Oooh, Shiny Book Cover

Ducksnorts 2008 Baseball Annual front cover

I swear I’m not turning Ducksnorts into a photo blog, but I’m pretty psyched about this because it means I can almost see light at the end of the tunnel.

When will the book be done? Well, when it’s done. I’m shooting for the first or second week of February. I think this is realistic and not just me being blindly optimistic the way I was that, say, Sean Burroughs could learn to hit a baseball with authority.

On a related note, I’m planning to run an excerpt tomorrow and I’d love your input. Our choices are “2007 in Review” and “Driving to Cooperstown.” Both are very much in progress, but some parts are fit for human consumption. Please let me know which you prefer, and then continue talking about Jim Edmonds or whatever…

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65 Responses »

  1. GY, nice looking cover. I know you are not looking for suggestions, but… The sub-title seems a bit forced. I ran several versions through my mind but none seem to work, so maybe it is OK after all.

    Also, I would make the sub-title box background a light blue, maybe the same color as the light blue text and then the text the same color as the main cover page.

    But, it is your book and you are a stud for doing it. BTW, I loved the 2007 edition.

  2. Looks great GY

  3. Slick looking cover for sure. Another possible suggestion (not sure if you want them, but it looks like you’re getting them) is maybe doing the mound shot with the “SD” on it that the field crew puts down before each game.

    I also agree with 2 about the sub-title, but I also agree that I couldn’t come up with something better.

  4. By the way, because I suck and I hit “submit” before I’m ready, did anyone else see today’s UT article about CY going through some pre-season physical therapy to try and strengthen his back? I think that’s a great idea.

    They also repeat the interest in Nady and mention that Adrian might see more days off next year (which I think is a great idea).

  5. What about:
    “Analysis and commentary on the San Diego Padres organization”

  6. 5: That’s pretty good. What if you went with:

    “Examining the San Diego Padres from the Arizona Fall League to MLB and beyond”.

  7. So many questions from yesterday’s thread: My favorite by far:

    # Marsh Says:
    December 17, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    Okay, a natural question is: Who is Mark Ase and why is SA answering his emails?

    lol not really sure how to answer the first one…seems rather complicated for a blog not written by myself.

    As far as why SA decides to answer my emails, simply put I think I asked an intelligent question….and he was probably bored.

    I know SA is hardly the only one in the FO who will answer an occasional question.

    It is pretty rare to be able to get some inside information about the FO’s thought process…thought people would be interested.

  8. I like the cover, GY … and I vote for sneak-peak at “Driving to Cooperstown” … you go, dude!

  9. Geoff, good looking cover and some good comments/critiques from Phantom and PF4L. If you’re still looking for suggestions, I’d vote for posting “Driving to Cooperstown.”

    The Hall of Fame Vote poll has generated some interest. I’m really encouraged by all the people who think they’ll recognize Raines. I hope you guys have a good read on the voters.

    Man, I love the whole Hall of Fame discussion. Do any of you guys follow the Hall of Merit over at BTF? That has been a fascinating project. I wasn’t involved at all, but i did follow it over the past couple of years.

  10. I found this article through Baseball Musings last night:

    Should be required reading for the Padres front office. I hate to continually harp on the Padres drafting strategy but this shows was a horrible, horrible mistake the 2004 draft was and how it will cost the Padres long term. It’s too bad because they had a golden opportunity to greatly improve their team and they blew it.

  11. Looks great, Geoff. Love the images.

    re: 1 – It might look sharp to lose the box altogether and put your subtitle in the same color as the “Duck” – it would balance the page colorwise. If you keep the box, then maybe the italics aren’t necessary. (ah, the sweet nostalgia of writing for the college paper…)

  12. 10: I don’t see how “it will cost the Padres longterm.” To imply that one single draft pick from 3 years ago will somehow cripple the team for the next five years is a pretty narrow-minded view of the concept of a baseball TEAM. Even if the Padres had got one of the “can’t miss” guys and flipped him for help, whose to say that they would be better or worse off? How can one pick from years ago doom the franchise?

