MLB Trade Rumors has an interesting comparison of 2006 draft choices. They have comparisons of six players overall, one against another, who play the same position and were picked closely together in order to determine which team got the best pick.â†µ
The rationale behind comparing draftees at the same positions in similar areas is that it isolates the scouting component. If you look strictly at the performance of a player at a position vis a vis another player at that position, you eliminate the factor of a team drafting for positional needs.â†µ
The Cubs' scouting system has been quite maligned, and the comparison offered by MLB Trade Rumors doesn’t exactly do anything to dispel that notion. They compare 2006 draftees Tyler Colvin and Travis Snider:â†µ
OF Tyler Colvin (Cubs) vs. Travis Snider (Blue Jays): Based on 2010 season line alone, this battle of the lefty-hitting outfielders would have to go to Colvin, drafted thirteenth, over Snider, drafted fourteenth. After all, Colvin has an OPS of .991 in 83 plate appearances this season, while Snider’s stands at .806. But overall, it seems clear that the Blue Jays did better here. Snider came out of high school, while Colvin was a collegiate player. Yet Snider posted significantly better offensive numbers than Colvin as each player climbed their respective system ladders- a .916 to .785 edge in minor league OPS. Snider was holding down a regular job at age 22 before he hit the DL, while Colvin is struggling for a regular spot as his 25th birthday approaches. This one is debatable, but the smart money gives Toronto and Snider the edge.â†µ
I’ll concede the point that Snider thus far (when looking at multiple years) has been better than Colvin and is a starter… however, I don’t necessarily think that’s because Snider is unequivocally the better player. The Cubs outfield is loaded with high priced, long term contracts, and there just hasn’t been all that much room for young players to break in. Further, I find the characterization of Colvin “struggling” for a starting role to be misleading. This evening’s game notwithstanding, Colvin has been playing well and simply not been awarded significant playing time by his manager. That’s not his fault, that’s Lou’s.