Joe Blanton pitches in a game shortly before he is traded to the Phillies
By now most people probably know a little bit of the story about Billy Beane, the Oakland Athletics and the "Moneyball" draft theory.
With the movie set to come out in a few weeks, the story of how the 2002 Athletics went from worst team in baseball to playoff participant will be told.
Phillies RH pitcher Joe Blanton was actually one of Beane's picks in the 2002 draft. The 6'3, 245-pound pitcher was drafted second by the Athletics and 24th overall based on his sabermetric value.
He was not the flashiest prospect but his other and more inclusive stats, as Beane called them, such as WAR (Wins Against Replacement) and FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) had him ranked as one of the top possible prospects.
He was the perfect fit for Beane's "Moneyball" experiment and had great seasons for both the Athletics and the Phillies.
The Phillies' LH pitcher Cole Hamels was also part of the 2002 draft class. He was the 17th overall pick by the Phillies.
Hamels, who was passed over by Beane because he was only in high school, has turned out to be one of the best pitchers taken in that draft. For a Phillies team that was certainly struggling, Hamels turned out to be a great pick.
Phillies LF and backup 1B John Mayberry Jr. was another pick of the "Moneyball" draft. Mayberry, who was drafted 28th overall by the Seattle Mariners, was another high school kid whom Beane considered a foolish pick.
Beane beleived it was much easier to gauge the stats of those out of a college and as a result skipped over guys like Mayberry. Out of the 41 first round picks, Mayberry was the only one not to sign as he chose to go to Stanford to play college ball instead.
Three of the top 30 picks of the 2002 draft are on the Phillies roster and have certainly made their impact.
Blanton, who was widely considered the Athletics' biggest success of the draft, came to the Phillies during the 2008 season as part of a trade that occurred in July of that season.
Blanton's first few starts with the Phillies were great. He was good for pitching a lot of innings and throwing strikeouts. He was a power pitcher and added to the rotation of Brett Myers and fellow 2002 draftee Hamels. Blanton made the Phillies a playoff team.
In the playoffs he was a solid and consistent starter who even hit a HR in the 2008 World Series on the way to helping the Phillies win the game and the World Series.
Hamels is one of the many "home grown" Phils that are on the team. He was drafted by the team, came up in the system and currently is part of the pitching rotation.
Beane's characterization of Hamels being a "foolish draft pick" has certainly proven false. "Hollywood" Hamels has been everything the Phillies expected when they drafted him.
After spending only a few short years in one of the best farm systems in baseball, Hamels joined the staff. A few years after that, Hamels was the ace of the staff and was widely considered one of the best up and coming players in the major leagues.
Hamels added to his resume by being simply lights out in the 2008 postseason. He went 4-0 in the playoffs en route to winning the NLCS and World Series MVP. He was a huge part of the Phillies' success in 2008.
Mayberry has only recently made his mark on Major League Baseball. The player who chose to attend college instead of enter baseball was acquired by the Phillies in the 2008 offseason for OF Greg Golson.
Mayberry has been a breath of fresh air for the Phils who lost Jayson Werth to free agency and had their top prospect Domonic Brown go down with an injury after struggle offensively.
Desperately in need of a right-handed power bat, Mayberry provided just the punch the Phillies needed and did so at just the right time.
After being demoted to the minors he came back with a vengeance and was awarded a platoon spot in LF with Raul Ibanez.
His power and speed have helped him succeed and at one point in the season he had 17 extra base hits in 26 at-bats. Just like Hamels and Blanton did in 2008, Mayberry is looking to make his mark on the 2011 postseason.
In a draft that saw Prince Fielder, Nick Swisher, Zach Greinke, B.J. Upton and so many other major league talents, the Phillies have clearly been the draft winners.
Even though they only began with one of the top 30 picks, they acquired two more who have been essential in their past and recent success.