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Three Graphs That Might Help Explain the Suck

I noticed on my desktop that I had a spreadsheet sitting around with some graphs from when I wrote an article about the Phillies’ bad contracts from a couple weeks ago. They’re comparisons between the Phillies and four teams normally associated with having forward thinking front offices: the A’s, Rays, Cardinals, and Red Sox.

I didn’t include the charts themselves into the post, but I figured they were slightly interesting, and I have nothing to use them for, so here they are.

These graphs aren’t to say that all of the big name signings were all horrible choices, just to kind of explain how Ruben Amaro’s tenure culminated in the last two seasons we’ve had.

Once the older players, get hurt, and there aren’t good young players ready to play… I know, its been said a million times.

Graphs reference the 5 seasons that Ruben Amaro Jr. has been the GM during that offseason, so 2009-2013.

The first is a comparison of draft picks before the second round (first round and supplemental round) made by all 5 teams during that time:

No surprise here, we sucked - Now can we talk about the Rays for a minute??

No surprise here, we sucked – Now can we talk about the Rays for a minute??

The most immediate and astounding thing to me is that Tampa Bay Rays have had 17 picks before the 2nd round in the last five years. SEVENTEEN. SEVENTEEN. Over FIVE seasons. I question the quality of their amateur scouting department that they aren’t owning every top prospect list in existence. Also, we clearly sucked in this department, given all the free agent signings we’ve made (although not in 2012. Good on you, Ruben!).

The second is a chart of the net number of Baseball America Top 100 Prospects traded for minus traded away for each team in that 5 year stretch:

As you can see, three of the “progressive” front offices weren’t constantly trading away veterans for top 100 prospects, and stayed relatively neutral, although the A’s did a couple weird things where they traded for guys that qualified and then traded them away the next year.

That Billy Beane, huh? Also, as you can see, a hole had to be dug for us when it came to the number of prospects we kept.

Finally, this chart is actually less decisive than I would have thought. Its a comparison of contribution of WAR (Baseball-Reference) by players under 30 each season, for each team.

Its not quite as cut and dry as you’d assume, and I think what it really shows is that players in their early 30′s CAN win (AKA 2010-2011 Phillies), but they are a hell of a lot more fragile (2012 Phillies), which can make you fall into a basin of relative suck. Same with the 2011 & 2012 Red Sox. Here’s the graph:

Well, we weren't the best here either. And we haven't been trending up at all.

Well, we weren’t the best here either. And we haven’t been trending up at all.

So, yeah. I just thought those three charts are emblematic of the problems we’ve been seeing lately, and I used bits and pieces of this data in another post, so if this was a waste of time for you, I apologize and forget this ever existed. Ok? Ok.

Also: all stats come from a couple hours I spent on baseball-reference.com, the greatest site known to man (also I read through the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect lists for each season).

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