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    Default To back up Kipper: SI article on BA top 100

    I thought Kipper might like this.

    Sky Andrecheck>INSIDE BASEBALL
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    How often do the game's top prospects turn into gold?

    Recently, Baseball America came out with its list of the Top 100 Prospects for 2010, to much fanfare. BA's rankings are among the most respected in the game, because the selections are made by talking to a variety of general managers, scouts, farm directors and other baseball insiders. This year it was no surprise that Atlanta's Jason Heyward and Washington's Stephen Strasburg were named the top two prospects in the game.
    As a fan, you're probably thrilled to see one of your team's players among the top 10 prospects going into the season. You would expect these players to be the stars of tomorrow. However, seasoned fans realize that predicting the future is tough, and that no prospect is a sure star. History is littered with can't-miss prospects who did miss. So, what can we really expect from Baseball America's Top 10 prospects?

    Looking back at BA's top prospects from 1990 through 2006, we can examine how these players panned out. Using Sean Smith's Wins Above Replacement (WAR) data, we can track approximately how many wins these prospects contributed to their teams over the course of their careers.

    I divided the players into five groups (see table below for all 126 prospects):
    • Busts -- fewer than 5 career WAR (e.g., Karim Garcia, Paul Wilson)
    • Average players -- 5-15 WAR (Kris Benson, Todd Walker)
    • Good players -- 15-30 WAR (Pat Burrell, Brad Penny)
    • Great players -- 30-50 WAR (Josh Beckett, Miguel Tejada)
    • Franchise players -- over 50 WAR (Chipper Jones, Pedro Martinez)

    For players who have not yet completed their careers, I estimated which group they are most likely to end up in. Of the 126 Top 10 prospects between 1990 and 2006 (some players made the list multiple times), here's how they broke down:
    • Bust: 26%
    • Average: 21%
    • Good: 26%
    • Great: 16%
    • Franchise: 11%

    As you can see, these much-ballyhooed prospects are no sure thing. Top 10 prospects have about a 1-in-4 chance of being a total bust, and around a 50-50 shot of being just an average player or worse. In contrast, they have about a 27% chance of being at least a great player, and an 11% chance of becoming the franchise player that fans dream about.
    However, the really interesting data comes up when you examine the difference between the plight of hitters and pitchers.

    The following chart breaks down the groupings of prospects.



    The graph above is striking. Not only are pitchers more than twice as likely than their hitting counterparts to become busts, they are much less likely to become great. While 15% of Top 10 hitting prospects became franchise players (Manny Ramirez, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Ivan Rodriguez, and Vladimir Guererro, to name a few) only 4% of Top 10 pitching prospects did so. Pedro Martinez and CC Sabathia comprise a very short list. The differences continue when looking at lesser successes. For example, 35% of Top 10 hitters became at least a great player, while just 13% of Top 10 pitchers did so. In a nutshell, pitchers are more than twice as likely to become busts, but three times less likely to become great.

    What happens when we look at the average total career Wins Above Replacement? Top 10 pitching prospects have averaged about 15 career Wins Above Replacement. Meanwhile, hitting prospects averaged about 27 career WAR. This means that Top 10 hitters return nearly twice as much value as Top 10 pitchers!

    The data speaks for itself: Pitching prospects are vastly overrated. Their success rates are far below the success rates of their hitting counterparts. While I'm not the first to point out the uncertainty surrounding young pitching, I'm surprised at just how big of a difference there is. As the top two prospects of 2010, it might seem that a hypothetical blockbuster trade of Jason Heyward for Stephen Strasburg would be a fair deal. However, armed with the information above, Braves GM Frank Wren might be wise to hold out for two Strasburgs! (Though last I checked, the Nationals didn't have a second one hanging around.)


