Stealing shamelessly from a similar post by Bucco Blog, I'm going to begin working through a series of analyses of the various rumored GM candidates getting mentioned by the Great Mentioner.
My method is to simply look at the performances of the various candidates in the draft. Many of them have experience as scouting directors, with the draft as a primary area of responsibility. Obviously the draft is a team effort, and the GM sets the strategy (Ricciardi in particular had a very concrete strategy of drafting only college pitchers, for instance, which LaCava may or may not have totally agreed with--we'll probably never know), but the scouting director probably deserves the largest share of credit or blame for the performances of their teams in the draft. Also, the team's willingness to pay for bonuses and top scouts has an impact, etc.
Still with all that acknowledged, I compiled the total win shares of every player drafted by LaCava and Rizzo from 1999-2004 ('00-'04 in La Cava's case, since he didn't start in Atlanta till then). In case you aren't familiar, Win Shares is a Bill James concept that quantifies every player's contributions in wins. One win share is worth 1/3 of a win. I'm using the slightly refined Hardball Times version of the stat, mainly because the info is there for free. You can read more here or also here. I'm cutting off at 2004 just because the 2005-'08 draft classes are all still too young to really even begin to draw conclusions.
Here's what I found:
|Rizzo|| || || || |
| || || || ||576|
So what does this tell us? First, both these guys have done pretty damn well. But Rizzo has been great. With 576 win shares in 6 drafts compared to La Cava's 368 in one fewer draft, he blows him out of the water.
It's been pointed out that the team was particularly willing to spend (which is how Rizzo ended up getting Stephen Drew, the top position player in the '04 draft, at #15). We need to keep this in mind with all the comparisons between Rizzo and other drafters.
Still, even if you take out Drew and Rizzo's solid 1999 draft (since La Cava didn't draft that year), he's still ahead 400 WS to 368.
Because there is an element of luck involved, I think it's useful to see what each guy accomplished if you knock out any top 6-7 picks in the first round (where the odds of getting a good player are really much higher) and also eliminate the highest career win share players from each team, just to eliminate any real Albert Pujols-like flukes. For Rizz, that means taking out Brandon Webb and for La Cava, Adam La Roche. With these adjustments, Rizzo leads 462 to 297. If you further assume that Drew wasn't a top 6-7 pick but was a top talent and therefore remove him from Rizzo's tally, that drops his lead to 418 to 297. Then if you further correct for Rizzo's one-year advantage by eliminating his 1999 draft results, you finally get to near-parity--actually a slight 297 to 286 lead for La Cava. Of course, that's an awful lot of "fairness adjustments." Rizzo should get credit for his solid 1999 draft and for hitting on Brandon Webb.
I could look much deeper at these lists to see who does best with pitchers, hitters, and try to detect any other patterns, and I may do that in the future, but for now this is as far as I'm prepared to go. Tomorrow, I'll continue the post by looking at La Cava v. Rizzo v. Chuck LaMar.