The House that Chuck Lamar Built

It's not uncommon to observe the national media crediting Chuck Lamar's shrewd drafting in the top eight for 7 consecutive seasonsas the primary reason for the recent success of the Rays. In the annual, I will take a look at just how much Lamar's draftees contributed to the overall payroll and team WAR. For now let's take a look at the relative success of Lamar's drafts for the seasons ranging from 1999-2005. Next to each player will appear Total WAR accumulated and Wins Above Excellence. Wins Above Excellence represents the aggregate of all WAR beyond 3 for each individual season. A player with WAR values of 3.6/1.6/5.0 would have a Total WAR of 10.2 and a WAE of 2.6 (.6+0+2).

1999

#1 Overall: Josh Hamilton

We all know the story here with Hamilton's issues with drug addiction. He got his act together just in time to be selected a s Rule 5 pick. Despite the legend that was created during the Home Run Derby in old Yankee Stadium, Hamilton only narrowly edges Jason Hammel  in Wins Above Excellence  since leaving the Rays (1.1 to .8)Below is a summary of the following six picks and all first rounders with a WAE north of 3.

Pick

Name

WAR

WAE

HS/College

1

Josh Hamilton

8.2

1.1

HS

2

Josh Beckett

31.5

9.7

HS

3

Eric Munson

0.1

0

USC

4

Corey Myers

AAA

AAA

HS

5

BJ Garbe

AA

AA

HS

6

Josh Girdley

A+

A+

HS

10

Ben Sheets

29.8

9.6

LA-Monroe

19

Alex Rios

16.6

4.7

HS

50

Brian Roberts

26.2

6.7

South Carolina

Well that's a lackluster top 6. Regardless, the Rays ended up not benefitting from their first round pick in this draft as Hamilton was gone with only the $50,000 Rule Five selection fee to show for it.

2000

#6 overall: Rocco Baldelli

Another tough break for the Rays as Rocco displayed plenty of talent before the onset of his mitochondrial fatigue syndrome. Baldelli did manage to comeback and play in a platoon role after the trade deadline during the 2008 World Series run.  However, his contribution to the run was 0.3 WAR.

 

Pick

Name

WAR

WAE

HS/College

6

Rocco Baldelli

8.1

0.6

HS

7

Matt Harrington

A-

A-

HS

8

Matt Wheatland

A

A

HS

9

Mark Phillips

A+

A+

HS

10

Joe Torres

AA

AA

HS

11

Dave Krynzel

-0.1

0

HS

1

Adrian Gonzalez

16.2

5

HS

15

Chase Utley

39.7

22.5

UCLA

29

Adam Wainwright

12.4

3.2

HS

2001

#3 Overall: Dewon Brazelton

Poor Brazelton was rushed right up in 2002 and was nowhere near ready. He would last with the Rays through the 2005 season when he was immediately traded by the new front office for Sean Burroughs. Burroughs was released following 2006. Brazelton's career FIP ended up at 5.88. 3 Lamar top 6 picks from 99-01 and the Rays have a direct 0.3 WAR in 2008, and no indirect WAR to account for.

Pick

Name

WAR

WAE

HS/College

3

Dewon Brazelton

-0.6

0

Col

4

Gavin Floyd

6.7

1.5

HS

5

Mark Teixeira

29.8

10.3

Col

6

Josh Karp

AAA

AAA

Col

7

Chris Smith

A-

A-

Col

8

John Van Benschoten

-0.8

0

Col

1

Joe Mauer

27.8

11.6

HS

2

Mark Prior

15.8

4.6

Col

26

Jeremy Bonderman

17.2

3.8

HS

38

David Wright

32

16.7

HS

 

 

2002

#2 Overall: BJ Upton

This was a loaded first round. The sky remains the limit for BJ, but he already has accomplished quite a bit for a 25-year old including 4.8 WAR for the 2008 American League champions. He's easily the biggest impact we've seen thus far and it's a good thing, because this was a loaded first round. Other notables not included: Matt Cain, Joe Blanton, Nick Swisher, Khalil Greene, James Loney, and James Saunders. Direct 2008 contributions up to 5.1 Wins from the picks earned from being terrible during the Lamar era.

