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Old 01-10-2013, 11:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Why Is Age So Important To Prospectors?

I know this may seem like a dumb question to ask, but I'm actually curious. Seems like a lot of time when people talk about prospects, their age comes up. X player has potential, but prospectors are scared by his age. X player is only 18 and already is showing good talent. Etc etc.

I was talking with a friend about Kevin Plawecki yesterday, and comparing him to other prospects, and he kept asking how old people were. I get that a 30 year old in single A isn't going anywhere, but I guess I don't see why it should matter if you're comparing someone who went through college to someone who got drafted out of HS for instance.

Is it that there is evidence that shows a player won't be as good if they don't make it to the majors by a certain time? What ages are most player's golden years supposed to actually be? It seems to me that talent is talent; if you can kick ass coming into the majors, it doesn't matter to me if you're 21 or 25.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Think about this question for about 5 solid minutes and I'm sure you will come to the correct conclusion. I'm not being a smartass either.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Just me but...

I like to read about and scout younger guys with power potential. A high school player that you read about having good plate discipline, the right body type, and overall maturity, makes him a good gamble to me. That doesn't mean that I don't have a drawer full of guys who never learned to hit a major league curveball.
A younger star, aka Harper/Trout, has more potential to build up HOF stats. A guy who blossoms when he's 26 and hits 30 homers a year may never get HOF stats.

Ultimately prospectors are gamblers who make, supposedly, educated guesses.

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Old 01-10-2013, 12:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by zachtruitt View Post
Think about this question for about 5 solid minutes and I'm sure you will come to the correct conclusion. I'm not being a smartass either.
I'm right with this....
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Bingo


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Old 01-10-2013, 12:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm not a prospector by any means, but from my perspective age matters because if player X is a diamond in the rough, but out of high school he has more time to adjust his game be a good major league player one day than someone who was drafted out of college. If player X gets better and starts "playing above his age group" he'll eventually reach elite prospect status, at least within the organization and in this new era where teams value prospects so highly they will get noticed one way or another.

Now for generational talents it probably won't matter when they're drafted/signed and have their debut (cough, Ichiro, cough), but for the non-elite average everyday players their peak years/prime are usually in their mid-20's to their very early 30's. While the hype surrounding prospects are enormous, not many of them pan out to even become those types of players. If lucky, most become something like the 40th man on a terrible team or if they're really lucky (and talented) they become an league average everyday player. Although occasionally you'll see someone emerge from an organizational after-thought into a really good player overnight (Kris Medlen, Bryan LaHair, Justin Ruggiano & Jose Bautista come to minid).

So basically, I look at it like people just emphasize age alot because time is of the essence in a lot of sports and baseball's no exception. The saying "time is money" also has a literal meaning in baseball as well.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Age is important but you'll often see reference to ARL which is age relative to league. So a 19 year old in AA is way way more impressive than a 19 year old in Low A for example. Conversely a college draftee who 'has promise' but is 22 in a short season league isn't so exciting.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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For me it is about long term value. It was mentioned above too. To maintain value/relevance, generally a sizable accumalation of stats is required, preferably resulting in a HOF result. A guy that comes up and succeeds at 20yo has a far better chance at accumalating stats than does someone that makes it at say 27yo. Unless you have someone as say a Bo Jackson that is able to transend numbers and still be a hobby favorite in spite of numbers.

That plus just the sheer amount of prospects that wiff. In most cases if a guy is in his mid to late 20's and hasn't made it he isn't going to. There is almost always still at least hope for the teenager to figure it out or have the right coach dial him in. The Jose Batistas are extremely rare in this game.
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It's along the lines of the compiler theory. Generally, if you make it to the majors by age 22, you have the best opportunity to compile the career stats capable of being HOF-worthy. College players are most often 21 when drafted and if they sit in the minors too long, they lose valuable years to compile stats compared to a high school player drafted at 18 and makes debut by 20 to 21. Just look at baseballreference.com and check out the players already in the HOF and see how many truly did start that young in their pro careers. It does depend on longevity and yearly statlines, but 17 to 20 seasons in the majors would be almost necessary to accomplish the milestones to set the player apart from his peers as a great player or HOF-caliber.
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Age also plays a factor in regards to physical development. At 18, one can project a change in body type, which affects speed, power and defense. This is partly why you hear scouts saying things like, "Player X's value will be a lot higher if he can remain at shortstop." At 24, the player is pretty much the guy he will be through his career.
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:23 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Age means everything in prospecting,

sincerely,

R.A. Dickey

ps- prospecting is hype based on potential interest from other collectors, so I'd like to argue age doesn't matter.
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:24 PM   #12 (permalink)
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For true prospectors, just like scouts, age is only important as an indicator of current development and potential to play and succeed in the bigs. It's not about getting their first 100 HRS before the age of 22. How many prospectors are going to hold on to cards for a guy's whole career, plus 5 years until they get a HOF nod? Any so-called prospector who still has most of their Trouts or Harpers isn't a true prospector.

