I’ll admit to having a fault (“Just the one?” you ask). I’m something of a political junkie. I watch the various news programs more than is probably good for me. I tend to wander from one to the other gathering differing views. I head from lefty MSNBC to right-wing Fox and everything between. I then try to synthesize those views to determine what is real and what isn’t. I think it makes me a better judge of the political environment.
“OK, Genius, that’s great and everything; but what the heck has it to do with baseball?” you ask. Actually, quite a lot. Besides the obvious ability to look at differing stats and making differing determinations, it occasionally becomes directly important. In my wandering through the political overload that is Cable TV and I ran across a commentator who mentioned he was once a baseball prospect, but hurt his arm, changed fields, and is currently on TV. Well, I knew nothing about him so I looked him up both on things like Wikipedia and, more important for our purposes, on BaseballReference.com. Well, he did get into a dozen or so games in the very low minors and was gone after that. I’ll take his word for what happened to him (rotator cuff).
But the entire thing brought up to me the entire question of exactly what makes someone a baseball “prospect.” This guy never got beyond the lowest minors but considers himself a “prospect.” So I asked myself, “Self, was he?”
My final answer was “yes.” Simply put, if a person was drafted in the first round he’s a prospect. If he was drafted in the 10th round, he’s a prospect. If he’s drafted as low as Mike Piazza was, he’s a prospect. If he’s signed as a free agent, he’s a prospect. The fact the guy never panned out doesn’t detract from the idea he was a prospect. I base this theory on the simple reasoning that if someone somewhere on some Major League staff thought the guy was good enough to make the roster he must be a prospect. Why draft or sign him if he’s not? What a waste of time, ink, and money if you’re drafting or signing a non-prospect.
So you may disagree and tell me that Ken Griffey, Jr. was a prospect and someone drafted lower isn’t really. Sure he may make it, but the chances aren’t good and so he isn’t really a prospect. My answer is that if you’re willing to give him a chance, he’s a prospect.
Fell free to disagree. And this is as close to political commentary as I am likely to get.