Take a deep breath before assuming your favorite team's pick today is a future star.
Unless you live under a rock, and no offense to those living under a rock, you know the draft takes places tonight. The draft creates a lot of excitement, but it's important to be realistic as well about the player that gets added to your favorite. Whomever your favorite team takes, it's not time to start inserting him into future lineups. The attrition rate for top picks has improved dramatically, yet remains brutal. So for a little dose of reality here are the top five hitters and pitchers for each slot. Of the 47 players taken in draft history, this is the cream of the crop, and it can be a bit of an eye-opener. A big note of thanks to Bradley Ankrom for doing the leg work here.
Do pitchers who play in full-season leagues at age 17 or 18 often find success, or is there still no such thing as a pitching prospect?
As part of last week’s Prospects on the Bubble series, we looked at hitters who had played full seasons at advanced Class-A as 17- or 18-year-olds. A number of readers asked about pitchers who have done the same thing, and the results (using a minimum of 100 innings pitched) are significantly less impressive in terms of both quantity and quality.
Taking a look at disaster starts from many different angles.
Going into Monday evening's game against the Blue Jays, the Yankees had every reason to feel good about themselves, having come from behind the night before to secure a stirring 10-inning victory over the Red Sox. With one more win (or a Red Sox loss) they would clinch a spot in the playoffs. Alas, by the third inning Monday night, it was clear the Yankees would be uncorking no champagne, as starter A.J. Burnett dug them a 7-0 hole by allowing two homers, seven hits, and seven runs while retiring just seven hitters. Had the Yankees been at home, Burnett would have been booed off the mound by the Bronx faithful, but as this was a road game, Yankees fans were left to hurl rotten tomatoes and blue epithets at their TVs.
On catching the knuckleball, growing weary of Billy Martin, and the love of the game.
Butch Wynegar has experienced a lot within the game of baseball. A switch-hitting catcher, Wynegar was the youngest player in the American League in 1976 when he finished second to Mark Fidrych for the Rookie of the Year Award. He would go on to be a two-time All-Star over 13 big-league seasons, playing for legendary managers Gene Mauch, Billy Martin, and Lou Piniella, and catching some of the best pitchers of his era with the Twins, Yankees, and Angels. A coach and manager since hanging up his shin guards, Wynegar recently concluded his second season as the hitting coach for the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.
Ease up there, Hemingway, we're talking about pitchers, and whether we're missing a few from the last couple of decades.
When we see the level of offense go up or down in baseball-and it has been down dramatically this season-we tend to attribute it to everything other than the players themselves. In any given downturn, it's the bats, or the baseballs, or the ballparks, or the drugs that the players are injecting themselves with. Or all of those things. But what if it isn't all about context? What if, when offense is up, it literally does mean that there aren't very many good pitchers?
With the Hall of Fame announcement coming later today, Jay concludes JAWS' take on who should make it in by sizing up the pitchers.
We'll dispense with the introductory formalities (you can read last year's pieces here and here) and cut to the chase. As with the hitters, we'll consider career WARP and peak WARP--the adjusted for all time flavor, WARP3--with the latter defined as a pitcher's best seven years. Just as we eliminated the worst elected Hall of Famer at each position in determining the JAWS standards, we'll exclude a similar percentage of pitchers--four out of the 60, in this case. In examining these pitchers, we'll also use Pitching Runs Above Average (PRAA) because it forms a reasonable secondary measure for "peak" in conjunction with PRAR's "career" proxy. A pitcher with many PRAA but fewer PRAR likely had a high peak and a short career, while one with the same number of PRAA but more PRAR likely had a longer career. Although durability should not be confused with excellence, league average has value, as anybody who's ever suffered through a fifth starter's pummeling knows.
This year's pitching segment has one more wrinkle. On the advice of WARP creator Clay Davenport, the pitching portion of this year's edition of JAWS includes a downward adjustment for pitchers in the AL after 1973 to counteract the negative hitting contributions of their non-DH brethren. This prevents the system from overly favoring recent AL pitchers, but the consequence is that the career and peak JAWS scores won't match what you can pull from the DT pages on our site. I'd prefer the transparency, but in terms of evaluating the cases on the current ballot, the need for this "tax" wins out.
The Braves hit the trade market for pitching help. The White Sox aim to find some use for Timo Perez. Kahrl to Twins: Free Justin Morneau! Khalil Greene claims the Padres SS job outright with St. Rey shuffling off. These and other happenings in today's Transaction Analysis.
As many of our readers were submitting their ballots for the annual Internet Baseball Awards, 11 Baseball Prospectus authors went into the polling booths themselves, voicing their opinions on who should win the major baseball awards this year. Here are the results...
As many of our readers were submitting their ballots for the annual Internet Baseball Awards, 11 Baseball Prospectus authors went into the polling booths themselves, voicing their opinions on who should win the major baseball awards this year. Here are the results: