From the patron saint of Redszone, Joe Posnanski
From this blog post;
"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."