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Thread: Article: How Many of the TOP International Signings Make It?

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    Article: How Many of the TOP International Signings Make It?


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    PseudoSABR (07-11-2014)

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    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Fantastic. I've been waiting to see someone do this and your data backs up my initial thoughts... It's really hard to figure out which 16 year old players will become quality MLB players, which makes the Twins strategy of "throw smaller amounts of money at a lot of guys" seem pretty logical.

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    I have been looking for someone to do this.....is this as far back as the data goes? Did you look at more recent data? I might do that if I actually go to RAGBRAI and hang out (since I am not recovered enough from last year's bike accident enough to ride 7 straight days).

    The real deal here is that it is a lottery pick.

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    Owner All-Star John Bonnes's Avatar
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    I loved this story. Thanks for writing it. In god we trust - all others must bring data.

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    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    Tremendous article! Thank you for doing this jorgenwest!

    This is a topic that Jeremy and I have spent a lot of time talking about in the last couple of weeks on the Twins Hangouts show. We're both obviously thrilled to have Miguel Sano on the Twins roster ($3.15 million), but generally, I would rather that the Twins sign 6 guys at $500,000 than one guy at $3 million when it's such an uncertain thing.

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    PseudoSABR (07-11-2014)

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Monkeypaws's Avatar
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    I like that you point out some pretty good Twins prospects that were signed in the same year as the big money kids.

    Very well-done article.

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    Wow. This is incredibly illuminating. Thanks for digging this up, jorgenswest. The scouting quality and the overall environment in 2014 is probably vastly superior compared to 2006/7, but still, it would be hard to contend that signing the most highly-rated prospects today is that much more predictable. It appears the answer to your first question is that it's probably still pretty much a crap shoot. The second question is impossible to answer: will the Yankees get rewarded? Even if they turn out a Teheran for roughly $14M? A lot of that might depend on if they end up suffering the consequences for cheating, i.e. no signings over $300k the following year, but then again they can still find the Arcias, Santanas, and Pintos, right?

    Some have criticized the Twins for not signing more of these more highly-ranked prospects, and I'd say this data suggests that the criticism is unfounded, for two reasons. First, they DO sign a number of prospects that others rank highly, such as Sano, Minier, Diaz, Barrie, Silva and Ynoa in the last two years. They sign prospects they like regardless of these dicey outside rankings. Secondly, the many success stories bubbling up support their process: Arcia, Santana, Polanco, Pinto, Sano, Vargas, Thorpe...

    And the Twins should NOT do the same thing, even if it would clearly work, because it cheats others and it's wrong by every ethical standard one can cite.

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    Fantastic research on a very interesting topic. Thanks!

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    A few questions:
    1) Were those signings the top signings of those years or the list made by BA? Maybe BA isn't as good at scouting international signees so their list might not be accurate enough to make a determination.

    2) How many players, not on that list, made it? You pointed out that the Twins made a few nice signings in that period. How about other teams (yes, that's a lot of work).

    3) Another way to review international signees may be to review BA top 100 prospect lists and find out, in whatever year, how many became top 100 guys.

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    I think what gets many of us is the Sano effect. A high profile high priced prospect who looks like he could be a super star. I think the mentality becomes that every high profile high priced prospect will likely succeed. It is good to see facts dismiss conjecture. 16 year olds and even 18 year olds are hard to project. This is a good exercise to help us put international signings in proper perspective.

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    Here's a link with a few more years to add to the sample size.

    http://www.mlbprospectguide.com/p/in...-signings.html

    2010 and 2011 was a bit better...a few other years as well. Still hit and miss. Not quite enough data out there to compare vs the MLB Rule IV June Drafts.

    I ran some comparisons using the Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list and players who were international signings were more often "Stars" (War over 30, War over 40, War over 50, etc) but College/HS drafted players more often made MLB. BA's lists go back to 1995: http://www.baseballamerica.com/today...pects/all-time

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    This is all super stuff, thanks everyone!
    Lighten up Francis....

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    Very interesting. These facts seem to verify what we all think we know...the younger the prospect, the more difficult it is to predict whether he will be a major league baseball player.

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    I think there are a couple of factors that aren't being discussed and a few things being conflated in this discussion. First we should separate whether the Yankees should have gone all in from did the Twins do right by signing many smaller signings.

    The Yankees (and all high income teams), have a real dilemma of where to put there money. Which route will provide the largest return? They are capped in the rule IV draft. With potential FA players being locked into long term contracts early on in their MLB careers the big FA additions are becoming less attainable even as their contracts become obnoxiously bloated and for MANY years beyond their productive seasons. Perhaps from the Yankees point of view the return on potential young controllable players is greater than adding another big FA contract (hello A-Rod). They have money to spend and need to spend it somewhere. The questions really just becomes where should that be?

    The Twins on the other hand don't have that kind of money and so their question is is it better to sign one or 2 big players or spread it around? I think in order to accurately answer that question you'd have to also look at how many players signed lower priced contracts and succeeded. You can spend a million dollars on 7 kids and get nothing out of it just as easy as spending a million dollars on 1 kid. What are the success rates? Also a part of this discussion becomes one of numbers. There are only a certain number of players the Twins can field. They can't sign 30 guys to $30,000 contracts because there just isn't room for them all. At what point are the Twins leaving money on the table by spreading it too thin to prospects? Perhaps the biggest return on investment is what the Twins are currently employing. Sign 1 or 2 guys your scouts really like for a "big" price and then sign another bunch of "potential players" to smaller checks. That way you cover both bases.

    Interesting questions. Thanks for starting the research.

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    mike wants wins (07-10-2014)

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    Senior Member All-Star Winston Smith's Avatar
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    Just looked at the June draft for 07 and 08.

