Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Prospect Pyramid - A Tool For Analyzing MLB Prospects

The Prospect Pyramid - Analyzing MLB Prospects

The Prospect Pyramid - A Tool For Analyzing MLB Prospects
The Prospect Pyramid

The Pyramid Structure

Everything a prospect is or will become is based on the foundation of his tangible tools and intangible makeup. 
This is where scouts make their bread and butter.  Tools are as simple as a 95 mph heater that has late movement or speed that ranks an 80 on the scouting scale.  Basically, tools are measurable aspects of a prospect, and they can be quantified to a certain degree.  Intangibles, on the other hand, have to do with that which cannot be quantified: for instance, how a prospect copes with pressure, bounces back from a loss, deals with the media, etc.

Tools and the intangibles are the backbone of a prospect.  They are, in essence, who the prospect is.  Built upon those tools and intangible qualities is measurable performance, known as statistics.  Statistics are a reflection of the prospect's tools and often times, they are a validation or a contradiction to the prospect's tools and intangibles.

When you mix up all those tools, intangibles, and quantifiable statistical performances, you then come to the pinnacle of the Prospect Pyramid, which is a projection into the future.  Is this prospect a future Major Leaguer?  Will he succeed at the higher levels?  Which other Major Leaguers can we compare him to?

The Analysis

Any analysis of a prospect must begin at that foundation that takes into account tangible tools and intangible makeup.  This is often a mistake for beginning prospectors, and they begin at the middle of the pyramid and look only to the statistics.  For a million reasons, this is the wrong way to go.  You have to know what the prospect brings to the table, all of his skills, and his personal makeup, before you can make sense of that stats that he put up.

When you fully understand, through scouting reports, videos, etc., what a prospect is built upon, you can then look to the stats to see where the prospect is excelling or failing, and whether that is in conjunction with his tools and makeup.  The world of statistics and sabermetrics are so vast that one can easily spend the most time in this section of the pyramid.

Lastly, atop the pyramid, we take all those tools, intangibles, and on-field performance to make our best educated guess as to the future of the MLB prospect.  Who does he compare to?  Where does he fit on a major league ball club?  Does he fit on a major league ball club?  How long will it take to mature to the big leagues?  What aspect of his game must improve in order for him to make a big league roster?

These are all questions we wish we can answer, and the pyramid is simply a brief guide to the hierarchy of what a prospect is, which we can use to best answer those questions.

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