Author Topic: Prospect success rates  (Read 1379 times)

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Offline Tyler Durden

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Prospect success rates
« Topic Start: February 14, 2011, 11:54:39 AM »
http://www.royalsreview.com/2011/2/14/1992424/success-and-failure-rates-of-top-mlb-prospects

Thought this worthy of a new topic.  The link above will send you to a fairly in depth study of the success and failure rates of top prospects.  It's well worth the read.  For the lazier among us, I'm pasting the conclusions of the study below.

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About 70% of Baseball America top 100 prospects fail.

Position player prospects succeed much more often than pitching prospects.

About 60% of position players ranked in Baseball America’s top 20 succeed in the majors.

About 40% of pitchers ranked in the top 20 succeed in the majors.

About 30% of position players ranked 21-100 succeed in the majors (with the success rate declining over that ranking range from about 36% to about 25%)

About 20% of pitchers ranked 21-100 succeed in the majors (with the success rate declining over that ranking range from about 22% to about 15%)

The success rate of prospects (both position player and pitchers) is nearly flat and relatively undifferentiated for players ranked 41-100, and especially those ranked 61-100.

Corner infield prospects and catchers are the most likely to succeed in the majors, but outfielders, third basemen and shortstops are the most likely to become stars.  Second basemen and pitchers are the least likely prospects to succeed in the majors or to become stars.

Prospect success rates have not improved much over time and there is little data to support the contention that prospects are more likely to succeed now than they have in the past.
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I don't know that this would change my mind at all when comes to, for example, trading several top prospects for Greinke.  But it was an interesting read.  It's really really hard to get good starting pitching.  Unless you have a top-20 caliber arm, there is an 80% chance that that pitcher will not experience success at the ML level. 

Offline Minty Fresh

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #1: February 14, 2011, 02:19:22 PM »
http://www.royalsreview.com/2011/2/14/1992424/success-and-failure-rates-of-top-mlb-prospects

Thought this worthy of a new topic.  The link above will send you to a fairly in depth study of the success and failure rates of top prospects.  It's well worth the read.  For the lazier among us, I'm pasting the conclusions of the study below.

-----------
About 70% of Baseball America top 100 prospects fail.

Position player prospects succeed much more often than pitching prospects.

About 60% of position players ranked in Baseball America’s top 20 succeed in the majors.

About 40% of pitchers ranked in the top 20 succeed in the majors.

About 30% of position players ranked 21-100 succeed in the majors (with the success rate declining over that ranking range from about 36% to about 25%)

About 20% of pitchers ranked 21-100 succeed in the majors (with the success rate declining over that ranking range from about 22% to about 15%)

The success rate of prospects (both position player and pitchers) is nearly flat and relatively undifferentiated for players ranked 41-100, and especially those ranked 61-100.

Corner infield prospects and catchers are the most likely to succeed in the majors, but outfielders, third basemen and shortstops are the most likely to become stars.  Second basemen and pitchers are the least likely prospects to succeed in the majors or to become stars.

Prospect success rates have not improved much over time and there is little data to support the contention that prospects are more likely to succeed now than they have in the past.
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I don't know that this would change my mind at all when comes to, for example, trading several top prospects for Greinke.  But it was an interesting read.  It's really really hard to get good starting pitching.  Unless you have a top-20 caliber arm, there is an 80% chance that that pitcher will not experience success at the ML level. 


I'm glad I clicked the link and searched for their rationale in determining words like "failure" and "success" because that was the first thing I thought of when I read the conclusions that you posted - they seem so arbitrary without the definition of those terms.

Incidentally I agree with the determinations as well and found this to be a well written piece.

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #2: February 14, 2011, 03:14:02 PM »
I could not find in my skim of the article whether he was using career WAR total or average for his evaluation of the draftees.  Maybe that is buried in Victor Wang's articles.  1.5 WAR is worth about $7.5MM in the going rate for estimated FA win this offseason. 

Offline blue911

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #3: February 14, 2011, 03:17:29 PM »
I'm glad I clicked the link and searched for their rationale in determining words like "failure" and "success" because that was the first thing I thought of when I read the conclusions that you posted - they seem so arbitrary without the definition of those terms.

Incidentally I agree with the determinations as well and found this to be a well written piece.