    In the 07 draft in round 1 and 1s had 64 players picked and 8 of them have a war of over 5.

    In the 08 draft in round 1 and 1s had 46 players drafted and again 8 have a war over 5.

    Weather it's with Int. signings or with the draft it appears that baseball talent people have a hard time picking the right guys. Not a very good success rate either way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
    I think there are a couple of factors that aren't being discussed and a few things being conflated in this discussion. First we should separate whether the Yankees should have gone all in from did the Twins do right by signing many smaller signings.

    The Yankees (and all high income teams), have a real dilemma of where to put there money. Which route will provide the largest return? They are capped in the rule IV draft. With potential FA players being locked into long term contracts early on in their MLB careers the big FA additions are becoming less attainable even as their contracts become obnoxiously bloated and for MANY years beyond their productive seasons. Perhaps from the Yankees point of view the return on potential young controllable players is greater than adding another big FA contract (hello A-Rod). They have money to spend and need to spend it somewhere. The questions really just becomes where should that be?

    The Twins on the other hand don't have that kind of money and so their question is is it better to sign one or 2 big players or spread it around? I think in order to accurately answer that question you'd have to also look at how many players signed lower priced contracts and succeeded. You can spend a million dollars on 7 kids and get nothing out of it just as easy as spending a million dollars on 1 kid. What are the success rates? Also a part of this discussion becomes one of numbers. There are only a certain number of players the Twins can field. They can't sign 30 guys to $30,000 contracts because there just isn't room for them all. At what point are the Twins leaving money on the table by spreading it too thin to prospects? Perhaps the biggest return on investment is what the Twins are currently employing. Sign 1 or 2 guys your scouts really like for a "big" price and then sign another bunch of "potential players" to smaller checks. That way you cover both bases.

    Interesting questions. Thanks for starting the research.

    Love this post. Love it.
    Lighten up Francis....

  20. #17
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jay's Avatar
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    Great stuff. I really love this type of data-driven analysis. Really shows that the rankings, while fun, don't provide that much value. It's the results that we all care about in the end.

    Along those lines, it would be amazing to do an ROI-like study with $/WAR across multiple years of int'l signings to look at how each team has performed and how tiers of signing bonuses compare to each other -- somewhat like the recent blog I put up on free agent SPs.

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    I think teams are reasonably good at signing amateur players. Draft studies show that MLB production is very high at the top of the draft, in aggregrate, and then drops sharply before eventually levelling out. Signing players at 16 certainly increases the variance, but consider the cost of acquiring MLB production - 1 win above replacement costs $6-7 million in free agency.

    The spending has be considered in totality - yes, most fail, but it doesn't take much justify the expense.

  22. #19
    I put this together about a week ago when someone made an off-hand comment about the Twins being cheap. I presumed the more likely case was they were acting in a manner consistent with the data they had collected on international signings. I found this list of the all-time top 20 international free agents. It is hard to measure their relative success without really diving in so I measured mostly how they rated in terms of their teams prospect list or in a couple cases they were already out of pro baseball.
    1 Michael Ynoa 2008 RHP Athletics 16 $4.25 Ranked #22 in 2009 / Now in A+ with an ERA over 7 the last two years
    2 Miguel Sano 2009 SS Twins 16 $3.15
    3 Gary Sanchez 2009 C Yankees 16 $3 Top 100 prospect at AA (age 21)
    4 Adonys Cardona 2010 RHP Blue Jays 16 $2.80 2103 at RK league had 6.75 ERA / 2014 8.44 ERA
    5 Luis Heredia 2010 RHP Pirates 16 $2.60 Not in Pitt top 20 prospects
    5 T-5. Ariel Ovando 2010 OF Astros 16 $2.60 A-Ball with an OPS of 651 / OPS of 469 last year
    7 Rafael Rodriguez 2008 OF Giants 16 $2.55 In A-ball / Not listed in Giants top 20 prospects
    8 Yorman Rodriguez 2008 OF Reds 16 $2.50 AA (Age 21) OPS of 638 / Rated as Red's #8 prospect
    9 Wily Mo Pena 1999 OF Yankees 17 $2.44 4th outfielder / out of baseball before he was 30.
    10 Joel Guzman 2001 SS Dodgers 16 $2.26 Top 5 prospect in 2005. Never made it past AAA.
    11 Byung-Hyun Kim 1999 RHP Dbacks 20 $2.25 Never made it past AAA
    12 Phillips Castillo 2010 OF Mariners 16 $2.20 Not in Ms top 20 prospects
    13 Renato Nunez 2010 3B Athletics 16 $2.20 A+ / Scouting report gives him a 50 overall / Not likely to stick art 3B
    14 Chin-Hui Tsao 1999 RHP Rockies 18 $2.20 Was rated as high as #15 / Never made it past AAA
    15 Angel Villalona 2006 3B Giants 16 $2.10 Was rated as high as #33 / Now at AA / Not in SF top 20
    16 Juan Duran 2008 OF Reds 16 $2 AA / Not in Cin top 20
    17 Guillermo Pimentel 2009 OF Mariners 16 $2 AA - Seattle's #10 prospect
    18 Adys Portillo 2008 RHP Padres 16 $2 AA - Not in Padres Top 20
    19 Jose Vinicio 2009 SS Red Sox 16 $1.95 Not in Red Sox top 20
    20 Miguel Cabrera 1999 SS Marlins 16 $1.90

  23. #20

    Good story!

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
    I loved this story. Thanks for writing it. In god we trust - all others must bring data.
    To be Fair... I expect God to bring data too. At least, if he want to talk baseball that is. I'll take good baseball stories over "the good news" any day.

    Good story!

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