually lost to the Rule 5 draft, then returned (because they didn’t want to keep him on the 25-man, as rules require). 2) the 9.4 total includes negative WAR, so the total of positive WAR is higher. The latter caveat will hold true for all teams, though, so i’ll stay with 27.8.
The Yankees got positive contributions in 2015 from the following position players who were drafted by them:
Gardner 3.3, Bird 0.9, Murphy 0.5, Refsnyder 0.3 and Williams 0.1. (Note: Bird is hurt and Murphy traded) This is 5.7 of their total 26.5 WAR
On the pitching side:
Betances 3.7, Warren 2.7, Pindar 0.6, Whitley 0.4, Pazos 0.3 (Note Warren and Whitley traded). This is 7.7 of their total 19.4 WAR
Adding it up, 13.4 of 45.9 is 29.2% essentially identical.
And of the 13.4 WAR from drafted players, 3.6 was traded away.
Is this number high or low? I have no idea, but it FEELS low. Let’s try the Yankees’ rival Red Sox, who came out MUCH lower than NY a few years ago.
2016 Bradley 2.2, Shaw 2.1, Betts 2.1, Pedroia 2.0, Vazquez 0.3 Swihart 0.1 Total 8.8/18.6 47.3% Here there is one BIG caveat: Buchholz was drafted, and is currently -0.8 WAR. Adding him in would make 8/18.6=43%
2015 Hitters Betts 6.0, Bradley 2.2, Shaw 1.1, Pedroia 0.6, Swihart 0.4 10.3/21.9 = 47%
Pitchers Buchholz 2.7, Owens 0.6 3.3/15.1 = 21.8%
Total 13.6/37 = 36.8%
So the same drafted Red Sox who did well last year are all back at it (though Buchholz is NOT doing well). With the exception of Buchholz, the team is maintaining the almost 50% value from drafted players.
Let’s do another team. I choose the Astros, for the following reason: the two “rebuilt” teams are the Cubs and the Astros. I suspect that both are built by ACQUIRING minor league talent, rather than DRAFTING it – the team with the rep to draft that talent is Tampa Bay, and i’ll probably do them next.
2016: Springer 2.5, Castro 1.1, Correa 0.8, White 0.5, Kemp 0.1, McCullers 0.1 4.1/7.7 53.2% (The also have Dallas Keuchel, currently negative but a big part of the rebuild)
2015 Hitters: Correa 4.1, Springer 3.8, Castro 1.3, Tucker 0.3, Duffy 0.1 9.6/26.2 = 41.4%
2015 Pitchers Keuchel 7.2, McCullers 2.4, Velasquez 0.2, Buchanon 0.2 10/20.4 = 49.0%
Total 20/46.6 = 42.9%
Fun stuff! I have to stop for now, and I don’t promise to get back to this, but I WILL say this: if you like this, and put in a comment, I am much more likely to do some more. Feel free to suggest teams to do – the Angels come to mind, as Trout is 10 out of a limited total, all by himself!