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Do we overrate our pitching prospects' chances of success?

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We're all very reluctant to trade away young pitchers. But I wonder if we are overrrating their chances of success.

Last year there were only 78 pitchers in MLB who threw enough innings to qualify. You can break them down this way:

Ages 20-24: 9

Ages 25-29: 39

Ages 30-34: 25

Ages 35+: 5

Focusing on the 39 pitchers who were 25-29, that means that all of MLB is only producing something like 8 pitchers a year who eventually will throw 162 innings in a season. If a team is producing a 162-inning pitcher once every three years, they are ahead of the game.

So, what are the odds that Matusz, Tillman, Arrieta and Britton are all guys who will be 162-inning pitchers in MLB? Probably not very high. Think of all those pitchers who make BA's top 100 list every year, and how few of them are going to end up throwing 162 innings in a major league season. If all four of these guys throw 162 innings some time in the next three seasons or so, we'll have pulled off a pretty amazing feat. And if all four are actually average to above average, it would be the equivalent of a royal flush.

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Probably...But its also why you need to identify early who you like long term and who you don't...and then deal who you don't like long term before their value drops. Now, the obvious problem here is that you really need to see at least 1 more year out of these guys to really access this.

I think its obvious Matusz is going to be a good one...and I like the chances of the other guys but none of them are close to as sure a thing as Matusz is.

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A couple of thoughts...

1. Scouting reports and stats tell us a lot more about our young pitcher's chances to succeed at the ML level than historical trends based on age.

2. The volatility in young pitching prospects is the reason that so many of us don't want to trade those guys. If we really dont' know who will succeed, don't we need to keep as many of the high upside guys around as possible to improve our chances of having a well-above average rotation?

Considering the need for pitching and bats, I'd rather see what our rising prospects (Snyder and Bell) can do before we give up any of Matusz, Tillman, Arrieta or Britton.

If we are really in on a blockbuster for a Cabrera type - which I doubt - the only arm in that group I'd be willing to give up is Arrieta.

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The odds that they all succeed are slim.

But so are the odds of picking which one(s) will succeed and which one(s) will fail accurately.

I'm not opposed to trading some of these guys, I just want to get back players that make sense to do it. 2 years of Adrian Gonzalez does not entice me enough to move Tillman or Matusz, but it would to move anyone else, with obviously other talent heading over too. I'm not moving Arrieta or Britton to get a Dan Uggla or any other short-term solution. You can only move those guys if you're getting someone who is going to help for a long time.

Because even though any given pitching prospect might only have a 50% chance of hitting, if they do hit, you get about 6 years of production for very cheap out of them. So basically you need to be getting roughly 3 years of expected good value to move these guys, IMO. With how good the player you get back depending on how good you think the guy you've got could become.

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I just want to make it clear, I am not necessarily advocating trading any of these guys. Just pointing out that the odds they all make good major league starters aren't real high.

I take the point that scouting reports and stats tell a lot, and you can't rely only on the general numbers I cited. At the same time, a lot of posters here (certainly including me) tend to know an awful lot about the Orioles' prospects, but don't know as much about all the other prospects in MLB, and so we tend to think of ours as elite without appreciating that there are lots of equally highly regarded prospects in other organizations, and a good number of them nevertheless don't pan out.

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We know then from Frobby about the rarity of minor league to MLB successful pitchers, and the even greater rarity of minor to MLB impact pitchers.

What does that argue?

1. A team draft as many pitchers as are rated high by scouting because they are the best (because rarist) commodity to trade and the more you have the greater the statistical chance of success.

or

2. A team shy away from drafting too many pitchers because statistics tell us that your failures will vastly outnumber your successes and thus you are losing valuable draft slots.

It seems that "grow the arms buy the bats" is the conclusion one reaches if you accept #1.

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Tillman and Matsuz both showed a lot last year.

Showed us a lot of what? That he is still not fully mature, has a very good curve ball, has command issues with his fb, and has fly ball tendencies?

Think we are definitely overrating our pitching prospects and are expecting a heck of a lot early on, but what do you expect this is an O's fan board. At least we have something to "hope" for.

