Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Thoughts On Age vs Level Part 2

Matt Cain is a prototype of how a successful top HS draft pick progresses through a farm system and gets established in the major leagues and is also an example of how Age vs Level can be misused to attack a prospect.

Cain was drafted out of HS in 2002 at the age of 17.  After signing, he was assigned to the Rookie Arizona League, where you would expect a HS draftee to be assigned.  He threw 19.1 IP, in 8 games with an ERA of 3.72.    The following spring, he was promoted to Low A Hagerstown in the SAL, also where you would expect a HS draftee to go for his first full season.  He dominated there with a 2.55 ERA and 90 K's against 24 BB in 74 IP.  He was shut down early with a stress reaction in his elbow.

Since he only got in a half season and had the injury, the Giants might have been cautious with him in 2004 at age 19, but they sent him to High A San Jose, his normal progression.  He again dominated there with a 1.86 ERA over 13 starts.  Here is where he really made his move to get ahead of the Age vs Level curve:  He was promoted mid-season to AA Norwich, still at age 19.  He was not as dominating there with a 3.35 ERA and 72 K's against 40 BB's in 86 IP.

Because he was now ahead of the curve age-wise, and he had not dominated AA in half a season, you might have predicted the Giants would send him back to AA to master the level to start his age 20 season in 2005, but they were again aggressive and assigned him to Fresno where he put up a 4.39 ERA with 176 K's against 73 BB's in 145.2 IP.  Those are not dominating numbers, but also very good for the PCL.  Remember league factors can be a confounding factor when evaluating performance in any given level!  He was promoted to the majors to stay in late 2005, his age 20 season, at least 1-2 years ahead of schedule for even a top ranked HS draftee prospect.

As you can see in Matt Cain's case, his precociousness in the minors was a good predictor of future success as a frontline starter in the majors.  I won't go into details, but Madison Bumgarner followed a very similar schedule as did Zack Wheeler, 2 other HS pitchers drafted in the first round.

Now, Felix Hernandez shadowed Matt Cain all the way through the minors and they broke into MLB in the same year.  Both their minor league records and MLB records are remarkable similar.  Felix may have pulled ahead slightly this year due to Cainer's struggles, but we are now 8 years into their respective MLB careers.  I think we can all agree that they are both successful frontline major league starting pitchers.  Felix Hernandez is 18 months younger than Matt Cain.

I remember getting into a brutal debate with some "King Felix" freaks over on Sickels' site, Minor League Ball.  I was using minor league stats to show that Matt Cain was as good or at least almost as good a prospect as Felix Hernandez.  They all admitted that Cain's numbers were as good, but their hammer was that "King Felix" was 18 months younger.  Nevermind that both young pitchers were competing at or above their expected level for their number of years of pro experience. And nevermind that Hernandez had been a pro since age 16.  Those 18 months made all the difference in the world to those guys.  Felix was a once in a lifetime prospect, maybe the best ever while Cain was garbage and probably never going to make it.  #3 starter at best!

Of course that is ridiculous and classic example of how a superficial understanding of age vs level can cause an inappropriate and wrong analysis.  Of course I suspect those guys probably knew that, but were just using whatever whatever weapon on hand to defend their intellectual territory, but intellectual dishonesty is a whole other topic.


  1. You make a lot of great points here DrB about what others said about age/level. They were clearly incorrect about Cain.

    That said, there is again something to be said for their position as well. Performing similarly at the same level, but at a younger age should result in a better MLB career for the younger player. This has played out for King vs. Cain.

    King has a much better career ERA, BB/9, K/9 (and therefore K/BB as well), resulting in a stellar 129 ERA+. Cain has done much better than any of the Naysayers have said it would, but with a 118 ERA+, he's clearly a lower tier pitcher than King, based on his career stats and accomplishments. Which speaks to the 18 month difference in age between the two.

    And based on traditional saber theories and rules, Cain should have been greatly outdistanced by King. Unfortunately for them, traditional saber theories has no place for outliers like Cain, who can actually control his BABIP, unlike most pitchers. That's a truth that has been out there since the early days of DIPS (study by Diamond Mind game creator and now consultant to Red Sox on defensive metrics) that has been mostly ignored by sabers at most watering holes.

    Cain has been excellent as a major leaguer because of his ability to induce weak pop flies, which show up as flyballs in traditional stats, and which makes sabers look down their noses at him because high flyball pitchers normally give up a lot more homers due to the 10% HR/FB ratio that most pitchers hold to.