    There are several players on this list that I’ve never heard of (maybe I don’t follow the minors close enough) or appear that they will not reach thier projected ceilings.

    Still, to imply that one player can make or break a team is somewhat ridiculous. Individual players certainly have an impact, but they don’t pitch every day and they don’t man every position on the field or hit in every spot in the order.

  13. 10 … re: 2004 draft … I don’t think *anyone* disagrees that the 2004 draft was “horrible, horrible” … even SA said so at the 2006 BP Pizza Feed … I think the key point is that it resulted in major changes to the Padres’ organization (ex. bringing in SA) … so at this point, I think you’re beating a dead horse … the Padres have moved on, and moved on quite well, it seems to me (ie. I like Headley and Antonelli … and many other prospects they’ve now got) … and I like their streak of winning seasons …

    OT … Kevin … after catching up on yesterday’s comments, I check’d out your website again (which I *love*) … and can’t resist urging an uptick for Peavy on the Pantheon … a CYA merits him pretty high now … at least above Gene Tenace, doncha think?

  14. 10 … and I agree that that is a must-read for folks in the Padres’ FO who are involved in draft-day decisions … thanks for the link … was SA in the A’s FO when they drafted & signed Mulder? I think so …

    … so he probably doesn’t need to read it :-)

  15. Re: The cover. It looks great, my suggestions, for what they are worth is to crop and stretch the images to size rather than just stretching them. I would lose the box behind the subtitle as well. i think it would look nice in the navy running near the bottom.
    Just my opinion. I think its a great looking cover though.

    12: Agreed. One draft pick doesnt kill a teams long term potential.

  16. I think the Padres are a perfect example of a draft pick killing your team for years.

    When you are the worst team in the league and have an opportunity to take any player in arguably the best draft I can remember and you have nothing to show for it that’s horrible.

    Where would the team be if we had any of the following players that have actually played in MLB games?…


    Then the Top prospects…


    I mean look at our team over the past few years. Mediocre at best. 2007 was our best year in a long time and we still finished 3rd. Imagine what a Weaver or a Verlander would have done burried in a rotation with Peavy, Young and Maddux. Upgrade (and cheaper) than David Wells? Yes. Do you think either of those guys would have gotten us the extra win we needed to get that wild card? Drew would either be our starting 3rd, SS or CF’r at this point and probably would have been for the past 2 or 3 years also. All of the other guys I have mentioned would have either slid into the back of our rotation by now or in 2008 and been leaps and bounds better than Cassel or Stauffer or Thompson or who ever the hell we were calling up last year to pitch a game here or there. Even if none of those guys had played a single inning in the bigs they are almost all names I have heard in big trades this off-season.

    I’m not saying that draft doomed our franchise forever or anything. I’m just saying that 2004 was a very good/great draft IMO and we came out with NOTHING in the 1st round and it still effects us. If we made the best pick possible we would probably have the one of the best rotations in the bigs (Verlander, Weaver). If we made a decent pick we would have gotten a good bat or a pitcher that would be in our starting rotation for sure (Bailey, Hughes, Fields, Butler, Drew). If we made a bad pick we could still have a good/great prospect to stick with or turn into other players (Humber, Niemann, Walker, Elbert, Townsend). Instead we made a horrible pick and it’s going to be pretty hard for anyone to convince me that we are not still paying for the decision today.

  17. The unnecessary drama is the claim that the Bush pick killed the team. It did not – the team had winning record every year since, made the playoffs twice, and was a pitch or two short a third year. Nor did it kill the minor league system, which has rebounded from its awful state.

    The most important thing is that it was a bad pick, and that the draft team/philosophy changed after that. No more high risk high schoolers who take less than slot with first overall picks; let’s go with the safe college kids who take slot in the 20-30 slots. ;)

  18. My point is that it shows the overall John Moores philosophy. Always try and save a few bucks, no matter if it can potentially cost the team millions down the road. Some of you are missing the point on the draft — the Padres had the #1 overall pick which is far and away the most valuable pick in the draft and they threw it away for nothing.

