If you go with the Santana and four scrubs, your final tally would be: 66.4 Wins, 3.99 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 804 K's

If you drafted starting pitchers in rounds 7, 8, 10, 11, and 12 (two #2 starters and three #3 starters), you would get: 67.1 Wins, 3.85 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 770 K's

To me, Santana is worth nearly five picks in the 7-12 range. I would not hesitate to take Santana early in the 1st round.

You don't base what was a good or bad move by what actually happened because that ignores things like risk.

In poker when someone raises and you play 82 offsuit you made a horrible choice, when you end up winning because of the flop cards it doesn't make your initial choice a good one. Pitchers are just way too risky to be taking in the top 5 picks regardless of how good they are. The attrition rate is too high to make that a smart pick.

Ender wrote:You don't base what was a good or bad move by what actually happened because that ignores things like risk.

In poker when someone raises and you play 82 offsuit you made a horrible choice, when you end up winning because of the flop cards it doesn't make your initial choice a good one.

Obviously. Unfortunately, we can't ask Johan Santana to pitch out this season for the Mets 1,200 times in order to get a good handle on what the true probabilities are, unlike having computers simulate playing an 8-2 against unknown cards. Therefore, the best that we have is looking at end-of-years numbers, coupled with our own expectations, and see if players performed as expected.

0-3 to 4-3. Worst choke in the history of baseball. Enough said.

Ender wrote:You don't base what was a good or bad move by what actually happened because that ignores things like risk.

In poker when someone raises and you play 82 offsuit you made a horrible choice, when you end up winning because of the flop cards it doesn't make your initial choice a good one. Pitchers are just way too risky to be taking in the top 5 picks regardless of how good they are. The attrition rate is too high to make that a smart pick.

Yes but going with Santana is not like calling with an 82 offs suit. More like a very high pair.

There is risk with everyone no matter who it is. The fact is that Santana has been the best pitcher for several years and moving into what is probably the most ideal situation you can imagine.

"Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that." ~George Carlin

Ender wrote:Pitchers are just way too risky to be taking in the top 5 picks regardless of how good they are. The attrition rate is too high to make that a smart pick.

I'm looking at the PECOTA cards for last year.* Player A: Breakout - 18% Improve - 45% Collapse - 23% Attrition - 7% Player B: Breakout - 11% Improve - 33% Collapse - 18% Attrition - 11%

All in all, Player A looks like as good as, if not a better, risk bundle than Player B. Player A: Santana Player B: Pujols So would you also say that Pujols is undraftable in the early 1st round b/c of too high of an attrition rate?

*I still stand by my original point which is that, ultimately, player probabilities are unknowable. Something like BP does an approximation, but even those aren't really the a priori probabilities in the same way that the probabilities of the 8-2 are. I'm just trying to meet you on your terms.

0-3 to 4-3. Worst choke in the history of baseball. Enough said.

Sorry I wasn't talking about PECOTA attrition rates, I was talking about pitchers in general. Pitchers are riskier than hitters without any doubt at all in my mind. The odds of Santana getting hurt this year and missing significant time is much higher than the guys picked in the early first round (except maybe Pujols).

And no what happened isn't the best way to decide whether a pick was good or not. If you had drafted Ryan Braun in the 3rd round last year it would have been a terrible pick, yet he put up better value than that. If you drafted Pujols #1 it wasnt' a bad pick but he wasn't a top 20 player because of the injuries. If you picked Chris Carpenter in the 9th round it was still a steal even though he got hurt right away. The results ignore all of the risk and upside that goes into draft position.

Ender wrote:Sorry I wasn't talking about PECOTA attrition rates, I was talking about pitchers in general. Pitchers are riskier than hitters without any doubt at all in my mind. The odds of Santana getting hurt this year and missing significant time is much higher than the guys picked in the early first round (except maybe Pujols).

And no what happened isn't the best way to decide whether a pick was good or not. If you had drafted Ryan Braun in the 3rd round last year it would have been a terrible pick, yet he put up better value than that. If you drafted Pujols #1 it wasnt' a bad pick but he wasn't a top 20 player because of the injuries. If you picked Chris Carpenter in the 9th round it was still a steal even though he got hurt right away. The results ignore all of the risk and upside that goes into draft position.

I hear you. But Santana should easily be the best player at his position based on what we do know now. How much better you think he is would determine whether you believe he is worth a top 5 pick.

"Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that." ~George Carlin

Ender wrote:Sorry I wasn't talking about PECOTA attrition rates, I was talking about pitchers in general. Pitchers are riskier than hitters without any doubt at all in my mind. The odds of Santana getting hurt this year and missing significant time is much higher than the guys picked in the early first round (except maybe Pujols).

