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Wednesday, September 05, 2001

Beckett takes center stage

21 years old, 6 innings, one hit, topped out at 97 mph and didn’t even have his good curveball. An injury, God forbid, is the only thing that is going to stop this kid from reaching stardom.

The Original Gary Posted: September 05, 2001 at 06:11 PM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. scruff Posted: September 05, 2001 at 10:55 PM (#72402)
One of the rare exceptions to the don't draft a high school pitcher in the first round rule.

Can anyone remember a slam dunk high school kid pitcher that actually panned out. I mean a kid taken in the top 5 or so that everyone had heard of etc. Gooden was #5 in 1982, but two other pitchers went before him, one out of high school.

When I think of these guys I think of Van Poppel, Brien Taylor, etc.

Going back through my ATSB, I see (high schoolers in top 5):

John Patterson 1996 #5 (4th pitcher - Benson, Looper, Koch)
   2. scruff Posted: September 05, 2001 at 10:56 PM (#72403)
By the way, ATSB only goes to 1997, so if anyone can fill in 1998-2001, I'd appreciate it.
   3. scruff Posted: September 06, 2001 at 01:18 AM (#72404)
I goofed on Alex Fernandez, he came out of community college actually. He was 20 at the time, almost 21. This makes the list a little bit less impressive. But I still count 7 out of 17 since 1977 have been pretty good major league pitchers (Wood, Avery, Mercker, Gooden, Morgan, Hawkins, Gullickson). Beckett would be 8.

I'd imagine 7-for-17 at any point in something as wide open as the big league draft is pretty good though, without having studied the issue. 6 of the 10 college pitchers drafted ahead of these guys have turned into at least decent big league pitchers. That is biased, as they were all selected ahead of the high schoolers, so they were expected to be better.
   4. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 06, 2001 at 02:02 AM (#72405)
If indeed the record of high school pitchers is better nowadays -- and I want to look at the data a little more carefully first -- I would suggest that it's not better scouting. It's better $. Nowadays a good high school pitcher drafted that high has little reason to go to college.
   5. Robert Dudek Posted: September 06, 2001 at 08:14 AM (#72406)
In the '98 draft, there were no HS pitchers taken in the top 10.

The first was #13 JM GOld (the Brewers have made horrible 1st round picks in recent years).

But at #20 there was a guy named C.C. Sabathia.

At #31 was Chris George.

Everyone talks about signability, but the Yankees have had a number of high high school draft picks which they weren't able to sign, including (queue the Hans and Franz accent), maybe you've heard of him, MARK PRIOR at #43.

In the 1999 draft we have Beckett at #2.

Then #6 Josh Girdley (Expos), #8 Bobby Bradley (Pirates), #12 Brett Myers, #14 Ty Howington, #15 Jason Stumm, #19 Richard Stahl to round out the top 20.
   6. scruff Posted: September 06, 2001 at 06:18 PM (#72407)
Yeah David, I only looked at high schoolers in the top 5. It just looked much better than I thought it would (like pre-77 does).

I still think it is better scouting. I listed everyone that was drafted, even the ones that didn't sign. I think it's a little bit less of a gamble than it used to be. Information is a lot easier to gather compile, and analyze than in the past, and think it's impact is showing up at the top of the draft boards. I could be swayed with evidence though, just don't have the time to research it.
   7. RichRifkin Posted: September 06, 2001 at 08:14 PM (#72408)
Scruff,

Perhaps instead of better scouting, it's better treatment of young pitchers? I know that the way David Clyde was mistreated by the Rangers was exceptional, for his day or any day, but perhaps the typical top pick nowadays is not overworked so often as he was in yesteryear? If that is true, and scouting is of equal quality, then you would expect more (healthy) pitchers to make the climb through Rookie-ball, A-ball, AA-ball, AAA-ball and finally to the majors. With more healthy pitchers making it up, the chance of more having decent big league careers is greater.
   8. Cris E Posted: September 06, 2001 at 08:21 PM (#72409)
scruff - You might be right in thinking that identifying talent has been important, but I think advances in sports medicine are at least as significant. I'd imagine that at least a few of the kids from early on that list were injured in ways that could be fixed now.
   9. Big Ed Posted: September 07, 2001 at 04:46 PM (#72410)
We are drawing an awfully big picture of his major league career based on one start. Talk to me after next season, and maybe there will be more to talk about.
   10. Robert Dudek Posted: September 07, 2001 at 08:01 PM (#72411)
Rich...

If the handling of young pitchers was better, wouldn't that mean that the treatment of all young pitchers coming into the league would also be better ? Therefore, as a percentage of new pitchers coming into MLB, high school pitchers drafted in the first 5 wouldn't increase.

You'd have to show that there are more young pitchers coming into baseball first. There are more teams now and more ML jobs for pitchers and this might be partly responsible for the increase. On the other hand, are there more non-drafted pitchers (from Latin America, Japan etc) coming into the majors now ?

Even if there has been increased success, there could be any number of reasons for it.

scruff...

Could you run a similar list for college pitchers (top 5 in the draft) ?
   11. Michael Posted: September 07, 2001 at 08:42 PM (#72412)
Just wanted to say thanks for the data, scruff. This thread sure beats arguing about whether the Roger Clemens web site is funny!
   12. The Original Gary Posted: September 07, 2001 at 09:53 PM (#72413)
IT'S FUNNY DAMMIT!!!

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