    Here’s a list of the players drafted #1 over the past 20 years: Hochevar(KC), J.Upton(ARI), Bush(SD), DelYoung(TB), Bullington(PIT), Mauer(MIN), Gonzalez(FLO), Hamilton(TB), Burrell(PHI), Matt Anderson(DET), Benson(PIT), Erstad(ANA), Paul Wilson(NYM), ARodriguez(SEA), Nevin(HOU), Brien Taylor(NYY), Chipper Jones(ATL), McDonald(BAL), Andy Benes(SD), Griffey(SEA). A few of the signability picks worked out (Chipper over Todd Van Poppel, Adrian over the rest as that year was horrible) but most were terrible (Anderson over JD Drew or Glaus, Bullington over the other Upton, Bush and possibly Hochevar). Taylor was the only true bust but he got injured in an off the field incident, the rest of the players are either solid regulars, including two of the all-time greats in ARod and Griffey and a bunch of other all-stars (or near all-stars).

    However, if you go back and look at some of the Padres previous drafts, 2004 doesn’t really look that bad. In 1999 they had 6 picks out of the first 51 and basically threw them all away.

  19. 17: Safe college kids like Carrillo and Schmidt?

    The safest picks are college hitters. The other three draft groups (college pitchers, HS hitters, HS pitchers) are about the same risk.

    No one pick can kill a franchise, but as Rany Jazayerli showed, the greatest difference in value between picks is between the 1st Overall and Everything Else. It was a huge missed opportunity.

    Bush wasn’t just a high risk high schooler. He was a low upside high schooler, too. That’s the worst possible combination.

  20. Thanks for all the great suggestions. Keep ‘em coming!

    #15: Not sure what you mean by “crop and stretch.” Would you shoot me an email?

    #16: I wonder if the Padres have room for one of these in their budget. Could come in handy…

  21. re: 13

    You make a solid point, but he was unranked before last season (I think). So he went from nothing to 15.

    There’s not many pitchers on the list, and he is No. 3 among them. Another All-Star to Cy Young-type season, and he will be in the top 10.

  22. Right, and the Padres addressed that by bringing in some of the best draft guys in the business, which is why they’ve had much more success in the draft lately. Grady Fuson, Chief Gayton, DePodesta, etc. … these guys weren’t around for the bad picks in 2004 and in years prior, and ultimately those are the guys making recommendations to Towers, not the other way around. And those guys all have terrific records in terms of scouting and development.

    And maybe they honestly saw something in Schmidt they didn’t in Porcello? The Padres certainly weren’t the first team to pass up the option of signing him… it’s not like they had the first pick last year. And it’s easy to criticize a pick when the kid gets injured, when he hasn’t even had a chance to develop yet. Maybe Porcello will be great like Verlander, and maybe he’ll be Dewon Brazleton or Todd VanPoppell. It’s hard to say. But it seems unfair to criticize the team for a pick who hasn’t even had a chance to develop yet, and who plays for a team who was one play away from three straight playoff appearances.

  23. That was for 18, of course.

  24. 22: Well said. Until someone has a successful big league career, they are still just prospects.

    With that in mind, that’s why I don’t think the Bush signing was the worst thing in the world. Who, of Bush’s class, has made an impact in the majors aside from Verlander and Weaver? Drew had an uninspiring season. Bailey and Humber both struggled in limited appearances this year.

    Bush could end up being a phenomenal reliever for the Padres. He could. But until he makes it, we won’t really know.

    That’s the thing about prospects. Until they contribute at the major league level, they’re still just prospects. They could be the next Roger Clemens, or as UC Michael indicated, the next Dewon Brazleton. Hell, look at Billy Beane. He was supposed to be one of the game’s best, and he just never adjusted. Some people make it, and some don’t. Until then, they’re still just prospects.

  25. I think that line from The Fathers was a joke…..wasn’t it?

    There was a reason that people were saying that Porcello was the best high school pitching prospect since Josh Beckett I think. It’s possible that the Padres thought that Schmidt would be better but their track record is so terrible there’s no reason to think that they’d be right.