I read it as "Baseball America doesn't know crap about prospects"  :twisted:

Offline Potomac Cannons

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #4: February 14, 2011, 03:22:37 PM »
Interesting piece.  Definitely supports stockpiling arms in the draft to minimize the downside of "busts" as well as trade/FA acquisitions of guys who have made it.  Also gives good reason to use 2 of our 3 early picks on pitching if the available talent is worth it.

Offline PowerBoater69

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #5: February 14, 2011, 06:43:50 PM »
Interesting piece.  Definitely supports stockpiling arms in the draft to minimize the downside of "busts" as well as trade/FA acquisitions of guys who have made it.  Also gives good reason to use 2 of our 3 early picks on pitching if the available talent is worth it.

I was thinking just the opposite, why have we been stocking up on prospects that are much more likely to be busts?  Better to draft position players and then trade them in bunches for more established pitchers.

Offline Potomac Cannons

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #6: February 14, 2011, 06:45:36 PM »
I was thinking just the opposite, why have we been stocking up on prospects that are much more likely to be busts?  Better to draft position players and then trade them in bunches for more established pitchers.

That would work as well.  Either so many pitchers that even if the early picks bust you're more likely to get a Lannan or Milone or load up on position guys and trade them in bunches.

Offline HalfSmokes

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #7: February 14, 2011, 09:02:02 PM »
I was thinking just the opposite, why have we been stocking up on prospects that are much more likely to be busts?  Better to draft position players and then trade them in bunches for more established pitchers.

I'm trying to remember the exact quote/source, but the gist is the best pitching prospect is five pitching prospects

Signing veteran aces usually means overpaying for the downside of a career, I'd rather stock pile arms since some will pan out

Offline PowerBoater69

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #8: February 14, 2011, 09:11:00 PM »
I'm trying to remember the exact quote/source, but the gist is the best pitching prospect is five pitching prospects

Signing veteran aces usually means overpaying for the downside of a career, I'd rather stock pile arms since some will pan out

Well that was certainly the Bowden/Kasten theory to build the pitching staff through the draft.  But since pitching prospects are known to be a significantly higher risk, would the team be better off today if we had been drafting primarily position players over the past five years?  Overpay for some stud arms in the rotation and load up with a deep farm system full of bats.

Offline HalfSmokes

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #9: February 14, 2011, 10:06:57 PM »
So you would have passed on Stras? What stud arms should we over pay for; most seem to chuckle and say no when the team tries.

Offline GMUNat

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #10: February 14, 2011, 10:10:06 PM »
So you would have passed on Stras? What stud arms should we over pay for; most seem to chuckle and say no when the team tries.
No. I think what he is saying is don't draft a Detwiler or Storen. Focus on position players. If we don't draft Detwiler, we might have drafted a guy like LaPorta or even Heyward.

Offline PowerBoater69

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #11: February 14, 2011, 11:29:20 PM »
So you would have passed on Stras? What stud arms should we over pay for; most seem to chuckle and say no when the team tries.

I'm just saying that with hindsight, if we had selected the best player available with each draft pick, we'd be a much better team right now.

Offline HalfSmokes

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #12: February 15, 2011, 09:11:45 AM »
No. I think what he is saying is don't draft a Detwiler or Storen. Focus on position players. If we don't draft Detwiler, we might have drafted a guy like LaPorta or even Heyward.
storen was a budget pick, so I'd throw him out of the conversation as far as the others go, this team sucks at developing prospects- who's to say in our system LaPorta doesn't turn into a Marrero

Offline GMUNat

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #13: February 15, 2011, 09:38:36 AM »
storen was a budget pick, so I'd throw him out of the conversation as far as the others go, this team sucks at developing prospects- who's to say in our system LaPorta doesn't turn into a Marrero
He probably would. I'm convinced that at 1 time, the more the player stayed in the Nats system, the worse off he became. There is a reason why Desmond hasn't really improved despite being a 30 error guy as a 18 year old rookie. Look at Zimmerman and Espinosa. They didn't stay long enough to get corrupted.

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #14: February 15, 2011, 09:49:37 AM »
There is a saying, "TINSTAAPP," which is There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect," that kind of captures what this data shows. 

A nice example might be the vaunted Red Sox draft of 2005.  They had 5 picks in the first 35 or so and ended up with one everyday CF who has produced 7.7 WAR in less than 3 full seasons, a utility IF who has produced 3.4 WAR in about one full season (168 games), and three pitchers.  One was a BA top 10 prospect at his peak who made an All Star team last year, but the other two pitchers were a flame out reliever who was a quick call up and did nothing the rest of his career (Craig Hansen) and the other is a classic AAAA starter who might end up as a reliever (Michael Bowden). 


