Via Mark Eddy -
How many of the nearly 900 players who signed out of this year’s draft might we expect to see in the majors one day? If recent history is any guide, then that answer is roughly one in six—or, to be precise, 17.2 percent of signed draft picks.
Baseball America arrived at that number by analyzing the 22 drafts from 1987 through 2008, noting the number of signed players who reached the big leagues for at least one game. This involved fusing the BA draft database, which contains signing information for every draft pick in history (save for a few stray draft-and-follows), and the Baseball-Reference.com draft database, which links major league statistics to every draft pick in history (again, with few exceptions).
We began the head count in 1987 because that year’s draft was the first to feature only one phase. This removed the complicating factor of the annual January and June drafts, each featuring two phases, by which players and teams were bound for the first 22 years of draft history.
“The big thing about it is you don’t have to worry anymore about who’s in what phase,” then-Twins scouting director Terry Ryan said at the time.
Stopping the count at 2008 allows five full years for that draft’s high school players to reach the big leagues. After all, a number of ’08 prep first-rounders—Tim Beckham, Kyle Skipworth, Aaron Hicks and Ethan Martin—joined 40-man rosters only last November.
This provides and interesting yardstick, no? If a team has a draft where less than 17% of the players signed make the majors, is it not, then, safe to say they did a below average job in that draft?