QFT. We are so freaking stacked with pitching. I'm not worried about that aspect of our future. We will be FINE. Matter of fact, I think we'll have the best young starting rotation in baseball as early as next season and it's only going to get better in the following years.
WE NEED HITTERS!!
I do not know where this whole myth of us not having any hitters in our minor leagues came from. We might have guys that are not as well known, Ill agree with that. We might have put a more of a focus on drafting pitchers in the last couple drafts, Ill agree to a certain extent with that as well. But its not like the team just decided to select all pitchers and no hitters, I mean for God's sake there is 50 some rounds in the draft and if you look at any team they are not made up of entirely first round picks.
Just as an example and to prove the point to show this, let us look at the roster last years NL Champs the Colorado Rockies (Looking at their top 12 hitters in at-bats and top 5 pitchers in IP). Only three of the guys were first round picks (Helton, Tuwlowitski, and Francis-pitcher). Three of the batters were drafted in round 2-5 [Baker-4, Ianetta-4, Atkins-5]. Spilboroughs and Holliday were both drafted in round 7. Hawpe was drafted in round 11, Carroll was drafted in round 14. Three guys were not drafted and came in as amateur free agents (Torrabella, Matsui, Taveras). Looking at their starting rotation you had [Francis-1, Fogg-3, Cook-2, Hirsh-2, Jimenez-Amateur free agent from Dominican). As you can notice, the hitters came from mostly the first 10 rounds, but were only 2 came from the first round, the rest round four or after. A good portion of their hitters were not even drafted. This is in comparison to their pitching staff where four of the guys were drafted in the first 3 rounds and 3 of them in the first two. Pitchers are a rarer commodity and the best ones usually come from the top rounds. Hitters on the other hand can come from almost anywhere (but most of the time the top 10 rounds). Just so it doesnt seem that I picked a team that fits the case, I looked at the Anaheim Angels (the "moneyball" team). Out of their starting lineup this year they have three former first rounders (Mathis, Kotchmann, and Hunter). The rest of the lineup was picked round 4 and below with two guys that were Amateur free agents. Their starting rotation has three guys picked in the first round (Garland, Saunders, and Weaver) and one guy that was a second rounder (Lackey). The other, Santana, was also an amateur free agent. Now, both these teams did not draft ALL these players, but I am using this show WHERE these players were drafted and WHERE they are now on two good teams (one that was good last year-colorado and one this year-Anaheim).
Now if we look at our own drafting patterns for the last three years. All three of our first picks were pitchers (Willems-2006, Detwiler-2007, Crow-2008), the guys that are supposed to eventually make up our rotation. But if we want to take a closer look you will see that we have drafted almost the same amount of hitters in this time period. In 06 we drafted 20 bats and 32 arms (11 bats signed vs. 15 arms). In 07 we drafted 27 bats (19 signed) vs. 26 arms (20 signed). In 2008 we drafted 29 bats and only 21 arms. But then you might argue that we only drafted quality arms, still not true. Looking at both Baseball America's top 200 and PGCC's top 200 the following of our draft picks were amongst those lists (only the guys we signed for 06 and 07):
2006 [Marrero, Willems, King, Englund, Zinicola, VanAllen, & Gibson]
2007 [Burgess, Smolinski, Detwiler, Smoker, McGeary, Zimmermann, and Meyers]
2008 [Crow, Hood, Nieto, JP Ramierez, Espinosa, & Crow]
So over the three year period that comes to 9 arms and 9 bats that were part of the BA+PGCC top 200 list, an equal number (we ended up trading Gibson). As far as drafting strategy is concerned, they have done a fair job of filling the system with pitchers and hitters. This year in fact, they drafted 4 guys from the top 200 that were hitters versus only one pitcher (Crow), but it makes sense. The fact that you would want them to take more hitters seems a bit ridiculous, would you have them draft all hitters?
The guys we drafted are not going to start showing up in the minor league system for a year or two as producers (GCL and Vermont for now), but even if you look at our lower minor teams, they are producing. The numbers are not always accurate, but you cant deny that our teams our winning (Harrisburg, Hagerstown, Potomac) and its not just because they have good pitching. Hagerstown as a team leads the league in RBIs with Rhinehart, Burgess, and Seuss all among the top 10 in the league in that category. Seuss also has the 12th best avg in the league and 7th most doubles. Lyons has the 3rd best OBP in the league. Potomac leads the league in team runs (by more than 40), in RBIs, and team Avg. Leonard Davis has the 2nd best avg in the league and the 4th OBP. Edgardo Baez is in the top 15 in both those categories. Baez, Marrero, Rogelstand and Davis are also amongst the top 20 in the league in RBIs (Davis/Marrero/Baez are also in the top 10 in Home Runs + Baez/Rogelstad in the top 10 for doubles). These are mostly guys that were drafted while the team was still cooperatively owned, the bats that we drafted after the Lerners took over havent even started to appear yet. So to say we dont have any bats in the minors, IMO, is crazy and to say that the draft strategy is whack is just as ludicrous. But then again, this mostly my opinion