Hultzen's Chances = 80%


Q.  Your 80% represents Hultzen's chances of what?  Of becoming the best pitcher in baseball?

A.  No, they reflect his chances of becoming an impact starting pitcher of any type.  And it's probably more like 90%.  We just have to reel back the titles for the lurkers.  ;- )

... that fixation on "We Gotta Draft the Next Pedro Martinez" is for the 10-year-olds who are playing roto for the first time.  They spend their winter debating whether Albert Pujols or Justin Verlander should be the first player taken.  Hours and hours and hours, spent pleasantly mulling over the plusses and minuses of grabbing (say) Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning.

It's a pleasant way to spend time, arguing LeBron vs. Kobe with the 1-1 fantasy pick.  It's not a productive way, but it's a pleasant way.

Analogously, the argument about whether Dan Hultzen would be a HOF'er, vs. a mere All-Star, is an argument that strikes me as being a debate for children during lunch-hour recess.  (Hey, I'm a child sometimes too.  No contempt intended.)

If Hultzen ever wins 15 games for the M's, it was a great draft pick.  If you get an MLB impact player with any amateur draft pick, you've done your job.


Q.  So what are his chances of pitching in an All-Star game, or deserving to?

A.  Let's start by counting up the similar draft picks and setting a ratio... we say, let's start that way.


Q.  What's your "experimental methodology"?

A.  A lot of sites, bless their pseudoscientific little hearts, would want to cast hard "research parameters", begin the presentation with an abstract, and file it away as a thesis...

Lemme remind you here that we're going to be quantifying ... the opinions of baseball scouts.

Why was it, again, that Mike Minor, Mike Leake, and Jacob Turner met the "objective criterion" of being top-5 draft picks?  Because a few guy with stogies guessed that those pitchers were good enough to be.

It lacks common sense to set up a "study" around a few top-5 draft picks; you're studying human guesses.  The only thing you could use that for, scientifically, would be to compare one (carbon-based) guesser to another (silicon-based) guesser.

So let's not get too caught up in methodology.  Sabermetrics isn't a robust scientific discipline.  It's baseball chat.  Sabermetricians figure out some things that are true.  And Branch Rickey didn't?


Q.  SSI's mainframe is trying to crunch what, exactly?

A.  "When scouts agree, and sign off, that a college pitcher is a reasonable 1-1 draft pick,* what are his chances to be an impact pitcher in the big leagues?"

Tell me that you've got a reeaaaallllllly good college pitcher.  Is he a coin flip for ML success?  Is he 70%? What?

*If Strasburg's in his same draft that year, then 1-2 counts as 1-1.  And so on.  We're talking about a good, sound, reasonable call to take him #1 overall.


Q.  Did scouts agree on Hultzen that way?  A lot of teams would have taken him 9th.

A.  For clarity, we are assuming that Hultzen was a reasonable 1-1 overall.  If you don't agree, then you'd put the rest in your pipe and smoke it, too.


The Seattle Mariners thought Hultzen was clearly the 1-1 pick in the draft, hitters included, and by a good margin over the 1-2 pick.

Dr. D :ahem: researched (1) LHP change-speed pitchers as a group, and (2) Hultzen himself, and concluded that Hultzen was a reasonable pick anywhere 1-1 through 1-5.  He has come to agree that Hultzen would have been a good, sound, reasonable 1-1 pick in this draft.  (Bauer and Rendon would have been, too, but I personally don't think Cole was.)

It's my blog.  :- )  In this world, Hultzen is a tippy-top college pitcher, an arguable 1-1 pick in a draft lacking Josh Hamiltons, Stephen Strasburgs, or any Uptons.





I guess he's back to being "Danny."  So there.
Won't cut and paste this time, but the Gameday has all the velo and break info, and it's worth looking at.
3.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
Came right out of the gate at 94 on his first pitch, and hit 95 by the third batter.  Was pretty much 92-94 consistently for three innings.
Hope that is answering the concerns of those who didn't think he'd have that kind of velo.  And it looks like he knows where it's going most of the time.
Gave up a bunch of singles, but got himself out of it with a double-play ball on a slider.
Then there's an interview (he says he wants to be like Cliff Lee and Andy Pettitte) and some game action from his first game here.  Hard to dislike the kid.


2nd inning:  24 pitches, 22 FB's, 1 change, 1 slider.
Check out the location of those 22 fastballs.  Up and down, in and out, on the black.  3 of them were in the mid-plate region, but 2 of those were 1st pitch strikes.
He nibbles and throws strikes. 
In the 3rd inning he threw his change more.
But what's not to like.

RockiesJeff's picture

Baseball is not always simple. The number one pick Cole had his struggles today in Fall Ball.


And I'd be curious to know, if the woeful Pirates hadn't taken him, how far Cole would have dropped on draft day.
IMHO Cole has truly awful rhythm, mechanics, and has no natural feel for the game of baseball -- almost as bad as the young Randy Johnson in those respects.  And am not sure the Pirates are in a position to wait 8 years for him to get it :- )
Just my two cents, natch.

RockiesJeff's picture the Rockies with Reynolds, reaching when you have a top pick can reap many problems down the road. Jeff, if you had been given the Pirate's pick, did you have one that stood out above the others?

OBF's picture

Danny!  Very well spoken, seemed humble, but knew he was going to be a star in the bigs.  Spoke well and easily infront of the camera.  Compare and contrast that to the very next video on that page the one of an interview with Nick Franklin and well...  Lets just say you can really tell which kids is the college graduate with Doctor parents and which kid was pick out of highs school from The Florida sticks ;)
Not that it really matters, I guess.  Who cares if Nick Franklin can't put otgether a coherant sentance of more than 3 words as long and he can pick it and hit it :)  I just thought the contast between the two videos was stark and interesting.  Good offseason fodder ;)

RockiesJeff's picture

I am like you. I think just about everyone figured Rendon would go first until injury concerns took over. I certainly would have taken Bauer over Cole. I was too ignorant about Hultzen but really liked what I saw in the College World Series. You are right, a lefty with a change...ask the Phillies if they like that combination?

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