The Cubs and their Draft Position: Does it Matter?

With the Cubs way out of the race a lot of focus has been on if the Cubs are going to be able to compete next year. Part of that is a draft pick. The one benefit of a terrible season is a high draft pick. Now, a lot of people will say it doesn't matter or it doesn't make that much of a difference. Well, I wanted to see if this was true. Right now the Cubs sit with the number nine pick in the upcoming draft. The Cubs could realistically get as high as the number five pick in the draft. So for the case of this study I'd thought I'd do a comparison between the number 9 pick and number 5 pick in the draft (for the first round).


For the case of this study we probably want a big sample size, now you may ask why not just go back to when the draft started? Well, the thing is scouting and publications just weren't around back then. Scouting has completely changed. Everyone has video, they can cover more ground. So for the sake of this study will go with twenty years, starting in 2007 and going back to 1987. It just isn't that fair to judge prospects when they haven't had a ton of time to get to the majors so that's why I'm starting at 2007.


These are the last twenty number 9 picks in the MLB draft from 2007 to 1987:


Parker, Jarrod

Rowell, Billy

Pelfrey, Mike

Nelson, Chris

Danks, John

Francis, Jeff

Griffin, Colt

Phillips, Mark

Zito, Barry

Burroughs, Sean

Cuddyer, Michael

Kotsay, Mark

Jenkins, Geoff

Nitkowski, C.J.

Brunson, Matt

Wilson, Preston

Smith, Mark

Walden, Ronnie

Abbott, Kyle





# of Players that didn't make  it to the majors (minimum 100 at bats and 50IP) : 7 (35%)

All-Star selections: 5, Barry Zito with 3, Geoff Jenkins with 1, and Preston Wilson with 1

Cy Youngs: 1, Barry Zito


Other Statistics (Note: this is only for the players who made it to the majors/ it's based off their carreer #s)



                2007 to 1987 Number 9 Picks
Pelfrey,Mike 4.9 4.21
Danks, John 12.5 4.22
Jeff, Francis 14 4.43
Zito, Barry 31.3 4.3
Sean, Burroughs 0.311 6.2
Michael, Cuddyer 0.345 11
Mark, Kotsay 0.325 25.2
Geoff, Jenkins 0.354 28.4
Nitowski, C.J. 1.3 5.08
Wilson, Preston 0.343 12.1
Smith, Mark 0.316 -0.3
Abbott, Kyle -0.1 4.65
Totals 0.332333333 146.5     .481666667




Now the Number five picks from 2007 to 1987:


Wieters, Matt

Morrow, Brandon

Braun, Ryan

Rogers, Mark*

Lubanski, Chris*

Everts, Clint*

Teixeira, Mark

Wayne, Justin

Garbe, B.J.*

Drew, J.D.

Wells, Vernon

Patterson, John

Prieto, Ariel

Booty, Josh*

Granger, Jeff*

Mottola, Chad*

Henderson, Ken*

Miller, Kurt*

Harris, Donald*

Bene, William*

McDowell, Jack



# of players who didn't make it (minimum 100 at bats/ 50IP): 11

All-Star selections: 12, Ryan Braun with three, Mark Teixera with 2, J.D. Drew with 1, Vernon Wells with 3, Jack McDowell with 3.

Cy Young: 1, Jack McDowell


Other statistics (note: this is for the guys who made it to the majors. This is also career numbers): 



                     2007 to 1987 Number 5 Picks
Weiters, Matt 0.319 3.6
Braun, Ryan 0.392 14.8
Teixera, Mark 0.39 36.4
Wayne, Justin -0.8 5.82
Drew, J.D. 0.383 47.1
Wells, Vernon 0.344 24.1
Patterson, John 0.27 -0.4
Prieto, Ariel 4 4.41
Miller, Kurt
McDowell, Jack 35 3.8
Totals 0.349666667 163.8    4.676666667



So you've seen both tables, how do they stack up? Well it's really simple:


1. Number five picks have a wOBA about 20 points higher than the number nine picks.

2. Number five picks have a WAR total of about 17 higher than the number nine picks, which may not seem like a lot, but it really is.

3. Number five picks have a FIP of about 14 points lower than the number nine picks.


As you can see the number five pick is  better at everything here. They have more star power, better numbers, and overall a better career as a player. This is not to say that this ensures a good pick. As you can see the number five pick has busted more than the number nine pick. But this clearly shows that the higher the draft pick you get, the higher the chance of that player becoming a good major leaguer. 



Even to extend that a bit,  you can see the fifth pick class has more star players. There really is no absolute stud in the 9th draft pick class. You could say Zito, but he really isn't. While the fifth pick has a number of "stars", again I'm going by WAR, not RBI or some awful stat like that. I would consider these players to be close to stars or are ones: Braun (superstar), Teixera (superstar),Brandon Morrow, Wells, J.D. Drew, and McDowell. Now I now your going to say Morrow isn't a star but he has the highest k/9 in the whole entire league, he has an outstanding 3.65 xFIP, and is only 26 years old. You could even make the case Wieters might be one. But overall the fifth pick is just so much better than the ninth.


Now, let me make this clear, I don't want the Cubs to give up or stop trying. But I could care less. Let's see the minor leaguers out there (except Hoffnopower). Who cares if the minor leaguers are worse than the mediocre veterans (Ramierz, Nady, Soriano)? Who cares if the Cubs win 6 more games than they would have by playing the kids? It doesn't matter. No one will look back and remember this season for those meaningless September wins, they'll look back and remember this season has a total and utter failure, but with a higher draft pick they might look back and remember those loses at the end of September that helped the Cubs obtain the next future Wrigley Star.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or Al Yellon, managing editor (unless it's a FanPost posted by Al). FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable baseball fans.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bleed Cubbie Blue

You must be a member of Bleed Cubbie Blue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bleed Cubbie Blue. You should read them.

Join Bleed Cubbie Blue

You must be a member of Bleed Cubbie Blue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bleed Cubbie Blue. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.