If you look at three other franchises, the road-map to success is apparent, but you can’t screw up along the way.
Here is the thought: St. Louis is the goal, who and what you want to be.
They draft fairly late most often, but they take the time to develop players, incubate them if you will as opposed to rushing them, rather than destroying them as Mariners seem wont to do.
Second team is Tampa Bay. They follow same development paradigm as St. Louis, don’t rush guys and year after year turn out guys that can play.
Third team is Astros. They are following the path of Tampa Bay. Difference between St. Louis and Tampa Bay is that St. Louis will sign more than one veteran per year and while those players are not top level they are good, whereas Tampa FAs are like Carlos Pena, pure money-ball guys, especially cheap.
Zduriencik’s plan has been compromised by the bizarre signing of failing veterans to keep the seats full such as Figgins and the trades for Morse and Morales, signing of Joe Saunders, Bay year after year. They get in way of the development path for players, and confuse the fan-base into thinking that being able to compete is near.
The other part of development that is askew is something that I think runs right through all their drafts at least up to the one just complete. All dev guys/scouts look for short stops with tools, then center fielders with tools, then pitchers and catchers.
Every other position gets filled from there either with freaks or failed guys, center fielders and short stops. Nobody ever really says there is a number three or four guy in lineup, because they think hitters will fail and sort themselves out. Hardly ever does the org teach it. There has not been a legitimate three, four or five hitter since ARod, Griffey, Edgar, trade for Buhner etc. Some will say what about Boone and I say better living due to chemicals.
You must know I get so tired of referencing four guys in the history of the whole franchise, but it is an epic failure, as well as seeing the franchise market the same five year period over and over again.
Anyway, in this crop of talent coming up, none of these guys seem to be the ones that settle in and are Hall of Fame hitters in the middle of the order. Missing that, then good guys in those spots would be great. But not a single draftee in twenty years. Seager could be, but it’s early.
To summarize if run differential is a proxy for building a team and it is, this new crop of kids is good but not great, it will probably mean that top to bottom contributions for runs scored will have to occur. Great teams usually have hall of fame players that they draft.