FanPost

Does Huntington Draft Better?

The peasants are revolting - to hear some tell it, the promise of Neal Huntington's hiring as GM at the end of the 2007 season is turning into a Littlefield re-run.  Charlie's recent post on our minor league system made me wonder - has Neal Huntington drafted better than Dave Littlefield?

I've highlighted the farm system Neal inherited before and compared Littlefield's draft success to the rest of the league.  And others have evaluated the farm system under both regimes (here and here, among what I'm sure are many others).  But still the question remains - has Neal Huntington drafted better players than Dave Littlefield did?

I'm not the person to answer that question, but here are two quick charts to ponder.  First, here's the 2011 average ages of hitters and pitchers by league and the average ages of the players in the Pirates affiliate for that league. 

Level

Affiliate

Pitchers’ Average Age

Batters’ Average Age

 

 

League

Pirates

League

Pirates

A-

State College

21.4

20.4

21.2

21.1

Rookie

GCL Pirates

20.4

19.5

19.9

19.4

A

West Virginia

21.9

20.9

21.4

22.1

A+

Bradenton

22.9

23.5

22.7

22.2

AA

Altoona

24.6

24.4

24.2

23.8

AAA

Indianapolis

26.6

26.3

26.7

25.4

We all remember that Louis Heridia is 4 years younger than the average player in the GCL, but do we factor age in when evaluating other players?

The next chart compares what happened to the top ten picks for Dave Littlefield's first 2 drafts to what happened to the top ten picks for Neal Huntington's first 2 drafts. 

 

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2002 1st 10 Picks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bryan Bullington, P

21

A+

AA

AAA

Injury

Pirates

 

 

Blair Johnson, P

18

A

A

A

A

A+

AA

 

Tabor Lee, SS

21

A

A+

AA

AAA

AA

 

 

Wardel Starling, P

19

Rookie

A

A+

AA

AA

 

 

Alex Hart, P

22

A+

A+

 

 

 

 

 

Brad Eldred, 1B

21

A

AA

Pirates

 

 

 

 

Matt Capps, P

18

Rookie

A

AA

Pirates

 

 

 

Bobby Kingsbury, OF

21

A

A

A+

Injury?

A+

 

 

Joe Hicks, OF

18

Rookie

A-

A-

A-

 

 

 

Dave Davidson, P

18

Rookie

Rookie

A

A+

AAA

AA

AAA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2003 1st 10 Picks

 

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Paul Maholm, P

 

21

A+

Pirates

 

 

 

 

Tom Gorzelanny, P

 

20

A+

AA

Pirates

 

 

 

Steve Lerud, C

 

18

Rookie

A

A

A+

AA

AA

Kyle Pearson, P

 

18

Rookie

A

A

A+

AA

 

Craig Stansberry, 3B

 

21

A

AA

AAA

 

 

 

C.J. Smith, 1B

 

21

A

 

 

 

 

 

Russ Johnson, P

 

18

A+

 

 

 

 

 

Sergio Silva, P

 

21

Injury?

Injury?

A

 

 

 

Kent Wulf, 2B

 

18

Rookie

A-

Rookie

 

 

 

John Peabody, OF

 

17

Rookie

Rookie

A-ss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2008 1st 10 Picks

 

 

 

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

Pedro Alvarez, 3B

 

 

 

 

21

AA

Pirates

 

Tanner Scheppers, P

 

Did

Not

Sign

 

 

 

 

Jordy Mercer, SS

 

 

 

 

21/A

A+

AA

AAA

Chase d’Arnaud, SS

 

 

 

 

21

A+

AA

Pirates

Justin Wilson, P

 

 

 

 

20

A+

AA

AAA

Robbie Grossman, OF

 

 

 

 

18

A

A+

A+

Benji Gonzalez, SS

 

 

 

 

18

A

A

A+

Jeremy Farrell, 3B

 

 

 

 

21

A

A+

AA

Matt Hague, 3B

 

 

 

 

22/A

A+

AA

AAA

Drew Gagnon, P

 

Did

Not

Sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2009 1st 10 Picks

 

 

 

 

 

2009

2010

2011

Tony Sanchez, C

 

 

 

 

 

21/A

A+

AA

Victor Black, P

 

 

 

 

 

21

A

A+

Brooks Pounder, P

 

 

 

 

 

18

A-ss

A

Evan Chambers, OF

 

 

 

 

 

20

A

A+

Zack Dodson, P

 

 

 

 

 

18

A-ss

A

Nathan Baker, P

 

 

 

 

 

21

A+

A+

Zack von Rosenberg, P

 

 

 

 

 

18

A-ss

A

Trent Stevenson, P

 

 

 

 

 

19

A-ss

A

Colton Cain, P

 

 

 

 

 

18

A-ss

A

Brock Holt, 2B

 

 

 

 

 

21

A+

AA

The first column shows the player’s age in the year drafted.  Then, for each following year, I show the highest minor-league level where the player got regular playing time until the player made the Pirates or disappeared from our minor-league system.  (In some cases, the player was traded; in others, the player just disappears from sight.) 

 

What do we learn?  First, Neal and Dave both got 2 of their drafted players to the Major Leagues within 3 years of their first draft.  However, Littlefield appears to have rushed Maholm, a mistake that probably should be avoided.  Secondly, it fells that Huntington’s draftees are advancing faster than Littlefield’s were.  Notice that he drafted three players who signed quickly enough to get significant playing time (excluding the NY-Penn League) the year they were drafted.  Finally, let’s just remember how young some of these guys are – sure, sometimes you get a David Clyde or a Steven Strasbourg who can make it to the majors quickly, but that type of player is the exception, not the rule.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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