Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Whatever That Kid's Name Is

I'm old.  I don't have time for trivial details...

So we drafted a guy who's very likely to need Tommy John surgery, and we're supposed to hail this as some great pick with no real downside.  I get it.  If healthy, he's a great value.  If healthy, Nick Johnson's a Hall of Famer.  If healthy and ripped, I'm winning Mr. Universe too.

To get it out of the way: I'd have made the pick.  In the middle of the draft, it's as good a pick as any.  There's a metric tonne of upside.

But what's frustrating me about what I'm seeing is no mention of the potential downside.

It's exemplified by this tweet:

Really?  That's the worst case?   I mean, yeah, he could argue that he wasn't talking about quality of performance, just their ability to recover, but...

It's assuming that the only thing wrong with him is TJ.  That TJ is 100% effective (it's not.).  And that there aren't any other injuries set off by him trying to compensate for a UCL that's made of silly putty.

The pick (while right) is full of downside... full of opportunity costs.  Such as:

the 'costs' of missing out on others the Nats may have been able to draft there.
if he signs for above slot (as likely to do) the 'costs' of signing lesser players to compensate with other picks.  (magnified by the greater risk of getting zippo from him)

In the slotting system that exists, if he goes belly up (and there's a higher risk here than many other players) then it ruins the rest of the draft because it'll have limited their ability to pick the best players (due to $) with their other picks.  They're robbing from Peter to pay Paul... only the Peter they're robbing is some lame one like Pete LaCock.

Anyway... again, it was a good pick.  But there IS a pretty big downside.  By committing to him, the Nats have made this a Whatever That Kid's Name or bust kind of draft.

Hopefully in 10 years, with a new bionic elbow, we'll all laugh this off.