How are our 20 Questions predictions looking after the first two months of the season?
A lot of the questions posed in our preseason 20 Questions for 2012 piece have turned out to be fairly close, some hilariously so (see question numero uno). How are our predictions looking after the first two months of the season? (Note: statistics are through games of June 8, 2012)
Is it better for a prospect to be very good at an age-appropriate level, or very young in an advanced league?
This article began as a comparison of Tigers third-base prospect Nick Castellanos and former Padres third-base prospect Sean Burroughs. Castellanos tore through the Florida State League this season, hitting .405/.461/.553 in 55 games, before being promoted to Double-A earlier this week, though his raw power has yet to manifest itself outside of batting practice.
At the same age more than a decade ago, Sean Burroughs was working on a .322/.386/.467 season at Triple-A Portland of the Pacific Coast League, two levels ahead of Castellanos’ recently-vacated Advanced Class-A assignment. Burroughs was also two levels ahead at age 19, making the task of comparing the players a challenge.
Bryce Harper may have been the lead story heading into last Saturday's game at Chavez Ravine, but there were plenty of other moments that made the night memorable.
Even though we’ve already had a pair of no-hitters, it could be argued that the most exciting—and certainly the most anticipated—game of the year was Saturday, when the Washington Nationals visited Chavez Ravine and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The most-hyped prospect of all-time, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, was making his debut. Harper’s teammate Stephen Strasburg, who wasn’t far removed from his own otherworldly hype, would be making his fifth start of the year. The advent of MLB.tv enabled fans from all over the country to tune in and hear Vin Scully describe the intricacies of Harper’s debut. Both teams were in first place. And, as the game grew late, Matt Kemp and the Nationals' depleted bullpen were rushing toward each other for an inevitable conclusion.
The 2000 draft serves as an example of why knee-jerk reactions to the draft are often premature.
Rankings are always of interest to sports fans, but many analysts are uncomfortable with the notion of slapping grades on players whose real value won’t be known for a number of years. This is particularly true in baseball, where players selected in the annual amateur (Rule 4) draft are further away from the major leagues than those of any other major sport. The majority of players taken in the football and basketball drafts have spent time performing under the bright lights, and against the premier competition, of NCAA Division I athletics, and the transition from amateur to professional is a relative breeze. In baseball, only a small percentage of the 1,500 or so players chosen each year hail from Division I baseball programs.
More than a decade ago, some were critical of the Marlins for allegedly putting signability before talent when they tabbed Adrian Gonzalez with the number-one overall pick of the 2000 draft. Gonzalez was regarded as the most polished high school hitter of that year’s crop, but few considered him the best talent available. As it turns out, Gonzalez has contributed the third-most wins above replacement (28.43) among players who signed that year, trailing only Chase Utley (36.26) and Jason Bay (30.53). Given the health woes of Utley and Bay in recent years, Gonzalez appears likely to usurp them atop the list. Joe Borchard, who received that year’s largest signing bonus ($5.3 million) from the White Sox, has the third-lowest WARP total (-1.55) among players who have reached the major leagues.
Players Receiving Signing Bonuses of
$2 Million or Greater, 2000 Draft
The Prospect Tracker adds leaderboards and classification, league filtering.
Over the weekend, we were busy improving Prospect Tracker 2.0, adding leaderboards and classification and league filtering. On the Prospect Tracker home page, you'll notice a new option — 2012 Leaders:
This week's mailbag takes a look at Hall of Famers who were picked in later rounds of the draft, home team winning percentage in extra innings, and Matt Cain's one-hitter.
Welcome to the latest installment of the Baseball Prospectus Research Mailbag. This week, we’ll tackle Hall of Famers being selected in later rounds of the draft, the home team’s winning percentage in extra-inning contests, and the quirks of Matt Cain’s one-hitter against the Pirates last Friday. As always, if there’s a question you would like to see answered in a future mailbag, please feel free to send it in via email or through the “Contact Author” form (please remember to include your full name and hometown with your question).
George Brett and Mike Schmidt went back-to-back with the 29th and 30th picks of the 1971 draft. Have there been any other cases of two Hall of Famers being picked back-to-back in the draft? Also, what’s the latest a Hall of Fame player has gone in the draft?
Only two former number-one picks have retired from the game without reaching the big leagues: catcher Steve Chilcott, taken by the Mets in 1966, and left-hander Brien Taylor, the Yankees’ top choice in 1991. Both players’ careers were derailed by injury, though Chilcott’s performance, even when healthy, inspired little confidence in his major-league future. Taylor, on the other hand, quickly established himself as an elite prospect before tearing the labrum in his left shoulder during an altercation in December 1993. Rehabilitation cost Taylor the 1994 season, not to mention eight miles an hour from his fastball, and the arm that changed the draft never realized the potential of what some consider the greatest high school pitcher they’ve ever seen.