Big Three States Offer Teams Best Bet For High School Pitchers

Big Three States Offer Teams Best Bet For High School Pitchers Big Three States Offer Teams Best Bet For High School Pitchers By Clint Longenecker Print After a lone postseason appearance in the previous 17 seasons, the newly-assembled Atlanta Braves’ brain trust, then-general manager Bobby Cox, president Stan Kasten and scouting director Paul Snyder, created a detailed eight-point blueprint for long-term success in 1986, as detailed in the book, “Scout’s Honor” by Bill Shanks. The number one organizational priority on the list that would propel the Braves to 14 straight division titles? Draft as many high school pitchers as possible.   “You got to have about 20 pitchers to get two in the big leagues,” Paul Snyder, the  architect of a farm system ranked in the top seven in the game per Baseball America’s rankings for 14 consecutive years, said in the book. Snyder’s philosophy is supported by numerous studies that have demonstrated high school pitching has the highest risk of flameout, as well as the highest potential upside. Of the top 10 domestic born pitchers in cumulative WAR (Baseball-Reference) from 2008-2012, nine of them were drafted out of high school.  Owing to the Brach Rickey philosophy of getting “quality out of quantity,” organizations deploy scouts to every part of the country to discover these young, projectable arms. The three largest and most fertile baseball states—California, Florida and Texas—are the most-frequented excavating grounds for unearthing these treasured arms and often stake claim to the highest draft positions. For example, from 2008-2012, 60 percent of the first and supplemental-round high school pitchers were from the “Big 3” states, as well as 52 percent taken in the top three rounds. With such a large investment in player acquisition and scouting—as 40 percent of all scouts and 45 percent of crosscheckers reside in these three states—how does the production of the “Big 3” compare to other parts of the country? Baseball America analyzed every high school pitcher taken in the top three rounds of the 1988-2007 drafts, and partitioned these pitchers on a state-by-state and regional basis. Supplemental first-round selections were considered first-round picks. All pitchers were then evaluated on three measures—if the pitcher reached the majors, the number of big league starts, and cumulative Baseball-Reference WAR. There were two WAR thresholds (admittedly, these are arbitrary endpoints); if a player accumulated 1 career WAR (e.g. Milwaukee Brewers righthander Mark Rogers, the No.
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