    I think this Padres run of success is about unprecedented. The draft is the easiest and cheapest way to get talent and the Padres have acted more like the Pirates or the Royals. Yet those two teams are probably the two worst run teams while the Padres have been one of the best teams in the NL over the past four years. It absolutely unbelievable. However, if they don’t fix their drafting process (and I’m still not convinced that it is) they just aren’t going to be able to keep this run of success up (mainly because I think teams are going to be wary of trading with Towers as he’s been ripping other teams off lately).

  26. 20: The time machine gag is a little defensive. The Padres admitted Bush wasn’t their top choice and was driven by budget concerns, after they spent the entire draft season under the assumption they could draft who they wanted.

    22: Gayton’s been the Padre scouting director since 2001. He was absolutely there for not just the 2004 draft, but the 2003 as well, which was almost as bad. We didn’t miss on the #1 pick, we just missed on the #4 overall. Yet another “safe” college pitcher who has been neither safe nor productive.

    How is criticizing Schmidt unfair? Several teams passed on him, just like they did on Porcello. The guy didn’t throw a game’s worth of innings in the pros before blowing his elbow. Other people saw the injury risk.

  27. 24: It’s not as simple as a line between “Just Prospects” and “Major Leaguers.” It’s also how much value those players had in trade.

    Two months after he was drafted Bush had almost zero trade value. 12 months after he was drafted in was even lower, and the year after that his value was completely gone. Not a drop left. Even now Drew has substantially more, and before he struggled this season he was considered the best SS prospect in the game, worth a huge amount in trade. Bailey’s a more highly ranked pitcher than anyone in our system. With guys like that, you can make moves for impact players.

  28. 27: I totally recognize that propsects, even when they are unproven, can be valuable to a system. But much of Schlom’s arguments seem to be predicated on the fact that we didn’t have a Weaver or a Verlander type on our team. Not that we didn’t have one of those guys to trade.

    As for the Padres run of success being unprecedented, our ability to find quality arms at the big league level is a HUGE piece of the puzzle. Coupled with that, KT knows how and when to fleece teams in trades. It helps that the Padres are seen as the “small team that could”, as KT never really makes trades for people that appear to be “impact players.” Yet, in the past 3 years, KT has made moves for several “unsexy” or “under-the-radar” types that have become impact players.

  29. 28: “Even if none of those guys had played a single inning in the bigs they are almost all names I have heard in big trades this off-season.”

  30. 29: What’s the quote from? I seem to be misunderstanding what that’s a reference to.

    Don’t get me wrong, I certainly think that prospect have value and that drafting a Verlander or a Weaver could have benefitted us. Regardless, I still think that the Padres have done a phenomenal job competing and contending, despite the 2004 draft.

  31. Kevin Goldstein of BPro did the Rays’ top 11 prospects today, and their system is incredibly loaded. If we are looking at Kouzmanoff-like guys to try and fill our centerfield hole, Fernando Perez looks intriguing. I’d never heard of him before this list, but he’s the Rays’ 10th best prospect. He’s 25 and went to Columbia, and he hit .308/.423/.481 in AA this year, with tools that match the production. He’s definitely blocked in Tampa Bay what with all their talented young OFers. It would take talent to acquire him, but he’s worth much more to us than he would be to the Rays.

  32. first off, let me say that i thoroughly enjoyed last year’s book, which i devoured cover-to-cover, and i am definitely looking forward to this year’s follow-up.

    however, and i hope this doesn’t come off as mean (let’s call it “constructive criticism”), i really think you should find someone with a design background to do the cover for you. the fact is, people really do judge books by their covers, and i wouldn’t want anybody to miss out on what i expect to be another great collection of baseball analysis just because they thought the cover looked amateurish and decided to pass on it …

  33. #26: Defensive? Not really. The Padres screwed up in a big way; I don’t think anyone will argue that point. I’d just like to hear some ways to “fix” something that happened 3 1/2 years ago. Otherwise, we’re dwelling on things beyond anyone’s control, which strikes me as a questionable use of time.