And no what happened isn't the best way to decide whether a pick was good or not. If you had drafted Ryan Braun in the 3rd round last year it would have been a terrible pick, yet he put up better value than that. If you drafted Pujols #1 it wasnt' a bad pick but he wasn't a top 20 player because of the injuries. If you picked Chris Carpenter in the 9th round it was still a steal even though he got hurt right away. The results ignore all of the risk and upside that goes into draft position.

Again, sure. But just presenting the concept of risk as an amorphous thing doesn't solve, indeed it worsens, your complaint for non-objectivity of measures. You have to quantify it, or at least approximate it, to make the concept of risk useful. Simply stating that this risk exists so this player isn't worth it doesn't work.

Additionally, it ignores the other side of a projection function. For all things, be they cards, baseball player, or oil wells, the proper formula is: Expected Value = Sum of: Probability of Outcome 1 (P1) * Value of Outcome 1 (V1) + P2*V2 + ... + PnVn. To continue with your initial example, even a 2-8 becomes playable if you're getting 4-to-1 odds on your money in a heads-up situation. So it's not enough to simply declare by fiat that a probability exists to arrive at the conclusion of a certain player's value.

Pitchers have high variance in their performance, even if you exclude the injury risk. The thing that makes Santana so appealing is that the performance variance in his career has been very low. He's been incredibly, incredibly consistent. So, in my mind, his high level of performance and his low beta on performance variance puts him into a category of pitcher by himself, worth a 1st round pick. You can certainly disagree. But I don't think you're being as theoretically rigorous as you think you are.

As far as the question of how you evaluate a pick after the fact.... again, the probabilities are unknowable since each season is a singular, unrepeated event. It has some robustness as a sample size of a certain # of ABs or certain # of starts but it's still a singular event if you're evaluating it at a season level. So we can't say after the fact what the entire universe of P's and V's are: we can only say what actually happened. So the best we can do is look at past performance to project out and then see how the data fits. I'm not sure how else you would do it.

You can think of this as rolling a dice and a 6 comes up. Now, off of that one event, is the probability of rolling a 6 one-sixth? It could be. Or it could be a weighted die where the probability of rolling a 6 is one-half or one-third or three-quarters or whatever. Based off of one rolling of the die, you can't extrapolate out the probabilities with any kind of certainty. But if you observe it and a 6 comes up four times in a row, you might think that maybe you're not dealing with random chance so you project that it's going to come up a 6. What you're saying is that if you say, "I think it's going to be a 6" and it comes up a 6 again that has nothing to do with the probability ahead of time. And there I disagree. You made an observation (it's coming up 6 a lot), you projected out (I think it's going to be a 6 again) and then you observe the results (whatever comes up). The actual event plays a role in the ex-post evaluation of your initial projection because you don't actually know the existant probabilities in the same way that you do with theoretical coin flips or card games so every data point, including the one you're projecting, becomes a factor in the analysis.

Me, I think Santana comes up 6's a whole lot and is worth a top-5 pick this year.

0-3 to 4-3. Worst choke in the history of baseball. Enough said.

da bears wrote:The problem I have with drafting him is that you fall a hitter behind your competition and still have to round out your staff, Johan alone isn't good enough. During the middle rounds when others are grabbing solid pitchers you will still be taking care of your needs in the outfield or wherever your offense has holes at.

I don't think I agree with this logic. If you were going to take a SP in the first 4 rounds anyways, then you basically are making a tradeoff between something like:

Santana+Morneau or Howard+Haren (where Haren and Morneau are going in the middle of the 4th) -- or -- Santana+Manny or Howard+Webb (with Manny and Webb going in the middle of the 3rd)

I don't think you kill yourself on offense if you grab Santana in the first round, you can make it up in the next few rounds. That said, I think the risk factor with pitchers is a much more compelling reason to not grab Santana too early.

"The government cannot give to anyone anything that it does not first take from someone else"

If you go with the Santana and four scrubs, your final tally would be: 66.4 Wins, 3.99 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 804 K's

If you drafted starting pitchers in rounds 7, 8, 10, 11, and 12 (two #2 starters and three #3 starters), you would get: 67.1 Wins, 3.85 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 770 K's

To me, Santana is worth nearly five picks in the 7-12 range. I would not hesitate to take Santana early in the 1st round.

I was about to give a big caution about your footnote because his numbers are hugely flawed (extremely low) on the offensive side, but he did his analysis based on real numbers for pitchers, so I'll move on and instead question your analysis. You are merely showing that Santana is the best pitcher, which no one is disagreeing with. But you could just as easily take an average #1 pitcher in the 4th round (e.g. Sabathia, who's numbers in 2007 were very similar to those PECOTA numbers for Santana) and not drop down that much from Santana. To use your logic, you might need to use Sabathia, two #4s, and two #5 scrubs to achieve the same numbers as Santana and four #5 scrubs. None of that changes anything - your analysis is actually showing that you should make sure you draft a #1 pitcher, not necessarily Santana.

"The government cannot give to anyone anything that it does not first take from someone else"