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Fangraphs on managing prospect expectations


Frobby

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Fangraphs uses Rutschman and Rodriguez as an example of how expectations have to be tempered when looking at prospects (there are a couple of charts that don’t copy well):

“Properly setting readers’ expectations is perhaps best done by starting with an extreme example. Right now the Baltimore Orioles have the best position player prospect in baseball, as well as the best pitching prospect in the game. Indeed, Adley Rutschman and Grayson Rodriguez are one of the better hitter/pitcher combos in a single organization in recent memory, and their expected outcomes are equally impressive:

The Orioles Big Two: Expected Outcomes

Bust40-4550-5560-6570

Adley Rutschman12%18%20%20%30%

Grayson Rodriguez15%15%25%25%20%

“But let’s do the math. As the top prospect in the game, we are saying, and I think accurately so, that Rutschman is the most likely perennial MVP candidate on our list. We’re saying the same for Rodriguez in term of his year-to-year Cy Young chances. Their odds of becoming a 70+ FV player aren’t topped by any other prospect in their player group. But the chances that both end up being that player? How about just 6%, or roughly 1-in-16, because that’s what the math tells us. Let’s lower expectations, and see what the chances are that both become star-level players (60+ FV). That’s 22.5%. Think about that for a second. This is, once again, the best position player prospect and the best pitching prospect in all of baseball. The chances of both becoming stars is outstanding compared to any other combination you might come up with, but it’s also less than 1-in-4. Assuming Rodriguez will be the staff ace and that Rutschman will be a perennial All-Star? The odds are stacked against that, and in fact, quite strongly. That said, the chances are good that they’ll provide something. There’s a 91% chance that both will be big leaguers, using the low bar of both becoming a 40+ FV. But the odds that only one of the pair provides big league regular level performance (50+ FV) are exactly the same as both doing so:

Being Realistic About Outcomes

OutcomesOdds

Both will be 50+ FV45.5%

One will be 50+ FV45.5%

Both are busts9%

“Both of them working out, even just in terms of being big league regulars? Probably not. Just barely probably not, but nonetheless under 50%. And this is in no way an indictment of the players or their respective rankings; it’s an indictment of how prospect rankings are perceived following their release.”

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/managing-prospect-expectations/

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9 minutes ago, Sports Guy said:

That’s a lot of numbers to tell us stuff we already knew.

On an intellectual level, I know it.  On an emotional level, I ignore it.   Less than 50/50 chance that both Rutschman and Rodriguez are at least average major leaguers?   That’s horrific to contemplate even though it’s statistically accurate.   

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21 minutes ago, LookinUp said:

Thus why depth in a farm system is absolutely critical.

It's why Keith Law has us #10. 

Depth in a system is critical.  Our best players, borderline all-star guys, never appeared on any of these lists.  It's likely that we have a player(s) in our system who will have a long and productive career that is completely under the national radar.

That said, I'm not sure Keith Law has made a very strong argument that our current system is unusually top heavy.

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38 minutes ago, Pickles said:

Depth in a system is critical.  Our best players, borderline all-star guys, never appeared on any of these lists.  It's likely that we have a player(s) in our system who will have a long and productive career that is completely under the national radar.

That said, I'm not sure Keith Law has made a very strong argument that our current system is unusually top heavy.

Yeah. It was lazy. Basically not enough Latin names that he knows so it's not good enough. 

I think mathematically he might be right though if it's based on depth, but I tend to think the production from our depth will exceed that of many organizations with comparable players just based on our data and player development approaches.

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1 hour ago, LookinUp said:

Thus why depth in a farm system is absolutely critical.

It's why Keith Law has us #10. 

Keith Law has zero credibility with me.  If he had said O's are the #5 farm system, that's defensible.  #10 sounds like a vendetta.   O's have a huge amount of depth in position prospects.  Ok, pitching not so much.  O's are at least 2 deep at every position but catcher where we have the #1 prospect and SS.

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29 minutes ago, OriolesMagic83 said:

Keith Law has zero credibility with me.  If he had said O's are the #5 farm system, that's defensible.  #10 sounds like a vendetta.   O's have a huge amount of depth in position prospects.  Ok, pitching not so much.  O's are at least 2 deep at every position but catcher where we have the #1 prospect and SS.

We are 2 deep at CF?  Are we even 1 deep?

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40 minutes ago, OriolesMagic83 said:

Keith Law has zero credibility with me.  If he had said O's are the #5 farm system, that's defensible.  #10 sounds like a vendetta.   O's have a huge amount of depth in position prospects.  Ok, pitching not so much.  O's are at least 2 deep at every position but catcher where we have the #1 prospect and SS.

If Law has a vendetta against the O's, he also does against just about every other team. He's always angering fans.

As an aside, I'd argue our depth at catcher (Basallo could be really good and a couple of older guys might be serviceable backups) and SS is way better than pitcher and probably better than CF, as SG pointed out. There are a couple of guys that were drafted this year that could pan out for sure at CF, but it's Mullins and then a huge question unless you think Cowser's a CF. I don't, for whatever that's worth.

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Lies, damn lies, and statistics!

The model is only as good as the process of assigning the probability of the outcome.  The risk of not transitioning to the MLB well is legit.  But whatever, stats will say the same thing about the success rate of the other organizations and their prospects as well.   

Just keep stacking prospects...  and may the odds ever be in our favor!

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