    Problem: The Padres made a mistake in the 2004 draft.
    Solution: ???

    That second part is more interesting to me than “woulda, coulda, shoulda,” which has been well established and which doesn’t get us anywhere.

    You’ve offered some ideas, and I think the Padres have taken steps in the right direction. But for me, repeating the obvious sentiment that the Padres would have been better off not drafting Bush with the #1 pick overall gets old after a while. It doesn’t teach us anything.

  34. #33: Zing. You have anyone in mind? Hint: Free is good.

  35. 31: No wonder, since I took a quote from KRS1 instead of Schlom, the poster you were referring to. Oops.

    32: The only possible negative thing that jumps out at me on Perez is his power didn’t develop until… Slugging 481 in the Southern League is impressive, but slugging 393 the year before in the Cal League is not. Was he hurt? I don’t subscribe to BP. Still, good OBP skills, plenty of speed.

    34: I bet it took someone as much time to dig up the picture from Back to the Future than for Schlom, KRS1, or I to write our posts.

    35: Good luck with that. I can’t get the marketing people in my own company to return an email.

  36. 34: My solution is simple, don’t let the people responsible for the 2004 and 2007 1st picks anywhere near the decision making. My most hoped for solution is for John Moores to sell the team to someone who will spend money so that the genius of Kevin Towers won’t be wasted by putting together a team that is trying to win 85 games or so. Of course, the chances of that are about the same as if Edmonds can replicate his 2004 numbers (namely, zero).

  37. 34.

    Solution is… Pick the best player available!

    If Matt Bush was the consensus #1 or #2 or even top 5 pick nobody would have any blame to put on the FO at all.

  38. 38: Unfortunately, the effect of Scott Boras et al means that only a few teams can actually afford to pick the best player with their picks in the draft. Look at Porcello for example. He slid all the way to 27. If the draft was as simple as choosing the best player, he would have probably gone in the top 5.

    37: Who would you rather have as an owner? Peter Angelos? Jeffrey Loria? The ownership of the Pirates? Of the Royals? Hell, of the Cardinals?

    The fact of the matter is that there are very few “good” owners in baseball that seem to value winning more than running a financially viable entity. And in most cases where we perceive those owners to be “good,” their financial situations provide them with the flexibility and the leverage to make such decisions.

    If the Padres were to be sold at this point, chances are that whoever bought them would do even less with the payroll than Moores does.

  39. 39: Not true at all. Any team can afford the top talent. Teams pass on players in the draft for what they’ll pay a below-average free agent. That includes teams who have no chance of winning their division and would benefit far more by drafting the player than employing the scrub. They’ll hold fast at 2 million instead of going to 2.25 for a draftee, but toss 5 million at Reggie Sanders so they can finished 70-92 instead of 69-93.

    Even if 90% of teams were adhering to slot, which they’re not, it doesn’t make sense for us to do it all the time. We constantly hear about the Padres’ small market size, their debt, their inability to attract big sponsors, and various other financial limits. We hear about their need to build from within just as often. If you’re going to operate under those assumptions, it’s silly to continually, and I mean continually, pass on potential greatness for monetary reasons. They don’t have to draft just guys who are asking for the moon. Signing just one guy to above-slot money would be a start.

  40. 39.

    Signing Rick Porcello and having control over him until 2017 cost less than what the Rays just paid for 2 years of Troy Percival. Which deal sounds more risky?

  41. 41: Or has more upside?

  42. 40 – 42: Look, I’m not arguing that it makes little logistical sense. But the fact remains that there were 25 other teams than the Padres that passed on Porcello. Many of them likely would have cited his asking price as the reason. Whether or not it seems stupid or makes little sense, it’s a reason all the same.

  43. I said it was only a dream. I know that Moores isn’t going to sell the Padres, I just wish that he would.

    Again, it’s the refusal to gamble on potential that bugs me. They will gamble on mediocrity (Jim Edmonds) but not on someone who will make an impact (Andruw Jones). They did the same on the draft. You usually get what you pay for.

