Tonight's Major League Baseball draft starts at 6 p.m. ET. Shortly thereafter Philadelphia Phillies fans will know who the newest prospects purportedly are. A recently published sabermetric statistic served to highlight this organization's recent draft history. Of course, highlight is a subjective term.
The word 'incredible' can be interpreted in many ways. Whether fans consider themselves to be old-school cool, part of the sharp new order or somewhere in between, combined consensus regarding modern Phillies' drafts and their resulting WAR score clearly will cause collective screams.
Todd Zolecki, a longtime Phillies' beat writer and current MLB website reporter, provided a confirming sabermetric statistic: The Phillies have had 46 selections from the 2004-2013 draft reach the major leagues, which was seventh-best in the game.
That last line seemed like an encouraging read. However, the combined wins above replacement value (WAR score) for those 46 men was only 20.7. That new age number means little without a framed reference. So, consider that the Toronto Blue Jays combined WAR score during the same period of time was 45.3.
Finishing 24.6 points behind a team rightly raises concern, until this next stunning point is heard: The Blue Jays' baseball draft WAR Score from 2004-2013 ranks twenty-ninth in the major leagues. Yes, the Phillies' 20.7 mark lives in last place. The Boston Red Sox rank first on this list with a 142.7 score.
Scouting is a highly-subjective profession. Hard-working scouts, of which this author has known plenty through the years, are only part of the equation. As with all corporations, top-level decisions often affect the ability of all employees to effectively perform their jobs.
There's no doubt that the Phillies became a powerhouse during the last decade because of excellent draft days. Today, however, there's no doubt that their nosedive transpired because of many factors that are firmly rooted in missed draft days.