thoughts on the Mariners, MLB draft, and more homelinksdraftabout me

Z Versus B, State By State

Jack Zduriencik has clearly improved the Mariners farm system. He has made 152 draft picks so far as M's GM. His predecessor, Bill Bavasi, made 245 draft picks. I figured both sample sizes were big enough to see some trends in their draft strategies.

To a degree, the big-time prospects are known around the nation. However, as a draft wears on, a GM relies on their scouts and connections. Scouts are typically deployed to cover certain regions. So, I figured if Zduriencik and Bavasi have different people in their ears, and different connections, I would see differences in where Mariners draft picks geographically come from.

Below are the results. Mouse over different states for the raw total of prospects the respective GM selected from that state:

Bill Bavasi 
Jack Zduriencik
Click "continue reading" for some of my thoughts on the data.
  • Both GMs hit California hard. I bet every MLB team hits California hard. This isn't surprising. It's a highly populous and wealthy state bathed in sunshine most of the year. That's a recipe for athletic development in any sport.
  • Zduriencik favors Florida, while Bavasi favored Texas. California, Texas, and Florida are the three athletic hotbeds in America. Again, I'm not surprised both Z and B hit these three states hard. I'm sure every MLB team does. Maybe if both GMs had 1000 picks to spend, we would see similar trends, but there might be more to the disparity. Florida is the farthest state away from Seattle. It's a commitment for this team to extensively scout that area.
  • Zduriencik has ties in the northeast that Bavasi didn't have, or at least Z pays attention to that region of the country in a way that Bavasi didn't. In particular, Zduriencik's rate of drafting New York players is higher than Bavasi's.
  • Bavasi has ties in Ohio that Zduriencik doesn't have, or at least Bavasi paid attention to that state in a way that Zduriencik hasn't as of yet. The state is better known for football, but it's still a pretty populous state with an established athletic tradition.
  • Zduriencik drafts out of Oregon and Hawai'i. I thought I had missed something when I saw so few draft picks from Oregon under the Bavasi regime. It helps that the University of Oregon rose to prominence once Z was hired, but Oregon State was strong under Bill Bavasi. The state has talent, and I find it odd that Bavasi never tapped into it. As for Hawai'i, shouldn't every team scout that state extensively, just to sneak in a vacation of sorts? I'm only half kidding. I'd say that's all the M's are doing if Vinnie Catricala hadn't busted out last year.
In general, Jack Zduriencik's draft picks come from a much more diverse range of geographical locations. Some of this is probably due to luck. I'm sure both GMs have rated players from virtually everywhere, but the picks they make are heavily influenced by who is already gone off of their boards. 

However, we are talking about hundreds of picks at this point, and there are some clear differences in the geographic footprints of these two GMs. Theoretically a wider net should catch more fish, so I like the idea that Zduriencik might look more closely in more places for baseball talent. Old-fashioned hard work might have something to do with the Mariners improved drafts under Zduriencik.