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Tuesday, February 22, 2005


This catchy, albeit hyperbolic, acronym ("there is no such thing as a pitching prospect") is used by the folks at Baseball Prospectus to draw attention to the idea that drafting pitchers is a bit of a crapshoot. This is the case because of the higher probability of injury associated with pitchers - even pitchers drafted out of college. The implication is that organizations can only protect themselves by accumulating alot of good arms and seeing which ones are not winnowed out. In other words, with young pitchers don't put all your eggs in one basket and it is prudent to sometimes sacrifice quality for quantity.

This point was borne out by some research Jason Collette over at RotoJunkie did recently. Jason took a look at the Top 100 Prospect lists from Baseball America from 1990 to 2004 and came up with a list of 420 pitchers. His results...

"The overall numbers of the studies show that in the last 15 years of ranking minor league prospects, there have been 420 pitchers on those lists. Out of those 420 pitchers, only 296 have appeared in the majors, which computes to 70%. Therefore, 30% of the pitchers that appear on this list never make the major leagues. Out of the remaining 296 pitchers, only 103 of them have produced what I consider to be roster-worthy statistics; that’s only 25% of the original 420 pitchers [emphasis added]. If only one in four pitching prospects become roster-worthy material, it is important to do your homework on these guys before picking them for your futures roster. I’ve done the research for you, but please understand past performance doesn’t guarantee future performance."

Case in point: Kyle Snyder of the Royals who is profiled on the Royals website from which most of the information below was gleaned


1999: The 6'8" pitcher is a 1st round draft choice from the University of North Carolina. Struck out 102 batters in 96 2/3 innings. Pitched seven games for class A Spokane

2000: Sore elbow after two starts followed by surgery to transpose the ulnar nerve in his right elbow. Then the ligament tore and Tommy John reconstructive surgery was required on Sept. 7.

2001: Out all season

2002: Pitched in 21 minor league games

2003: After a 3-0 start at AAA was promoted to the Royals. For the Royals, he made 15 starts, went 1-6 with a 5.17 ERA and went on the disabled list with a sore shoulder. Worse, he struck out only 39 batters in 85.3 innings. He had arthroscopic surgery

2004: Back in Spring Training but the shoulder immediately statred hurting and on February 25th he underwent more extensive surgery by Dr. Craig Morgan of Wilmington, Del., noted for his repair work on Curt Schilling. Out the remainder of the season and was only up to 50 pitches by the end of October

2005: Reported to Spring Training at 27 years old


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