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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why did the Mariners trade touted pitching prospect Luiz Gohara?

Gohara followed his breakout 2016 season at Class A by indeed throwing extremely well in the AFL, striking out 19 in 11 2/3 innings. Some scouts look at his 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame and see a young CC Sabathia.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 12, 2017 at 06:21 AM | 32 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, luiz gohara, mariners

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   1. Scott Ross Posted: January 12, 2017 at 06:24 AM (#5382137)
When did the Red Sox trade Jim Furtado to the Mariners?
   2. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 12, 2017 at 09:09 AM (#5382175)
Gohara looked really good in the AFL - seems like a nice pickup for the Braves. And it's not like Smyly is free from injury concerns, either.
   3. AROM Posted: January 12, 2017 at 09:17 AM (#5382182)
Some scouts look at his 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame and see a young CC Sabathia.


That's pretty convincing evidence they need an eye check. Only off by 4 inches and about 100 pounds.
   4. gef the talking mongoose Posted: January 12, 2017 at 09:40 AM (#5382199)
Some scouts look at his 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame and see a young CC Sabathia.


That's pretty convincing evidence they need an eye check. Only off by 4 inches and about 100 pounds.


By "young" maybe they mean prepubescent?
   5. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: January 12, 2017 at 09:56 AM (#5382217)
That's pretty convincing evidence they need an eye check. Only off by 4 inches and about 100 pounds.


What they mean is that he's heavy and has African ancestry.

I started reading Michael Lewis' new book yesterday, which starts with a chapter about the GM of the Houston Rockets (whose name I am of course blanking on now). Anyway, there's a long passage about how the Rockets came to ban inta-racial comparisons on prospects -- basically, they came to see such comparisons as a kind of anti-information, because scouts could pick a dude who sort of resembled a prospect they liked or didn't like, basically as a way of expressing their confirmation bias. I think this is quite clearly what's going on here.

As to the trade itself, I think I like it. I basically never get worked up about losing a 19 year old pitcher who hasn't left the low minors, and Smyly, though he has trouble keeping the ball in the park and himself on the field, has been intermittently pretty good, and won't be a free agent till 2019. And the M's really do need to be taking these kinds of throw-stuff-at-a-wall risks with their rotation right now, because at the moment it consists of the depressing remnant of King Felix's former brilliance, a good but injury-prone Iwakuma, the born-to-be-a-relief-ace Paxton, and a bunch of fart noises and backaches.
   6. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 12, 2017 at 10:06 AM (#5382220)
What they mean is that he's heavy


6' 3" and 210 lbs is not heavy. That being said, Gohara is not 210.
   7. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: January 12, 2017 at 10:31 AM (#5382235)
No, given that I run 5'9" and 200 and am only a little soft, I'd say that's not heavy. But if you look at the photos of Gohara, he's pretty big.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: January 12, 2017 at 04:01 PM (#5382561)
When did the Red Sox trade Jim Furtado to the Mariners?

PTBNML in the Heathcliff Slocumb trade. Part of the Ms new media strategy to dominate the intertubes. They figure that if they can just get Forman, they'll have the "golden triangle" of baseball internet sites under their influence.
   9. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 12, 2017 at 04:37 PM (#5382584)
What they mean is that he's heavy and has African ancestry.


Not exactly. He's not fat (not that young CC was fat, either) - he just has a broad and muscular frame, he throws hard, and he looks like he's throwing the ball downhill. There are some similarities to their deliveries, as well.

It makes sense if you watch him pitch.
   10. Khrushin it bro Posted: January 12, 2017 at 05:19 PM (#5382615)
Haha that guy looks exactly like CC when he pitches.
   11. dlf Posted: January 12, 2017 at 05:36 PM (#5382624)
It makes sense if you watch him pitch.


