JP Ricciardi discusses draft picks, says they’re ‘overvalued’

Michael Baron, Contributor

The Mets special assistant to the GM JP Ricciardi told WEEI Radio he believes draft picks have recently become overvalued.

“No one builds through the draft. You add through the draft,” Ricciardi said. “€œYou can’€™t build a team through the draft because they just don’€™t all work out. But you can supplement your system, and I get all that. But if you’€™re telling me I have a chance to get Curtis Granderson over a second-round pick I think I’€™m going to take my chances with a proven major league player.”

jp-ricciardi-headshotI agree with Ricciardi, although it’s strange to hear a member of this front office — a group which has highly valued and protected their draft picks, prevented players from achieving ‘Super Two’ status, and emphasized player control for the maximum amount of time — criticize this phenomenon. There has to be a balance between the draft and accumulating talent via the external markets, and a lot of organizations struggle with this.

As Ricciardi said, most prospects don’t work out, and so it’s foolish to believe the draft is the only way. It’s also foolish to believe teams can be built solely through external markets. One has to compliment the other; while teams need to be able to add talent from the outside when necessary, its critical any team — regardless of their payroll — develop their own talent, especially at premium positions.

It’s not a perfect science, and that’s where the external markets can be advantageous, either by spending wisely in free agency or trading from internal surpluses. Of course, building and trading from those surpluses, as well as having the ability to sacrifice early-round picks, require a sound player development system. Only then can teams strike that balance between relying on both themselves and the markets to build talented rosters perennially, rather than in short bursts or not at all.

In the case of the Mets, they had to hit the reset button entirely, and regenerate the organization from the ground up. As a result, they were required to focus on prospect building while waiting for bad major league deals to expire. It’s clear though the Mets have begun taking the next step in their evolution, evidenced by their pitching surpluses throughout the organization, their activity in free agency and their sudden willingness to start surrendering picks in the draft to fill other needs.

Still, they know their organization is still deficient in many areas, so they have a long way to go to achieve that healthy balance between both worlds.


Read more: WEEI Sports

128 comments
SuperDuper
SuperDuper

No teams aren't built in the draft. Example, Mets. They have been building their team with old washed up, low average, low IQ, and bad fielding players who cost less then their counterparts. In fact, defense isn't a concern. If you can't play the outfield, they will move you to 2nd base. Need a 1st baseman, grab an outfielder and give him a first base glove.

Elias Rosario
Elias Rosario

Very good scouting but look at the Astros now because the guy that develop the 18 players and more is the gm of the Astros now and the cubs have the same idea as Boston because theo Epstein went to Chicago and they both have the best farm systems in the league in less than 2 years.they both took over.

Chris Biehl
Chris Biehl

Follow the Cards model......Insanely good scouting and development system , 18 homegrown players on the playoff roster in 2013.....Can't argue with their success the last decade

Jean_Valjean
Jean_Valjean

Ha ha ha. Clowns. Always find it difficult to keep their traps shut. Draft picks 'overvalued?' I guess so, when you and your front office compadres blow picks on the likes of Nimmo and Cecchini while the competition is picking Cy Young award winners and playoff sensations ala Fernandez and Wacha. Clowns.

MMIAA
MMIAA

Michael Baron please list their pitching surplus by name and level. Remember there are 200 players under contract by the NY Mets.

MMIAA
MMIAA

Today in America the youth is about as dumb as its ever been..............

Elias Rosario
Elias Rosario

Did you read the story?robert he said he rather have an established than a prospect if you read the story.maybe you should read the story before judging a book by its cover.

Elias Rosario
Elias Rosario

I def agree with you guys but what this guy saying that prospects are overvalued which is stupid he rather be like the Yankees sign all the great players for money. That's why I said prospects are very valueable espically to teams that are small and even big market. The most chance your gonna succeed if the big market think small and use prospects and when the time is right you strike big time deals to make your team great.

Elias Rosario
Elias Rosario

It's both but majority are homegrown players meaning they have so much money left over they can spend on good players to compliment the prospects.the next Miguel Cabrera. You need a army of top MLB prospects because your paying way less for them.

tw22
tw22

JP is 100%  right. However, there is no similarity between protecting or not protecting draft picks and protecting or not protecting draftees (prospects) by keeping them under team control. If you draft Matt Harvey you want to keep him as long as you can, if you draft Shawn Abner it never gets to that point.

Alex Cooper
Alex Cooper

^ What he said. They compliment. Yeah the Sox have Ortiz, Buchholz, Lester Pedroia who are homegrown, but they also signed Victorino, Napoli, Drew, Ross, Salty, Lackey and traded for Peavy and a few others. You balance both to win and free up salary here and there to continue the process. THAT is how you win.

Michael Fichera
Michael Fichera

Maybe it isn't weird from this front office. Most of the prospects they've acquired aren't from the draft rather they are via trades and towards the end of their curve. (Triple-A/Double-A arms)

mique1313
mique1313

Nice article.  I have been waiting for the Mets to "reset" the system for a long time.  I do get what JP is saying but M. Baron is correct.  You have to strike a balance between relying on your farm system and getting external help to better your team.  I just hope that the Mets front office will continue to be patient enough to see this "resetting of the system" through until the end.

Tom Downing
Tom Downing

JP stunk when he was the GM for the Blue Jays!!

Marcus Jensen
Marcus Jensen

It's almost always a good idea to give up draft picks or prospects for proven players.

CJM
CJM

Baron, why are you correlating Ricciardi's belief about draft picks with controlling players? They are horses of completely different colors. It's very obvious why the team wants to have an extra year of control with guys like Syndergaard, Wheeler, Montero, etc. And that has nothing to do with how Ricciardi feels about draft picks--there's literally nothing in common with those two trains of thought.


However, I don't necessarily believe Ricciardi is 100% accurate with his assessment. There are many different ways to build a team. Teams like the Rays build through the draft more than other teams, although they obviously don't fully build through the draft. They move players for younger prospects a lot too. That's one way to build a team. Another way to build a team is to sign the best possible players to fill your holes, while sacrificing draft picks. That can be a successful model as well. 


I do think this statement is good news on the Drew front. Stephen Drew is worth more than a 3rd round pick so hopefully the team gets it done.

dexx
dexx

Yankees are out on Drew.  I think the Mets are close to signing Drew.

dexx
dexx

Didn't the Cardinals, draft, Freese, Carpenter, Kozma, Wong, Adams, Craig, Molina, Jay, Tavares, Kelly, Lynn, Miller, Rosenthal, Martinez, Motte, Siegrest, Wacha?

rf04
rf04

It seems like other teams push their prospects through the system quicker than the Mets do overall.


Is that true? Is that a different philosophy of development, or do we truly have less ML ready draft picks? Or do the Mets just do it the same as everyone else?

Anthony Testa
Anthony Testa

Based on the results of mets philosophy on drafting position players they should start drafting guys they don't like. We might stand a chance of finding some talent

dexx
dexx

JP needs to produce a major leaguer soon.  Nimmo & Fulmer will both be in advanced A this year, Checchini & Dom Smith in Low A, & Jace Boyd & Plawecki in AA.  He's gonna actually have to produce something useful from a draft pick at some point.


Wright, Tejada, Murphy, Duda, Lagares, Gee, Niese, Harvey, Mejia, Parnell, Familia, German, & Edgin are all players that will be on our roster that are home grown, and this front office hasn't produced one.  They need to develop talent at some point.  I'm not convinced they know who to develop prospects.  Sure its easy to trade a CY Younng Award winner for some prospects, and Beltran for a young SP, but can they draft and develop their own players?  So far, the answer is NO.

MetsFan1962
MetsFan1962

What Ricciardi meant to say was we can't afford the top draft picks...

nymetsrule
nymetsrule

The baseball draft is not like the NBA draft or NFL draft. You don't need a top pick to find serious talent.

Ziggy Jones
Ziggy Jones

@tw22 yeah, one thing they're forgetting too is the trade market. trades, free agency, and the draft can work wonders if yo know how to balance them. the yankees have strictly stuck with free agency and some trades, and now they're on the decline b/c they had no prospects. mets have been trying the opposite, not signing or trading for anyone important (until this season), and going strictly through the draft.


Sandy takes forever to get things done, but if he's able to sign free agents and they keep drafting well, i think he's creative enough to build a great team soon

RockMarz
RockMarz

Unfortunately a lot of people are going to use that crappy and dumb argument.

manchu
manchu

Ortiz isn't homegrown. He came over from the Twins.

flyingscot
flyingscot

@CJM  I agree with you on Drew worth but I don,t think the Mets will sign him. Money is the chief determinate and they don't want to go near a one Hundred millon dollar payroll that this teams needs to be competitive.

zootv
zootv

@CJM the problem with this muppets like baron and cerrone is that they try to guess that front office's way of thinking. They overanalyze it to the core and come up with irrational responses, part of it is due to their intense efforts of becoming sabermetric 'masters'.


At the start of Free agency, if you told Baron or Cerronne that Chris Young would get a 1 year deal at $7.5MM they would have scoffed and called it an 'overpay'. Then Sandy speaks on the deal and they'll turn around and praise it. They are speculative accountants not baseball analysts


The best Baron was when he wrote that he wouldn't trade De Grom and Plawecki for Matt Kemp. The Dodgers would be floored if some idiot GM legitimately called them and offered two nothing prospects for Kemp. If Sandy and Jeff didn't make that move if it was on the table, that would just be mind-blowing above any other thing they've done. 

WillisReid
WillisReid

@dexx Wainwright was drafted by the Braves, not that it matters.

hashburry
hashburry

@rf04 No use pushing garbage through quicker.  Crap flows down, not up.

airfeet
airfeet

@rf04 


Not true. Other teams are just as patient as the Mets are.

nymetsrule
nymetsrule

@rf04I agree slightly. It seems the Mets wait until the players are like 24/25 by the time they let them play in the majors. Lots of teams have 21/22 year olds already past their rookie season.

BringBackDaveTelghe
BringBackDaveTelghe

No, but they absolutely help and the hit rate does go up by round. Also, remember what you can spend on picks is directly tied to what picks you own.

Ziggy Jones
Ziggy Jones

@tw22 but this isn't football where the kids coming out of school are thrown onto the pro team immediately. the much more complex minors system makes it that much more difficult to build through the draft.

CJM
CJM

@flyingscotWe've been hearing so many mixed messages, mostly driven by this blog, that I am not sure exactly what the front office's desired payroll truly is. And honestly, if they are trying hard to get Drew, I don't think they'd leak that info/an increased payroll estimate at the risk of eventually missing out on Drew, thereby spoiling a successful off season in the fans' eyes. So I'm cautiously optimistic that the team might be in on Drew.

CJM
CJM

@zootv Honestly to learn sabermetrics well enough to comment on players accurately and consistently, it takes no more than a day of reading. These guys are lazy and are coasting by while the rest of the blogosphere moves forward to more intelligent discussion. Their big achievement was getting here first and they think they are revolutionary. But they no longer produce worthy content. I don't even come here for news anymore--I get that from Twitter. I come for conversation with the other few Mets fans who've yet to jump ship from Metsblog. When those folks are gone, I will be too. 

rf04
rf04

@airfeet @rf04 I can buy that. So when a team pushes through a 21 year old, it usually means he's either a very good prospect OR the team has a huge deficit of major league players?

It makes me wonder because we've seemed to have a big lack of talent, but we hesitated to bring up anyone too young. I understand that could hurt their development - so that's why I asked my original question.

rf04
rf04

@CJM @rf04 @airfeet Good knowledge, man. Thanks.

I also agree that this year's team does not look as awful as everyone else seems to believe. Bullpen might be a problem - an established arm or 2 might go a long way. For whatever reason, I feel better knowing that 3B, 2B, C, and 2-3 OF spots are settled, as well as most of a decent rotation. Good baserunning and defense seems so much more important in this "post-steroid" (laugh) era, and we have that pretty well. Our pitching staff looked very good last year after the OF finally got settled. A good defensive SS would be a boost, too. If things break right, with some luck and no injuries we could fight for a wild card.

CJM
CJM

@rf04@CJM@airfeetHonestly I believe the Mets' financial situation has nothing to do with their desire to control their top prospects for an extra year. It is the way of the game these days, and most teams are doing it with most top prospects. The Angels most likely sacrificed a playoff berth two years ago by protecting Trout in the minors, and we know money is not an issue with them at all. 


I think teams who bring up their prospects early are doing it after weighing the risk and reward. If a team believed that bringing up a prospect perhaps a year early, or breaking camp with a prospect and losing a year of control, would have an immediate playoff impact, they might do it. But from Alderson and the Mets' perspective the last few years, there hasn't been thought of making the playoffs. 


I am curious to see what happens this year because I believe this team is better than some naysayers believe, particularly if they were to add one more part like Drew. In that case, would they be willing to sacrifice a year of control with Montero, perhaps? I think Montero is a little more ready for the majors, even though his ceiling isn't as high as Syndergaard, which is why I believe they'd be more willing to break camp with him. Keep in mind that if Colon, Niese, Gee, Mejia, and Wheeler are all healthy breaking camp, there is no immediate need to sacrifice the control of Montero or Syndergaard because that's a very formidable 1-5 provided they stay healthy.

rf04
rf04

@CJM @rf04 @airfeet Do you think if money and controllability (is that a word?) were not factors, we would develop them differently? Just a question, not an accusation so much.

I have no problem with how Sandy does it either... it just looks on the surface to me like other teams have more younger players contributing - but that could be a wrong perception by me - or it could be the product of teams having even lower payrolls than the Mets and needing to fill spots.

CJM
CJM

@rf04@airfeetI think we saw prospects come through quicker when Minaya was at the helm. The most notable one is obviously Mejia. But guys like Niese and Pelfrey were probably pushed through too quickly as well. There is nothing wrong with taking your time with prospects, and there's especially nothing wrong with protecting your control by avoiding super 2 status. It's generally good business. I'm fine with how the prospects have moved through the system so far under Sandy's watch.