Mar
17

Food For Thought: First League Average Season

By

After breaking down Baseball America’s top 100 prospects lists by determining the value of each spot, Scott McKinney of Beyond The Box Score looked at how long it took prospects to have their first league average season (defined at 2+ WAR) in the majors. The majority of both pitchers and position players have that first average season in their sophomore campaigns, though a significant amount of players (27.3%) reach that level in their third season, and another 27.7% reach it in their fourth season or later.

The average call-up age for both position players and pitchers is just 22.7 years of age, which surprised me. I thought it would be a little higher, maybe 23-24. It turns out that age isn’t an important variable either, a player will still have his first league average season two years after he debuts regardless of how old he was when he got to the show. Unsurprisingly, high-end prospects (ranked 1-40 on BA’s lists) tend to contribute a little earlier than lesser guys, but not by a whole lot.

The Yankees have a few high-end prospects on the cusp of the big leagues, most notably Jesus Montero. Recent history suggests that his coming out party might not occur until 2012 though, and I can’t help but wonder how many Yankees fans are willing to be that patient. My guess: fewer than you think.

Categories : Minors

19 Comments»

  1. KeithK says:

    Clearly this means that we need to have Banuelos in the Bronx this year so that he’ll get to his second season that much sooner, right?

  2. J.R. says:

    Good post, it is always great to see historical data to give a more realistic expectation.

  3. DF says:

    Since WAR is a counting stat, not a rate stat, couldn’t this be mostly a function of playing time? Ie, most players don’t play enough to amass 2 WAR in their first season.

  4. Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James) says:

    “It turns out that age isn’t an important variable either, a player will still have his first league average season two years after he debuts regardless of how old he was when he got to the show.”

    Except when they’ve just turned 20, right? ;)

  5. BPDELIA says:

    This is precisely why he should be the backup now. much better to break him in in a part time role where the pressure will be infinitely less intense.
    If he was starting you’d be right, there would be very little patience. However I think you are overestimating what even the most idiotic yankee fans expect out of their backup catcher.
    You couldn’t ask for a better way to break in a very young kid in a very demanding position than having him backup an established ML player.

    EVen if CErvelli was healthy this is the right move ot make.

    • ROBTEN says:

      However I think you are overestimating what even the most idiotic yankee fans expect out of their backup catcher.

      Well, to be fair, given the Posada hate that sometimes emerges among some posters here, I can only imagine what some of the less rational fans expect out of the backup catcher…

  6. NC Saint says:

    “The majority of both pitchers and position players have that first average season in their sophomore campaigns”

    That’s not what the graph shows at all. A plurality of all prospects, and of pitching prospects, do so in their second year, while a plurality of position players do so in their third.

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