Baseball is the single most difficult sport in which to succeed. Observe:
I think several conclusions are warranted, at least for the period of the study (which includes a great many current major league players).It's interesting, depressing stuff.
- About 70% of Baseball America top 100 prospects fail.
- Position player prospects succeed much more often than pitching prospects.
- About 60% of position players ranked in Baseball America’s top 20 succeed in the majors.
- About 40% of pitchers ranked in the top 20 succeed in the majors.
- About 30% of position players ranked 21-100 succeed in the majors (with the success rate declining over that ranking range from about 36% to about 25%)
- About 20% of pitchers ranked 21-100 succeed in the majors (with the success rate declining over that ranking range from about 22% to about 15%)
In a chart near the post's end, Scott McKinney, the author, looks at the prospect success rate according to drafting team. Caveats abound:
...I think the data is worth little more than entertainment value. First, the sample sizes are all quite small. Most organizations have 20-40 prospects in this study’s population (for the purpose of this calculation, I counted players rather than rankings). Second, I don’t think the numbers tell us anything particularly meaningful. Some of the players were drafted by one organization and developed by another. Some were developed by one organization but played in the majors for another.The Cubs have the 8th worst success rate. That's 8th worst among 30 teams.
Lately, it has felt like the Cubs had a pretty solid farm system -- what with Jay Jackson, Chris Carpenter, Andrew Cashner, and whatnot. But, I guess it's equally true we had some clunkers earlier this decade -- namely Corey Patterson, Felix Pie, and, you guessed it, Mark Prior.
Still, I would wager it does not matter who they draft, but who they get. The worst drafting team? The World Series champs, the Giants. The third worst? The NL Central champs, the Reds.
Photo source: Originally posted to Herkie's Flickr.