I'm faaaar from a scout, but landing on such a fixed front leg seems like a recipe for injury.
   12. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: January 12, 2017 at 06:02 PM (#5382633)
But having a physical resemblance actually isn't all that important. CC never threw 97/98. How's Gohara's control? His breaking stuff? Does his game actually have anything in common with Sabathia's, beyond the fact that he's a big lefty?

Part of the reason that chapter about the Rockets resonated with me is that, with the release of historical scouting reports on a whole bunch of players in the last few years, I've come to feel that player-to-player comparisons aren't really that valuable. The often contain nothing but noise, and are completely subject to the observer's bias. You and I could go watch some minor leaguer called Tike Mout tomorrow, and if I see him whiff a bunch, I'll compare him to Mark Reynolds, and if you see him crack two homers and make a diving play you're gonna say he's Mickey Mantle. You'd be closer to right -- but what if we went back a second time, and saw the performances switched? My instinct is going to be to say that he made some good contact, but that even Mark Reynolds had nights where he looked extra good.

They are also clearly very racially coded. Mike Trout has exactly the same build as Bo Jackson, but you never hear them compared. Why? Well, some of it is that Trout is so much better than Jackson was. But one of the reasons is that we're primed to see their differences because of how powerful a role racial sorting takes in today's society.
   13. PASTE does not get put on waivers in August Posted: January 12, 2017 at 06:24 PM (#5382647)
If Gohara is 6'3 there's no way he's only 210 pounds. He's at least 230. He's the same shape I am, and presumably has more muscle mass, and I'm 5'11 and 210.

I started reading Michael Lewis' new book yesterday, which starts with a chapter about the GM of the Houston Rockets (whose name I am of course blanking on now). Anyway, there's a long passage about how the Rockets came to ban inta-racial comparisons on prospects -- basically, they came to see such comparisons as a kind of anti-information, because scouts could pick a dude who sort of resembled a prospect they liked or didn't like, basically as a way of expressing their confirmation bias. I think this is quite clearly what's going on here.


I bought the book but haven't read it yet. I think it's on point to disallow your scouts from comparing white basketball players to other white players, but the NBA is 80% black; it seems to me like you're discarding too much information to refuse to consider comparisons of black players to other black players. In MLB it's the same situation but with races reversed. I wouldn't think much of a baseball scout who was in the habit of comparing young black players to other black players.

They are also clearly very racially coded. Mike Trout has exactly the same build as Bo Jackson, but you never hear them compared. Why? Well, some of it is that Trout is so much better than Jackson was.


And also nowhere near the athlete Jackson was. But then, neither was anyone else.

I actually did mention Bo's name in passing when talking about Trout, back in Trout's first or second year in the show. Not a direct comparison; I compared Trout's body to Mike Tyson's, as I recall, saying he was built like a heavyweight champion and incredibly fast for that kind of build, and Bo Jackson was that way too (but more so).
   14. dlf Posted: January 12, 2017 at 06:24 PM (#5382649)
Mike Trout has exactly the same build as Bo Jackson, but you never hear them compared.


It might be because Trout wears baggy pants and mid length sleeves while Bo's pants looked just about painted on and his sleeves were well above his biceps, but other than facially (both have very rectangular, blocky faces), I don't really see a similar look. But for what little it's worth, when trying to find pictures of each, one of the first links I came across compared the two directly: link
   15. PASTE does not get put on waivers in August Posted: January 12, 2017 at 06:28 PM (#5382651)
Trout and Bo both have unusually thick necks, which is what reminds me of heavyweight boxers.
   16. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: January 12, 2017 at 07:02 PM (#5382668)
it seems to me like you're discarding too much information to refuse to consider comparisons of black players to other black players.