    Who is the last team to win the World Series with a below average payroll? Probably the 2003 Marlins but they still spent some money that year (they had a huge hole at catcher that they filled by giving Pudge Rodriguez a one year, $10m contract. They also had Josh Beckett, the consensus top talent in the 1999 that was passed by the Devil Rays because they didn’t want to pay him. Sound familar?) It was certainly possible to win with a low payroll in the NL last season, but every year is different. Obviously we will have to wait and see.

  44. 44: Um, the 2006 Cardinals had a pretty middle-of-the-road payroll, didn’t they?

    The difference between Edmonds and Jones is more than the Padres spent on the entire draft this season. So I think I would have rather drafted a bunch of players than take a risk with Jones (obviously we would have drafted and signed players had we signed Jones, but maybe not the same ones. Some of you would probably be happy about that).

    I guess I just don’t understand why you, Schlom, hate Moores so much. When you look at other teams in the league, I think you can make a pretty convincing argument that Moores does a pretty good job for this team and this city. He never promised a world championship, but he did promise that we’d be competitive. When is four winning seasons and an 89-win season not competitive? I’d say he’s more than lived up to his word and he’s bankrolled the building of a strong, financially responsible team in the process.

  45. Based on the way smart teams make decisions these days I’d say that just about the most valuable commodity in baseball is having a major league caliber player whose salary you control. Doesn’t it make sense to pay an extra 4 or 5 or even 10 million a year to get guys who have a much greater chance to give you those high quality/low salary seaons? If you spend $1 million to draft a guy who never makes it, just to save $5 million on a stud Boras client, well thats not a good use of money, is it?

    I’m the first to admit that my eyes glaze over in the economic discussions and the prospect rankings but it seems to me that it’s worth spending more to get the Verlanders and Weavers and Drews of the world. Of course there’s a huge amount of risk involved but smart teams can do things like hire pitching mechanic guru Carlos Gomez to assess injury risk. When you’re drafting guys like Nick Schmidt because he’s durable but these mechanics guys are saying he’s a risk, and then he immediately blows out his arm, maybe you need to keep fine tuning your talent assessment methods.

  46. 43: 22 teams other than the Padres. A few teams had multiple picks before Porcello went.

  47. 43: My other problem is with blaming agents (including Boras) for teams being unable to sign players. No agent drove the prices up or held a gun to anyone’s head, no more than they do with regular free agents. Baseball is making huge amounts of money. The pool of people who can play baseball is small. Just like nuclear engineers or airline pilots or any other highly talented field, they’re going to get paid.

    Baseball owners are one of the strangest groups of capitalists around. When they’re raking in the cash (6 billion in revenue), that’s just the free market at work. But if prospects want to get paid what the market will bear, they’re ruining the game, making it impossible for a collection of multimillionaires and billionaires to run their businesses at a profit.

  48. 44: Let’s move on from now. The Padres has Edmonds and the Dodgers has Jones for $12 million more next season and $18 more the next. That’s not the kind of money I’d bet on Jones even if it’s mine.
    Jones by himself is not going to make a difference. Would getting Jones guarantee the Padres 5 more wins? Does getting Edmonds guarantee the team 5 more losses? I don’t know the answer. Granted, Jones is more likely to rebound than Edmonds but who’s to say that the FO is done. I sure hope they are still working on getting a platoon CF and some more pitching.

    The fact is the Padres has been winning since moving to Petco and was one win away from making it to the playoff again last year (with all those terrible losses from Wells, Germano and the rest). I expect the Padres to compete again for a playoff spot this coming season.

  49. re: Draft.

    This should either be disbanded since no teams are actually following the ‘suggested’ slot if they have the money and confidence in a player, OR, make slot money a must and the slot tradeable so that it’s valuable to the teams.

    TW, you are correct that the teams should be ashame for using the agents as an excuse not to sign prospects.