    I have found that there is usually a difference at the major league level when similarly performing players, but at different ages, make the majors. MLB projections by traditional MLE sites do not take age level into account, but Baseball Forecaster has, and I have, through experience admittedly, found that their MLE's have been more accurate as to eventual MLB production than regular MLEs that do not take age into the equation. That is why I point this out.

    This does not mean that people who take age into account has it right all the time, like the ones who dissed Cain totally just for being a little older, when the key point, as DrB noted, is that he was very young too. But I do believe that age must be taken into account when comparing what a player does at any particular level.

    To DrB's point, it does not mean that the prospect can't ever be useful or good. That is something I neglect to point out often. But there is a more of a need to "prove it one level at a time" for these prospects, I believe.

    And I guess I'm a downer because the awful truth is that the vast majority of prospects never make the majors, let alone be good contributors, let alone be good or great. That is what my study showed, that is what combing through any draft database will show. And I probably let that thought through too much, which I'll try to control.

    1. I believe you are splitting hairs. The differences between Hernandez and Cain are inconsequential and have aboslutely nothing to do with age vs level.

    2. When I saw Mike Trout absolutely dominate a Cal League playoff game at the end of his age 18 season, yeah, that's significant. I knew right then and there he was going to be a special player, but it woudn't have mattered if he was 19 or 20. He still would have been young for the league and still just as dominant and just as good a prospect.

    3. I've got to disagree with you here Doc. We're certainly talking about two of the greatest young pitchers in baseball over the last 8 years, but there are somewhat significant differences between Matt Cain and Felix Hernandez, and nearly all of them favor Hernandez.

      Let's start with games pitched: Each having played 8 seasons, Felix has pitched 258 games while Cain has pitched 255, so right there we can say that these are almost entirely equal, and all stats (even pure numbers as opposed to ratios) can be used to compare.

      ERA: *Feliz 3.16 Cain 3.40 (Significant)
      W/L: *Feliz 108/80 Cain 90/84 (Slightly Significant)
      W/L%: *Feliz .574 Cain .517 (Slightly Significant)
      IP/G: *Feliz 6.82 Cain 6.46 (Slightly Significant)
      WHIP: Felix 1.203 *Cain 1.174 (Barely Significant)
      SO/BB:*Felix 3.22 Cain 2.46 (Very Significant)
      HR/9: *Felix .7 Cain .8 (Barely Significant)

      MVP Top-30 votes Felix(4) Cain(0)
      CY Young Awards Felix(1) Cain(0)

      Also, as pointed out, ERA+ Felix comes out on top as well. The main thing I'm saying is that in each case, both have elite numbers, but Felix Hernandez almost always comes out as the better pitcher. And when it's over such a complete range as opposed to choice statistics, it really stands out as one pitcher above the other.

      So we can definitely let the subject drop as your points are still extremely valid Doc. However, Felix doing the same as another great pitched, but at 1 1/2 years younger actually turned out to be a harbinger of overall talent ceiling. Now, if someone were to say that Cain ISN'T one of the greatest young pitchers of the last decade, they'd be dead wrong.

      Cain's 0.00 ERA in the 2010 playoffs was all anyone need to point to on that front.

    4. Hernandez may be better than Cain, but the comparison may still have absolutely nothing to do with age/level. Two cases prove nothing at all about any general rule.

    5. I don't agree that I'm splitting hairs, but I see that I was not as precise with my language as I should have been. Let me explain further. Here are stats from BB-ref and Fangraphs:

      Cain: 118 ERA+, 84 ERA-, ERA 3.40, fWAR 27.9, bWAR 31.0, 306 RAR
      King: 129 ERA+, 77 ERA-, ERA 3.16, fWAR 39.3, bWAR 38.2, 397 RAR

      I see why you say they are similar. But by any of the various measures of production and value for pitchers that isn't warped badly by DIPS assumption of BABIP mean (except I included fWAR), there is anywhere from 10-20% difference between the two pitchers. The difference is even greater using saber metrics, but as I noted above, sabermetrics don't properly value Matt Cain (though it seems lik BB-Ref does).

      Plus, these stats show that Cain is probably similarly better than the average pitcher by roughly the same percentage as well, creating a tier of AVG < Cain < King. That is not splitting hairs when Cain is better than average by a percentage, enough to be considered a very good pitcher, and then Felix is better than Cain by a similar percentage. That is tiering.

