05 March 2013

What are the chances of Machado, Schoop, Bundy, and Gausman all being stars?

Yesterday, I wrote about the future performance value associated with each club using a methodology inspired by Victor Wang along with data from Baseball America and John Sickells.  Today, I want to briefly get into the weeds a bit more with respect to the Orioles' prospects and their likelihood of becoming meaningful contributors to the team.

Dylan Bundy was ranked as the second best prospect in baseball by BA while Kevin Gausman was ranked 26th.  Manny Machado lost his eligibility and Jonathan Schoop did not appear.  For the sake of this exercise, I am going to identify Machado as a top ten ranked position player on BA's list and Schoop in the 91-100 ranks on BA's list.  I will also be using the probability figures determined by Scott McKinney in his post on prospects.

If we assume the following players are typical prospects for their groupings, we get the following table projecting future value (Bust < 1.5 annual WAR; Regular >1.5 annual WAR; All Star >2.5 annual WAR):

Bust Regular All Star
Dylan Bundy 1-10 Pi 59.2% 40.8% 26.5%
Kevin Gausman 21-30 Pi 79.4% 20.6% 14.3%
Manny Machado 1-10 Po 37.4% 62.7% 39.6%
Jonathan Schoop 91-100 Po 66.7% 33.3% 14.3%
This then yields this next table:

Four All Stars 0.2%
Three All Stars 3.5%
Two All Stars 19.7%
One All Star 44.0%
Zero All Stars 32.6%
How consequential is it for these players to develop into star quality production?

Personally, I think at least two of these players need to become exceptional players for the team to remain relevant with respect to the playoffs.  That puts the chances at 23.4% or approximately one in four.


Anonymous said...

What about LJ Hoes? I get that he doesn't hit for power, but isn't .300 with a .374 average at AAA worth something?

Unknown said...

Hoes isn't one of the top 100 prospects in baseball, and hence wouldn't be included in this analysis. I project Hoes to be a solid regular, but he doesn't project to be a star -- a player you can build around -- without exceptional development.
Or, to look at it another way, can you foresee that, at the end of his career, we'll be discussing L.J. Hoes' Hall of Fame credentials?

Liam said...

I think you're analysis somewhat underestimates the likelyhood that these guys succeed. For one, Bundy and machado were top-5, even top-3, not merely top-10 so their chances would be higher. Moreover, at this point, Machado has shown enough in the majors that his likelihood of succeeding long-term can be seen as geater than a generic top prospect, even a top-prospect. I have a hard time believing that the #1 pitching prospect in all of baseball becomes a bust 60% of the time. Perhaps the 5-10 prospects, but not the #1.

I know the ranking do account for this to some extent, but Gausman is a very polished prospect coming out of a top college program, so the chances of him busting would be lower than that of another similarly ranked prospect, who may have a ton of raw talent but is further from the majors.

Even with McKinney's research, which you used, there was an extreme dropoff in average contribution within the top 10 prospect rankings.

Jon Shepherd said...

We don't know if there chances are higher. We think they are, but we don't know. There are in fact a lot of top picks that have never panned out.

Todd Van Poppell, Brien Taylor, Ben Grieve, Rick Ankiel, Delmon Young, and Dice-K. That is 30% not becoming valuable regulars in their projected roles. All number 1 prospects.

So, given that. Let's say you could argue Bundy as the top player overall. You are looking at pretty much a 30% washout rate. Star rate is about...50%. Using that...No All Stars decreases from 32 to 22. One goes up 0.1%, two goes up 7%, three goes up 2.5%, and four doubles to 0.4%.

That is an improvement, but is it really one that changes the perspective much? I think it makes more sense to go with what the data are to make the foundation of the analysis stronger. Weakening it, doesn't push it much off from where it is.

Jon Shepherd said...

Also...Liam...it is the population of pitchers found in the 1-10 ranking. All of them. It is not a matter of you believing it. This population historically has performed that way. It is a fact. You can argue that a pitcher at the one or two spot is fundamentally different in a given years versus a 9 or 10 slot pitcher or even that a specific year is unlike the average year. But the bust mark is simply what the data has to offer.

Matt P said...

