Draft Prep 2012: The Houston Method And Triple Slash Preferencing

Keyed by a slow start and fugly finish, the Cubs have secured the second selection in the 2013 Draft, not only in the First Round, but each succeeding round as well. That somewhat goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, as I've been in enough fantasy drafts where my choice comes off the board the guy before me in the 12th Round (or whatever) and I was infuriated. Okay, a little ticked. The Cubs will now also get the second largest International spending pool. Despite many of the International signs being ridiculously far away from the big leagues, the buzz regarding Jorge Soler may be relived in 2013 shortly after July.

With the new 'season' of Draft Prep, I have a new way to display your pick preference. While the last couple years, drafting in the second half of the Top Ten, we would have our preferences, but we knew most of the top would be gone by our selection. That won't be as likely this year, as only Houston will be able to 'steal' your preference. Before I explain my method, I'll take a step back to last June's Drafr to examine the 'Houston Method' of drafting.

None of us know all of the discussions that went on between teams and players, but a few things were pretty clear. Houston sounds like they offered Mark Appel 'an amount' for a signing bonus. They also offered Carlos Correa 'an amount' below slotted value. Correa signed for $4.8 million, against a recommended slot value of $7.2 million. So, it sounds like Appel was the preference over Correa (though perhaps not), though the Astros may have contacted others before Correa (or Appel) to try to cut a deal. In other words, it sounds like Appel was preferred over Correa, so the Astros board might have looked like this...

Appel Correa ? ?

They may have had a few more players to call if Correa had refused. Byron Buxton, for instance.

When it rolled around to the Cubs, it sounded like Albert Almora was the pick. Not only was he the pick, they paid well over slot to get him. If, for instance, the Cubs had Appel on slightly lower footing than Almora, but they were about the same, it may have looked

Almora Appel ???

...with Appel getting a chance to sign for less than what Almora signed for, which wasn't much less than Correa did.

Confused yet?

Since the Cubs have the second choice, you can prioritize whoever you want, regardless of Houston's actions. For today's preliminary exercise, I will boil down the entire 2013 Draft to 5 players. Obviously, that's a cop-out, as probably these won't even be the Top 5 selected. But, for purposes of today, the draft will consist only of these players, all headliners for the June Draft.

1. Mark Appel. RHP-Stanford. Experienced. Throws hard. Dislikes Pittsburgh.

2. Clint Frazier. CF-HS (GA). A 5 tool guy.

3. Austin Meadows. HS-OF (GA). 6-3 Switch hitter. Comps to Chipper Jones.

4. Sean Manaea. LHP-Indiana State. Put up Danny Almonte-like numbers on the Cape.

5. Ryne Stanek. RHP-Arkansas. Has three pro usable pitches already. Inverted W warnings.

The triple slash method puts slashes between points of drop-off. One slash is reasonably insignificant. Two slashes are significant. If players are ridiculously similar, put them in the same category.

For instance, if someone wants Mark Appel the most, and Sean Manaea second with nobody else close, their triple slash would look like Appel/Manaea//

If someone wants Frazier over Stanek, but they would prefer the cheaper guy (with Frazier the slight favorite), there's would look Frazier Stanek///

The slashes come into play as a team is benefited by paying less than slot. But if you want the guy you want, regardless the numbers, you grab him. It looks like that was the choice with Almora in June. If it was, here is what the Cubs 2012 board looked like at 6 Almora/// . They got him. They paid for him. I'm good with that, if that's the guy you want.

These will initially be the five guys getting the early buzz. Things will happen. Guys will slump. And you guys/ladies will keep me honest. If you start including other players in your slash lines, I'll include them among the first group. If nobody wants to hear about Appel (or any of the others), they'll fade from slashlines, and discussion.

I want the Cubs to get the best guy available, with the caveat that (if two guys are ridiculously close) the cheaper sign makes the rest of the draft season that much more intriguing. So, for my initial preference list, I will go with

Manaea Frazier Stanek///

Offer Manaea a split between third and second values. If he takes it, sign him. If he refuses, offer the same to Frazier and then Stanek. If nobody bites, get Manaea at slot or a bit less. Pending the 382 or so changes I make between now and then, that's where I stand.

Draft in a bit over nine months. International signings in about ten. Let's do this.

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.

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