2023 MLB Draft

Jed Zeppelin

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Or “not.” It seems like the Sox drafted a number of signable strike throwers with middling stuff that they might be able to unlock.
I’m mobile and having trouble finding it now but IIRC the Sox have hired some people from Driveline or one of those companies that is built on improving velocity. Sometimes all it takes is that and a new cutter or something to make not wow stuff pop just enough.

The key thing for me is they are no longer giving these types 7 figure 1st round bonuses like they did for Brian Johnson and Henry Owens.
 

burstnbloom

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The strategy mirrors what the Rays and Dodgers are doing in the middle rounds. College arms with the ability to throw strikes and get them in the lab. It's obviously worked for those franchises and seems like a smart stratgey.

We are starting to see the fruits of that with Dalton Rogers, Hunter Dobbins, and Shane Drohan.
 

SouthernBoSox

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The strategy mirrors what the Rays and Dodgers are doing in the middle rounds. College arms with the ability to throw strikes and get them in the lab. It's obviously worked for those franchises and seems like a smart stratgey.

We are starting to see the fruits of that with Dalton Rogers, Hunter Dobbins, and Shane Drohan.
They definitely have spent most of their draft capital on position players, specifically high school kids with upside. I think that the margin of outcomes is just so difficult on arms it’s probably best to spend on rifle shot outcomes and load up on as many decent arms as possible. Some will miss, some will hit, but you aren’t wasting top 80 picks on that variance.
 

Sad Sam Jones

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The strategy mirrors what the Rays and Dodgers are doing in the middle rounds. College arms with the ability to throw strikes and get them in the lab. It's obviously worked for those franchises and seems like a smart stratgey.

We are starting to see the fruits of that with Dalton Rogers, Hunter Dobbins, and Shane Drohan.
Cleveland does it better than anyone. They've gotten two Cy Young winners by identifying college products with command and stuff in the 4th or 5th round and then adding a few mph's to their fastball and/or a cutter – Kluber and Bieber (although in Kluber's case, another team drafted him and Cleveland identified him as a minor league trade target). Tanner Bibee is the latest version. 2023 was the first time in a few years that college pitchers made up less than 75% of their draft.
 

johnlos

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Here is a report about Fabian being offered 3 million by someone after the Sox.

https://www.nbcsportsboston.com/mlb/boston-red-sox/report-second-round-pick-fabian-wont-sign-with-red-sox/185250/

Here is a report about Zanatello.

https://www.si.com/mlb/red-sox/news/red-sox-reportedly-won-bidding-war-to-secure-high-upside-draft-prospect-scott7

Rumor has it was the Orioles who Fabian eventually went to the following year. The Sox may have thought they could lowball Fabian because he was a college player and most college players don’t have as much leverage as high school players. See Teel getting under slot even though most evaluators had him ranked higher. Fabian was a special case because he still had two years of eligibility in college. Most college players just have one so they have no leverage when they come out as seniors. That is why a “senior sign” is a thing. Many seniors are drafted in rounds 4-10 so teams can pay them way under slot and give higher bonuses to high school players. The Sox signed some for only $10,000 a year or two ago to save bonus money.

The MLB draft is bizarre the team gets a pool of money to distribute how they want. That means that teams have to try and cut deals beforehand to try and maximize the draft in total. The prime example being the Pirates who took Henry Davis to save a lot of money and then draft three high end high school players with the following 3 picks. That strategy is probably the reason the Sox got Marcelo at 4. From a strategic perspective the MLB draft is super interesting for how a team wants allocate their picks and also gives players a little bit of influence in where they are drafted which I think is a good thing.

In the NFL and NBA the draft slot salaries are specifically for that spot so teams can just draft the player they think is best at every pick. Each pick is independent as far as salary is concerned.
Thanks for the links. Sounds like they made a mistake with Fabian. Glad they didn't with Zanatello and had the negotiations set. Or they didn't, and had to pay up after the fact.

And yeah thanks for the explanation on leverage, which I really only learned after reading about the Teel pick and why he signed underslot. Cool that guys can have some leverage for where they sign. Then again, I sort of hate that in other sports (e.g. Eli Manning or Kobe).