      And I said that Cain was excellent, so I'm not denigrating his performance in any way, I'm just saying that Felix has been at a higher level. I don't see anything wrong with saying that one player is better than another by a good margin.

      And what I'm saying about age vs. level is that if two prospects perform, as you put it, remarkably similar in the minors, and they are of different ages, the younger one is more likely to perform better once they make the majors. Because his development arc has more to go since he is younger, and yet he's already performing as well as someone 1-2 years older than he is at the same level.

      Of course, that is no guarantee anyway, anything can waylay a career, but I have found that generally being the same and younger means that he'll be more likely to be better in the majors.

    6. Furthermore Hernandez' equalling Cain despite the age disparity is not a harbinger of anything, contra RainBall. It isn't a harbinger because it had no predictive force--no one could say justifiably that precociousness pointed to greater success--and to infer that it was probable from the fact that it turned out, for the sake of argument, to be true is a logical fallacy, a form of begging the question.

    7. I think I'm starting to see what you are having a problem with what I'm saying. I agree, Trout performing that well in the minors, whether 18, 19, or 20, he's gifted. And there is no way for us to know beforehand how gifted he will be, just that clearly he's going to be good in the majors.

      What I'm saying is that if you took Trout and compared him with someone who performed just as specially as he did, but was 2 years older, Trout will be more likely to have a better career than the other prospect. It does not mean that the other player will not be special, will not be excellent. It does not mean that the other player will be lousy either or won't make the majors. What I'm saying is that Trout > other similar but older player in the majors, generally.

      And the difference between Felix and Cain has nothing to do with age vs. level, it has to do with Felix being better than Cain, as shown by that metrics I tabled above. What age vs. level showed for them is that performing similarly in the minors but at a younger age while performing like Felix, he's probably the better pitcher in the majors. And that has proved out via any of the measures I showed above, which is substantially different, 10% difference between players is a huge difference.

      And here are some key stats for the two from their minor league careers:

      King: 2.59 ERA, 3.6 BB/9, 10.7 K/9, 3.0 K/BB, 7.2 H/9, 0.4 HR/9
      Cain: 3.33 ERA, 3.7 BB/9, 10.1 K/9, 2.7 K/BB, 7.2 H/9, 0.9 HR/9

      So while they might have been similar, Felix's 3.0 K/BB is superior to Cain's 2.7 K/BB, which is superior by itself.

      And since I didn't give it before, for the majors:

      King: 3.16 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 8.3 K/9, 3.2 K/BB, 8.2 H/9, 0.7 HR/9
      Cain: 3.40 ERA, 3.1 BB/9, 7.5 K/9, 2.5 K/BB, 7.5 H/9, 0.8 HR/9

      In the majors, 2.2 K/BB was considered good (per Shandler's Baseball Forecaster) but looking at the ratio for this season, the average for the MLB is 2.52 K/BB. And the ERA in the majors today is 3.93.

      Oh, and Felix has been handicapped by pitching with DH's while Cain gets pitchers:

      NL: 3.77 ERA in 2013
      AL: 4.08 ERA in 2013

    8. Campanari, I would point to BP's study that found that the youngest players, after the fact (i.e. after the draft), judged by the MLB scouts to be similar in talent but forced ranked by the draft, tended to be the better players in the long run.

      That gets to what I'm saying, if two prospects, performing nearly equally at the same level, but there being a difference of 1, 2, 3 years, the younger player should have a higher ceiling than the older player. That's why if you go to any leader's list on BB-Ref in the minors, look at the top 10 or so, you will find that the ones who are the youngest on that list tends to be the ones who eventually reach the majors, and the younger ones end up doing better than the older ones.

      I've gone through a lot of these lists and that is why I feel this way, I was like many people everywhere, salivating over some young buck hitting very well in A-ball, then watch him fizzle as he climbed, and we just chalk it up to "well, AA is one huge hurdle and AAA another one, and MLB is a final huge hurdle". But some do and some don't, and so I started paying attention to age, and found that generally younger doing well in low levels is a sign of greatness, but once you get to be as old as the league, you need to do more to show that greatness.

      The example I like to give is myself. When I played ball with my cousin, I was the better player, usually playing SS and one of the key hitters. But I had 3 years on him and the guys we buddied with at Washington Square park in SF, and once we got older, they caught up and was better than I was eventually.

