Friday, February 24, 2006

3 year time machine

Sorry for the miss yesterday. A combo of getting in late, computer problems, and not having that much to say anyway conspired for my second strikeout since starting the blog. (By the way, I got in late because I was at my cousin's engagement party - Mazal Tov to David Bienenfeld and Abby Rabinowitz!)

I was watching curling earlier today. Could that sport be any more Canadian? Non-threatening, on ice, and boring as hell. Are the guys in the Olympics actually professional curlers? Can you do that? I kind of just picture a group of guys watching the 2002 Games and saying, "Hey, that don't look too hard, we can be curlers too. Call the Olympic committee, get us signed up for '06." What I did like though, about curling, was that it embodied all that the rest of the coverage of the winter olympics isn't. It was live, as, I've argued, real sports should be viewed. Point for curling. And it was brought in its entirety, in context. The prime time coverage has become snippets of one figure skater here, one downhill skier there, without any sense of how it fits into the bigger picture of the competition. With curling, I was watching a sport, not a tv show. A horrible sport that shouldn't exist, but a sport nonetheless.

I pulled out my fantasy mag from 2003 today. Wait, you don't save your fantasy mags each year? Oh, how strange of you. As sick as I am, I do suggest you start saving them, because it's interesting to have a look a few years down the road. I bring you this, for your reading pleasure:

The top 15 prospects in baseball in 2003, according to The Sporting News, were, in order: Mark Teixeira, Hank Blalock, Jesse Foppert, Victor Martinez, Brandon Phillips, Hee Seop Choi, Jose Reyes, Rafael Soriano, Michael Cuddyer, Chad Tracy, Colby Leiws, Marlon Byrd, Kurt Ainsworth, Francisco Rodriguez, and Rocco Baldelli. Interesting. I don't know about you - but maybe I've grown overskeptical of these prospect lists. I was surprised to see that the #1 man has indeed established himself as a star, and Blalock, Martinez, Reyes, K-Rod, Tracy, and Baldelli are at least regarded as pretty good players, if not better for some. So that's 7 of 15, or nearly half, who've panned out. I wouldn't have expected the odds to be that good. But this also serves as a good reminder - don't get sucked in by the prospect hype, whehter it's for your fantasy team or your real life team. Foppert was described as being in a "class by himself." Right now, unless AAA is vacant, that's not accurate. And these guys are the top 15 of a list of 100 - if I included the whole list there would be less than a 50% success rate for these guys (although the bottom 85 includes Travis Hafner at 28, Rich Harden at 59, Dontrelle Willis at 64, among others). Of course, 3 years is a little early to be making conclusive statements about who has and hasn't panned out - but at the very least you can't refute that it's a big mistake to expect a prospect to have an immediate impact.

At each position analysis, TSN also listed the most promising and most overrated youngster at that position. A partial look:
Starting pitchers: Good job by TSN here. Most promising - John Lackey, Brett Myers, John Patterson, Mark Prior, Rafael Soriano. Most overrated - The Awful Dewon Brazelton, Nate Cornejo, Nick Neugebauer, Mark Redman.
Catcher - most promising? Victor Martinez. Overrated? Ramon Castro. It's not that I think Castro's had a great career, but when the hell was he rated, much less overrated?
First baseman - most promising? Hee Seop Choi. Who wrote that, Jae Ahn? Overrated - Lyle Overbay. I would still agree, somebody tell JP Ricciardi that.
Second baseman - Oh, TSN. Whoops. Whoops. Whoops. Most promising? Bobby Hill. Most overrated? Some guy named Michael Young. This ain't an exact science I guess.


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