Still, despite MLB having a crazy system, my point stands that trying to "outthink" the consensus typically fails (regardless of sport). You've seen it in recent years with Patriots taking stabs at guys consistently lower than their expected draft slot (who keep failing). And in general BB has been one of the more successful drafters too.

Would take a fuller appraisal to assess the draft under Chaim's tenure, but Yorke and R Anthony seem like finds, so generally think his organization is doing a great job. But could also discount them for losing Fabian (even if they got another pick) and Mikey Romero seems like a questionable underslot 1st rounder. We'll see if it was worth "over"paying Zanatello, which made them run out of money for later round picks (e.g. Phoenix Call) (even if I get they were made largely as insurance in case of Zanatello falling through).
 

johnlos

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Or “not.” It seems like the Sox drafted a number of signable strike throwers with middling stuff that they might be able to unlock.
That's been CLE's supposed secret. Drafted a lot of guys with excellent command and figured out how to increase their velo. Typically happens the other way (draft an arm and teach him to pitch).
 

Just a bit outside

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Thanks for the links. Sounds like they made a mistake with Fabian. Glad they didn't with Zanatello and had the negotiations set. Or they didn't, and had to pay up after the fact.

And yeah thanks for the explanation on leverage, which I really only learned after reading about the Teel pick and why he signed underslot. Cool that guys can have some leverage for where they sign. Then again, I sort of hate that in other sports (e.g. Eli Manning or Kobe).

Still, despite MLB having a crazy system, my point stands that trying to "outthink" the consensus typically fails (regardless of sport). You've seen it in recent years with Patriots taking stabs at guys consistently lower than their expected draft slot (who keep failing). And in general BB has been one of the more successful drafters too.

Would take a fuller appraisal to assess the draft under Chaim's tenure, but Yorke and R Anthony seem like finds, so generally think his organization is doing a great job. But could also discount them for losing Fabian (even if they got another pick) and Mikey Romero seems like a questionable underslot 1st rounder. We'll see if it was worth "over"paying Zanatello, which made them run out of money for later round picks (e.g. Phoenix Call) (even if I get they were made largely as insurance in case of Zanatello falling through).
I think the consensus is much less in baseball because of the projection that is necessary for high school players. That is why more and more teams are drafting college players in the first round. Imagine the NBA drafting 15 year olds and the NFL drafting 17 year olds and projecting where they will be in 5 years. Those two sports are difficult but drafting for MLB is nearly impossible after the first few picks.
 

burstnbloom

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Thanks for the links. Sounds like they made a mistake with Fabian. Glad they didn't with Zanatello and had the negotiations set. Or they didn't, and had to pay up after the fact.

And yeah thanks for the explanation on leverage, which I really only learned after reading about the Teel pick and why he signed underslot. Cool that guys can have some leverage for where they sign. Then again, I sort of hate that in other sports (e.g. Eli Manning or Kobe).

Still, despite MLB having a crazy system, my point stands that trying to "outthink" the consensus typically fails (regardless of sport). You've seen it in recent years with Patriots taking stabs at guys consistently lower than their expected draft slot (who keep failing). And in general BB has been one of the more successful drafters too.

Would take a fuller appraisal to assess the draft under Chaim's tenure, but Yorke and R Anthony seem like finds, so generally think his organization is doing a great job. But could also discount them for losing Fabian (even if they got another pick) and Mikey Romero seems like a questionable underslot 1st rounder. We'll see if it was worth "over"paying Zanatello, which made them run out of money for later round picks (e.g. Phoenix Call) (even if I get they were made largely as insurance in case of Zanatello falling through).
The mistake with Fabian was mostly they assumed he would be a rational actor and he ultimately wasn't. He went back to school and was drafted a year later and cost himself over $1m in signing bonus money. given his swing and miss, the likelihood he ever makes big dollars in mlb is very small and his (SSS) 38% k rate in AA isn't a good sign for the future.