    How BA's Top 100 Fared
    1990 through 2006
    Group 1: Busts (Career WAR less than 5)
    Kiki Jones, Frank Rodriguez, Roger Salkeld, Jason Bere, Tyrone Hill, Brien Taylor, Todd Van Poppel, Allen Watson, Jose Silva, Alan Benes, Paul Wilson, Matt White, Bruce Chen, Rick Ankiel, Ryan Anderson, Juan Cruz, Jesse Foppert, Greg Miller, Eric Anthony, Andujar Cedeno, Mark Lewis, Ben Davis, Karim Garcia, Travis Lee, Michael Barrett, Pablo Ozuna, Ruben Mateo, Wilson Betemit, Andy Marte, Joel Guzman, Wil Cordero, Sean Burroughs, Drew Henson

    Group 2: Average Players (5-15 WAR)
    Steve Avery, Arthur Rhodes, James Baldwin, Kris Benson, Carl Pavano, Matt Clement, John Patterson, Jon Rauch, Mark Prior, Gavin Floyd, Francisco Liriano, Sandy Alomar, Jose Offerman, Jeffrey Hammonds, Alex Gonzalez, Brian Hunter, Ruben Rivera, Todd Walker

    Group 3: Good Players (15-30 WAR)
    Ben McDonald, Livan Hernandez, Kerry Woodm, Brad Penny, Ben Sheets, Jose Contreras, Francisco Rodriguez, Edwin Jackson, Scott Kazmir, Chad Billingsley, Todd Zeile, Mo Vaughn, Royce Clayton, Cliff Floyd, Rondell White, Shawn Green, Charles Johnson, Darin Erstad, Pat Burrell, Vernon Wells, Josh Hamilton, Nick Johnson, Hank Blalock, Carlos Pena, Hideki Matsui, Alex Rios, B.J. Upton, Casey Kotchman, Rickie Weeks, Stephen Drew, Paul Konerko

    Group 4: Great Players (30-50 WAR)
    Josh Beckett, Felix Hernandez, Matt Cain, Justin Verlander, Juan Gonzalez, Greg Vaughn, Reggie Sanders, Tim Salmon, Carlos Delgado, Johnny Damon, Nomar Garciaparra, Adrian Beltre, Aramis Ramirez, Miguel Tejada, Eric Chavez, JD Drew, Rafael Furcal, Jose Reyes, Prince Fielder, Grady Sizemore

    Group 5: Franchise Players (WAR above 50)
    Pedro Martinez, CC Sabathia, John Olerud, Ivan Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Chipper Jones, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Vladimir Guerrero, Andruw Jones, Ichiro Suzuki, Mark Teixeira, Joe Mauer, Hanley Ramirez
    WAR = Wins Above Replacement player

    Clearly something is askew with the Baseball America prospect rankings. However, I wouldn't blame the publication. BA derives the rankings in large part by talking to industry insiders, and its rankings are meant to largely reflect the consensus around baseball. Hence, it's the MLB teams themselves that appear to overvalue pitching prospects. Clearly, top pitching prospects should be ranked much lower than they currently are. Baseball America has consistently put around three pitchers among the top 10 prospects each season, but this is apparently too many.

    For GM's and MLB front offices, the message is equally clear. If you can deal a pitching prospect for a comparably-rated hitting prospect, you should jump at the chance. Pitchers are risky for the reasons that you probably already know: a high of chance of injury and a world of unknowns about how their pitches and command will develop as they age. It's hard to resist the siren song of a young flamethrower with can't-miss potential, but a team counting on big production from of an unproven arm often ends up disappointed. It's not that pitching prospects can never become great -- obviously they can -- but the high degree of uncertainty surrounding them makes them a bad bet compared to their hitting counterparts.


    Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/201...#ixzz0hBPRAF8B
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    Default Re: To back up Kipper: SI article on BA top 100

    I love that someone in the media wrote an article about this, and didn't leave all of the heavy lifting to Kip.
    Very well done, well thought out article.