All a prospector is really looking for is to buy low and sell high. Whether that's on Trout or a overlooked 25-year-old who hits 30HRs in his debut season. If they're dreaming of selling a MOJOHOFer in 28 years, they're not a prospector.
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:29 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zachtruitt View Post
Think about this question for about 5 solid minutes and I'm sure you will come to the correct conclusion. I'm not being a smartass either.
Lol no I get it, that's why I said it's probably a stupid question.

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Age is important but you'll often see reference to ARL which is age relative to league. So a 19 year old in AA is way way more impressive than a 19 year old in Low A for example. Conversely a college draftee who 'has promise' but is 22 in a short season league isn't so exciting.
Maybe I shouldn't have said "To Prospectors" but instead said "In Prospects". I'm more thinking, does a few years really make that big of a difference in if someone is going to be able to make it up to the major leagues and become a regular player or not?

I know that most prospects never make it up that high; that's just how it is. But I'm wondering why anyone who wants to play baseball would ever bother going to get an education and playing for their college team, because it seems like a lot of people are already counting them out by the time they graduate, because they're now too old. Or maybe it's just prospectors that are counting them out and not the baseball systems, because prospectors by their nature are trying to make money. I don't know.

I think maybe what I really meant to ask is, why is age so important in determining whether or not someone has the potential to be a regular major league player one day? Not even necessarily a HOF worthy player, just a dependable, good player.

I like the feedback though
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:32 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by hermanotarjeta View Post
Age means everything in prospecting,

sincerely,

R.A. Dickey

ps- prospecting is hype based on potential interest from other collectors, so I'd like to argue age doesn't matter.
And you would be wrong. First of all Dickey is the ultra rare example. Second he has little to no long term value. 10 years from now nobody is going to be clamoring for Dickey cards. Great guy, great story but no long term value. If you were to argue that he is the kind of story you can flip for a quick profit than I agree but that isn't prospecting. It is merely taking advantage of the market. That is much more common and takes less skill than prospecting.

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Old 01-10-2013, 01:53 PM   #15 (permalink)
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And you would be wrong. First of all Dickey is the ultra rare example. Second he has little to no long term value. 10 years from now nobody is going to be clamoring for Dickey cards. Great guy, great story but no long term value.
So if I bought his bowman chrome rookie two years ago for a quarter apiece, and sold them for $20 apiece, I wasn't prospecting him?

that doesn't make sense....

So if I bought a Xander Boegaerts card for $30 almost a year ago and sold him yesterday for $60, just because I'm not holding on to the card for 10 years, I wasn't prospecting him?

I guess I don't know what i'm doing (I thought I was prospecting), but what I do know is i'm making money...maybe I am a flipper and not a prospector.

But then, what does that make my Gerrit Cole collection? If I sell him tomorrow, am I just flipping, and if I sell him two years from now, I'm prospecting him?
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:25 PM   #16 (permalink)
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A longer career is the difference between the Hall of Fame and not. Example Donnie Baseball, Awesome player who was only able to play 12 years, misses the HOF.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:27 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I believe you are overestimating a prospects age as an important factor to baseball card prospectors. I think age is more important to a prospects ranking than it is to a baseball card prospector. There's a subtle, yet important, distinction to be made there. A prospects age in relation to competition is a better indicator of his upside as a baseball player than it is an indicator of his upside to a card prospector. I can see many prospectors having LESS interest in younger prospects because they'll take longer to pay off. Many prefer a shorter-term investment, even at the expense of larger return potential
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:28 PM   #18 (permalink)
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A longer career is the difference between the Hall of Fame and not. Example Donnie Baseball, Awesome player who was only able to play 12 years, misses the HOF.
So did Craig Biggio, who played 20 years
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:51 PM   #19 (permalink)
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So if I bought his bowman chrome rookie two years ago for a quarter apiece, and sold them for $20 apiece, I wasn't prospecting him?

that doesn't make sense....

So if I bought a Xander Boegaerts card for $30 almost a year ago and sold him yesterday for $60, just because I'm not holding on to the card for 10 years, I wasn't prospecting him?

I guess I don't know what i'm doing (I thought I was prospecting), but what I do know is i'm making money...maybe I am a flipper and not a prospector.

