League Makeup Part II: Amateur FA Signings vs Draft

A continued look into the League Makeup and how the Tribe compares to the league overall.

In Part I of the league discussion we did a review of when players are being used. Now we will delve into how MLB players are being procured.

Now remember that for this data analysis, the aFA identified do not necessarily have to come up through that organization. If that player is traded to another organization, he is still qualified as an aFA because that is how they were originally signed. The same concept applies to draft players. The FA/Purchase category defaults to everyone else. The majority of these would be the Japanese players that are procured via the posting process. While the others would be purchases from the Mexican league or free agents that were not considered amateurs (played in independent leagues, etc.).

My original thoughts going into this part of the analysis was that the majority of the players would be from the draft, with a steady rise in the amateur free agents with all of the academies in the Dominican, Venezuela and other Caribbean/South American countries.

As the number of Tribe players is about 1/30th of the league total, there will obviously be much more fluctuation. But the amount of players that were originally draft picks or amateur free agents don’t really matter unless they actually came up originally with the Indians and this data will not reflect this. I will provide the median values for each category for completeness sake, but I don’t think the graphs themselves would mean a whole lot, so I have omitted the Tribe graphs.

So let’s start with all players who appeared in a game each season.

Fig 1.1 - All Players (Core + Role + Backup + Coffee) and (Hitters + Pitchers):

Fig11_medium

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Instead of seeing a rise, the line is fairly flat. Hardly any deviation though the years. Drafted players had a maximum of 77.80% in 2000 and a low of 74.24% in 2006. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 75.42%, aFA 22.63%; FA/Purchase: 2.01%.

The Tribe players followed the above timeline fairly closely until 2006 when the drafted players dropped almost a full 10% to 69%. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 72.99%, aFA 25.30%; FA/Purchase: 2.11%.

Now let’s see if splitting up the hitters and pitchers changes anything.

Fig 1.2 - All Hitters (Core + Role + Backup + Coffee):

Fig12_medium

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No major difference other than a slight uptick on drafted players and a slight downtick on the FA/Purchase group. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 76.22%, aFA 21.82%; FA/Purchase: 1.94%.

The Tribe hitter curve for drafted players started at 65%, jumped to 80% in 2003 and back down to 65% in 2007. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 68.12%, aFA 29.80%; FA/Purchase: 0.00%.


Fig 1.3 - All Pitchers (Core + Role + Backup + Coffee):

Fig13_medium

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Well, with no major difference in the hitters, the pitchers are about the same as well. The one difference is the increase in FA/Purchase. This is to be expected since most of the postings from Japan are pitchers. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 74.49%, aFA 23.27%; FA/Purchase: 2.46%.

The Tribe pitcher curve has much more variance than the league, but still follows the overall graph. Drafted players over 80% in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2005; aFA as low as 13.04% in 2001 and all the way up to 31.03% in 2009; FA/Purchase are much higher as well. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 75.43%, aFA 22.62; FA/Purchase: 3.51%.

As before, we’ll split up the groups into Core, Role, Backup and Coffee players. Core players got 500 or more plate appearances, made 25 or more starts or pitched 60 innings or more in relief. Role players got 300-499 plate appearances, made 15-24 starts or pitched 30-59.2 innings in relief. Backup players got 100-299 plate appearances, made 5-14 starts or pitched 15-29.2 innings in relief. And Coffee players got less than 100 plate appearances, made less than 5 starts or pitched less than 15 innings in relief. For combination pitchers (starts and relief appearances) I subtracted 6 innings pitched per start from the total innings and if the resultant number bumped them another grade, I moved them up.


Fig 2.1 - All Core Players (Hitters + Pitchers):

Fig21_medium

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Finally, a graph with a smidge of personality. The Core players started at a high 78.98% and slowly erode to 72.00%, before jumping to 76% and holding steady. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 76.10%, aFA 21.66%; FA/Purchase: 2.54%.

The Tribe Core players followed the league trend (with obviously more fluctuation) until 2006. In 2009, the aFA actually surpassed the drafted players 60% to 40%. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 66.49%, aFA 33.52%; FA/Purchase: 0.00%.


Fig 2.2 - All Core Hitters:

Fig22_medium

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The Core hitters track the overall total fairly closely. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 75.70%, aFA 21.22%; FA/Purchase: 2.92%.

The Tribe Core hitters are all over the place. They relied on drafted players mostly until 2008, but since then the Core hitters have almost been exclusively amateur free agents. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 66.67%, aFA 33.33%; FA/Purchase: 0.00%.

Fig 2.3 - All Core Pitchers:
Fig23_medium

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The Core pitchers also track the overall total fairly closely. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 75.99%, aFA 21.94%; FA/Purchase: 2.36%.

The Tribe Core pitchers have almost all been exclusively drafted players. Only in 2007 and 2008 did the amateur free agents surpass 40%. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 77.50%, aFA 22.50%; FA/Purchase: 0.00%.