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    Default Re: To back up Kipper: SI article on BA top 100

    Very good article, Benny. Not too often something good comes from Sports Illustrated outside of bathing suits... but this is one of those few times. Maybe it's becuse the writer and article itself isn't trying to create hype (what SI does best) or trying to make themselves seem intelligent. This was simply an article that deals with ... ummm... let me clear my throat for a second... RESULTS.

    Clearly there's going to be people on the net that will try to find some sort of justification as to "why" these RESULTS are occurring like this. most times these are made as a defense mechanism for one's personal opinion but it all completely ignores the fact that...

    You bust your wad on a single, specific pitcher ... your chances of getting burned are better than 80%... and that's just with the draft. Those are the RESULTS despite what evidence is supposedly shown year after year by one publication or the other. Now.. this is talking about "post-draft" since these top Prospects lists like BA's are made up of players mostly already in systems (with the exception of some previous year top picks). In a way, this article does a very good job in actually defending Neal Huntington's model in the draft or what seems to be his model/belief which is to not bust your wad in the first round on a pitcher, go the safer route that will net you a better chance of a player reaching the MLB BUT.... most importantly... draft a ton of higher upside pitchers earlier on. Instead of drafting a guy that is listed as an - A/A+ in the first round ... take 2-4 guys that are A- 's or B+'s/B's in the top 10 rounds . Chances are, the law of percentages suggests with pitchers that you are bound to hit more favorably and more often going the NH route than the route in which just about every team in the past 20 years has attempted and gotten little return on - drafting a pitcher in the Top 5 and burning.

    Now... if pitchers are busting at this rate once in the system... this really tells you the same thing - Go after the best impact bats you can via the draft and stock pile as many B and A- level arms later in the draft as you can because you want that system to be thriving with above average pitching. The thought process by many arm-chair GM's on the internet and is a common mistake by them is to add the "so-called" can't miss pitching (or best pitching prospect that specific year) prospect when it really should be all about ; Supplying the system with as many plus arms that have the chance to develop into that top of the rotation guy, than taking a guy hyped to be that already. You're going to get a better return and more return based on averages by drafting the best bat in the first.

    I really liked this quote...

    Hence, it's the MLB teams themselves that appear to overvalue pitching prospects. Clearly, top pitching prospects should be ranked much lower than they currently are. Baseball America has consistently put around three pitchers among the top 10 prospects each season, but this is apparently too many.
    Overvalue is probably the right term. I think teams are so hard pressed to try/want and find that next big pitcher that they over value anyone that looks great in college or highschool.... In a way, MLB treats pitchers like the NFL treats QB's. We've seen a large number of Top 5 QB busts over the years.

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    Default Re: To back up Kipper: SI article on BA top 100

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    Very good article, Benny. Not too often something good comes from Sports Illustrated outside of bathing suits... but this is one of those few times. Maybe it's becuse the writer and article itself isn't trying to create hype (what SI does best) or trying to make themselves seem intelligent. This was simply an article that deals with ... ummm... let me clear my throat for a second... RESULTS.

    Clearly there's going to be people on the net that will try to find some sort of justification as to "why" these RESULTS are occurring like this. most times these are made as a defense mechanism for one's personal opinion but it all completely ignores the fact that...

    You bust your wad on a single, specific pitcher ... your chances of getting burned are better than 80%... and that's just with the draft. Those are the RESULTS despite what evidence is supposedly shown year after year by one publication or the other. Now.. this is talking about "post-draft" since these top Prospects lists like BA's are made up of players mostly already in systems (with the exception of some previous year top picks). In a way, this article does a very good job in actually defending Neal Huntington's model in the draft or what seems to be his model/belief which is to not bust your wad in the first round on a pitcher, go the safer route that will net you a better chance of a player reaching the MLB BUT.... most importantly... draft a ton of higher upside pitchers earlier on. Instead of drafting a guy that is listed as an - A/A+ in the first round ... take 2-4 guys that are A- 's or B+'s/B's in the top 10 rounds . Chances are, the law of percentages suggests with pitchers that you are bound to hit more favorably and more often going the NH route than the route in which just about every team in the past 20 years has attempted and gotten little return on - drafting a pitcher in the Top 5 and burning.