I think the point of the passage was that, once they banned intra-race comparisons, comparisons dried up altogether, and nothing of value had been lost. It's true that the NBA is overwhelmingly black; it's not necessarily true that comparing every mixed-race short guard to Steph Curry or Jason Kidd makes any sense or helps you decide who might be a good player in the NBA.
   17. Zach Posted: January 12, 2017 at 07:42 PM (#5382686)
He really does look like CC Sabathia when he pitches. If you told someone at spring training to look for the guy who throws like Sabathia, there's no question which field he would end up at. It's such an apt description that it calls into question the entire premise of banning player comparisons.
   18. PASTE does not get put on waivers in August Posted: January 12, 2017 at 07:50 PM (#5382694)
I know nothing about Luiz Gohara's background, but Sabathia's been around long enough that it's possible Gohara emulated his pitching motion as a kid.

I remember when Tim Lincecum first came up that his windup resembled Orel Hershiser's distinct windup (in addition to wearing #55 as Hershiser did for most of his career) that he would be asked about it during interviews, and (IIRC) avowed to be only dimly aware of who Orel Hershiser was.
   19. Zach Posted: January 12, 2017 at 07:51 PM (#5382695)
Mike Trout to Bo Jackson is vaguely interesting, but nobody's a true comp to Bo. There's a difference between being athletic and stocky and being Bo Jackson. I mean, *I'm* 6'2, 220, and muscular and nobody's mistaken us yet.
   20. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 12, 2017 at 08:41 PM (#5382721)
But having a physical resemblance actually isn't all that important. CC never threw 97/98. How's Gohara's control? His breaking stuff? Does his game actually have anything in common with Sabathia's, beyond the fact that he's a big lefty?


Prospect-era CC threw mid-90s and occasionally touched upper-90s, which is pretty much where Gohara is right now. See this 2001-era scouting report from BPro: "Sabathia throws a mid/high-90s fastball, depending on which scouting report you read, and a nasty curve. He's a big kid, like Rauch (Sabitha is 6'7" and listed at 235 pounds; Rauch 6'10" and 230). Unlike Rauch, Sabathia walks a fair number of batters."

I understand and acknowledge the point that you're trying to make, but whether or not it's a comparison with much predictive value, I think a comparison between the two is entirely valid. They have a very similar body types, they play the same position and throw and bat from the same side, they have very similar mechanics when pitching, they have comparable velocity and are both groundball-oriented pitchers perceived as having "heavy" fastballs, at age 19 they both had iffy changeups and a history of issues with command... the list goes on and on. Gohara even has a short beard, just like CC did during his pre-Yankees days.
   21. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: January 12, 2017 at 10:15 PM (#5382755)
Mike Trout has exactly the same build as Bo Jackson, but you never hear them compared


That's because Mike is like white on vanilla and Bo is black. Of course the white guy can't jump,er...wait no that's not right. The white guy leaps well above the walls to steal home runs and it's the black guy who RAN up walls...It's like a world gone mad!

I'm too lazy to look up their specifics, but Bo looked bigger...must have been the aforementioned tight uni.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: January 13, 2017 at 12:54 AM (#5382799)
I recall (with all the frailties of human memory) a good number of references to Trout's football like body although I think they were more along the lines of "he's like a linebacker (running back) playing CF" rather than specific players.

The always reliable H/W at b-r:

Deion 6'1" 195
Brian Jordan 6'1" 205
Bo 6'1" 220
Trout 6'2" 235
Ortiz 6'3" 230

I can't believe the Twins never tried Ortiz in CF.
   23. Walt Davis Posted: January 13, 2017 at 12:57 AM (#5382801)
FWIW, football-reference.com:

Deion 6'1" 195
Jordan 5'11" 205
Bo 6'1" 227
Ortiz 6'2" 335

Surprisingly close except on Jordan's height and Ortiz's weight. Oh sorry, that was Fridge.
   24. AROM Posted: January 13, 2017 at 09:20 AM (#5382848)
They are also clearly very racially coded. Mike Trout has exactly the same build as Bo Jackson, but you never hear them compared.


