Recently, a fanpost tried to show statistically that Neal Huntingdon had done no better with the Pirates farm system than Dave Littlefield. I wondered about how NH's drafts have compared to DL's drafts. Then I wondered how Littlefield's drafts compared to the rest of MLB over the same period of time, measured by the number of drafted players who subsequently made it to the big leagues. Choose your answer on the poll below, I'll post the answer I got Monday afternoon.
Here's the methodology/info I used.
Dave Littlefield was GM (under Kevin McClatchy) from July 2001 to September 2007. Littlefield and Scouting Director Ed Creech were responsible for the Pirates draft selections for the 2002-2007 June drafts (6 drafts).
From 2002-2007, the Pirates have had:
a) 14 players selected in the 1st 10 rounds made it to the majors
b) 4 other players selected from rounds 11-50 made it to the majors.
For the Pirates under McClatchey, Littlefield, and Creech (i.e., the Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight), 14 of 60 players selected in the 1st 10 rounds made it to the majors. That is 23%. How does that stack up compared to the results achieved by other 29 teams' 1st ten picks in the 2002-2007 drafts?
* Full disclosure so as not to anger the stats gawds on BD - I could not find a master list of all players drafted by all teams (and reporting their ML service) f/2002-2007. So I used a random sampling that I think will be an adequate substitute for our purposes (killing time until spring training). I looked at one round (1st - 10th) each successive year between 2002 and 2007, rotating back to 2002 when necessary, and added up the # of players who made it to the Majors from that year's draft round.
UPDATE: According to my count (and remember, I used a randomly-selected sample, not all data available) the other 29 teams graduated 25% of their 2002-2007 Round 1-10 draft picks to the Major Leagues as of 15 January 2011. This puts the Pirates surprisingly close to the league average statistically.
As observed here and in a separate thread, numbers don't matter as much as quality (unless you're Custer). The Pirates drafted Bryan Bullington with the first pick of the 2002 draft, passing on players like B.J. Upton, Prince Fielder, and Cole Hamels. Blair Johnson and Taber Lee, drafted 1st in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, never made the majors while Jon Lester (Red Sox 2nd Round), Josh Johnson (Marlins 4th Round), Nick Hundley (Marlins 5th Round) and SS Brandon Moss (Red Sox 8th Round) all contributed in the bigs.
Iowa Pirates Fan nailed the list of our graduates and Roberto gives a good layout of our missed opportunities in another post. Mark in Dallas contributed something statistically, if anyone can translate it to Troggish (little words), I might understand it some day.
How Well Did Dave Littlefield Draft? The results of his six years of drafts, compared to the 29 other Major League teams, are:
Abysmal - He went to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and started digging. (30 votes)
Below average, but not wrist-slittingly bad. (29 votes)
Surprisingly close to the league average - maybe he's not such a bad guy after all (13 votes)
Above average - nothin' but a bunch of Littlefield haters would miss that. (1 vote)
Well above average - everyone will be shocked to see the truth. (2 votes)
75 total votes