    Now... if pitchers are busting at this rate once in the system... this really tells you the same thing - Go after the best impact bats you can via the draft and stock pile as many B and A- level arms later in the draft as you can because you want that system to be thriving with above average pitching. The thought process by many arm-chair GM's on the internet and is a common mistake by them is to add the "so-called" can't miss pitching (or best pitching prospect that specific year) prospect when it really should be all about ; Supplying the system with as many plus arms that have the chance to develop into that top of the rotation guy, than taking a guy hyped to be that already. You're going to get a better return and more return based on averages by drafting the best bat in the first.

    I really liked this quote...



    Overvalue is probably the right term. I think teams are so hard pressed to try/want and find that next big pitcher that they over value anyone that looks great in college or highschool.... In a way, MLB treats pitchers like the NFL treats QB's. We've seen a large number of Top 5 QB busts over the years.
    I thought you'd like me posting that for you. It is interesting stuff...I am just not sure, though, in the end that you dont draft a pitcher IF you think he's the best player available b/c of this fear.
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    Default Re: To back up Kipper: SI article on BA top 100

    Overvalue is probably the right term. I think teams are so hard pressed to try/want and find that next big pitcher that they over value anyone that looks great in college or highschool.... In a way, MLB treats pitchers like the NFL treats QB's. We've seen a large number of Top 5 QB busts over the years.
    And thanks to the agents involved, OVERVALUE = OVERPAY

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    Default Re: To back up Kipper: SI article on BA top 100

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    I thought you'd like me posting that for you. It is interesting stuff...I am just not sure, though, in the end that you dont draft a pitcher IF you think he's the best player available b/c of this fear.
    When you are doing anything, you add in every possibility. You have to to. you don't go out and buy a car while ignoring the fact that it's got a terrible track record of breaking down before you even get a chance to pay it off. You don't want to waste an investment like that, not when you had the chance to get something that while at the time didn't have all of the bells and whistles, got you a return, got you value and got you where you wanted to go just like you had hoped for that other car...

    I mean, to an extent I'm with you with BPA, then again, I think that unless that pitcher is an unsung consensus pick at X-spot... go college bat. We just haven't seen any of those guys outside of Strasburg in recent drafts. To me, everyone else (pitcher in first round) is a crap shot, in which case, go and get the more sure thing - best bat available and stock up on the pitchers in the rest of the Top 10. Pretty much NH's route.

    The bottom line is that we need talent in the system but more importantly we need talent that's going to make it to the MLB and be good-great-superstar. This article, my thread etc... are all saying the same thing... Bat's project more often and with better results. Pitchers bust at such alarming rates that you should use your best picks on the choice that's a more "sure thing" and stock up on pitchers so that you can have more success with the law averages...

    It should also come as no surprise that I basically loved Huntington's draft strategy last year and I advocate doing it again this season... We can all ***** and moan endlessly about whether he chose the best "bat" but I wanted nothing to do with a big group of pitchers that none of the actual "baseball" people could decide on who was better than who. I just believe that we'll have a better chance of finding an Ace or a #2 stocking up on A/B pitchers in rounds 2-10 than blowing a big chunk of change on a pitcher in the Top 5. I understand and agree with the need for pitching, top end pitching... I just like our chances of getting the best overall results going more of the NH 2009 draft route because I'm in line with his view of passing up pitchers that are definitely projected as Aces

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    Default Re: To back up Kipper: SI article on BA top 100

    Quote Originally Posted by exNCite View Post
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    And thanks to the agents involved, OVERVALUE = OVERPAY
    ...and that's a big part of the equation too. People will whine that the Pirates have all of this money just laying around. Perhaps they do, buit as fans we shouldn't want that money getting wasted away. I don't recall anyone being pleased at all that we brought in Matt Morris via trade for $10 million per. Matt Morris isn't exactly the same as a young pitching prospect but it's the concept of not maximizing every last penny you have. That was a big problem with Dave Littlefield (amongst other things). He spent the money that he had TERRIBLY. He was no Brian Cashman who gets a terrible return for those $200 million + payrolls... but teams like the Rays, Marlins etc... have got so much more out of the same or less amount of money ... that's an area where the Pirates have needed to get better.