But then, what does that make my Gerrit Cole collection? If I sell him tomorrow, am I just flipping, and if I sell him two years from now, I'm prospecting him?
If you did it for prospecting purposes you are an awful prospector. If you did it because you liked him than it worked out great. He barely had a job two years ago and most GM's did not even see him as a MLB regular. If you have better scouting ability than they do I would hope teams are calling you left and right for your abilities. As far as your other examples there are no clear cut definitions for prospecting but I think most people would consider it up until he makes a MLB roster or shortly thereafter which all of the other players you mentioned other than Dickey fit. I too am prospecting those guys.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:58 PM   #20 (permalink)
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So did Craig Biggio, who played 20 years
Well Biggio missed the chance to be a first ballot, there is no doubt he will eventually make it in the HOF
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:27 PM   #21 (permalink)
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If you did it for prospecting purposes you are an awful prospector. If you did it because you liked him than it worked out great. He barely had a job two years ago and most GM's did not even see him as a MLB regular. If you have better scouting ability than they do I would hope teams are calling you left and right for your abilities. As far as your other examples there are no clear cut definitions for prospecting but I think most people would consider it up until he makes a MLB roster or shortly thereafter which all of the other players you mentioned other than Dickey fit. I too am prospecting those guys.
Oh, so when you refer to prospecting, then you are just talking about guys who are still in the minors who have not yet made the major leagues.

But what do you call it if I want to invest in Jay Bruce, or Mike Trout, or even Trevor Bauer, is it too late to prospect those guys? What would you call it if I buy cards of those guys with the intention for making a profit in the future? Is it too late to prospect Bryce Harper?

How about Mike Olt, someone who sniffed the majors last year, but is technically still a minor league player?
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:48 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by BigEd View Post
Age also plays a factor in regards to physical development. At 18, one can project a change in body type, which affects speed, power and defense. This is partly why you hear scouts saying things like, "Player X's value will be a lot higher if he can remain at shortstop." At 24, the player is pretty much the guy he will be through his career.
That's a really good point, and one I hadn't really thought about. Except you know, PEDs make your point moot XD. (I'm just kidding, I don't care about the whole PED debate that much.)

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I believe you are overestimating a prospects age as an important factor to baseball card prospectors. I think age is more important to a prospects ranking than it is to a baseball card prospector. There's a subtle, yet important, distinction to be made there. A prospects age in relation to competition is a better indicator of his upside as a baseball player than it is an indicator of his upside to a card prospector. I can see many prospectors having LESS interest in younger prospects because they'll take longer to pay off. Many prefer a shorter-term investment, even at the expense of larger return potential
Also good points. Still makes me think about the college aspect though. But, I guess if a player out of college has the skills, he'll quickly rise through the ranks until he's with similarly aged people, but at first he'll be older than the people around him. Or if he sucks, he'll just be an older guy around the other singe A players.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:28 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by hermanotarjeta View Post
Oh, so when you refer to prospecting, then you are just talking about guys who are still in the minors who have not yet made the major leagues.

But what do you call it if I want to invest in Jay Bruce, or Mike Trout, or even Trevor Bauer, is it too late to prospect those guys? What would you call it if I buy cards of those guys with the intention for making a profit in the future? Is it too late to prospect Bryce Harper?

How about Mike Olt, someone who sniffed the majors last year, but is technically still a minor league player?
I think we are splitting hairs. In my opinion there is a difference between prospecting and investing. I PC Harper, Stanton and Trout . They are no longer prospects. If they went up a ton I may or may not sell what I have (probably not) but it would not be prospecting. More like commodity trading.

I am picking up Skaggs, Soler and a few others as part of my prospecting. Even with that I would venture to guess that the true prospectors would laugh at that. They have probably already made their profit on those guys and are flipping them to idiots like me that are way behind the curve. The best way to prospect is to find the guys that nobody knows about and everybody knows about Soler and Skaggs but oh well. As far as Bauer and Olt I think they are still prospects but would again say that the true prospectors have already unloaded their cards of them.

It really is up to individual interpretation what is prospecting and what is not. I would say that what I am doing is not because anybody that I buy into is already on the radar. I just am choosing to buy guys that I think are undervalued and have a chance to go up.

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Old 01-10-2013, 06:47 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hermanotarjeta View Post
Age means everything in prospecting,

sincerely,

R.A. Dickey

ps- prospecting is hype based on potential interest from other collectors, so I'd like to argue age doesn't matter.
this makes no sense.......

you can't prospect on a guy that's already in the majors.......... he's not a prospect.

but seriously, age is a HUGE factor in prospecting...... PROSPECTING.

people don't prospect with the intent on holding a player hoping he will eventually have a good season or two maybe 15 years from now. it's about short term potential (3-4 years out at most). like was said before, if a player is 24+ and still in the minors, it's a safe bet that player has peaked as far as potential goes.

there are some exceptions, but not many.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:51 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I think maybe what I really meant to ask is, why is age so important in determining whether or not someone has the potential to be a regular major league player one day? Not even necessarily a HOF worthy player, just a dependable, good player.
It shouldn't be important. It's all about the combination of natural talent and opportunity. If someone doesn't have the opportunity to show what they have because they are playing behind a perennial All-Star on the big league roster, they might be spending more time in the minors than one would think is reasonable.
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