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Showed us a lot of what? That he is still not fully mature, has a very good curve ball, has command issues with his fb, and has fly ball tendencies?

Think we are definitely overrating our pitching prospects and are expecting a heck of a lot early on, but what do you expect this is an O's fan board. At least we have something to "hope" for.

Thankfully, we have clear-eyed rationalists like you to show us the folly of our ways. Otherwise, we'd be walking into walls due to our pie-eyed optimism.

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I agree having all three of Arrieta/Tillman/Matusz healthy enough to go that many innings would be fortunate. I disagree it would be special for all three to show they are capable of being full-season starters. I'd be very disappointed if Tillman and Matusz weren't mainstays in the rotation for any reason other than injury. At this point, I'd be disappointed if Bergesen couldn't hold down the #4/5 spot. I'll wait to see how Arrieta holds-up over a season at AAA/ML, but I think I'd probably be disappointed if his stuff just flat out didn't play at the ML level.

The averages the OP points to are interesting, but we shoud expect BAL to blow through those averages, considering bringing along the young arms internally was a focus (through draft, trade and MiL development). Since several organizations do not rely on regular internal promotion of arms, we should assume that the "average" should be skewed towards an organization like BAL who is focusing on the issue at hand.

Injuries will likely prevent a Matusz/Tillman/Arrieta/Britton/Bergsen rotation, year-after-year. But those should be viable candidates based on ability, in my opinion.

Trevor Cahill was highly touted, and struggled some commanding his fastball this year. Perhaps he doesn't ultimately live up to the hype, but his failure to stick as a #2 starter doesn't preclude him from giving valuable innings as a #4. I see the same with regards to the likes of Tillman/Arrieta/Britton, with more questions around Britton considering his level.

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Showed us a lot of what? That he is still not fully mature, has a very good curve ball, has command issues with his fb, and has fly ball tendencies?

Think we are definitely overrating our pitching prospects and are expecting a heck of a lot early on, but what do you expect this is an O's fan board. At least we have something to "hope" for.

Everyone pretty much overates every Oriole prospect on this board. Heck, they even overate most of our position players with the one notable exception of Adam Jones for some strange reason.:rolleyes:

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Everyone pretty much overates every Oriole prospect on this board. Heck, they even overate most of our position players with the one notable exception of Adam Jones for some strange reason.:rolleyes:

Stick to the point.

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I think "we" are equally guilty of overrating what it takes from a pitching staff to compete. The Yanks were clearly the best team in baseball last year and they had three starters throw 162+ innings. The Sox won 95 games in the AL East and they had two. The Rays had a winning record and three qualifying starters, plus a 5th-6th slot in the rotation that combined for an ERA north of 6.00 in 200+ innings. The Angels won 97 games and had three qualifiers, one of which had an ERA of 4.60.

If Matusz throws 200 innings to a 3.50, Tillman 180 to a 3.75, Bergesen 180 to a 4.00, and the remaining starters put up a 5.00-something the O's will have a rotation equal to or better than most contenders.

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Thankfully, we have clear-eyed rationalists like you to show us the folly of our ways. Otherwise, we'd be walking into walls due to our pie-eyed optimism.

I take that as a compliment. I do agree with Stole's comments though. I don't expect Tillman and Matusz to pitch like #2's or even #1's, but a year like Cahill is what I am expecting. I would be thrilled if they pitched like Brett Anderson.

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Showed us a lot of what? That he is still not fully mature, has a very good curve ball, has command issues with his fb, and has fly ball tendencies?

Think we are definitely overrating our pitching prospects and are expecting a heck of a lot early on, but what do you expect this is an O's fan board. At least we have something to "hope" for.

Chris Tillman is 21 years old...for him to even be throwing in the Majors is a feat in and of itself. He had a 2.70 ERA in 96.2 innings at AAA Norfolk...we know that the ability is there...he just hasn't fully adjusted to the Majors yet. Just as with Wieters in the second half of last season, I think we will start to see some big things from Tillman this year. The butterflies should be gone at this point, now it's time to play ball and show us what he's got (which I think is a lot...that curveball is straight up filthy).

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