Let's get a little philosophical at the bar today.
It’s Friday, you’d rather think than work anyway.
I’ve been having this conversation with a bunch of people in the past few days, and I wanted to bring it to you. There’s no real correct answer this time. Just looking for your thoughts.
This discussion came about earlier this week when the Orioles released outfielder Trent Mummey from High-A Frederick. The Orioles drafted Mummey in the fourth round in 2010 out of Auburn and loved his promise and his hard-charging attitude.
But Mummey couldn’t stay healthy long enough to fulfill his potential, and the Orioles finally cut ties this week.
He becomes the most recent member of the 2010 draft class to be released, joining fifth-rounder Connor Narron, seventh-rounder Matt Bywater and 10th rounder Clay Schrader. Third-rounder Dan Klein retired due to continual shoulder troubles, and there was no second-rounder.
Only three drafts have occurred since 2010, yet there’s only a handful of players from that draft still in the system. In the top 20 rounds, the only selections still in the organization are catcher Wynston Sawyer (eighth round) and a trio of pitchers: Parker Bridwell (ninth), David Richardson (17th) and Sebastian Vader (18th).
Oh, and third baseman Manny Machado, the club’s first-round selection and the third pick overall in 2010. Machado, currently on the 15-day disabled list, was an All-Star and won the Platinum Gold Glove in 2013 as the American League’s best defensive player. And he’s just 21.
It’s likely that Machado is the only impact player from the Orioles' 2010 draft and maybe the only major leaguer from it (Bridwell is listed by Baseball America as the organization’s 19th best prospect in 2014; no other 2010 draftee is in the organization’s Top 30).
So my question is this: Was the 2010 draft class a bust? Or was it a success since it yielded an All-Star and impact player with a big upside?
The rule of thumb is if you can get three or four players from one draft class to make the majors, that’s a strong group. And if you can get one great player, that’s even better.
I threw the discussion out on Twitter, and it ended up evolving into a lament about the Orioles’ lack of development of homegrown players outside top picks such as Machado, Matt Wieters, Kevin Gausman, etc. And, yes, the club has not done a good job on drafting and developing players from the deeper rounds. They must get better at that. No argument there.
But, frankly, most great players come from the top of the drafts -- or from other countries. Consider this: Baseball America ranked the best prospect in each of the 30 organizations for 2014 and 14 were first-rounders, six were supplemental first-rounders (roughly selected in the top 50 of the draft) and seven more were international signings not subject to the draft (players from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, etc).
Of the 30, only three were picked in the second round or later. Two were second-rounders and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson was an 11th rounder.
Baseball America lists the Pittsburgh Pirates as the best system in baseball this year. Of their Top 10 prospects, four were signed internationally, three were first-rounders, one was a second-rounder, one was a fourth-rounder and one was a fifth-rounder.
In comparison, the Orioles' Top 10 consists of three international signings, three first-rounders, a second-rounder, a third-rounder, an 11th-rounder and one 50th-rounder -- left-hander Tim Berry, who signed for a good bonus ($125,000) but fell in the draft because he had Tommy John surgery as a high school senior.
The point is that, as much as we harp on the need for the Orioles -- or any franchise, for that matter -- to have more organizational depth, most players signed after the first few rounds never make much of an impact at all. And, in today’s global game, it’s just as important, or maybe more important, to have strong international signings as it is to have solid draft classes.
And so, in my opinion, you land a Machado in the draft, that’s a huge success, even if you don’t get anything else. (And don’t make the argument that a No. 3 overall pick better be great; Since 1998, Machado and Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria are the only No. 3 picks to have made an All-Star Game).
The amateur draft is a crapshoot. So I say take the Machado pick in 2010 and be happy with the haul. I talked to a couple talent evaluators and scouts who agreed with me. And a few more that said, Machado or not, it’s a bust because no one else likely will emerge.
I get both arguments.
What do you say?
Daily Think Special: If Manny Machado is the Orioles' only major leaguer from the 2010 draft, is that a success or a bust?