Behind the curtain – an inner look at the 2024 Havana Leones draft
Welcome to an informal look at the scenes behind the Havana Leones 2024 draft warroom.
Going into the draft, based upon OOTP’s evaluation of overall team strength , here’s how the club sized up against the league:
Clearly, indications are that we need to do some rebuilding up the middle. This is further highlighted statistically by our division-worst zone rating (ZR) of -7.3 We’re a bad club defensively. Luckily a lot of that can be corrected with a rebuild through the middle.
Based upon that those rankings we’re going to first, emphasize drafting to fill 2B, CF and SS positions as well as some RP. Our second tasking will be to keep an eye out for opportunities to fill the traditional positions where quality players are a premium. Normally in PEBA we consider those to be C, SP and CF. With CF already checked off our list that means C and SP. Nothing new there really. You always grab a great C or SP if he’s available. Just a matter of timing as to when to make a move on one of those guys in lieu of the primary spots we need to fill. That will be determined in part by the talent available and when those various positions begin to dry up talent-wise.
We’re drafting in the middle rounds this year so that will also have some effect. Our first round pick will probably be our only chance to grab an impact player. After that it we’ll probably be able to get guys we want because we’re on our own method for ranking players and we expect to see our desired picks differ somewhat. Mix in the guys who are impossible to sign and player personalities and things start to diverge even further after the first round.
As alluded to, we have a system where we rank every player in the draft pool and assign them a score. Batters and pitchers are scored similarly using different metrics. The metrics are normalized so that a top pitcher should have a similar score to a top batter. After scoring this years class here’s how it looked.
This is a pretty typical result. Most draft classes have a few top guys who score exceptionally well and then the talent falls off. If we target guys who rate 75+ in our system we’d feel we did pretty well.
Here are the top 25 we had rated:
Pos Name Rating (BNN rating)
1b José Torres 130
sp Marty Bernard 129 (9)
rf Guy Perea 127
sp Alfredo Ramos 124
mr Shigeaki Kato 120
sp Dylan Mcintosh 120 (10)
lf Sean Kirkland 119
1b Jorge Padilla 118
2b Theodore Bryant 118
rf Felipe Hernández 117
3b Matthias Ouellette 116
lf Will Nelson 114 (1)
sp Richard Neely 114 (2)
sp Ju-wei Zong 112
lf Germán Jáquez 111
2b Charlie Liston 110
mr Yoshimi Haraguchi 110
1b Bob Gorman 108
3b Derrek Groves 107
mr Manuel González 107
mr Julian Barnes 101
3b Roberto Figueroa 100
mr Doug Wells 100
c Roberto Jiménez 99
1b Carlos Bruno 98
Looking at 2B, CF and SS here’s the top 5 guys from each position in order of our ratings.
2b Theodore Bryant 118
2b Charlie Liston 110
2b António Berru 70
2b Elvis Mason 68
2b Danny Miller 66
A couple of good guys stand out at 2B. We might have some wiggle room and be able to go deeper into the draft before picking one of these guys.
cf Scott Martin 90
cf Bryan Patterson 65
cf José González 65
cf Manny Herrera 63
cf Dave Kelly 56
ss Bryant Hawkins 93
ss Mark Fotherby 71
ss Peter Alexander 69
ss Lee Green 63
ss Tom Morton 59
Looks like there is just one standout player at CF/SS.
We went into round 1 with the bullseye on CF Scott Martin. Yuma picked off SS Hawkins with the eight pick so we felt like we’d lurk a bit on picking up a SS and focus more on higher rated players in the following rounds. After the ususal scramble for SP ad a few big bats, London grabbed a CF with the 13th pick but fortunately it wasn’t Martin; then the Codgers grabbed 2B Liston with the pick right before ours. It was getting a bit tense in the warroom. With the 16th pick we got our man (numbers in parenthesis represent our score for that player / top score at that position / position on our list at the position):
Havana selects CF Scott Martin (90/90/1st)
An outstanding defensive CF with plus-plus speed. He show tremendous raw power and if he can develeop that will likely be a mainstay in the lineup for years. Loyal, hardworking with a solid leadership ethic. Exactly the kind of guy we wanted at that spot. So far so good.
At the start of round we had some interesting decisons to make. We had the 2nd and 17th pick this round. The obvious big names had for the most part been cleared off the board. We had our CF and the remaining 2B and SS options weren’t likely to be going anywhere fast. Plus we still had some guys who rated high on our charts available. It was time for an auduble to grab the #3 guy on our overall list:
Havana selects RF Guy Perea (127/127/1st)
A disciplined hitter with excellent power. A player the other guys will look up to. Though we have concerns about his work ethic and loyalty he rated too high in our system to pass up at this point. So we grabbde him figuring we could get back on track with the later pick in this round.
Havana selects C Gareth von Wondel (76/99/5th)
We had our CF, the rest of the 2B and SS picks weren’t really wowing us and our next need was RP of which there is always a big pool to pick from. So we called another audible and grabbed a catcher. von Wondel was a good fit for our club so and our scout has some hope for him.
In the 3rd we got back on the program:
Havana selects 2B Elvis Mason (68/118/4th)
Mason was pretty much picked on an intangible. Our scout reported “Knowledgeable and hard working, coaches and teammates are inspired by him.” A guy who inspires other player and coaches was a guy we just couldn’t pass on. Plus he was a needed 2B. It will be very interesting to see if he has any impact on the clubs he plays with as he comes up through the system.
By round 4 the draft was getting divergent. Players from all positions were being culled. We decided that it was time to pick up some guys we could use as RP
round 4 SP Doug Wells (100/120/5th) [evaluated as RP]
round 5 SP Jim Avison (84/120/6th) [evaluated as RP]
These guys were rated 5th and 6th *on our RP chart so we were pretty happ to be able to get them this deep into the draft. We liked Wells’ work ethic and intelligence. He has some good upside pitching-wise and we liked his control. Avison is more likely to become a SP if he reaches his potential. A good team influence guy with a wide array of pitches, we think he’ll be a useful player.
Then back the middle with a couple of guys with good potential upside (8 and 9 on our list of 2B):
round 6 2B Daryl Cuttle (54/118/8th)
round 7 2B Kyle Simpson (53/118/9th)
After that it was a matter of pretty much sticking to our overall list and rounding out the field a bit:
8 1B Chet McDonald (85/130/8th)
9 LF Jim Palmer (83/119/6th)
10 MR Ernest Baker (64/129/15th)
11 MR Jack Whiteway (64/129/16th)
12 1B Francisco Santos (77/130/11th)
13 SS Mark Fotherby (71/93/2nd)
14 CL Dave Moore (77/129/15th) [evaluated as SP]
15 SP Bill Lamplough (72/129/19th)
McDonald and Baker were total brain-fart picks. Their ‘signability’ for Havana was listed as ‘impossible’ I thought we’d pruned all the ‘impossibles’ from our list but these two slipped through. Luckily, by virutue of picking middle-ish we hadn’t allocated most of our draft budget. Expect us to through wads of cash at these two and see if they sign.
Overall we met goals pretty well. We weren’t able to grab either of the two premier 2B on the list but we came close and were deep at that position. One or two of our picks should pan out and provide serviceable duty in the farm system. Our first 3 picks should be able to add value for a long time to come and some of the deeper picks have goo upside potential.
Thanks for reading along this far. I hope you found it interesting to get an inside look at how one of the other clubs apporached the draft and how they went about it. Come back in a few seasons and we’ll see how these picks panned out.