PDA

View Full Version : Good perspective on the draft



Hoosier Red
06-06-2008, 02:19 PM
From the patron saint of Redszone, Joe Posnanski

From this blog post;
http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2008/06/05/a-magic-trick-go-negative/

"There’s another bit of misdirection that you can use in sports, one that works very well for a lot of people around the country. You can go negative. This is something I’ve learned over the years of trying to be a fairly positive sportswriter — the negative guys are right a whole lot more often. Well, it just goes to figure. If a new coach or manager gets hired for some loser organization, you can say: “Oh boy, that’s a terrible hire, that won’t work.” Most of the time, you will be right, it won’t work. If a team is picked by lots of people to, say, win the World Series or Super Bowl, you can say: “Oh, I’ll bet they won’t win the World Series or Super Bowl.” Most of the time you will be right — teams predicted to win it all rarely do. You can say, “I’ll bet Chipper doesn’t hit .400,” or “I’ll bet the Patriots don’t go undefeated” or “I’ll bet Tiger doesn’t win the Grand Slam” and you’re going to be right almost every time … it’s misdirection. The odds are very, very much in your favor, even though it may not look that way.

I was thinking about this today as slot machine bells echoed in my ears and people were emailing me to ask what I think about the Royals draft pick selection of Eric Hosmer. Now, I can be very honest with you here because we’re all friends … I don’t know squat about Eric Hosmer. I just went to our Web site to make sure his first name REALLY IS Eric (it is). I’m supposed to be working on this book (did I mention …) and I’ve tried hard to not keep up with stuff like the amateur draft. OK, yes, I do know a little more than squat about Hosmer … I guess I do know he’s a high school first baseman from Florida who has been compared a lot to Casey Kotchman* but many scouts expect him to hit with more power at a younger age.

*I actually went to see Casey Kotchman in high school with the ruling Royals brain trust … I guess that was seven years ago. He hit a foul ball that went over a light tower, which seemed pretty impressive to me. The Royals took Colt Griffin instead because he threw 100 mph once. This probably tells you just about everything you need to know about why the Royals have lost a billion games this decade.

Point is, I have absolutely no idea how good Eric Hosmer will be. No idea. Between 1989 and 1998, men who make it their business to know picked the following players with the third pick in the amateur draft:

1989: Roger Salkeld
1990: Mike Lieberthal
1991: Dave McCarty
1992: B.J. Wallace.
1993: Brian Anderson (the funny one)
1994: Dustin Hermanson
1995: Jose Cruz
1996: Braden Looper
1997: Troy Glaus
1998: Corey Patterson.

So there you have it. You might get Troy Glaus. You might get B.J. Wallace. You might get something in between (or you might get Corey Patterson, who is sort of on his own track). I’ve talked to scouts … they generally seem to think highly of Hosmer, though there are some doubts. There have to be some doubts. He’s only 18.

So I don’t know what will happen. But here’s the thing: My heart tells me that Hosmer will be great. Scouts like him. He’s got a great swing, a great body, great high school numbers, all that. He’s an advanced htter … those guys have the best shot of making it through the minors quickly. My heart says: Hosmer was a great pick. I tend to write with my heart, which is one reason why I’m so often wrong.

If I want to look smart, though, if I want to play the magic game, I would tell you right now that Hosmer will be a no-doubt bust. And I will almost certainly be right. It’s misdirection again. Players are almost NEVER as good as you hope on the day you draft them. Some become all-out, never-make-it-to-the-big-league busts. Some make it to the big leagues but never play regularly. Some make it to the big leagues and do play regularly but they don’t become stars. Some will make an occasional All-Star team and have solid careers. And the smallest percentage become stars.

And here’s the thing: Right now, at this very moment, on draft day, the only satisfying conclusion to Eric Hosmer’s career would be for him to become a 40-homer star for the Kansas City Royals. And what are the odds that happens? Not good. That’s no knock on Hosmer … that’s just the reality of Major League Baseball.

And this is the enduring challenge of being a fan and an optimist. It’s more fun to be positive. But the negative happens a lot more often. The slot machines just don’t pay off most of the time."

flyer85
06-06-2008, 02:22 PM
it is a big crap shoot but if you are a small market franchise you really need to get the majority of those first round picks right.

Reds have seemingly done better of late after a long period of abject failure.

RedlegJake
06-06-2008, 09:09 PM
it is a big crap shoot but if you are a small market franchise you really need to get the majority of those first round picks right.

Reds have seemingly done better of late after a long period of abject failure.

But it is just that...a crapshoot. Even the most can't miss guys do miss. Really all you can legitimately do is look at the draft say three years ago and begin to say "Good" or "Bad" unless your team punts the pick ala Sowers. So saying a small market must do better is essentially saying they must be better at a game of chance. Someone said Alonso was the safest top pick available -the most likely to succeed to something like his potential. In other words G Beckham might be a great shortstop but the odds of it are longer than Alonso being agreat hiter. Smoak might be a better power hitter and switch hitter to boot, but again, the odds are longer in his case. Essentially you're betting a "perceived" higher ceiling against a "perceived" more likely to make it. I'd agree that the Reds do need this pick to work out...and that may be why they went for Alonso whose hitting approach is is as good as it can be and makes him the most likely of Beckham, Smoak or Alonso to match his hype. I think they hinted at that when they said they considered his whole body of work from years past as well as this season.