Fig 3.1 - All Role Players (Hitters + Pitchers):
Fig31_medium

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The drafted Role players stayed mainly between 72% and 76% with the one spike in 2007 at 79.66%. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 75.04%, aFA 22.89%; FA/Purchase: 2.54%.

The drafted Tribe Role players stayed just below the league average except for a spike to 100% in 2005 and to 85.71% in 2007. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 69.62%, aFA 24.04%; FA/Purchase: 0.00%.

Fig 3.2 - All Role Hitters:

Fig32_medium

via i1254.photobucket.com

The drafted Role hitters hovered a hair higher than the league average, closer to 80%, but the FA/Purchase subset dropped a lot. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 76.20%, aFA 21.46%; FA/Purchase: 0.94%.

The Tribe Role hitters were mostly drafted players, but in 2005, there was only 1 role hitter and he was a FA/Purchase player. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 68.34%, aFA 29.29%; FA/Purchase: 0.00%.

Fig 3.3 - All Role Pitchers:

Fig33_medium

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The drafted Role pitchers again are very consistent with the overall league numbers. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 74.00%, aFA 22.52%; FA/Purchase: 0.94%.

The Tribe Role pitchers were also mostly drafted players, but in 2006, the amateur free agents passed the drafted players 75% to 25%. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 72.12%, aFA 21.54%; FA/Purchase: 0.00%.

Fig 4.1 - All Backup Players (Hitters + Pitchers):

Fig41_medium

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The drafted Backup players stayed mainly between 75% and 78% with the one dip in 2005 at 69.76% and another in 2009 at 72.85%. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 76.97%, aFA 21.62%; FA/Purchase: 1.71%.

The drafted Tribe Backup players bounced between 60% to 80% back to 60%, up to 90% and settling in at 70%. The amateur free agents had one year of majority in 2003. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 68.07%, aFA 27.92%; FA/Purchase: 0.00%.

Fig 4.2 - All Backup Hitters:

Fig42_medium

via i1254.photobucket.com

The drafted Backup hitters stuck close to 80%, with one dip in 2005 and another in 2008-2009. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 76.71%, aFA 21.55%; FA/Purchase: 1.20%.

The Tribe Backup hitters again had a lot of variation with amateur free agents surpassing drafted players in 2001 and 2008. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 69.05%, aFA 30.95%; FA/Purchase: 0.00%.

Fig 4.3 - All Backup Pitchers:

Fig43_medium

via i1254.photobucket.com

The drafted Backup pitchers have the highest numbers yet, three years over 80%. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 76.15%, aFA 22.67%; FA/Purchase: 1.58%.

The Tribe Backup pitchers also had four years over 80% but also four years under 60%. The amateur free agent also has one of its higher medians yet. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 69.05%, aFA 28.57%; FA/Purchase: 0.00%.

Fig 5.1 - All Coffee Players (Hitters + Pitchers):

Fig51_medium

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The drafted Coffee players started high around 78%, dropped down to around 72% around 2006 and have been slowly inching up since. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 75.03%, aFA 23.58%; FA/Purchase: 1.32%.

The drafted Tribe Coffee players tracked the league mostly, but with a slightly deeper dip to the 60 percentile and no drift upwards recently. This is also the only category where the Free Agents/Purchases had a median value. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 71.99%, aFA 25.30%; FA/Purchase: 2.11%.

Fig 5.2 - All Coffee Hitters:

Fig52_medium

via i1254.photobucket.com

The drafted Coffee hitters mirrored the overall Coffee players fairly closely. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 76.90%, aFA 22.15%; FA/Purchase: 1.12%.

The Tribe Coffee hitters leaned more heavily on the amateur free agents, but the drafted players still had a majority. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 68.12%, aFA 29.80%; FA/Purchase: 0.00%.

Fig 5.3 - All Coffee Pitchers:

Fig53_medium

via i1254.photobucket.com

The drafted Coffee pitchers have the lowest numbers over the 12 year cycle, with two dips under the 70 percentile. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 72.78%, aFA 24.93%; FA/Purchase: 1.76%.

The Tribe Coffee pitchers had four years over 80% and three years under 70%. And here is the area where the Free Agent/Purchase players made their mark, with a high of 6.90% in 2009. Median values over the 12 year cycle: Draft 75.43%, aFA 22.62%; FA/Purchase: 3.51%.


Summary

So what does all this mean? Originally, my thoughts were that with the academies in the Caribbean and South America, the amateur free agents would be on the rise, at least in the overall numbers. But as the graphs show, this is not the case. The league has been very consistent with 75% drafted players, 23% amateur free agents and 2% other. Yes, there has been some variation, but not by much. And the division into the four categories showed a bit of fluctuation, but they are were very similar to the overall numbers.

The Tribe numbers, while interesting, do not accurately reflect how the team is truly made up. This would need to be done in a separate computation (which could occur in a later post if there is enough demand).

Coming in Part III, we will go into more depth with the amateur free agents and analyze where they are being selected from.

And finally in Part IV, the analysis of draft picks themselves will take place.

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