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2021 MLB Draft Prep: Selection integrity

A different way to look at draft picks, and details from the last week of college action.

Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

My second-favorite sport is becoming Australian rules football. The commentators can get really funny and blunt. On occasion, they have a point that resonates across their sport. Recently, two experts were discussing a quality veteran side (perhaps Richmond) who has a proper feel for the types of players they’re looking for. It isn’t entirely about skill. The term they used was selection integrity, and I immediately loved the term.

Selection integrity takes in a wide variety of player concerns. Can he play? Will he work? Is he generally healthy? Are his strengths something we can utilize? Are his weaknesses something we can mitigate? In a baseball environment, have we had success developing talent like this before? Will he sign with us? Pretty much all of those somewhat fall under selection integrity. It’s much more useful/functional than Best Player Available.

With BPA, by the time a draft hits pick 50, probably ten guys on the board at any time will be really similar. The one guy who’s a 35 can hit, but has no position. The defensive-minded outfielder can run, but he hasn’t hit. The Power Five reliever throws 95, but walks seven per nine. The mid-major pitcher gets outs, but needs a gust of wind to throw 92. Which guy should your team select? What has your selection integrity shown works? Or, realistically, hasn’t worked. It usually takes a wide batch of skills to have a balanced system.

On Opening Night in the Cubs pipeline, a handful of pipeliners were discussing a few of the players. I noted my unease with a lack of offensive minded outfielders and first basemen in the system. If something is working, keep doing it. If it isn’t, try something else. Hopefully, the Cubs selection integrity keeps tweaking what hasn’t worked, and gets to the point where they’re top half in hitter development, top half in pitcher development, and top half in getting the picks right.

Last Saturday, I had my normal case of happy numbness from a Friday night of minor league baseball. As I rolled out of bed, I noticed Indiana was playing. Saturday and Purdue means McCade Brown. I flipped on the Boilers, and they’d just begun against long-time bitter rival... Rutgers. Rutgers has a good squad, but I wanted my McCade Brown fix. A funny thing happened. Both pitchers cruised. Brown was striking people out on thre or four pitches, or getting weak contact. Rutgers starter Ben Wereski matched him inning for inning.

I doubt I’ll put Wereski on my draft list anywhere. I was far too amused by a baseball game progressing at 78 RPM instead of 33⅓ or 16 that I was unable to data process. But if Wereski slips to the Cubs, I’ll cackle just a little bit.

Here’s this week’s D1 Friday review.

And some other nuggets.

Injuries suck.

Injuries suck, part two.

Touch the base.

Jackson Jobe

Khalil Watson

Luis Vargas

Many college teams celebrate homers.

Tyler Bosetti has had a hot streak

And it’s now a record.

Top draft prospect Gunnar Hoglund will have Tommy John surgery: