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Drafting in the Al Avila ERA (as GM & Asst. GM) Spoiler: It's not good

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Seriously,   I am going back to his first draft as an Assitant GM with the Tigers.   I think that's fair.   I won't count 2002 as he'd just gotten the job, but looking through the drafts and seeing who made the majors, it's a very unimpressive list over 18 drafts.    I am listing the 1st round pick and then any pick that ever made the majors.  Al Avila was one of the 3 people in charge of scouting and developing along with David Chadd and Dave Dombrowski.   

I bolded the guys I think were impact players somewhere in the majors. 

2003   - Awful, just awful                 
Round - Player
1 Kyle Sleeth never made the majors due to injuries but never impressed either in the minors
2 Jay Sborz - pitch 2/3rds of an inning in the majors
3 Tony Giarratano - played 15 games and hit .143 in his career
7 Virgil Vasquez - pitched 61 innings in MLP, 44 of them for the Tigers with a 6.60 ERA
11 Brian Rogers - pitched 10 innings (for Pittsburgh) with an ERA of 9.28
16 Jordan Tata  - pitched 11 games and 28.2 innings, ERA 6.91
39 Dustin Richardson - Pitched 16.1 total innings for the Red Sox over 2 seasons
48 Dusty Ryan played in 27 games as a backup C with a .257 BA

2004 - We got JV, probably because of the stupidity of San Diego             
1 Justin Verlander - Padres wanted their hometown star Matt Bush.  Thank you Padres.  A future Hall Of Famer
3 Jeff Frazier - 23 career ABs
6  Brent Dlugach - 3 ABs in his career, 2 Ks
7 Chris Carpenter - 15 career innings with the Cubs and Red Sox
8 Luke French - Acutally got 155 IP in his career with a 4.99 ERA, most of it with Seattle
18 Chris Martin - Broke into the majors this year, at age 34 and has pitched 3 innings
43  Chris Schwinden - 29 career innings with the Mets

2005 - Two players that helped us get Miggy                  
1 Cameron Maybin - He's made the majors and had some moments, but nowhere near the expectation of a 1st round pick at #10
3 Chris Robinson - 12 career ABs with the Padres,  .167 BA
4 Kevin Whelan - 3 career innings with a 3.33 WHIP.  I remember having hope for him
5 Jeff Larish - nothing like drafting a DH, 245 career ABs, 8 HR
6 Clete Thomas - 249 career games.  13 HRs
11 Anthony Clagget - 3. 2 career innings
12 Matt Joyce - An Actual MLB starting position player with a long career
14 Casper Wells - Played for 5 teams over 4 seasons, hit .230 in career
16 Michael Hollimon - Utility player for part of 1 season, hit 1 career HR
19 Burke Badenhop - Had a run as a decent reliever and helped us get Miggy. 
21 David Adams - 43 game career with Toronto with a .252 OBP
27 Will Rhymes - Little feller hit .304 as a utility guy one year.   Not much to write about after that

2006 - Lots of promise, little return for the Tigers               
1 Andrew Miller - The key in getting us Miggy, he's had a long career with a stretch of greatness and has a World Series ring
3 Brennan Boesch - Almost an all star - 2 brilliant months. 
5 Scott Sizemore - Letting Polanco go to make room for him was a major failure
13 Angel Castro - Took him 9 years to get to the majors where he pitched 4 whole innings
19 Duane Below - Rooted for him because he was local, but only pitched 75 innings with the Tigers
20 Casey Fien - Actually had a decent career, most of it elsewhere. 
42 Kevin Chapman - 55 career innings with Houston

2007 - Ricky P was alright, and that's about it              
1 Rick Porcello - Had a good career, won a Cy Young elsewhere, was incredible in Game 163 and could return to us this year
2 Danny Worth  - More notable for his pitching moments 
3 Luke Putkonen  48 career innings and played on 2 of the Tigers best teams (2012 & 2013)
4 Charlie Furbush - Had a decent career mostly with Seattle, helped us get Doug Fister
5 Casey Crosby  - 12 career innings, 9.49 ERA
27 Steve Susdorf  7 career ABs with the Phillies, he got a double
41  D.J. LeMehieu  - He didn't sign and then went in Roud 2 to the Cubs 2 years later.   At least they saw some potential in a local kid 

2008 - Nepatism was the best thing about this year              
1 Ryan Perry - Never was the impact player they expected in 169 career innings
5 Alex Avila - Assistant GM's son has had a very solid career.  A good pick.  
8 Andy Dirks - Had one really good season as a platoon player.  Back injuries ended his career
10 Robbie Weinhardt - 31 career innings,  6.39 ERA
16 Thad Weber - 19 career innings
20 Ryan Lollis - 13 ABs for the Giants

2009 - Like finding a bottle of chocolate milk in your fridge and opening it to find it has spoiled               
1 Jacob Turner - Had plenty of chances and only was good for about 18 months with Miami, very disappointing for a 9th overall pick
2 Andy Oliver - 31 career innings 7.11 ERA
6 Daniel Fields - 3 career ABs
11 Adam Wilk - 40 career innings, 7.36 ERA
21 Giovanni Soto - 3.1 career innings
32 Parker Markel - 22 career innings  - all in 2019  7.77 ERA.  Still in the Padres system

2010 - Maybe the best draft since Al has been here...........and it's not all that good.              
1 Nick Castellanos - A major leaguer, an actual major leaguer.   Great upside offensively, never a good glove
1 Chance Ruffin - 27 career innings,  5.60 ERA
2 Drew Smyly - Has, at times, been a decent starting pitcher.  Still kicking with the Braves (unless they recently cut him)
6 Bryan Holaday - A serviceable backup catcher at his best
12 Kyle Ryan - A serviceable left-handed reliever, still pitching with the Cubs
26 Jeff Ferrell - 20 career IP,  6.53 ERA
35 Cody Hall - 11 career innings 7.94 ERA

2011 - I'm not championing the greatness of James McCann                                    
1 James McCann - He's a major leaguer, but other than a couple of flashes, hasn't been much of an impact player
2 Tyler Collins -  Told the fans they were #1 with the wrong finger.  Never saw him again
7 Brian Flynn - Actually pitched 187 innings as a warm body out of the pen,  all with other teams
10 Curt Casali - See: Bryan Holaday
17 Chad Smith - 13 career innings pitched,  8.32 ERA.  I think the Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer could do that
28 Guido Knudson - 5 career innings 18.000 ERA and to quote The Dude  "Who the **** are the Knutsens?"
 

2012 - Brutal                                  
1 Jake Thompson - 116 innings with the Phillies, 4.87 ERA,  not exactly 1st round expectations
4 Drew VerHagen - Kicked around over 5 years, had one decent run in 2015 and then was awful after that
13 Devon Travis - Traded to the Blue Jays for Anthony Gose (oops) Injuries derailed a promising career
38 AJ Minter - Didn't sign, re-drafted by the Braves, solid reliever

2013  - A little less brutal                                 
1 Jonathan Crawford - Has yet to break into the majors and likely never will
1 Corey Knebel - Mixed career.  One GREAT season with Milwaukee, the rest has been so-so
5 Buck Farmer - The very definition of a warm body to fill out a roster
8 Zac Reininger -  59 career innings,  8.08 ERA
11 Chad Green - Good career - for the Yankees.  We would have ruined him
20 Matt Wotherspoon  4.2 innings in 2019  15.43 ERA.  Out of baseball now
23 Tyler Alexander - He didn't sign, so we drafted him again 2 years later
27 Joe Mantiply - So far 8 career innings with a 13.50 ERA.  He should probably get a shot again with Arizona this year
35 AJ Puk - Didn't signed,  Re-Drafted by Oakland 2 years later and has pitched 11 career innings for them

2014 - Spencer Turnbull the best draft pick in a 3 year period                       .   
1 Derek Hill - Never has come close to meeting first round expectations
2 Spencer Turnbull - Has become a very solid starter for the Tiger rotation
3 Grayson Greiner - Looks like a poor-hitting career backup catcher
8 Artie Lewicki - He's still alive, right? 
15 Mike Gerber - 66 career MLB at bats .076 BA
32 Locke St. John  6.2 IP for Texas, 5.40 ERA Out of baseball now

2015 - Is it bad scouting or a total lack of development?                       
1 Beau Burrows - Major disappointment and my fear is one or more of our big 3 right now ends up just like him
1 Christin Stewart -  A decent minor league player at best and is too one-dimensional to be a big league plus player
2 Tyler Alexander - They drafted him again.  He can start sometimes and is capable of striking out 10 in a row.   
3 Drew Smith - Never pitched for the Tigers,  Still with the Mets,  We got Mikie Mahtook for him
6 Matt Hall - Left handed and breathing can get you in the majors.  40 career IPs and an 11.48 ERA
12 Kyle Dowdy - Pitched 22 IP with Texas in 2019 - ERA is 7.25

 

Not going to look at anything after 2015 since many players drafted that year are still developing

 

Is it any wonder why all of our major league teams are terrible?   They all have been drafting a lot like this.  