Pick

Name

WAR

WAE

HS/College

2

BJ Upton

10.9

2.7

HS

3

Chris Gruler

A

A

HS

4

Adam Loewen

2

0

HS

5

Clint Everts

AAA

AAA

HS

6

Zack Greinke

21.7

8.3

HS

7

Prince Fielder

15.5

5.9

HS

15

Scott Kazmir

17.9

4

HS

17

Cole Hamels

14.7

3.2

HS

2003

#1 Overall: Delmon Young

So this is where the debate begins. Young had accumulated 1.1 WAR over two seasons with the Devil Rays before he was shipped off by Andrew Friedman along with Brendan Harris and former 2nd round pick Jason Pridie in exchange for Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett and Eduardo Morlan prior to 2008. In his first two seasons with the Twins, Young, now 24, has accounted for -1.7 WAR.  Young can hit for average, but his defense and lack of OBP skills have really limited his value.  Friedman had the foresight to make this trade. Critics argue he possessed the former #1 draft choice as the trade bait. I ask who else on this list that hardly made a dent in the majors (Young still may) was moved for such a package? Would Lamar have made the move? Nonetheless, together Bartlett and Garza accounted for 4.8 cost-controlled wins in 2008. Let's put that in the indirect column opposite Young's  -.4 for the same year. I'm dropping the WAE minimum from 3 to 1.5 due to fewer seasons played.

Pick

Name

WAR

WAE

HS/College

1

Delmon Young

-0.6

0

HS

2

Rickie Weeks

8.1

0.3

Col

3

Kyle Sleeth

AA

AA

Col

4

Tim Stauffer

0.1

0

Col

5

Chris Lubanski

AAA

AAA

HS

6

Ryan Harvey

AA

AA

HS

7

Nick Markakis

14.3

4.1

Col

9

John Danks

8.8

2.2

HS

13

Aaron Hill

12.2

1.8

Col

24

Chad Billingsley

10.2

1.5

HS

29

Carlos Quentin

5.1

1.5

Col

2004

4th Overall: Jeff Niemann

Niemann has the opportunity to continue last year's success and be a real bright spot from this draft. However his contribution to the 2008 squad that was "bolstered by being bad for so long" was 0 WAR contributed during a September call up. Draftees from 2004 are still pretty raw, particularly high school kids. This makes me sad that Wade Townsend did not sign with the Orioles.

Pick

Name

WAR

WAE

HS/College

4

Jeff Niemann

3.2

0.2

Col

5

Mark Rogers

A+

A+

HS

6

Jeremy Sowers

3.2

0

Col

7

Homer Bailey

1.5

0

HS

8

Wade Townsend

AA

AA

Col

9

Christopher Nelson

AA

AA

HS

2

Justin Verlander

18.9

6.8

Col

12

Jered Weaver

13

1.4

Col

 

2005

8th Overall: Wade Townsend

Pick

Name

WAR

WAE

HS/College

8

Wade Townsend

AA

AA

Col

9

Mike Pelfrey

5.2

0

Col

10

Cameron Maybin

1.2

0

HS

11

Andrew McCutchen

3.4

0.4

HS

12

Jay Bruce

1.9

0

HS

13

Brandon Snyder

AAA

AAA

HS

1

Justin Upton

4.6

1.5

HS

4

Ryan Zimmerman

19.2

7.3

Col

5

Ryan Braun

12

3

Col

7

Troy Tulowitzki

11.1

4.8

Col

Townsend came to Tampa Bay with a history of arm problems and the Rays cut bait in 2009. No impact received. This brings the final 2008 WAR tally from Lamar's 7 picks in the top 8 between 1999-2005 to 5.1 directly and 4.8 indirectly.  4 studs in the top 7 and we ended up at 8 with Wade Townsend.  

 

Summary

In summary, the critics who credit the Rays being bad for so long as their primary reason for success in 2008 and Chuck Lamar's ability to capitalize on those picks have 5.1 direct WAR and 4.8 indirect Friedman'd WAR to point to. All telling, that's not much for 7 picks in the top 8 from 1999-2005. That's not to say Lamar did not have success in the later rounds. His later round draft picks were responsible for 9.5 WAR.

Year

Player

Round

08 WAR

1999

Carl Crawford

2nd

2.7

2004

Fernando Perez

7th

1

2000

Shawn Riggans

24th

0.5

2000

James Shields

16th

4.3

2003

John Jaso

12th

-0.1

2004

Reid Brignac

2nd

-0.4

2004

Andy Sonnanstine

13th

3.6

2001

Johnny Gomes

18th

-1.2

2002

Elliot Johnson

AFA

-0.4

2002

Jason Hammel

10th

-0.1

1998

Juan Salas

AFA

-0.4

Total

9.5

Lamar's draft picks inclusive of first rounders accounted for  14.6 WAR in 2008 and a total of 3.7 WAE. All telling that's probably about what you could expect from any  farm system which would make about a 60 win team prior to any free agents or trades. That has been the Friedman difference, and that's why the Rays were the 2008 American League champions.

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