That's not true. When Trout started amazing everyone in 2012 Bo's name definitely came up. Probably not as much as Mickey Mantle. Another football comp, just on body type and athleticism, was Brian Urlacher. Brian's listed size is 6'4 258.
   25. AROM Posted: January 13, 2017 at 09:24 AM (#5382850)
From the first page of googling "Mike Trout Bo Jackson" I see: (copying headlines or summaries, not delving into the articles)

Adam Jones calls Mike Trout 'the white Bo Jackson'

with Trout's size and speed, Langston compares him to Bo Jackson

Mike Trout has only had one season in which his WAR was less than Bo Jackson's career WAR, and that was the year he unanimously won

The Takeaway: Mike Trout shows off Bo Jackson-esque athleticism

A reflection on Mike Trout's improbable first season. ... "Bo Jackson was the most amazing player I've ever played against," Salmon said.


   26. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: January 13, 2017 at 09:24 AM (#5382851)
It's such an apt description that it calls into question the entire premise of banning player comparisons.


Except for the fact that there's no information about what kind of pitcher Gohara is contained in the comparison at all.
   27. Greg K Posted: January 13, 2017 at 09:27 AM (#5382853)
They are also clearly very racially coded. Mike Trout has exactly the same build as Bo Jackson, but you never hear them compared. Why? Well, some of it is that Trout is so much better than Jackson was.

In terms of body-type (not skill) I always think of Vernon Wells with Trout. They're both thicker than you'd expect out of a rangy outfielder, more fullback than CF.
   28. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 13, 2017 at 10:26 AM (#5382883)
Except for the fact that there's no information about what kind of pitcher Gohara is contained in the comparison at all.


He's a left-handed starter with a mid-90s fastball that touches the upper 90s, groundball tendencies, improving command, and an iffy changeup... which, again, means that he's extremely similar to what Sabathia was at that age. The only real differences between the two are that a) Sabathia is a bit taller and b) Gohara's breaking ball is a slurve, instead of a curve like Sabathia had.
   29. Zach Posted: January 13, 2017 at 01:28 PM (#5383018)
Except for the fact that there's no information about what kind of pitcher Gohara is contained in the comparison at all.

It describes his physique, his build and his pitching motion. That's pretty good for a two word description.

Remember, teams have to compile scouting reports for hundreds of players. Descriptive is good.
   30. Lars6788 Posted: January 13, 2017 at 04:13 PM (#5383102)
Comps are fun, they are a snapshot so you have a picture of someone what look like if you've never seen a guy before - they aren't projections or predictive tool.
   31. Walt Davis Posted: January 13, 2017 at 04:19 PM (#5383105)
I'm not a fan of such comparisons but, at that level, what else you got? For the top 20-30 prospects, you can differentiate them pretty easily from the rest with a lot of accuracy and even from each other with reasonable accuracy ... and probably get pretty widespread agreement with most differences being of the "but I just don't think he's got what it takes" variety. But at the lower levels, you've got 50 guys, there's no solid, objective criteria by which to separate them ... but you've still got to decide which to draft, which to promote, which to trade (for). You can throw a dart or you can go with your scout's gut ... which might not be better but almost certainly can't be worse than throwing a dart.

Right out of uni, I worked briefly at a library. We were hiring a new "cataloging assistant" (I think). The job required the ability to alphabetize, accuracy and to look up stuff in an online database (i.e. type in names or titles, make sure you chose precisely the one that matched the book in front of you, hit print). I think it "required" a uni degree but maybe we settled for JC. A bunch of applicants, somehow wittled down to 3 interviews (not by me). How can you possibly choose among applicants (nearly all had worked in the libe as students)? How can you possibly get a good measure of whether they'll do a good job of filing thousands of cards in the catalog accurately (it was that long ago!) in an interview? You could call their library references and ask whether this student assistant had stood out in any way from the dozens of others they saw every year (this may have been done) which is essentially the equivalent of asking your scout. We picked the one who claimed to have had a stint as an assistant pastry cook -- she never brought a single damned pastry into work so that was a mistake.
   32. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 13, 2017 at 04:30 PM (#5383115)
If she liked cooking all that much, Walt, she probably wouldn't have been looking for a job in a library.

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