      I mean, we can understand that a 14 YO holding his own with 18 YO is clearly a superior player once he reaches 18 YO, right? That's the same but to a lesser degree for an 18 YO holding his own (or in this case, playing better) with 22 YO. And lesser still if you compare that 18 YO with a similarly performing 20 YO, who is also outperforming the 22 YO. That's what we got here with Felix, Cain, and the leagues.

    9. Cain and Hernandez both had very elevated scouting profiles. I think that there was more hype about King Felix early on though. He had more velocity on his fastball, which is what sells, by a couple MPH.

      OGC - the problem I have with that study is you're talking about 5 or less players a year, so as far as DRAFTING, it still comes down to picking out the talent that will play with some magnificent bust rates (that all BP studies really don't address much, as discussed previously). The point of all things equal, go with the younger one is the only thing I can really take away from that study. Once sorted by professional scouts and put to work in professional programs, then watching which guys get the promotions is a good indicator of where teams view them.

      I'd point out that the Gigantes have 3 of the 5 youngest in the California League, which is exactly where you want your youngest bestestest talent. Crick, Blackburn and Mejia are a great three to dream on. I'd also point out the youngest guy in the California league, Addison Russell, wasn't picked because he was young, he was picked because he was good.

    10. I think the main point of the BP study gets lost over the "select the young strategy" that BP encouraged with their writing.

      As we had discussed before, there is no way to really use this "young" strategy to help with a team's selection, unless the team's rating system has two prospects at basically the same rating, in which case, you can use the BP study as justification. Otherwise, there is no way to know who the youngest players who will be selected in the first 100 picks of the draft, until it is nearly at 100, in which you have a pretty good idea, but just selecting a younger player at that point is just plain missing the point.

      The point is to find good talent. That's why Bryce Harper got selected first, it was not just because he was the youngest, but that he's very talented. That's why Addison Russell was selected where he was selected.

      The nuance is that it is not always clear who is similarly talented. Lots of the guys BA thought would be selected in the first round in the mock "fell" to after the first. That means most teams didn't agree with BA on their talent level.

      What I get from the study is that if you have two similarly talented players, you go for the younger guy, he should be better in the long run. The younger guy generally rules IF the two are similarly talented.

      The problem is that reality sucks and you rarely have two similarly talented players, particuarly in the amateur draft, and thus you can't really use this rule in real life, it is good for analysis after the fact, but it does nothing for a team in real time when the clock is on them to select their pick. So how do you adjust for the difficulty of different talent levels, then adjust for differences of age? That's where scouts and their experience comes in, and I know we all agree on that.

    11. Obviously, we know that younger and better is obviously the way to go. And older and worse is not. But what if he is younger but worse, or older but better? There is no easy answer there.

      That's why I like to focus my discussion on the situation where you got two similar enough performances and ages (hence why I always say to look in season's past for players of the same age and similar performance). Then you don't have to worry as much about controlling for age or talent. Or focus on similar performances then look at age range, or similar ages, then look at performances range.

      In this case, Cain and Felix were similar enough in the minors (though I would argue that King did better) so that worked, so then I compare ages at which they accomplished said similar performances, and Felix was younger, so he had the greater potential, and that says nothing about Cain's potential, we are only talking about who is probably better. It is like a Rubik's cube, you twist it around, controlling for variables (kind of like Linear Prorgramming, if you ever used that in school).

      That Cain was also young for his league and yet doing very well there anyway, showed that he too had great potential, and the sabers who gave DrB a hard time about it, just didn't get it.

      And I'll admit that it worked out in this example, but I'm sure there are examples where similar players but the older way was the one that busts out. So what I'm saying is that if you find all these examples of similar performing prospects then compare ages, most of the time the younger guy will prove to be better. There will be the outliers, there is not 100% science behind this, but that is what I believe.

      And I'm realizing now that nobody here will have the definitive answer. We need that BP database (forgot what Nate Silver called it, but it's an acronym, maybe start with P?) of comparable players, match up prospects who are similar, then compare the younger vs. the older, and tally all that up. Even then, I'm sure there will be somebody who has a problem with the methodology.

