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Braves Drafts 2001-2012: A Visual Overview

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Drafting is hard. Making charts about drafting? Not so much.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Happy draft day, everyone. I know a lot of you are way more excited than me, because I'm basically the Ebenezer Scrooge of draft excitement. Look, if you were hungry at lunchtime and someone told you that there was an awesome sandwich somewhere in the nearest strip mall/shopping center/cruise ship/baseball stadium/meteor, but then they also told you there was only a chance of getting the sandwich in its awesome state, and you had to wait a few years to actually be able to eat the sandwich... well... you can see where I'm going.

But, that doesn't mean that there aren't fun things to play with, so that's pretty much where I'll leave you.

The widget below is a quick way to look at the first ten rounds of Braves' drafts from 2001 to 2012. (I didn't include 2013 because it's too soon to say anything for that and later drafts.) You can toggle a bunch of things on and off and see both draft patterns and how well those patterns have worked out. You can also just look at the data itself, on the other worksheet. And there's a Tableau embed after this that lets you see the values for each player's fWAR on mouseover, but it's not as colorful. The world of recent Braves drafts is your oyster. Have at it, with a few caveats.

  • This is not an assessment of relative draft quality. Look, drafting is hard. You see all those low dots, even for the first round? All of the kids in the draft are risky to some degree, if only because injuries are so prevalent these days in terms of keeping guys off the field or sapping their effectiveness, and not all of them jump into your mouth into the majors right away. A few other places have already assessed how well the Braves have drafted relative to the field, and the verdict is that they've been pretty good, even if that "pretty good" comes due to some non-first round values as well as hefty, outsize contributions from guys like Jason Heyward. (To see more, check out this great thing from Brew Crew Ball.)
  • To emphasize the boom-and-bust nature of picks, I made every player who didn't reach the majors hover below the x-axis at -2 WAR. To differentiate players who did make the majors but were below replacement during their team control years, all of those are slammed at 0 WAR (on the x-axis). So in other words: on the axis means a guy made the majors and didn't really help his team(s), and below the axis means the guy didn't even make the majors. You can see which one is more prevalent.
  • It's only the first ten rounds, and value is only recorded for guys that signed. (The Braves drafted JP Howell and Anthony Rendon in this span, but neither signed with them.) So guys like Shae Simmons and Evan Gattis do not appear. Still, the vast majority of lower-round picks are even greater lottery tickets than their counterparts.
With all that said, have fun, if you're so inclined. The real fireworks are going to begin this evening, but it's a pretty nice time to reminisce about Brian McCann, times when Jeff Francoeur was good, the fact that Yunel Escobar was actually a really valuable player, and that the Braves once drafted a man named "Van Pope." (Pope Van would've been a much better name, for my money.)

And here's the Tableau embed.