Caveat Emperor
06-07-2008, 03:28 AM
I didn't like the Stubbs pick when it was made. I don't like the Alonso pick either. It isn't a result of me being negative, it's a result of me not liking the logic employed in the selection.

It tears me as a fan -- as a Reds fan, I want their prospects to succeed and contribute to the big league team. However, as a Reds fan, I also want them to stop making what I perceive to be stupid draft selections -- and the only way for that to happen is for picks like Stubbs and Alonso to wash out badly and teach the team a lesson (or get the selectors fired).

In the end, rooting for the prospect always wins out...but I still wish they were smarter than using Top 10 picks to draft players with big honking warts like inability to hit consistently with the wood bat (Stubbs) or an almost complete lack of defensive ability / versatility (Alonso).

RedlegJake
06-07-2008, 04:16 AM
Man Caveat, I'm thinking you're overreacting to Alonso's defensive abilities. Everything I've read says that he will be a good first baseman, Soft hands, average range, good footwork, good arm. That's not a complete lack it's just limited to first base. If he hits like Braun I'll take it.

OnBaseMachine
06-07-2008, 11:49 AM
Baseball America says Alonso is an above average defender. Why is that continually being ignored?

NorrisHopper30
06-07-2008, 12:46 PM
Baseball America says Alonso is an above average defender. Why is that continually being ignored?

Because of his frame.

Chris Buckley said he had "outstanding defense".

Caveat Emperor
06-07-2008, 01:58 PM
Baseball America says Alonso is an above average defender. Why is that continually being ignored?

Because, in most organizations, every player other than the pitchers and catchers have the ability to be above average defenders at first base. It's the baseball equivalent of complimenting a grad student on his finger painting skills.

It's not even really a compliment in my mind -- its an assurance that he has the minimum skill level required to be something other than a DH. I can't get excited about that.

_Sir_Charles_
06-07-2008, 02:17 PM
Well said.

Hoosier Red
06-07-2008, 04:05 PM
It tears me as a fan -- as a Reds fan, I want their prospects to succeed and contribute to the big league team. However, as a Reds fan, I also want them to stop making what I perceive to be stupid draft selections -- and the only way for that to happen is for picks like Stubbs and Alonso to wash out badly and teach the team a lesson (or get the selectors fired).



I suppose the off chance that you're wrong doesn't enter the equation here?
It's possible although admittedly highly unlikely that they have a little more information than you and are in fact not making stupid selections. It's also possible, given the large amount of time you have to devote to other things, that they may have thought through some additional aspects that have led them to these "stupid" selections.
Furthermore, if the picks end up working out, it's possible, that instead of poor picks using poor logic that happen to get lucky and work out, that the Reds actually knew what it was doing.

Caveat Emperor
06-07-2008, 06:45 PM
I suppose the off chance that you're wrong doesn't enter the equation here?
It's possible although admittedly highly unlikely that they have a little more information than you and are in fact not making stupid selections. It's also possible, given the large amount of time you have to devote to other things, that they may have thought through some additional aspects that have led them to these "stupid" selections.
Furthermore, if the picks end up working out, it's possible, that instead of poor picks using poor logic that happen to get lucky and work out, that the Reds actually knew what it was doing.

Sarcasm noted.

The "they're paid to do this, you're not" logic never washes with me -- at that point, why even have a discussion about things in the first place? They're the doctors, I just play one on TV.

I have no doubt they spent lots of time analyzing and re-analyzing their information on this. I'm sure they heavily scouted everyone we've been discussing and I'm sure they have volumes of knowledge on each player that was available to them when they selected at #7. They're a multi-million dollar operation and will be investing multi-millions into the pick they made -- to not do your homework would be grossly negligent.

So yes, the odds of me being wrong are probably higher than the odds of them being wrong -- much the same way I'm fairly confident that I'd do a better job in a trial convicting an armed robber than Chris Buckley would if he were somehow dumped into the County Courthouse.

That much being said, I think I know a thing or two about baseball. I follow the process, I watch games, I read numbers, and I know a couple of eternal truths about baseball:

1. Good starting pitching is the toughest commodity to find.
2. An offensive shortstop with good range is a difficult commodity to find.
3. Good hitting first baseman are a dime a dozen.

This franchise has struggled to develop good pitching for as long as I've followed them (a trend that is only now starting to turn around), and still hasn't solidified the SS position since Barry Larkin retired. Yet, this franchise also found +.850 OPS production from a 34 y/o Rich Aurilia at bargain-basement levels and developed a ROY candidate at first base both within the last 5 years.

I'm not worried about this team finding production from the 3 position -- but I do remain concerned about MI help and pitching. The Reds could've addressed one of those issues with a top-flight prospect in this draft. They decided against that. I think that was a poor move.

Time will tell which of us was right.

lollipopcurve
06-07-2008, 08:20 PM
Time will tell which of us was right.

Indeed it will, years from now.