 

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8 minutes ago, Motor City Sonics said:

Is it any wonder why all of our major league teams are terrible?   They all have been drafting a lot like this.  

 

Just for completeness  - the one international signing that comes to mind is 2008 - Avisail Garcia. Up and down generally low impact bat, but he has been able to stick for 10 yrs with a total of 8 WAR.

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6 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

Just for completeness  - the one international signing that comes to mind is 2008 - Avisail Garcia. Up and down generally low impact bat, but he has been able to stick for 10 yrs with a total of 8 WAR.

Well, his REAL impact with the Tigers was completely different, wasn't it...............allegedly?     

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I did this this morning while my back was hurting and I was waiting for the grass to dry out before I cut it.   I could probably do a deep dive into all teams and see somewhat similar results with probably a third to half of them, but I am guessing most of those teams have changed their front office by now and  I don't consider firing Dave and promoting Al as a serious change, it was more of a continuation - at least from the scouting/drafting/developmental aspect.    

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So if it takes say - 10-13 years for a roster to turn over 100% and almost all players come into the league from either the draft or an international signing, then if you go back 10-15 years and add in the internationals, shouldn't the standard be that be that you can see something like a full 25 man roster of guys that would make up an at least 500 team? This list sure doesn't meet that.

Now TBF, if Meadows, Greene, Torkelson, Dingler, Mize, Manning, Wentz, Workman ALL end up having MLB careers, that would pull him up to the standard of generating players  at better than the needed rate, but that is the kind of unlikely high percentage success that he needs now to square the deficit the Tiger's drafting has been since DD and AA arrived.

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Depressing as it may be its very interesting and looks like  quite a bit of work so thank you. We would never read this in the News or Free Press from a tiger "writer" that for sure.

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Does Avila get a bit of an asterisk for the Dombrowski years if he wasn’t in complete control of the organization?  Even if so, not sure how much that would absolve this resume.  And his complete control years ain’t exactly awe inspiring.

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30 minutes ago, Casimir said:

Does Avila get a bit of an asterisk for the Dombrowski years if he wasn’t in complete control of the organization?  Even if so, not sure how much that would absolve this resume.  And his complete control years ain’t exactly awe inspiring.

that is exactly the $64 question. We don't know enough about the dynamics of the org to assess whether Al has been sitting on the ideas for a good organization for 15 yrs only to be have stymied by his bosses, or at the other hypothetical extreme Chris Ilitch has had to push him into modernizing.  You can list the possibilities:

  • Al is a dolt, Chris is too loyal to just throw him overboard. Chris want to build a winning org but wants an org that won't waste his money - having learned from his father's example of throwing too much good money after bad. He is really the driving force behind the changes and he will eventually have to cut bait on Al, who does what he is asked but remains a lagging performer.
  • Al is a good GM but is still being limited of how fast he can implement because Chris takes too conservative view of how much change he is comfortable with in a given year (both baseball wise and financially) so Avila has been held back from where he might be.
  • Neither are really particularly competent and they are just feeling their way into the future looking at what other clubs have done but neither really generating any innovation or driving hard enough to actually excel past other organizations.
  • They do have a good plan, the pieces are in place and they trust they are going to get to the promised land even if there are set backs in a given year.

Pick whatever combination you like.

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3 minutes ago, Tigermojo2 said:

Don't they have the second best farm system in the Majors?

It’s buoyed by a bunch of top five picks, ie, a bunch of ****ty MLB seasons.  It’s a top heavy organization with not much depth to it.  As awful as they’ve been, they should have a good far system by default.

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2 of those guys are Mize and Skubal who aren’t prospects any longer.

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how many of the top 100 prospects were picked in the top 10 in the last 3 or 4 years?  i imagine a lot.

the only draft success avila has had so far is skubal.  everyone else on those prospect lists is a top 4 pick.  those guys are almost always in the top 100 prospect lists for 2 or 3 years and will inflate how your minor league system is ranked.

again, avila failed by getting nothing in return for the tigers' most valuable assets (verlander/martinez).  he's been better at getting some interesting guys for lesser pieces, but those guys havent really panned out either except foe candelario who looks like he might be a below average player.  whoop whoop.

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3 hours ago, Casimir said:

Are these just the highlights?

These are the 1st Round picks, plus the players that made it to the majors (at all),  I think it's fair to measure out from 2015, six years.  I know there are still some in development from 2015, 2014, but if they were actually good, they would seen the majors by now.  