I don't know if relief pitching should be judged on the same scale as hitting. 1.5 WAR may be below average for the average hitter but 1.5 WAR for a relief pitcher is good. Would you really argue that all but the most elite relievers are busts? I don't think the Orioles would agree that JJ and O'Day were busts last year yet both would be considered busts according to this system.

Aside from that there only were 84 pitchers with a WAR of 2 or more while there were 154 position players. There were more position players in the majors then pitchers but not twice as much.

It might make more sense to determine whether a player is bust by comparing them to like players. In other words, comparing second basemen to second basemen and pitchers to pitchers.

Certainly some of these top prospects will choke. I'd still rather have the top guys though instead of the many guys.

If Hoes was projected to be a solid regular then he'd be a top hundred prospect.

Jon Shepherd said...

WAR is comparing them to like players by definition.

And, yes, a starter who becomes a reliever has "busted." There is a considerable loss of value there and it is represented in WAR. That loss in value is also represented in terms of salary as well. Relievers simply are easier to replace.

Matt P said...

The difference between relievers and position players is that relievers are expected to play regularly yet still have a low usage. This is not the case for bench position players (low usage and don't play regularly), position players and starting pitchers.

It's hard to find relievers worth 1.5 wins. Those guys aren't easy to replace. It's relatively easy to find position players and starting pitchers worth 1.5 wins though. Those guys are very easy to replace.

Meanwhile, if the study is comparing starting pitchers to position players then you have to note that there are more position player openings then starting spot openings. If there are fewer spots for starting pitchers then that means there's more competition for those spots and therefore it's harder to succeed. With fewer spots available it would make sense to compare the top five pitching prospects to the top eight hitting prospects.

There are more position prospects then pitching prospects but not quite to that extreme.

Jon Shepherd said...

Matt, I don't really understand that perspective because it suggests a catcher has more opportunity than a starting pitcher because he could play first, second, short, third, left, center, right, and DH. The numbers just don't work how you describe them.

Matt P said...

A catcher has less opportunity then a starting pitcher but faces worse competition. Unlike a pitcher who is going up against 5/13th of all prospects, a catcher is going up against 1/13th. It doesn't work out quite that neatly but you get the basic idea.

Jon Shepherd said...

How does a catcher face worse competition? I don't think you have shown that talent is dispersed differently at different positions. Catcher requires certain skills to be able to play there, so it winds up that players who are poorer hitters are still valuable because they do other things so well.

That is true with really any position except maybe 2B, which often is a sub-position of SS for players with speed though no arm. However, that is not exactly a clean example.

Bret said...

While I agree pitching is risky you have to take the best player available. It is clear in retrospect that Machado was the best player remaining in the 10 draft, Bundy was the best player in the 11 draft (remaining or not) and Gausman was the best remaining in the 12 draft. It is hard to fault them the last 3 years. All things being equal I'd always want the hitter but it is clear Gausman and Bundy were head and shoulders above the next hitters available (Rendon very injury prone and has barely played in pro ball, Starling older than Bundy and not even in A ball yet). And Almora is years away.

There is plenty to fault the O's with over the past 10 years and I wish they had Mike Trout but the last 3 drafts are all you can ask for.

Jon Shepherd said...

Bret...some of that view is informed by hindsight as the view in real time varied quite a bit. Machado, Bundy, and Gausman were not consensus top remaining picks. They all had detractors. That said, this article is not about whether or not the Orioles chose well in those slots, but more about what can we expect to see.

Value is not equally related to performance for every prospects as we have mentioned this past week.

Bret said...

I prefer the hindsight of those three drafts to the hindsight of 2009. There isn't a pitcher in baseball any team can ever feel 100% confident in. Verlander could tear his shoulder up tomorrow and Detroit would be ruined. But I'd rather be sitting with 2 of the top 5 pitching prospects in baseball than the alternatives.

Jon Shepherd said...

Sure. That is similar to the point of view I expressed earlier this week. Pitchers are volatile commodities that have a lower likelihood to produce, but that does not detract from their value.

I think for people to say to shy away from pitching prospects would have to mean you get a higher reward from drafting pitchers later in the draft or by seeking out pitchers in free agency. Those concepts should be somewhat easily testable.