Morning Reading

A few stories to look at after you’ve read about who’s in the best shape of their life

Today, pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training for the Washington Nationals. Instead of linking you to an obligatory “those are the greatest four words” (apparently not considering “tests came back negative” or “s/he’s not pressing charges”) column, take a look at this take, which manages to have it both ways in terms of insight and sentimentality.

January and February are all about Top 10/20/50/100 lists in the Prospect World (believe it or not, I didn’t post about every one I came across). Yesterday, I came across an interesting analysis about the correlation between Success and Failure Rates of Top MLB Prospects. There’s a lot to look at but kudos has to go to Scott McKinney for putting in the time to do this. My favorite conclusion, BTW:

The success rate of prospects (both position player and pitchers) is nearly flat and relatively undifferentiated for players ranked 41-100, and especially those ranked 61-100

Why do I like that so much? Because it supports my belief that any idiot can pick the Top 50, but the real test is beyond the cream of the crop.

My last pick for something to read comes from a blog in New York. As lawyer-turned-blogger Craig Calcaterra puts it: “There’s so much stuff written about the Yankees, but much of it is either insane hype or unwarranted pessimism.” This blog, he goes on to say, is one of the few that doesn’t veer in either direction.

It’s the latter part of that quote that I can relate to, because it reminds me of something that I was told about complaints back when I was a graduate teaching fellow in J-school: It’s a reverse Bell curve, the A-minuses campaigning for A’s or F’s campaigning for a D-minus. Reading this column, I’m starting to wonder if that theory may also apply about the fans of teams as they approach 100 wins or 100 losses.

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

8 thoughts on “Morning Reading”

  1. I saw a similar sentiment a few months ago, after the first 50 picks it’s all about scouting and player development. The good news was truly about 18-20 months a go when Rizzo got the Lerners to double the scouting and player development staff. Either that, or Kasten finally wore them done after a couple of years of haranguing.

  2. The Royals guy seems a tad pessimistic given that his team has an over abundance of top pitching prospects … but I suppose for those fans a dose of reality might be necessary. Still, I can’t see how that franchise can fail to produce a consistent winner for a few years.

    1. peric: McKinney’s study period ended with the 2003 BA list; It doesn’t cover anything beyond that, due to the lag time in Draft->Signed->Ranked->Majors for +/-3 years.
      This was a neutral study, imo, simply to see how the numbers ran out given the perameters.

      FWIW, the per-team average success rate over the study period was 27.9%.

      1. Conveniently — and wisely — that also excludes most current minor-leaguers. Academically, I think that sort of detachment is necessary, not to mention it removes all doubt about whether or not a player had “made it” (e.g. a HS’er drafted in 2002 is now 26 or 27).

  3. Nice piece of work from McKinney. Taking the ‘best of the best’ (BA’s top-100) over 13 years & using WAR to derive a general success-failure rate; I’d be even more curious to see how many of the ‘successful’ position players stayed at their original positions beyond the initial measurement period – That may place some weight on Defensive skills vs. Offensive prowess.

  4. Why do I like that so much? Because it supports my belief that any idiot can pick the Top 50, but the real test is beyond the cream of the crop.

    This is a awesome comment. Andy Petite was a 26th round pick , Mike Piazza was a 50th round pick or later as a favor. The scouts that pick these guys are great , and player development plays a major role

    Look all I am saying is for example our nationals have to take the time to develop the guys that are bonus babies, but dont overlook the diamonds in the rough. Every organization has some , and boy that guy picked in the later rounds could pay off just as much or more then the guy picked in the 2nd round

  5. Let me paraphrase a comment I left at The Nats Blog… It’s nice to see a bona fide guy on his way to Washington, but it’s far, far more satisfying when it’s the kid “that suddenly gets it” versus a so-called sure thing.

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