      But it's fun discussing all the nuances involved, and both sides trying to make their points, so that those who have not come to their gut feel, can see both sides of the issue and make their own judgement. And maybe somebody will change their mind, I'm very open to change, I started studying the draft because I thought that Sabean was losing it, and instead it led me to appreciate what he has done for us fans.

    12. Just to be clear here: I am not arguing that Age vs Level does not matter. It is clearly a variable that has to be considered when evaluating a prospect. It is not the ONLY variable! There are many other factors that go into evaluating a prospect.

      As we proceed with this discussion, I will give examples of where I believe it DOES very much matter what level of competition the players is facing at a given age.

    13. ogc,

      Remember FMart? He hit .271 in the AA Eastern League at age 18! Where is he now?

      Remember Carlos Triunfel? He hit .288 in the Cal League at age 17! Where is he now?

      Jose Tabata has turned into a decent player, but a lot of people were sure he was going to be a lot more than that when he hit .307 in the High A Florida State League at age 18.

      It really was about Trout's performance rather than his exact age.

    14. Rainball and ogc,

      The difference in ERA would be smaller if it did not include 2013. I hope you would not try to argue that Age vs Level in 2004 was in any way predictive of what would happen in 2013.

      Not sure how W-L belongs in a discussion about pitching performance.

      ERA+ is not a valid comparison between leagues unless you know the Standard Deviations.

      I maintain that their Hernandez and Cain are approximately equally successful pitchers and any differences are small enough that you cannot attribute them to a measure such as Age vs Level which is more applicable to averages across a population.

    15. FMart is 24 YO and doing well in AAA for the Yankees. I never understood the fascination with him, he struck out too much and walked too little. That AA season, he was 89th in OPS, which was not that good. That is why I liked Sandoval and Hanchez when they were in similar levels, because their contact rates were better than F-Mart's. But it's too soon to say FMart is a failure yet.

      Furthermore, I have never said that just because a player is young for the league that he's going to be eventually good. What I've said is that if you look in the past and find similarly aged prospects who hit that well (or poorly), looking at what happened to those in the past will be illustrative of how the prospect you are looking at now might fare as they rise in the minors. What I've said is that if you have two similarly productive players, then the younger one is the more likely one to be better in the long-run.

      Again, I've never been impressed with F-Mart's batting numbers nor his contact rates, so I've never really paid any attention to him, though if he's finally breaking out for the Yankees, he should be on fantasy player's radar for the Yankees in the future.

      Obviously, Trout's numbers were good, no matter what young age, that's not the hard part of prospecting, so I'm not sure why you are focusing so much on Trout. He's the easy one.

      It is figuring out those who are much older but performing well, or much younger and not performing that well. How do you tell who is worth following, keeping? I don't have the answer for that, but I do feel I can say that if he's older and performing seemingly well, you take that with a giant grain of salt, unless he's leading the league by a wide margin, a man among boys.

    16. I see your point about 2013 being the separation between Felix and Cain, I did miss that. However, I would also point out a couple of other factors. First, Felix pitches in the AL, Cain in NL. Average ERA last few years show that there is actually quite a separate between similar pitchers pitching in those two leagues, over the past 5 seasons, AL 3.95 average, NL 4.17 average, 0.22 difference.

      Also, neither careers are over. Felix is 1-2 years behind Cain, and as we know Cain improved in the past few years, so King still might put some separation between the two, in addition to the AL/NL difference. If we look only at their pre-free agent years, Felix had a 3.24 ERA with 3.0 K/BB and Cain had 3.35 ERA with 2.3 K/BB. A small difference, but still better, then if you subtract the 0.22 to account for the league differences, you get 3.02 vs. 3.35, which I think is a substantial difference. I never said that Cain was not good, I just felt that King was better.

      Lastly, to your point about averages across a population, I agree and the only reason I got into this discussion on Cain vs. King was because that was your example that you provided. I was just trying to prove that this example did not prove your point, and I still think given the points I provided above, Felix has been better but to your point, there has been no great easily demonstrable separation.

      But I think we all have acknowledged that there is no science to this, the point that was made was that since Felix performed as well as Cain did in the minors, but at a younger age, he would be more likely to perform better once he got to the majors. I still think it is arguable that he has been better, based on AL/NL and looking at their pre-free agent years. And in any case, even if he were the same, it proves nothing.

      The points I've been trying to make is that 1) it is hard to tell for older prospects when a good performance foretells that he'll contribute something useful at the major league level, 2) it is hard to tell for younger prospects when a poor performance means that he's done, 3) when players who have similar stats are compared, I favor the younger one, as he's at the older player's level already but still has some growth and development left in the tank (still, some players never advance so there is that).

