Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Excerpt: "Cliff Lee for Jorge Alfaro"

"It's not that Alfaro isn't a good prospect, it's that the path from prospect to championship-caliber player is far more fraught than fans seem to recognize. Alfaro is drawing ridiculous comparisons to Ivan Rodriguez. At 21, Rodriguez was in his third year as the Rangers' starter, so first of all, stop. But let's give Alfaro a path that looks pretty good. Let's say he moves up a level a year and is ready to be the team's starting catcher in 2017, at 24, and that he's actually good -- a two-win player as a rookie, worth three wins at 25, four at 26. That's awfully valuable, especially for a player making the minimum or a bit above in all those years. That would make Alfaro a success story -- nine wins in his first three seasons. Do you know how many catchers have been worth at least nine bWAR in their first four seasons (chosen to account for cups of coffee shorting players a "year") since Deadball II ended? Twenty-one. Once every two years or so, you get a catcher that good. How much better would you like Alfaro to be?"