Monday, December 17, 2012

On The Mets and Prospects

My Gawd. Did you see that trade? Sandy Alderson is totally ripping off the Jays! Last year he acquires Zack Wheeler for Carlos Beltran and this year he gets Travis d'Arnaud AND Noah Syndergaard for RA Dickey? Dayum.

Baseball Prospectus recently ranked d'Arnaud and Syndergaard as the top two prospects in Toronto's system, Baseball America ranked them #1 and #3 respectively. (As a side note, it's refreshing to be able to write # signs without the implications of a stupid hashtag.) BP sees d'Arnaud as having All-Star potential behind the plate and Syndergaard as a possible frontline starter. I'd get into what BA thinks, but it's essentially the same. And did I mention the Mets will have these two cost-controlled for six (!) seasons?

Sounds like quite a deal for a 38 year old who is essentially unprojectable and on a one year contract. In fact, almost all of Twitter would agree. Unfortunately, I'm too lazy to look up examples, but they're out there, trust me.

It sure does look like the Mets found themselves a franchise catcher to pair with David Wright, Daniel Murphy and Ruben Tejada. It also appears the Mets are building quite a rotation with Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard. Maybe a nice little run from 2015-2018?

Maybe. But don't forget:
The best laid schemes o' mice and men                                                                                             often go awry
The promise of a prospect is alluring. And when the kids work out, it's a beautiful thing (see Trout, Mike; Longoria, Evan or Posey, Buster). But that's not always the case. For every Trout there's a Brandon Wood. Prospects are far from surefire, all we are doing now is guessing the outcome.

For even more perspective, Ben Lindbergh of BP recently wrote about traded prospects and concluded that traded prospects are more likely to fall short of projection than those who an organization held onto. It makes sense, a team that drafted and developed a player should know more about that player than any other team. Therefore, if a team sees a player's stock is a bit too high in the media or scouting circles, they'd do well to trade high: to cash in on the risk.

It's still too early to say whether the Jays' made a foolish "All In" deal or if they knew something about d'Arnaud and Syndergaard the rest of us, and the Mets, did not. For what it's worth, my guess is the truth is somewhere in between.

The point is, when assessing this or any trade involving prospects, the inherent information asymmetry between the teams and us "the analysts" should lead to at least some temperance of judgement. Sure, the deal looks great for the Jays now and given what we know now, it was a great deal. However, what we do not know is what will make or break this trade.

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