[David Bergner of The Baseball Savant emailed this to me last night, and I asked him to post it on the site. There are so many variables when it comes to evaluating a team's draft history that it becomes almost impossible to know how well your team has done over a long enough time, but I still "feel" like the Reds have drafted poorly in the past 25 years. One factor I didn't even think of until recently is that the Reds have drafted pretty low for long stretches of time (mid to late 80's and early 90's) which obviously affects the quality of players to which they had access. I hope you guys enjoy this, I found it to be pretty interesting.]
You asked this question on your blog a little while ago about whether the Reds have drafted many star players and all you came up with was Larkin. I wasn't sure what date you were going back to, but I took 1980 as a start date and that gave us 26 years worth of drafts. From 1980 to 1986, the draft was pretty crazy with different phases such as June Regular Phase, January Winter Phase, and stuff like that. That all ended in 1987, so from 1980 to 1986, I only included the June Regular Phase. Here are the only "Stars" I could come up with from 1980-2005
1980 - Eric Davis Round 8, Overall Pick #201. Davis was actually listed as a SS.
1982 - Barry Larkin Round 2, Overall Pick #51. Obviously Larkin went to Michigan
1985 - Barry Larkin Round 1, Overall Pick #4. Basically the face of the franchise for two decades
1989 - Trevor Hoffman Round 11 Overall Pick #288. Marlins got him in the expansion draft.
1998 - Adam Dunn Round 2 Overall Pick #50. Our current superstar on his way out.
That's it bro! Four stars in 26 drafts. Our last star came in 1998 and before Dunn it was almost 15 years before when Larkin came up! I haven't looked at any other team but I wonder how many other teams can talk of that kind of draft incompetency or bad luck! Just for kicks, I did the Pittsburgh Pirates for the same time period and they had these stars:
1985 - Barry Bonds Round 1, Overall Pick #6. No need to paraphrase this guy!
1986 - Moises Alou Round 1, Overall Pick #2. This was actually in the January Regular Phase draft
1988 - Tim Wakefield Round 8, Overall Pick #200. Marginal star I suppose
1992 - Jason Kendall Round 1, Overall Pick #23. Thought as franchise player while in Pitt
Alou only had 5 career AB with the Pirates before going to the Expos so I'm not even sure if he should count. I added Alou b/c I guess you could make an argument he's a star player. He came out of the other phases of the draft and if you were doing this with Cincinnati, you'd find Kal Daniels, Rob Dibble, and Randy Myers of note. I wasn't sure if they were stars. I always felt the 3 were HUGE stars but I grew up during the 1990 Reds so they were huge for me. My mom still has my "Nasty Boys" T-Shirt with Dibble, Charlton, and Myers on it. I thought that possibly outside of Cincinnati, those 3 weren't as big as I thought.
Obviously when it comes to producing stars, the Reds and Pirates are pretty terrible. Let's go for the Cardinals since they've been fairly successful and see what we get.
1982 - Terry Pendleton Round 7, Overall #179
1982 - Vince Coleman Round 10, Overall #257
1987 - Ray Lankford Round 3, Overall #72
1991 - Dimitri Young Round 1, Overall #4
1998 - JD Drew Round 1, Overall #5
1999 - Albert Pujols Round 13, Overall #402 401 guys picked ahead of this one?
Drew and Pujols are definitely stars alongside Pendleton but Coleman, Young, and Lankford are probably marginal. So the Pirates have 4, the Reds get 4 and the Cardinals get 6 maybe. In reality it looks like each team gets a couple with the Reds possibly having 3. The Reds get both Eric Davis and Barry Larkin along with current Red Adam Dunn. The Pirates have Jason Kendall and Barry Bonds while the Cardinals have Albert Pujols and JD Drew. So over 26 drafts each team has produced about 2 superstars that played significant time with the team that drafted them. I'll look at one more, the Atlanta Braves since they've been fairly dynastic the past 13-14 years.
1983 - Ron Gant Round 4, Overall #100
1984 - Tom Glavine Round 2, Overall #47
1985 - David Justice Round 4, Overall #94
1989 - Ryan Klesko Round 5, Overall #114
1990 - Chipper Jones Round 1, Overall #1
1991 - Jason Schmidt Round 8, Overall #206
1993 - Kevin Millwood Round 11, Overall #320
1993 - Jermaine Dye Round 17, Overall #488
1996 - Marcus Giles Round 53, Overall #1511
A couple of those guys are marginal I suppose as per longevity just as Gant or Justice or Dye, but when you get down to it, the legitimate superstars are Chipper and Glavine. Just 2 like the rest of the others. HOwever, the Braves definitely have more depth if you are talking about stars. I guess the difference between stars, superstars, and regular guys could vary but you get what I'm saying.
Anyway, I hope this was interesting. I'm sure a lot more could be mined from this data, but from the above the Reds don't look TOO AWFUL when it comes to gaining superstars I suppose. If we are looking at just stars or depth at the major league level with adequate players who have the ability to have some staying power in the major leagues, then Cincy probably fails miserably.
Anyway, hope you liked this.