• Wasting Number Ones

    Posted by on December 30th, 2006 · Comments (7)

    From the Toronto Sun -

    Tim Wilken, former Jays scouting director, named scout of the year at the winter meetings had plenty of bouquets and barbs in his speech.

    He gave commissioner Bud Selig a shot for his comment about scouts giving large signing bonuses to players “who don’t work out” saying “Buck O’Neill should have been elected to Cooperstown while he was alive.”

    He jabbed former Major League Baseball CEO Sandy Alderson for instituting a slot money policy for draft picks.

    And after thanking everyone with the Jays from Paul Beeston and Bobby Mattick, to Pat Gillick and Howard Starkman to Charlie Wilson he summed up his Jays days.

    “We won two World Series, five AL East titles, were organization of the year twice. Seven of 12 years we produced the most major-leaguers and had 15 straight first-rounders make it,” Wilken told the crowded ball room. “With respect to the Yankees, we handled them better from 1983-94 than anyone.

    “We also had six scouts of the year, a batting champ, an MVP, six Gold Glove winners, three Cy Young Award winners. I still don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to live in a beautiful city like Toronto full time.”

    The final line is directed to Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi.

    After 25 years with the Blue Jays, Wilken spent two years with the Devil Rays and has been with the Cubs since 2005. Besides the shots that he takes at the Jays here, which are interesting, the thing that caught my eye was the fact that Toronto had 15 straight first-rounders make it to the show.

    What’s the Yankees record for most in a row, ever? It’s probably something like seven straight – with the picks from 1966 through 1972 making it.

    Maybe the Yankees should have hired Wilken when the Jays cut him loose?

    Comments on Wasting Number Ones

    1. December 30th, 2006 | 10:22 am

      “It’s probably something like seven straight – with the picks from 1966 through 1972 making it.”

      Hey…What about my old pal Bill Burbach in ’65!
      That would make it eight straight.

      All this under the great Michael Burke’s watchful eye of freedom during his Yankee stay, of course.

    2. Raf
      December 30th, 2006 | 10:36 am

      Wow.

      3 first round picks in ’91
      3 more in ’92
      4 in ’93
      3 in ’96

      Having said that, it may be the case that the Jays and the Yanks have two different organizational philosphies. But it would’ve been nice to have someone like Wilken on board.

    3. December 30th, 2006 | 10:48 am

      Missed that one Repoz – sorry!

      This is like the chicken and the egg to me. If they Yankees drafted better, they would have needed less FAs, and then they would have had more #1′s to draft better with again……make sense?

    4. Raf
      December 30th, 2006 | 11:06 am

      This is like the chicken and the egg to me. If they Yankees drafted better, they would have needed less FAs, and then they would have had more #1′s to draft better with again……make sense?
      ===========
      I suppose it does. And the $$ that would be used for a FA could be put back into the system in the form of another team, or an academy.

      IMO I think we should de-emphasize the first round. While they may get the prestige, you can find serviceable players in other rounds of the draft.

      I think the path that MLB seems to be trying to get away from (that placed an emphasis on scouting and development) is going to be quite harmful. I remember back in ’93 one of my coaches complaining that teams were cutting back on scouting in lieu of teams pursuing FA’s.

      Anyone here read “Dollar Sign on the Muscle: The World of Baseball Scouting?” That may answer many of my questions about this particular aspect of baseball.

    5. JohnnyC
      December 30th, 2006 | 12:41 pm

      Scouting on the whole has been de-valued by two developments: 1) the draft itself, which was instituted in order to level the field…the wealthier teams could hire more scouts and, in the cases where there was competitive coverage, offer more money for signing bonuses and 2) the centralization of amateur scouting bureaus and, with it, the emergence of sophisticated statistical analysis(which, in theory, obviated eyewitness evaluations). Additionally, the most fertile fields for scouting these days are offshore in Latin America and East Asia. I’d venture to guess Mr. Wilken’s Japanese or Taiwanese ain’t too good.

    6. stupid
      December 31st, 2006 | 2:08 am

      Does it really matter if he is fluent in languages other than English? Don’t they have people that “do that” LOL

    7. JohnnyC
      December 31st, 2006 | 10:48 am

      Sigh.

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