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Observations on The Astros Draft Value

The Astros have the eleventh pick in this years draft. It's only the second time the Astros have drafted eleventh, the last time being back in 1978 when they selected Rod Boxberger. Aside from having a cool last name, he never made it out of the minor leagues.

So does draft position really matter? No, not in my opinion. It can certainly help, but it's more important to have the right people in the front office. For every J.R. Richard, who was selected second overall, there's a Craig Biggio, selected twenty-second overall.

In this article I make observations about the value the Astros have received in the draft. I will be including supplemental picks which will fall under the second half of the round. For value I will be using Baseball References WAR, simply because I'm getting draft information from the site. In the received value column I did my best on multi-player deals to adjust for returned value from just that player, adjusted value is indicated by parentheses.

I will be including a link to the documents for anyone interested in poking around. I started this project at the beginning of May so some of the WAR numbers for current players will be slightly off. 

  • The Astros have made 54 first round selections since their existence, this includes twelve supplemental first round picks. 
  • Of the 54 selections 29 made it to the majors with 18 providing positive WAR value for the Astros.
  • The overall WAR total for the players the Astros have drafted is 245.8 with 159 of that value being cashed in by the Astros. Including received value from trades and the Astros have gotten around 170-180 WAR out of the draft. (Some trades were way over my head in return value)
  • That's an average of 4.5 WAR per selection. 
  • Through pick 15 the Astros have received 33.8 WAR from the first half of the draft, a 127.6 WAR picks 16 - 30 and 125.2 WAR if you include the supplemental round in the second half of the draft.
  • You read that correctly the Astros have received -2.4 WAR for picks 31+.
  • Craig Biggio's 66.2 WAR is the highest overall WAR drafted by the Astros. Second is Lance Berkman with 46.2 WAR produced for the Astros and counting for anyone else he plays with.
  • The Astros have had the most selections at the 12th spot with four selections. That spot has produced 17.2 WAR for the Astros.
  • The organization has never selected at the 5th, 18th, 26th and 28th spot.
  • Of the two number one picks the Astros have received -0.4 WAR. However both Phil Nevin (15.9 WAR) and Floyd Bannister (24.3) would go on to post a combined 40.2 WAR. Both were traded and in return the Astros received a total of 7.5 WAR.
  • John Mayberry was another player traded for a bad return. He produced 22.8 WAR with .3 of that going to the Astros. In return the Astros received -0.7 WAR.
  • The best trade of a first rounder is Brad Lidge for Michael Bourn and Geoff Geary. The Phillies have gotten roughly 0.6 WAR from Lidge, while the Astros have received 5.4 in return mainly from Bourn. 
  • The next best trade of a first rounder is RHP Mark Johnson as the player to be named later in the Moises Alou deal. Johnson produced -0.6 WAR while the Astros cashed in on Alou who produced an 11.8 WAR during his tenure. Obviously Johnson was only part of the deal so I roughly adjusted received value to 3.9 WAR for that deal.
What are some observations you can make?