Why Alex is Right to Spend Big on Scouting

This is a tale of 2 cities. One has had success recently, the other has not. In order to prove why the Jays desperately needed both a change in GM and influx of cash in their scouting department, I will compare the Tampa Bay Rays drafts from 2001 to 2005 to the Toronto Blue Jays Draft from 2001 to 2005. I chose 2005 because most of the players chosen up to that year have either made it to MLB or are knocking on the door, and all players chosen to that point had enough chance to prove their talents.

Listed are players who have had, or are arguably expected to have, an impact in MLB (whether with the team who drafted them or not), with the round drafted in brackets.

2001 Draft (very weak class)
  • Jays Impact Picks: Gabe Gross (1), Brandon League (2)
  • Rays Impact Picks: Dewon Brazelton (1), Joey Gathright (32), Chad Gaudin (34)
2002 Draft
  • Jays Impact Picks: Russ Adams (1), David Bush (2)
  • Rays Impact Picks: BJ Upton (1), Jason Pridie (2), Elijah Dukes (3), Wes Bankston (4), Johnny Gomes (8), Jason Hammel (10), Mike Pelfrey (15), Jacoby Ellsbury (23)
2003 Draft
  • Jays Impact Picks: Aaron Hill (1), Shaun Marcum (3), Thomas Mastny (11)
  • Rays Impact Picks: Delmon Young (1), Andrew Miller (3), Chad Orvella (13), Adam Ottavino (30), Wade Leblanc (36)
2004 Draft (best Jays Draft Class in the decade)
  • Jays Impact Picks: Zach Jackson (1), David Purcey (2), Casey Janssen (4), Adam Lind (5), Jesse Litsch (24)
  • Rays Impact Picks: Jeff Niemann (1), Reid Brignac (2), Wade Davis (3), Jacob McGee (5), Andy Sonnanstine (13), Cale Iorg (16), Daniel McCutchen (29)
2005 Draft
  • Jays Impact Picks: Ricky Romero (1), Robert Ray (7), Reidier Gonzalez (19)
  • Rays Impact Picks: Wade Townsend (1), Chris Mason (2), Jeremy Hellickson (4), Clayton Mortenson (25)
The Result? Well, it took some time to let the 2002-2004 guys mature, but 2008 proved huge dividends for the Rays. These drafted players came to impact their clubs most, and the Jays piggy bank could no longer keep up with the costs of the team. Tampa finished at 97-65 while the Jays finished at 86-76. The difference, if you'll notice, is exactly what Alex Anthopolous said the Jays need to accumulate in wins in order to win in the AL East. 2009 held the same win spread of  close to 10, with the Rays winning 84 games while the Jays won just 75.

If adding to the scouting department' skills and knowledge adds 10 wins per season, it's definitely something worth doing. With a scouting program that produces assets the way the Rays do, the Jays could do some serious damage in the AL East because the Jays budget is about 10 million greater than the Rays, allowing the Jays to either keep players a little longer, or acquire more pieces through FA. I'm truly glad that Alex has invested in scouting, and look forward to the time when we can evaluate this investment as I've done above.

1 comment:

  1. fishercatsfan12/7/09, 1:06 PM

    The biggest difference is that although the jays have more to spend they are also stuck with the awful contract of Vernon Wells. The amount of young talent they could get in exchange for that money is huge.