I don't agree with your "outthink the consensus" point either. The MLB draft's slotting system makes everything different than other drafts. Going off the board with Yorke means you can afford to add Blaze Jordan and shane drohan. The consensus was Pete Crow-Armstrong, who is a better prospect than Yorke, but the difference in their bonuses paid for Blaze Jordan.

Last year they took Mikey Romero and gave him $700k under slot then Coffey $80k under slot. Both were top 65 prospects by BA. They used those savings to pay Roman Anthony the largest bonus in their draft at $2.5m *along with some 4th and 5th round senior signs). The yankees signed spencer jones with the next pick at $2.8m and he's a 22 year old playing in A+ with a 30% k rate. If they hadn't gained that $700k from Romero, they either don't have coffey, anthony or brooks brannon, who they paid well overslot to sign in the 9th round. I think you can argue draft to draft about this player over that player and all that but ultimately you have to look at the whole draft vs what they'd be able to do going consensus.
 

johnlos

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The mistake with Fabian was mostly they assumed he would be a rational actor and he ultimately wasn't. He went back to school and was drafted a year later and cost himself over $1m in signing bonus money. given his swing and miss, the likelihood he ever makes big dollars in mlb is very small and his (SSS) 38% k rate in AA isn't a good sign for the future.

I don't agree with your "outthink the consensus" point either. The MLB draft's slotting system makes everything different than other drafts. Going off the board with Yorke means you can afford to add Blaze Jordan and shane drohan. The consensus was Pete Crow-Armstrong, who is a better prospect than Yorke, but the difference in their bonuses paid for Blaze Jordan.

Last year they took Mikey Romero and gave him $700k under slot then Coffey $80k under slot. Both were top 65 prospects by BA. They used those savings to pay Roman Anthony the largest bonus in their draft at $2.5m *along with some 4th and 5th round senior signs). The yankees signed spencer jones with the next pick at $2.8m and he's a 22 year old playing in A+ with a 30% k rate. If they hadn't gained that $700k from Romero, they either don't have coffey, anthony or brooks brannon, who they paid well overslot to sign in the 9th round. I think you can argue draft to draft about this player over that player and all that but ultimately you have to look at the whole draft vs what they'd be able to do going consensus.
I think we're saying different versions of the same thing? My opinion is what Chaim's group did was smart in 2020 & 2022 with the early-underslot and saving for late-risers. And I agree with @Just a bit outside that predicting HSers is extra hard since the skill gap is way farther in MLB than NFL/NBA. Which is why I'm focusing on the Zanatello and Anderson picks in particular. First, they paid way overslot for two HSers. Second, both of them were picked around their consensus value (even if consensus is indeed noisier in MLB than other sports). So I'd say this is the first time I don't like their strategy. Mind you, I'm *really* glad they didn't pass on Teel, since they might have had a whole underslot/overslot thing worked out again and just went with the talent in this case.

Also I don't like playing the 'could have had' game like with PCA or Jones. You don't know which of the next 10-20 guys the Sox were targeting so there's little point in trying to assess the opportunity cost of the pick.
 

Scoops Bolling

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I think the consensus is much less in baseball because of the projection that is necessary for high school players. That is why more and more teams are drafting college players in the first round. Imagine the NBA drafting 15 year olds and the NFL drafting 17 year olds and projecting where they will be in 5 years. Those two sports are difficult but drafting for MLB is nearly impossible after the first few picks.
I'm curious where you've seen that the draft is skewing more towards college players, I have not seen anything along those lines and it doesn't jibe with my general impression from following the draft. It's true that some kinds of high school players aren't being drafted as much in the first round (particularly pitchers and catchers, but also 1B, although that was never a particularly highly drafted profile), but that's been more than balanced out by teams drafting more high school hitters (particularly HS SS and CF) in their stead. That's not really a projection issue, it's just teams (finally) adjusting their drafting based more heavily on historical outcomes which have shown highschool pitchers to be a crapshoot, highschool catchers to be almost universal failures, but on the other hand, highschool SS and CF being one of the safest and most valuable commodities in the draft.

I think we're saying different versions of the same thing? My opinion is what Chaim's group did was smart in 2020 & 2022 with the early-underslot and saving for late-risers. And I agree with @Just a bit outside that predicting HSers is extra hard since the skill gap is way farther in MLB than NFL/NBA. Which is why I'm focusing on the Zanatello and Anderson picks in particular. First, they paid way overslot for two HSers. Second, both of them were picked around their consensus value (even if consensus is indeed noisier in MLB than other sports). So I'd say this is the first time I don't like their strategy. Mind you, I'm *really* glad they didn't pass on Teel, since they might have had a whole underslot/overslot thing worked out again and just went with the talent in this case.

Also I don't like playing the 'could have had' game like with PCA or Jones. You don't know which of the next 10-20 guys the Sox were targeting so there's little point in trying to assess the opportunity cost of the pick.
I honestly don't follow your point here. The team was able to get a better than expected player with their first round pick, who even more to their benefit was willing to take an underslot deal which helped the team afford two of the most expensive, but also most valuable, talents available at their 2nd and 3rd picks. There's no real difference in what they're doing with Zanatello (drafted 50th, ranked ~58 on the "consensus" board of BA, MLB, Fangraphs, ESPN, and The Athletic) versus Roman Anthony last year (drafted 78th, ranked ~75 by last year's consensus).
 

Just a bit outside

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I'm curious where you've seen that the draft is skewing more towards college players, I have not seen anything along those lines and it doesn't jibe with my general impression from following the draft. It's true that some kinds of high school players aren't being drafted as much in the first round (particularly pitchers and catchers, but also 1B, although that was never a particularly highly drafted profile), but that's been more than balanced out by teams drafting more high school hitters (particularly HS SS and CF) in their stead. That's not really a projection issue, it's just teams (finally) adjusting their drafting based more heavily on historical outcomes which have shown highschool pitchers to be a crapshoot, highschool catchers to be almost universal failures, but on the other hand, highschool SS and CF being one of the safest and most valuable commodities in the draft.
I think I jumped the gun projecting this year to be a trend. There were far more college players drafted in the top 20 but that probably has more to do with this being the pandemic high school senior class that went to college. You are certainly right that it is middle of the field prospects that have seen their stock rise.
 

johnlos

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I honestly don't follow your point here. The team was able to get a better than expected player with their first round pick, who even more to their benefit was willing to take an underslot deal which helped the team afford two of the most expensive, but also most valuable, talents available at their 2nd and 3rd picks. There's no real difference in what they're doing with Zanatello (drafted 50th, ranked ~58 on the "consensus" board of BA, MLB, Fangraphs, ESPN, and The Athletic) versus Roman Anthony last year (drafted 78th, ranked ~75 by last year's consensus).
Good point, I honestly conflated the draft slots of Roman Anthony and Brooks Brannon. Also maybe biased by all the hype surrounding Anthony right after the draft about his late riser status (had just hit a 450 foot HR with a wood bat or something like that). Haven’t seen that type of praise for Zanatello (or Anderson).
 
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Sin Duda

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Thanks for posting this, TimScribble. That's exciting to me. The rules for engaging with Japanese HSers is different than all other international HSers, right?
 

DavidTai

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Thanks for posting this, TimScribble. That's exciting to me. The rules for engaging with Japanese HSers is different than all other international HSers, right?
Seoul is South Korea. From what I can see, the Korean signings is treated as part of the international pool, if the Cards' signing of Won-bin Cho is any indication.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Didn't Shin-Soo Choo get exempted from that by playing for their Olympic team or something like that? I have some vague recollection of it.
He was not exempted until he led SK to a gold medal in the Asian Games in his age 28 year, literally the last possible international competition before he would have had to begin his service. Very dramatic, and very lucrative, as it kept him on track for the huge contract he signed at his first and only chance at free agency a couple years later.

So it’s a higher bar than just representing the country. Obviously, if we get to a point where it’s a potential problem we are truly concerned with then we will be ecstatic with the ROI regardless.
 
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TimScribble

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Just an FYI, Lee Chan-sol signed, it’s in the minor league international signing thread.