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Tuesday, March 16, 2004
shut up asshole i know what i'm doing
strong rebuttal from aziz:
I think you’re leaning a bit too much on K/IP when evaluating pitching prospects. For instance, Sean Burnett has better stats than this guy or this guy at about the same age. Burnett walks fewer guys and gives up fewer HR’s (only 2 in 159.2 AA innings, and only 15 in the minors combined, which is about 500 innings) than either of them. K’s are pretty close. Also, he is a lefty.
Also, consider how the “metagame” may or may not shift in baseball. We may see pitchers like Sean Burnett become more valuable as contact becomes more important for hitters in the face of all the Priors, Oswalts, etc.
Agree on Hairston, disagree on Wainwright (could make it, but not make it big). Agree on Hermida, disagree on Bush (think he could be a decent reliever). I think pitchers who don’t give up tons of HR always have a shot at being a decent reliever if they don’t walk too many guys and throw pretty hard. Check out a few guys that became quality relievers. Their minor league numbers will not thrill you.
kf <--- That one especially.
js <--- Just goes to show. The scouts knew, but the numbers didn’t.
tangent: I just looked at Gagne, and his minor league numbers were good, but what I didn’t know is that HE WAS NOT DRAFTED.
I didn’t have to search very hard for these. I just picked names out of the air. In fact, Gagne was the only one who had more than a K/IP, out of the 5 + him that I looked at.
What I can gather from these last few months of prospect evaluation is that scouts overrate tools, and don’t understand how bad it is when a young hitter can’t make consistent contact. But with pitchers, apparently K/IP can develop over time. I think scouts recognize certain things about pitches and realize that with proper honing and use, a pitcher can do great things with one or more of his pitches. Hitters, on the other hand, can either make contact or they can’t. It’s a hand-eye coordination thing. Pitchers generally start out with a much more uncertain future, and often their ceiling is very difficult to predict.
Bottom line, from what I’ve been seeing is, it’s very hard to predict a pitchers’ long term success by his minor league numbers. With hitters, it’s not so hard.
Btw, perhaps you should explain what “make it” means. I take it to mean make it to the majors and stick around for a few seasons. You may mean it as “thrive in the majors.” Blanton, yeah probably not. Also agree on JJ Davis, Gabe Gross and Russ Adams. Also agree with the next batch all the way through. How about that?
the advantage i have is i get to respond immediately.
touche on burnett: i was in too much of a hurry.
glavine, maddux: every year we see guys that are "the next tom glavine" or "the next greg maddux". but there ain't but one tom glavine. and there ain't but one greg maddux. and remember: late 80's numbers are way different from early 2000's.
remlinger, holmes: both of these guys made it at a very late age. so as prospects, they were horrible. also, braves fan, for all these guys so far, we can't discount the effect of leo mazzone.
i have not been clear about what i'm trying to do. now is my opportunity. what i'm trying to do is tell, by looking at the numbers, who's a prospect and who isn't. for minor-league pitchers, the only reliable predictor of success is k/ip. once we get pow and park factors we'll be able to say more; there are a lot of fine points that escape a fast-and-loose analysis.
the other thing is i'm not a scout. i did get to see kyle farnsworth pitch when he was young, and i can tell you i thought he was a killer. but i don't think there's any way to look at his stat line and predict that. if you know he throws 98, maybe you can say something. but we don't have pitch speeds for people.
projecting relievers is tough, then. scouts are in a much better position to evaluate them. but scouts have trouble, too: a lot of these guys come out of nowhere.
there will always be exceptions. exceptions can be telling, and we of course want to limit them as much as possible. personally, i have to first understand general principles. our thinking is complementary.
thanks for the insight.
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