Does losing in the majors and winning in the minors eventually lead to long-term success?
I was going to show you two lists of major-league teams, ranked highest to lowest. There are 30 teams, so that kind of list can run pretty long. Maybe you don’t like reading tables with 30 lines. So I’ll do you a favor. I’ll shorten the first list for you. It’ll still make my point, but you won’t have to plow through as many rows.
How much should we read into a slow start - relative to expectations - from a top overall pick?
I’ve often said that the hardest thing to evaluate in baseball is whether a player will hit. This is an inversion of an old Ted Williams line which is just as true for our purposes: the hardest thing to do in sports is to hit a baseball.
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What do Ryan Howard, Derek Jeter, Lou Whitaker, Dill Dickey, and Bobby Doerr have in common?
This week Ryan Howard was released by the Braves after 11 unspectacular games for their Triple-A affiliate in Gwinnett. Some might consider this an inglorious, ignominious exit for a former MVP fallen on hard performance times, but I see it differently. I see it as a man so in love with baseball that he was willing to move on from the only franchise he’d ever played for, willing to toil away in Georgia for a Triple-A affiliate of a bad team with an All-World first baseman blocking him in the big leagues. It didn’t work out, but Howard’s story has (potentially) ended with him trying to do the thing he loved, and not for money or for glory. I like that about him.
Second sackers get a bad rap as prospects, but should they?
When watching the minors in person, occasionally a position player really pops out at you in a way you don’t quite expect. These are often enough the guys you end up writing a glowing report about after confirming your initial impressions. They aren’t always the top prospects on the team, just guys that make a strong positive initial impression. Last year, guys that stood out for me like this included Andrew Benintendi and Tyler Wade. The first guy that fit the bill for me this year is Daniel Brito, a 2014 six-figure July 2 prospect in the Phillies system. He’s an A-ball second baseman. I usually don’t like A-ball second basemen.
The return for Jonathan Papelbon, Pivetta has gotten off to a hot start this year.
The Situation: Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola was placed on the 10-day DL as the result of a strained lower back. The Phillies were anticipating calling up 24-year old pitching prospect Nick Pivetta to start on Wednesday, but a rainout has pushed him back, potentially going on Sunday instead.
The Background: Pivetta was a 2013, fourth-round selection of the Washington Nationals out of New Mexico Junior College. He was then traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in July, 2015 for Jonathan Papelbon. Added to the 40-man roster following the 2016 season, Pivetta is off to one of the hottest starts in MiLB, throwing 19 innings, allowing only 12 hits, two earned runs, two walks, against 24 strikeouts, with an 0.95 era with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. His hot start combined with his scheduled turn in the rotation lines up perfectly for Pivetta as the logical choice to get this opportunity.
Which young pitchers does PECOTA see as having breakout potential in 2017?
“Breakout” can mean different things to different people. It can mean a prospect or untested young big leaguer establishing himself as a valuable regular. It can mean a relative unknown becoming an impact player. It can mean a well-known star making the leap to full-blown superstar, perhaps even following up a “breakout” one year with an even bigger “breakout” the next. Your own definition may vary, but in PECOTA’s case “breakout” is all about out-performing track records.
PECOTA assigns each player a “breakout rate” for the upcoming season based on their odds of beating their established level of recent performance by at least 20 percent, with historical player comps serving as an important factor. Because the entire system is based on regressed-to-the-mean, 50th percentile projections, breakout rate identifies the players most likely to leave that in the dust for their 70th, 80th, and 90th percentile upsides.