Offline blue911

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #15: February 15, 2011, 10:11:55 AM »
He probably would. I'm convinced that at 1 time, the more the player stayed in the Nats system, the worse off he became. There is a reason why Desmond hasn't really improved despite being a 30 error guy as a 18 year old rookie. Look at Zimmerman and Espinosa. They didn't stay long enough to get corrupted.

So your assessment of Desmond based upon those same stats that you've deemed worthless?

Offline GMUNat

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #16: February 15, 2011, 10:13:53 AM »
So your assessment of Desmond based upon those same stats that you've deemed worthless?
I never said Errors are worthless. All I'm saying is that Desmond hasn't improved defensively or with his plate discipline.

Offline Lintyfresh85

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #17: February 15, 2011, 11:38:26 AM »
I never said Errors are worthless. All I'm saying is that Desmond hasn't improved defensively or with his plate discipline.

He almost has to take a leap forward in plate discipline this year... simply not having Guzman as a role model has to help.

Offline hammondsnats

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #18: February 15, 2011, 11:41:44 AM »
He almost has to take a leap forward in plate discipline this year... simply not having Guzman as a role model has to help.

yeah but you can't argue that his second half batting average was awesome.  he was one of the nats hotter hitters post all star break.

Offline GMUNat

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #19: February 15, 2011, 11:43:13 AM »
He almost has to take a leap forward in plate discipline this year... simply not having Guzman as a role model has to help.
If he can get influenced so easily by Guzman just imagine what happens when he encounters the next Elijah Dukes.  :shock:

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #20: February 15, 2011, 01:21:39 PM »
yeah but you can't argue that his second half August batting average was awesome.  he was one of the nats hotter hitters post all star break.
Yes, one month of awesomeness with a .347 / .385 / .465 line.  May have been driven by freaky luck on balls in play (.393), but he sure was on a roll.  

But take a look at the rest of that "awesome" period:
July - .274 / .300  :spaz: / .452 (BABIP .304)
Sep/Oct - .239 / .288 :spaz: :spaz: / .330 (BABIP .301)

Was he batting 2d then? Awesome.

Offline hammondsnats

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #21: February 15, 2011, 01:25:53 PM »
Yes, one month of awesomeness with a .347 / .385 / .465 line.  May have been driven by freaky luck on balls in play (.393), but he sure was on a roll. 

But take a look at the rest of that "awesome" period:
July - .274 / .300  :spaz: / .452 (BABIP .304)
Sep/Oct - .239 / .288 :spaz: :spaz: / .330 (BABIP .301)

Was he batting 2d then? Awesome.

.326 .359 .489 in 46 games at 2 spot. 

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #22: March 11, 2011, 05:08:00 PM »
For fun, here is an article on a few of the best compensation picks for lost free agents.
http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/7582/striking-gold-with-compensation-picks

Interesting that Brian Roberts was the compensation pick for Raffy, and Raffy originally was the Cubs pick for Tim Stoddard.  Johnny Damon was a compensation pick for a FA who then piled up negative WAR for the duration of his contract.  Of course, the post 2004 Red Sox moves that yielded 5 picks in the 2005 draft are ranked as one of the all-time best mass cash ins of picks.

Offline Sharp

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #23: March 13, 2011, 08:22:21 AM »
.326 .359 .489 in 46 games at 2 spot. 
I can't stop you from believing that moving him to the 2 spot will dramatically improve his hitting, but there's a lot of data out there to suggest that it won't, and that's a very small sample size to base your assessment of a player on.  Nyjer Morgan had a great six-week stretch, that's around the same number of games.  Has he produced for us in the same way since?  No.

Offline mimontero88

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Re: Prospect success rates
« Reply #24: March 17, 2011, 06:06:12 PM »
I can't stop you from believing that moving him to the 2 spot will dramatically improve his hitting, but there's a lot of data out there to suggest that it won't, and that's a very small sample size to base your assessment of a player on.  Nyjer Morgan had a great six-week stretch, that's around the same number of games.  Has he produced for us in the same way since?  No.
Desmond's games in the two hole were scattered though so they don't really compare to Morgan's streak which was just a bad player on a hot streak.  It is entirely possible that he is much more comfortable with the approach to hitting in the two hole than he is hitting in the eight hole.