      Examples are illustrative, but none are proof that either side is correct unless, as you aptly note, we look at the whole population. There is no science there yet.

    17. I say Cain and Hernandez have had approximately the same level of success in the major leagues. Even if Hernandez is better, he is only slightly better. The cats who I was arguing with back on minorleagueball.com who were consigning Cain to being no better than a 3'rd starter while Hernandez was going to be the best pitcher who ever lived based on nothing more than 18 months difference in age were dead wrong! Matt Cain has been a whole lot better than a 3'rd starter and Felix Hernandez is not even the best pitcher of his time let alone of of all time. So my point WAS proven!!!

    18. As for FMart, you are one slippery dude, ogc! Man, talk about selecting only the stats that suit your purpose! Yeah, FMart is doing OK in a small sample size for the Yankees AAA club AFTER he totally bombed in a larger sample size with the Houston Astros, both at the MLB level and at the AAA level.

      Maybe YOU were never that impressed with FMart, but a whole heckuva lot of prospect watchers out there were, and it was based solely on a pretty darn impressive performance at a high level at a very young age. Ditto Triunfel and Tabata. Same phenomenon with Edwin Jackson, Miller(I can't even remember his first name), and James Loney when the Dodgers were pushing their prospects like crazy.

      Again, my point in all of this is not to deny the importance of age vs level, but to put it in its proper perspective of being just one of many factors that go into the evaluation of baseball prospects rather than the last word we often get from lazy analysis.

  2. It seems highly improbable that a gauge that works over an entire population of players will work very well for individuals, who mature at different rates physically and temperamentally, get different kinds of coaching, and come from different cultural settings. Age for level may apply in a general way, as life expectancy, for example, does. But unless a lot of omnibus paribus conditions are present, it's got to be a crude, rule of thumb method for evaluating Player X and Player Y. That is, I take OGC's point for a quick, preliminary assessment, but am certain that as soon as one gets to particulars, DrB must be correct here.

    1. I agree with this. Yes, in a large population, on average, the younger a player performing well at a given level is a positive prognostic sign. It is not at all applicable to comparing two individual players who are approximately the same age and approximately the same in performance. If that were the case, Fernando Martinez and Carlos Triunfel would be both starting in the All-Star game tonight. Jose Tabata too! There are just too many counter-examples to apply averages from a large population to individual player comparisons, especially when the differences are small.

  3. I would argue that the concept of age vs. level is a more important factor for certain kinds of players than for others.

    For instance, players like Chris Dominguez or Adam Duvall, who have plus raw power and have compiled impressive home run totals in the Minor Leagues (particularly in Duvall's case), are players whose advanced ages are less indicative of their potential value in the Major Leagues. The ability to hit home runs is one that tends to be maintained deeper into a player's career, even as he reaches his early to mid thirties. Therefore, it stands to reason that a power who appears to be headed for a Major League debut in his late twenties will be able to produce for a few years before fading into oblivion. Additionally, such a player could be only a few adjustments away from becoming an immensely better hitter.

    On the other hand, a player like Tyler Graham from a few years ago, whose value was and is largely tied to his speed and is also advanced in age, is less likely to have a successful career in the Majors, in my opinion. While he is still a fast runner, Graham has probably seen a slight dip in his foot speed since his early twenties, and at the age of twenty-eight, is only six or seven years away from being no faster than the average player, and at that point, his chances of becoming a better player will be tiny. Of course, Graham will probably not even be playing professional baseball when he is thirty-five or thirty-six--he is already in an Independent League. Unlike his more powerful counterparts, Graham is almost certainly NOT a few adjustments away from significantly augmenting his value.

    However, it is not my opinion that this applies to more multidimensional players, as they are more likely than Dominguez, Duvall, or Graham to improve at another skill as they age. But with extremely one-dimensional players, it is unrealistic to think that this could happen.

    1. I agree with this. One more point to add: I believe it matters more at lower levels of the minors. For instance, it is highly unlikely that an age 20 player in the DSL is ever going to amount to anything. It's like a pro or college player competing against HS kids! Likewise 23 year olds playing in Rookie ball and 24 year olds playing low A are also suspect.

    2. I agree with the points made here in this thread, totally.