    We'll never be able to compete with the Large and mid market teams. hell, unless attendence doubles and ticket prices increase, we won't even be able to compete at the same level money wise as the Brewers which means the Pirates need to get every little last penny out of the contracts they offer .... We really can't take risks like some Pirates bloggers suggest we desperately need to. That is one of the most wrong ways of thinking. Instead of worrying about "desperately" needing to take risks... we should be worrying more about maximizing every decision. If you "hit" on more decisions than not, you aren't forced into having to make "desperate" risks.

    I'm not someone you take to Vegas by the way... but I always walk away with more than I came with.

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    Default Re: To back up Kipper: SI article on BA top 100

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    When you are doing anything, you add in every possibility. You have to to. you don't go out and buy a car while ignoring the fact that it's got a terrible track record of breaking down before you even get a chance to pay it off. You don't want to waste an investment like that, not when you had the chance to get something that while at the time didn't have all of the bells and whistles, got you a return, got you value and got you where you wanted to go just like you had hoped for that other car...

    I mean, to an extent I'm with you with BPA, then again, I think that unless that pitcher is an unsung consensus pick at X-spot... go college bat. We just haven't seen any of those guys outside of Strasburg in recent drafts. To me, everyone else (pitcher in first round) is a crap shot, in which case, go and get the more sure thing - best bat available and stock up on the pitchers in the rest of the Top 10. Pretty much NH's route.

    The bottom line is that we need talent in the system but more importantly we need talent that's going to make it to the MLB and be good-great-superstar. This article, my thread etc... are all saying the same thing... Bat's project more often and with better results. Pitchers bust at such alarming rates that you should use your best picks on the choice that's a more "sure thing" and stock up on pitchers so that you can have more success with the law averages...

    It should also come as no surprise that I basically loved Huntington's draft strategy last year and I advocate doing it again this season... We can all ***** and moan endlessly about whether he chose the best "bat" but I wanted nothing to do with a big group of pitchers that none of the actual "baseball" people could decide on who was better than who. I just believe that we'll have a better chance of finding an Ace or a #2 stocking up on A/B pitchers in rounds 2-10 than blowing a big chunk of change on a pitcher in the Top 5. I understand and agree with the need for pitching, top end pitching... I just like our chances of getting the best overall results going more of the NH 2009 draft route because I'm in line with his view of passing up pitchers that are definitely projected as Aces
    Couple things:

    1) I think that a pitcher will separate from the pack and show himself to be the BPA for our selection

    2) I do recognize that there are pitchers in the 2-5th rounds who are good values as well and come at less costs...and that IF a bat is the BPA for us we can pick up the pitchers in those rounds

    3) I think that if Harper keeps this up and he falls to #2 then the Pirates may just be forced to take him...he's really performing well right now

    4) I like what NH did last draft and I would like to see it replicated for sure...although I would, of course, make some changes...first instead of a Black type pitcher...I'd take a good college pitcher like Cook. I'd also like to see them take some good bats in the top of the draft outside of the 1st round as well (Blake Dean for example).

    Right now I think that Anthony Ranaudo, barring prolonged injury, will turn out to be the BPA---I think that Harper will be gone as well---and behind Ranaudo I think it will be Deck McGuire...I do not think that a hitter outside of Harper will be close to the talent of Ranaudo or McGuire...so even taking the article you and the article that SI wrote in mind...you still have to take either of those two in my opinion. As the season goes on this may change...who knows...but that's something I guess we'll find out...my conception right now is that Ranaudo and/or McGuire are going to be the top players available.
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