In projecting a pitcher, by far the largest consideration is his health. There are a hundred pitchers in the minor leagues today who are going to be superstars if they don't hurt their arms. The problem is, 98 of them are going to hurt their arms. At least 98 of them. Pitchers are unpredictable because it is very difficult to know who is going to get hurt and when they are going to get hurt.
ALAN SCHWARZ: Gary Huckabay, I believe you coined the phrase, “There’s no such thing as a pitching prospect.”
GARY HUCKABAY: Yeah, but that was an overstatement designed to sell books. When I say there’s no such thing as a pitching prospect, it’s because it’s really, really hard, for even the very best scouts, to identify a guy that’s a) going to go through the minor leagues and survive potential injuries that high school pitchers often run into; and b) when I was 18 years old, I spent most of my time imbibing ethanol and chasing women, and I don’t think I was an atypical 18-year-old.
What you are calling "by the book managing" is often completely thoughtless, ignorance-steeped tradition. 2-1 count with a guy on first? Hit and run. Leadoff guy gets on? Bunt him over. That's by-the-book managing, and it's dumb. What people like Bill James, and Rob Neyer, and BP, and Billy Beane advocate is: research, analysis, thought, science. But fuck that. Let's read some tea leaves.
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