BREAKING: Carlos Correa has been promoted. Repeat, CARLOS CORREA HAS BEEN PROMOTED. He’s making his MLB debut tonight in Chicago against the White Sox and Chris Sale. This is your Game To Watch tonight. Now back to our regularly scheduled Write-Up. 

MLB DRAFT TONIGHTdraft 50

Day 1 of the MLB Draft is coming up tonight (6pm Central time, MLB Network and MLB.com). Sure the players chosen in the draft don’t have the immediate impact of, say, the NBA or NFL drafts, but that doesn’t make the exercise a little bit of fun, especially for the Geeks among us. Yeah, there’s still baseball being played, but at least my eyes will be on MLB.com (for the Draft stream, specifically).

In addition to following the picks of Chicago baseball teams, I’m a bit of a sucker for draft strategy conspiracy / teams exploiting rules that haven’t yet really been exploited, and there are two pieces of (potential) draft strategy that fascinate me, but it’s starting to look less likely that either of these will come into play this season:

1. Punt a pick this season: A team drafts a player this season with the actual intent of NOT signing them in order to get an extra pick next season, where the draft is anticipated to be of better quality at the top, one spot lower than this year’s pick (for example, if the Tigers draft a player at #22 overall who does not sign, they would get a compensation pick at #23 next season). Kiley McDaniel notes that it doesn’t appear as though a team will intentionally do something along these lines this season, but has noted in audio form that if a player perhaps backs out on a deal then (they say they’re willing to sign, for example, at $3 million but after being drafted raise their demands to $4.5 million) then this could be a “backup strategy” (although as the Astros showed last season with Brady Aiken, not signing a top pick for whatever reason has ramifications on later round picks)

2. Punt FUTURE picks by exceeding draft limits. This was a sexy thinkpiece over the winter, with the Cubs and Red Sox being floated as teams who might try this come 2015 if things broke right. It’s a pet topic for me, something I emailed to Ben and Sam back on episode 503. This doesn’t seem as likely to happen because there are fewer “top players” in this year’s draft compared to other years, and teams wouldn’t want to punt on picks next year in what might be a slightly deeper draft at the top. Whether a team breaks out this strategy might be dependent on whether 1. one of the injured pitchers falls to the supplemental or second round, and 2. whether those injured pitchers are still holding out for a first-round sized bonus. That’s conjecture on my part, but I’ll be watching to see if they fall, and how far.

But basically, instead of fun, wild shit happening, teams will most likely draft players, stay within their pool allotments, probably sign everyone they drafted, and we’ll look back on this in five years and think “damn, why didn’t my team draft that OTHER guy??”

WHAT MIGHT ACTUALLY HAPPEN? While not running the Sonoma Stompers, Ben Lindbergh is still writing. Over at Grantland, he looks at two draft trends (lots of pitchers, and a post-Moneyball resurgence of high schoolers) that could help to predict draft tendencies this year.

MLB DRAFT CONTENT IN YOUR EARS:

  • Our own Ryan Sullivan, the Baron of All Baseball Podcasts joins the Ground Rule Trouble pod (featuring past BTTP Pod guest Paul Cline) for an hour of MLB draft talk.
  • Draft season really is Kiley McDaniel’s time to shine. He and Jim Callis talk about the draft in the first Cistulli-free episode of Fangraphs Audio, and then he discusses draft boards and gives some insight into Major League draft rooms (and the draft process) with Carson Cistulli on a regular episode of Fangraphs Audio.
  • If you haven’t yet checked out the Joshua Kusnick Experience podcast, it comes highly recommended. Josh and Ryan Sullivan (he’s everywhere, I tell ya) had some fun general MLB Draft talk on the first episode (so more about the draft in general as opposed to the 2015 version), as well as some insight into the sausage-making process of how players get signed, from the perspective of an agent.

Mock drafts & top prospects lists!

And maybe that correlates with the reason I’m not a huge fan of mock drafts; because I can’t seem to turn my brain off enough. After all, all of this is for entertainment right? We aren’t writing about things that actually matter like civil rights and elections, we’re talking about sports. – Chris Crawford, BP

 

THE ANGELS HATE POOR PEOPLE

Or at least they don’t value folks who come in at prices $10 per ticket and below over people who are purchasing more expensive tickets and packages. It’s the Angels’ prerogative to do that of course, but that doesn’t make it a good strategy, nor does it isolate them from having to clean up after their marketing department. As Craig Edwards points out, the bad PR generated from being explicit about their strategy (as well as the strategy itself) could hurt the team in the long term since some of the folks who come in at lower prices might, someday, be the ones who buy into season ticket packages. The consequences of sacrificing that lower-entry-price fandom and then growing it over time in favor of the short term, immediate dollar won’t be seen for a while, but in terms of butts-in-the-seats, the Angels are taking a big risk here (and not to mention, on a basic level, looking bad).

(It’s a different sport and league, but Kevin Arnovitz wrote at ESPN about how the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks spent years trying to chase a certain demographic of fans with little to no success. Sure, this season they had a top seeded team and made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, but a more open minded marketing strategy got them over 700,000 tickets sold for the first time in franchise history. Maybe the Angels can learn something here.)

 

VENDITTE!

Pat Venditte made his Major League debut on Friday for the A’s and got outs using both arms. It’s what we’ve all been waiting for this season, really. He also had a fun looking release point plot (via Brooks Baseball). IT ACTUALLY APPEARS AS THOUGH THE MAN CAN THROW WITH BOTH ARMS.

venditte release point

In the meantime, our own Matt Jackson made a shirt (which you can buy) with proceeds going to the charity of Pat Venditte’s choice. It’s a good shirt, buy one.

 

ICYMI: Your Sonoma Stompers are 6-0! Make sure to listen to Stompers games on TuneIn radio featuring Tim Livingtson. Tomorrow (Tuesday) they open a series against the San Rafael Pacifics.

 

PARTING TWEET: [Tweet only applicable at the end of regulation. Sorry Barry, please try again on Tuesday]

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