Examining Baseball Draft Value

crakpot By crakpot, 15th Aug 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1jd.r16d/
Posted in Wikinut>News>Sport

Is it possible to predict which draft picks will succeed in Major League Baseball? Which baseball player had the best draft value: Eddie Murray (63rd pick, 1973), or Ray Durham (132nd pick, 1990)? Who had the best draft value of all time?

Examining Baseball Draft Value

Every June, Major League Baseball holds its First Year Player Draft. And every year, after the final pick has been made, pundits rant over whether their favorite team got the best value, and which stars will develop into franchise players. For this article, I wondered which statistics amassed before a player plays a single professional game can be used to predict value. Thanks to the breadth of statistics available at Baseball Reference, this is not only possible, it is reasonably painless to find these statistics. I decided to test three different variables:
School (High School; Junior College; 4 Year College)
Position (Catcher, Third Base, etc.)
Draft Pick (First, Seventeenth, etc.)
Here are the average WAR variables from players drafted between 1996-2000, by category:

Drafted Out Of...
High School: 2.15 WAR
Junior College: 1.06
4 Year College: 3.68

Registered Position Is...
Catcher: 1.21
First Base: 4.72
Second Base*: 4.41
Third Base: 6.67
Shortstop: 3.39
Outfield: 4.11
Left Handed Pitcher: 2.4
Right Handed Pitcher: 1.53
* Too little info to average 2Bs accurately, rating based on

Drafted With Pick...
1-10: 8.56
11-20: 4.12
21-30: 1.2
31-40: 1.4
41-50: 1.82
51-60: 1.41
61-70: 1.16
71+: 1.23

Regressing this info with WAR data, we find that, in fact, the type of school that a player comes from has little effect on his future WAR. Removing this info, we find this equation to predict a player's WAR:

Future WAR = -2.17 + 0.88*Position + 0.95*Pick

Unfortunately, though this equation is simple, it only describes 13% of the variation in future performance. This is not good. However, I am doubtful that an equation will surface that explains more than 30% of future performance, because of all of the unknowns before a player plays a single game (see Gooden, Dwight). So I will leave this equation be, and move on to the second half of this article.
If we can't predict future performance, can we at least use draft data to look backwards? In the words of our loquacious president, Yes We Can....
Want More? Read the full article here


Analysis, Baseball, Data, Draft, Draftval, Mlb, Pick, Player, Sabermetrics, Sports, Value, War

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author avatar crakpot
"Not being elitist is what makes me better than everybody else"

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