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3 hours ago, Casimir said:

Does Avila get a bit of an asterisk for the Dombrowski years if he wasn’t in complete control of the organization?  Even if so, not sure how much that would absolve this resume.  And his complete control years ain’t exactly awe inspiring.

No, not at all.  He was the guy in charge of development, scouting and was the Consigliere for Don Dombrowski.   Dombrowski was more of the guy to go do the big trades and the free agent signings, but he's always trusted Al to be that organization guy, so he doesn't get a break from that.   His role is still the same now since the Tigers don't go after big free agents anymore.     Much of the blame must go to Al

We have promising prospects right now since 2016, but haven't we ALWAYS had "promising" prospects?  Everyone does.   If you list 10 top prospects for any team in any year, you're dong great if 5 of them make it to the majors, you're doing great if 3 of them make a big impact. 

That's why, even if Chris sells the team or if he fires Al, that's going to be at least another 5 years before we see any changes take hold in a positive way, even if our young pitchers do become what we want.     Heck by the time they come into their prime, even if draft picks from now  and on start to come up and do something, those guys will become free agents by then.  

It's a mess.   They don't need to fire just Al, they need to fire the ENTIRE player scouting and development staff because we are either not scouting the right guys or we are not developing them.   This has been going on pretty much since the late 80s.     

Really, when was the last Tiger organizational guy - position player - that came up and made a good impact in the majors with the Tigers.  Curtis Granderson?  Help me here.  

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35 minutes ago, Motor City Sonics said:

No, not at all.  He was the guy in charge of development, scouting and was the Consigliere for Don Dombrowski.   Dombrowski was more of the guy to go do the big trades and the free agent signings, but he's always trusted Al to be that organization guy, so he doesn't get a break from that.   His role is still the same now since the Tigers don't go after big free agents anymore.     Much of the blame must go to Al

We have promising prospects right now since 2016, but haven't we ALWAYS had "promising" prospects?  Everyone does.   If you list 10 top prospects for any team in any year, you're dong great if 5 of them make it to the majors, you're doing great if 3 of them make a big impact. 

That's why, even if Chris sells the team or if he fires Al, that's going to be at least another 5 years before we see any changes take hold in a positive way, even if our young pitchers do become what we want.     Heck by the time they come into their prime, even if draft picks from now  and on start to come up and do something, those guys will become free agents by then.  

It's a mess.   They don't need to fire just Al, they need to fire the ENTIRE player scouting and development staff because we are either not scouting the right guys or we are not developing them.   This has been going on pretty much since the late 80s.     

Really, when was the last Tiger organizational guy - position player - that came up and made a good impact in the majors with the Tigers.  Curtis Granderson?  Help me here.  

castellanos

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35 minutes ago, Motor City Sonics said:

ah, forgot about Nick.   What about between Curtis and Nick?  

Alex Avila

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Matt Joyce?  He had a decent career 

Drafting is generally a crapshoot. We’ve had this discussion a million times. It’s player development. The tigers have sucked at it since 1980.  

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The development of Turnbull has arguably been the most impressive thing the Tigers have done under Avila. Maybe toss Boyd in too. It's not a long list.

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6 hours ago, Gehringer_2 said:

that is exactly the $64 question. We don't know enough about the dynamics of the org to assess whether Al has been sitting on the ideas for a good organization for 15 yrs only to be have stymied by his bosses, or at the other hypothetical extreme Chris Ilitch has had to push him into modernizing.  You can list the possibilities:

  • 1. Al is a dolt, Chris is too loyal to just throw him overboard. Chris want to build a winning org but wants an org that won't waste his money - having learned from his father's example of throwing too much good money after bad. He is really the driving force behind the changes and he will eventually have to cut bait on Al, who does what he is asked but remains a lagging performer.
  • 2. Al is a good GM but is still being limited of how fast he can implement because Chris takes too conservative view of how much change he is comfortable with in a given year (both baseball wise and financially) so Avila has been held back from where he might be.
  • 3. Neither are really particularly competent and they are just feeling their way into the future looking at what other clubs have done but neither really generating any innovation or driving hard enough to actually excel past other organizations.
  • 4. They do have a good plan, the pieces are in place and they trust they are going to get to the promised land even if there are set backs in a given year.

Pick whatever combination you like.

Mostly 1, some of 3.

Absolutely zero of 2. or 4.

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So, let's hypothetically say (dreaming here) that Chris I pushes the button on Avila. Early to mid-season.

Then what?

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9 minutes ago, mtutiger said:

So, let's hypothetically say (dreaming here) that Chris I pushes the button on Avila. Early to mid-season.

Then what?

Who knows, but it can’t be worse than status quo...

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