There have been a few articles published by national and regional writers in the past week that seem to reignite the feud between the new Braves regime of Johns (Schuerholtz, Hart and Copollela) and the former regime of Frank Wren.
Ken Rosenthal published an article last Thursday that disputed the claim by the new front office that the Braves minor league system under the old front office had stopped producing talent. Rosenthal’s assertions were a direct rebuke to many of the things the new front office had been saying about the old front office.
That produced a response from Jon Heyman (note the “John” connection) on Friday in the form of a fluff piece touting the moves of the new front office, while taking subtle but consistent shots at the old front office.
The salvo continued on Saturday when Bill Shanks published a long blow-by-blow response to Rosenthal’s article. That took more of a “trust me, I’m an insider” approach to this apparent tit for tat.
There’s a lot going on here, and a lot to unpack that isn’t being said, but I’m not going to get into all that (yet). I thought I’d step back and just take a look at the facts and focus on the draft results between the two regimes, which was the primary focus of Rosenthal’s article (and Shanks’ response).
Back in October, when the Braves brought back Roy Clark (who had left after the 2009 draft), I wrote an article disputing the notion that Clark was any better or worse than his successor, Tony DeMacio. Yet I didn’t include any stats in that article; I should have.
Let’s look at the draft stats now. Clark was scouting director for the 2000 through 2009 drafts, while DeMacio was responsible for 2010 through 2014.
In examining success rates I’m going to remove 2014 from the mix, since it is too recent to bear any major league talent. To arrive at a success rate, or number of draft picks signed who reached the majors, I’ll take a look at all the Braves picks from each year who were drafted among the top 100. This will generally account for just first and second round picks, with the occasional third-rounder sneaking in there. I figured the first 100 picks would be a more consistent baseline than cutting it off by round.
For DeMacio, who was Wren’s guy, 5 of the 9 top-100 picks signed from 2010 to 2013 made the majors, or 56 percent.
For Clark, who was Schuerholtz’s guy, 24 of the 43 top-100 picks signed from 2000 to 2009 made the majors, or 56 percent.
One of the items noted by Shanks, and by me in my article from October, is that Clark operated under the old draft and free agent compensation system that awarded more top picks when free agents left. Clark enjoyed an average of 4.5 picks from among the top-100 each draft, while DeMacio has only had 2.2 picks among the top-100 each year. Clark enjoyed a 2-to-1 advantage over DeMacio in the number of picks he had in each draft, and that advantage will return again this year when the Braves pick six times in the top-100.
Wren could have tried to add more draft picks through trades in recent years, but the picks added this year have not come without the cost of losing something valuable from the team’s major league roster or minor league depth.
None of this is in support of either camp, the old front office or the new. This is simply a reality check on all the salvos that have been launched in each direction since the regime change last year (and especially the most recent salvos).