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Drafting Is Hard As Hell - Snapshot of the 1997-2008 Years

No fancy charts, just a little monkeying around with B/R this weekend.

Went through each draft from 1997 to 2008, looked to the 17th/18th round through 500 odd players.

Its been done before obviously, but here's some summary info.

Made a pretty simple baseline: 10 WAR to get noted as a useful player, 20 WAR to be very good, 30 WAR and above to be elite. This is by no means perfect, but its an easy sorting tool.

1997: 3 elite talents, 7 very good, 6 useful. 16 players out of 500 plus drafted. 8 of these players came from the 1st round.

The 1997 Elite: 6/185 Tim Hudson A's 57.9 WAR 4Y RHP; 1/16 Lance Berkman Astros 51.8 WAR 4YR 1B; 1/3 Troy Glaus Angels 37.9 WAR 4 YR 3B

1998: 3 elite talents, 5 very good, 14 useful. 22 players out of 500 plus drafted. 12 of these players came from the 1st round.

The 1998 Elite: 1/20 CC Sabathia Indians 55.2 WAR HS RHP; 1/5 JD Drew Cards 44.9 WAR 4Y OF; 7/210 Matt Holliday Rocks 40.7 WAR HS 3B

1999: 1 HOF talent, 6 elite talents, 9 very good, 11 useful. 27 players out of 500 plus drafted. 8 of these players came from the 1st round.

The 1999 Elite: 13/402 Albert Pujols Cards 94.3 WAR JC 3B (HOF); 15/472 Jake Peavy Padres 38.4 WAR HS RHP; 2/52 Carl Crawford Rays 37.1 WAR HS OF; 1/2 Josh Beckett Marlins 34.0 WAR HS RHP; 9/271 Mark Ellis Royals 33.4 WAR 4Y SS ; 1/9 Barry Zito A's 33.0 WAR 4Y LHP; 6/194 Shane Victorino Dodgers 30.3 WAR HS OF

2000: 5 elite talents, 6 very good, 9 useful. 20 players out of 500 plus drafted. 5 of these players came from the 1st round.

The 2000 Elite: 1/15 Chase Utley Phils 59.2 WAR 4Y 2B; 4/105 Cliff Lee Expos 44.2 WAR 4Y LHP ; 1/1 Adrian Gonzalez Marlins 35.6 WAR HS 1B; 8/249 Brandon Webb D-backs 31.4 WAR 4Y RHP; 1/29 Adam Wainwright Braves 31.3 WAR HS RHP

Note: Yadier Molina and James Shields should join that arbitrary endpoint soon.

2001: 5 elite talents, 2 very good, 12 useful. 19 out of 500 plus drafted. 6 of these players came from the 1st round.

The 2001 Elite: 1/5 Mark Teixera Rangers 48.3 WAR 4Y 3B; 1S/38 David Wright Mets 47.0 WAR HS 3B; 1/1 Joe Mauer Twins 44.7 WAR HS C; 2/72 Dan Haren Cards 33.8 WAR 4Y RHP; 8/243 Kevin Youkalis Red Sox 32.7 WAR 4Y 3B

2002: (MONEYBALL!): 5 elite talents, 8 very good, 7 useful. 20 out of 500 plus drafted. 12 of these players came in the 1st round.

The 2002 Elite: 1/6 Zach Greinke Royals 38.3 WAR HS RHP, 3/80 Curtis Granderson Tigers 35.4 WAR 4Y OF; 1/17 Cole Hamels Phils 34.8 WAR HS LHP; 2/44 Joey Votto Reds 34.7 WAR HS C; 1/25 Matt Cain Giants 32.5 WAR HS RHP

Note: John Lester close to joining this group.

2003: 1 elite talent, 8 very good, 9 useful. 18 out of 500 plus drafted. 9 of these players came in the first round.

The 2003 Elite: 17/496 Ian Kinsler Rangers 35.4 WAR 4Y SS

2004: 4 elite talents, 1 very good, 10 useful. 15 out of 500 plus drafted. 7 of these players came in the 1st round. Of note from here on out: more players will flood in most likely as their careers progress.

The 2004 Elite: 1/2 Justin Verlander Tigers 41.5 WAR 4Y RHP; 2/65 Dustin Pedroia Red Sox 39.4 WAR 4Y SS; 1/12 Jered Weaver Angels 33.6 WAR 4Y RHP; 6/184 Ben Zobrist Astros 32.7 WAR 4Y 2B

2005: 4 elite talents, 7 very good, 7 useful. 18 out of 500 plus drafted. 12 of these players came in the 1st round.

The 2005 Elite: 1/5 Ryan Braun Brewers 35.7 WAR 4Y 3B; 1/7 Troy Tulowitzki Rockies 35.5 WAR 4Y SS; 1/4 Ryan Zimmerman Nats 34.2 WAR 4Y 3B; 1/11 Andrew McCutchen Pirates 28.5 WAR HS OF

Note: I rounded up on Cutch because he's almost there and he's frickin' awesome.

2006: 2 elite talents, 2 very good, 8 useful. 12 out of 500 plus drafted. 5 of these players came in the 1st round.

The 2006 Elite: 1/3 Evan Longoria Rays 37.3 WAR 4Y 3B; 1/7 Clayton Kershaw Dodgers 33.4 WAR HS LHP

Note: partial list of players coming: John Jay, Alex Cobb, Chris Davis, Mike Leake, Alan Craig, David Freese, Craig Gentry, Daniel Murphy, Josh Reddick. The very good players are Tim Lincecum and Max Scherzer

2007: not enough time in the show yet. There are 9 players who are around 10 WAR and above.

Modified 2007 elite: 1/14 Jayson Heyward Braves 19.7 WAR HS OF; 1/1 David Price Rays 18.7 WAR 4Y LHP; 2/76 Giancarlo Stanton Marlins 16.3 WAR HS 1B

2008: not enough time in the show yet. There are 4 players who are around 10 WAR and above.

Modified 2008 elite: 1/5 Buster Posey Giants 19.0 WAR 4Y C

2009 and on: Paul Goldschmidt, Jason Kipnis, some guy named Trout, Steven Strasberg, Mike Leake, Kyle Seager, Chris Sale, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Matt Harvey, Andrelton Simmons. And a few more.

Conclusion: there will be more players from later drafts, but its a pretty consistent trend of around 20 players being notable (above 10 WAR in the show) for each draft, with some being a little less and some being a little more. I was surprised by how many names came from outside the top 5 picks. In a 11 year period there are about 40 or so MLB'ers with elite labels from the draft. 4 a year? Wowza!

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