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Thread: Tinstaapp

  1. #1
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Tinstaapp

    "There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect"

    This is stolen from Nate Silver's Unfiltered Blog post today on BP, which stole the quote from a chat on the Giants by Gary Huckaby:

    When I first wrote that “There’s No Such Thing as a Pitching Prospect,” it meant two things, one of which has kind of become lost over time. Yes, it means that pitchers get hurt at approximately the same rate that methheads swipe identities and lose teeth. That’s what all pitchers do, not just prospects. But it also had another meaning—that guys who are totally blowing people away in the minors like they’re so many hot dog pretenders before Kobayashi are absolutely not pitching prospects—they’re already pitchers, and more time in the minors only means time off the living, pulsating clocks that are their labrums, rotator cuffs, and elbows.
    Silver goes on to make a very interesting point.

    One thing that distinguishes young hitters from young pitchers is that young hitters can pretty much count on making steady improvements from the time they start playing professional ball until the time they’re 26 or 27....

    ...The same is not the case with pitching prospects. Although there are a few categories of pitching prospects — particularly guys with good stuff, high strikeout rates and highish walk rates (think Homer Bailey) — that tend to improve more often than not, in general there is no systematic pattern of improvement after the age of 21 or so. Sometimes guys get better, of course, and sometimes they do so in a hurry — but you can’t take a young pitcher in a vacuum and expect him to improve the same way that you can for a hitting prospect.
    Like everybody else, we, on this board, tend to forget this VERY important aspect of the claim. The basic inference here is that don't waste a guy's innings pitching in the minors when he's clearly ready for the majors. By and large, pitchers are either capable of pitching in the major leagues or they aren't. For the most part, that middling AA prospect isn't going to learn 5 MPH on his fastball, gain extra break on his hook, or suddenly discover how to keep his stuff down in the zone. Is this true universally? Of course not. But it's definitely moreso the case than with hitters. Whereas you can expect certain hitting skills to develop at some predictable pace, pitchers often make large, and unpredictable jumps.

    What's just as important is the other side of this coin. You put that 20 year old guy who just dominated A ball with the bat and he's still gonna get dominated in the majors. You take that pitcher who just dominated the low minors and you have a chance to get Justin Verlander, Josh Johnson, Jered Weaver, Jon Papelbon, or Anibal Sanchez.

    When you look at that confluence between the differences in skill set development and the role of injury, and you start making a compelling case for the rapid advancement of pitching prospects. Certainly it's not a "rule" whereby you rush every promising young arm. However, I think it does suggest that, in general, a team should be aggressive about moving successful pitchers up the line.

    Maybe they do get lit up. If that happens, get them out of there soon and get them back on track ASAP. You might argue that that leads to guys getting their confidence destroyed (e.g. Brian Reith). The other argument is that you get a chance to see a guy's real potential before it's destroyed by a blown out elbow or torn labrum. Letting him dominate AAA instead of contributing at the major league level is a waste of useful innings.

    So.....

    Homer Bailey anyone?
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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  3. #2
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Tinstaapp

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    "There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect"

    This is stolen from Nate Silver's Unfiltered Blog post today on BP, which stole the quote from a chat on the Giants by Gary Huckaby:



    Silver goes on to make a very interesting point.



    Like everybody else, we, on this board, tend to forget this VERY important aspect of the claim. The basic inference here is that don't waste a guy's innings pitching in the minors when he's clearly ready for the majors. By and large, pitchers are either capable of pitching in the major leagues or they aren't. For the most part, that middling AA prospect isn't going to learn 5 MPH on his fastball, gain extra break on his hook, or suddenly discover how to keep his stuff down in the zone. Is this true universally? Of course not. But it's definitely moreso the case than with hitters. Whereas you can expect certain hitting skills to develop at some predictable pace, pitchers often make large, and unpredictable jumps.

    What's just as important is the other side of this coin. You put that 20 year old guy who just dominated A ball with the bat and he's still gonna get dominated in the majors. You take that pitcher who just dominated the low minors and you have a chance to get Justin Verlander, Josh Johnson, Jered Weaver, Jon Papelbon, or Anibal Sanchez.

    When you look at that confluence between the differences in skill set development and the role of injury, and you start making a compelling case for the rapid advancement of pitching prospects. Certainly it's not a "rule" whereby you rush every promising young arm. However, I think it does suggest that, in general, a team should be aggressive about moving successful pitchers up the line.

    Maybe they do get lit up. If that happens, get them out of there soon and get them back on track ASAP. You might argue that that leads to guys getting their confidence destroyed (e.g. Brian Reith). The other argument is that you get a chance to see a guy's real potential before it's destroyed by a blown out elbow or torn labrum. Letting him dominate AAA instead of contributing at the major league level is a waste of useful innings.

    So.....

    Homer Bailey anyone?
    I actually used to think this way and convinced myself that I was wrong. I think the definition of "ready" is the key question. Is a guy "ready" simply because he can get batters out in the low minors? Are there other factors involved?

    In Bailey's case, he's not "ready" IMO. He certainly qualifies under the stuff and getting guys out criteria. But what about building his Innings? He's never pitched even 150 Innings in a season.

    Does maturity as a person come into play? A 20 year old kid still has growing up to do. Is that better done away from big league life? I'm not a big believer in the Brian Reith factor because I think guys susceptable to that will always be. But general maturity, interaction with teammates (who will be older), handling the media and being in the presence of childhood heroes is overwhelming and a little more maturity as a person would be helpful IMO.

    As for injury, I have a hard time with this one (as everyone obviously does since so many are injured at all ages). But I have to think a Minor league situation where a pitcher can be more protected would be easier on the arm of a kid who is still developing physically (as many 20 year olds still are). I understand that innings in the minors aren't much different than innings in the majors. But pitch counts are easier to abide by in the minor leagues. 7 Inning Doubleheaders help protect young arms better down there, and its easier to add a guy from a lower level for a tough stretch of extra inning games and rain out make-up games (no 40 man issues, no service time issues, no 10 day rules to worry about, etc). In the majors a stretch like that can end up putting more stress on young arms than advisable. (Remember Lizard last summer?)

    I do agree that wasting pitches in the minors is not something I'm in favor of, but there is a whole different question as to when wasting is occurring and when further time (not necessarily success) is needed.

    I think in the case of guys like Salmon, Coutlangus and Medlock further time may not be proving much. A guy like Carlos Fisher who is older should probably be pushed up faster if he dominates. But a 20 year old kid should stay on a regular development timetable in terms of workload and unless he's already there in terms of innings, that is best done in the minors IMO.
    Last edited by mth123; 03-06-2007 at 07:14 AM.

  4. #3
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Tinstaapp

    I agree with you in principal mth; "Ready" is more than just minor league dominance. That said, what shows you that Bailey isn't ready by your measurement?

    From what I can tell, it's two things:
    1.) Innings. If your point is that he's not ready for 200 IP, I agree whole-heartedly. The number crunchers have shown that there are certain levels you should "graduate" to and that you shouldn't skip them. But if Homer Bailey can get guys out for 140-150 IP for the Reds this year, I'd take it.

    2.) Mentality. Yes, there is a lot more involved with being a major leaguer than playing major league baseball. That said, have you been reading the quotes from Bailey? I'm not a psychologist, but he has sounded VERY mature in his interviews this spring. Again, I don't know if he's ready, but at least from what I've can tell from ST interviews, this isn't some wide-eyed kid, overwhelmed by his surroundings. I'm not sure how much he'd really mature with 3-4 months in Louisville. I'd argue that having a proper support system in the organization is just as important.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  5. #4
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Tinstaapp

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I agree with you in principal mth; "Ready" is more than just minor league dominance. That said, what shows you that Bailey isn't ready by your measurement?

    From what I can tell, it's two things:
    1.) Innings. If your point is that he's not ready for 200 IP, I agree whole-heartedly. The number crunchers have shown that there are certain levels you should "graduate" to and that you shouldn't skip them. But if Homer Bailey can get guys out for 140-150 IP for the Reds this year, I'd take it.

    2.) Mentality. Yes, there is a lot more involved with being a major leaguer than playing major league baseball. That said, have you been reading the quotes from Bailey? I'm not a psychologist, but he has sounded VERY mature in his interviews this spring. Again, I don't know if he's ready, but at least from what I've can tell from ST interviews, this isn't some wide-eyed kid, overwhelmed by his surroundings. I'm not sure how much he'd really mature with 3-4 months in Louisville. I'd argue that having a proper support system in the organization is just as important.

    I think its mostly about the innings. I think his mentality would be ok. The mentality point was more of a general consideration than in specific reference to Bailey. The progression to 170 innings (or whatever the number is) this season is important though.

    In the minors, the innings can be more strictly controlled and he can be pushed to the magic number w/o the retrictions that being in the big leagues can create. The minor leagues don't usually have days where the Bullpen is worn out and a guy has to be left out there. There are always ready reinforcements from the lower levels to keep from deviating from the plan. The major league team doesn't always have that luxury because of 40 Man Roster issues, waiver and option issues, the 10 day rule, etc. Also rainouts and make-up DH go the full 9 where in the minors these become 7 inning games to ease stress on the staff.

    At 21, Bailey is right in the middle of the injury nexus and getting overanxious could be disastrous. IMO this team isn't going anywhere in 2007 and it isn't worth the risk until other improvements can be made in the bullpen and in the middle of the line-up. Another year of physical matrurity and stretching his innings is fine by me. A July call-up to finish the stretching in the bigs and to take some lumps and get that adjustment period out of the way would be good for his developmemt. With the September expanded rosters on the horizon in case he needs to be shut down, mid to late July would seem a safer route than having him there with the whole season in front of him IMO. I want him to pitch the exact magic number the organization has in mind for 2007. I don't want to risk him being pushed to Wood and Prior territory in an attempt to enhance the illusion of contention. Building his innings and allowing another year for his body to develop to more physical maturity (in case it has not yet finished) seem a safer bet long-term. These situations can be more easily controlled in the minors.


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