Grading the Omar Regime: The 2005 Draft

An article by posted on February 4, 2012

The majority of my memories of the Mets time under Omar Minaya are positive ones. It was the first time since I began to follow baseball with a burning passion that the Mets were a truly competitive team and it was a time that saw my favorite player of all-time, Pedro Martinez, don my  favorite team’s jersey. A lot of positive memories.

With the state of the Mets today, however, I decided I wanted to take a detailed look into Omar’s tenure with the Mets and see how much credit/blame he deserves. Granted there are many, many other people that are involved in the decision making process, but at the end of the day decisions need the general manager’s stamp of approval. I have always viewed Omar as someone from the “Isiah Thomas School of Managing”—terrific at evaluating talent, but poor at putting together a collective team so it is time to put my perception to the test.

What better way to start of this series than with his first draft as the GM of the team.

*For these graphs I only counted players who signed with the team they were drafted with in 2005. So with the Mets for example, Pedro Beato was not counted and the same with Vance Worley and the Phillies.*

Our first graph shows how many players each team has had reach the big leagues through 2011.

The Mets five players to reach the majors is slightly above the league average and tied for 10th best in the league, putting them in the top third. The players who made it are Mike Pelfrey (1.9), Drew Butera (5.149), Jon Niese (7.209), Bobby Parnell (9.269), and Josh Thole (13.389). Luis Martinez (11.329) and Pedro Beato (17.509) both also have time on major league rosters, but chose not to sign with the Mets in 2005.

Five out of 48 players, or 10.4 percent, sounds like it wasn’t a very successful year but those numbers are actually very good when put into perspective. In 2004 the Mets had 50 picks and only three have made it to the majors, four of the 50 picks in 2003 have made it, two of 48 from 2002, five of 52 picks from 2001 have major league service time and the Mets were working with four picks in the top 76, and four of 51 from 2001 draft made it even though the Mets had four picks in the top 100.

Going solely by the number of contributing draft picks, Omar’s first draft was a big improvement from the previous ones run by Steve Phillips and Jim Duquette.

Our second graphs shows the total WAR accumulated by the players through the 2011 season.

The Mets ranked 17th putting them just in the lower half of the league which isn’t great, but  it is respectable. As the next graph will show the stats really weren’t skewed that much by one great players, with the Rockies (Troy Tulowitzki), Royals (Alex Gordon), and Blue Jays (Ricky Romero) as the only teams with a total higher WAR than the Mets and have two players or less make it to the majors.

Graph three is simply taking the average WAR each player who made the big leagues as contributed.

Here is where the numbers are thrown off because of those three teams mentioned above. With those three teams included the average WAR per player in 2.97 (pictured above), without them the average WAR per player drops considerably to 1.85. At 1.26 the Mets average WAR per player is just shy of the average when the Rockies, Royals, and Blue Jays are not included and ranks 16th overall.

Again on the surface these aren’t outstanding results, but when putting things in perspective it is quiet amazing the Mets rank this high in both categories.

With the blockbuster signings of Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran (a topic for another series) the Mets forfeited their second and third round picks, with their first round pick being protected, and made their second pick at 119th overall. That is a lot of top talent going off the board in between picks. An argument can be made this actually worked in the Mets favor. One could say it allowed the Mets to draft Mike Pelfrey, who slipped because of his demands,  since they were able to put a large chunk of their budget into signing him knowing they didn’t have to pay other high round guys. And while that is a fair argument to make I can’t buy into it as being beneficial knowing with the amount of uncertainty in the MLB draft the more chances you have to strike lightning the better.

This final graph is a very basic one that shows where the true value of the Mets draft lies.

The graph simply shows the amount of players that contributed last year only on the team that drafted them. Now I used the term “contribution” loosely because my criteria was they had to suit up for at least one game. The Mets finished tied for second and all four players were key to the team in 2011, not just roster fillers. Niese and Pelfrey made up 40 percent of the rotation, Thole was the starting catcher, and Parnell made some important contributions out of the bullpen. This is considerably better than Twins who also had four player, but that consisted of a reliever with an ERA in the 5′s, a starter with an ERA in the 5′s, a starter who was only able to pitch in 12 games with an ERA in the 6′s, and a bench player who batted just .203 over 60 games.

This final fact about their draft really puts things over the top for Omar. In 2010 when Jonathan Mayo did a 2005 re-draft, he put Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese in the first round. Now I do not know how every player not included on this list has progressed since Mayo put it out, but if the list was done today I would definitely take Josh Thole over Will Venable, who was awarded the last spot in the first round.

To sum things up and put a letter grade on the 2005 draft, I think Omar deserves an A-. The draft didn’t produce any real stars for the Mets, but Pelfrey was a successful first round pick even if he frustrates fans and Niese is still improving and could turn out to be the Mets best pick of the draft. Getting Parnell was a terrific scouting job for Omar and co. to see the potential in his arm despite being a shortstop for most of his career and developing him accordingly. Easily one of the Mets best drafts in recent history. Score this one a win for Omar.

*Stats from Baseball-Reference*

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