I'm listening to a lot of draft podcasts and I'm hearing all the time how teams should avoid high school pitchers because they (especially the hard throwing ones) are a huge risk. 

It seems that talk increases the closer the draft comes. 3 months ago groome was the consensus number 1 and now mock drafts have him as low as 5. It also seems like bats have risen in Stock, some now talk about Lewis first overall. 

But why are hard throwing HS pitchers such a risk? Wouldn't it be better for minor league teams to protect the young pitchers rather than having them go through three years abuse  in college ball? 

Or is it just natural selection I. E.  Testing whether the arm can take abuse meaning who made it through the college ball abuse is a genetically stronger arm? 

Original Post

I imagine the HS pitcher is a risk in multiple ways.  I don't know what you were like your first year out of high school and out of your parents control but I imagine some kids let loose.  If given the choice between a 17 year old and a 20 year old one would HOPE the 20 year old was  bit more grown up and could deal with the pressures better. 

Add the maturity factor in with the fact that high school kids can be up against the best of the best batters or the worst of the worst...whereas the college pitcher is seeing quality batters day in and day out for years and has hopefully proven himself a worthy opponent and matured in his skills as a pitcher. Maybe this is why the NFL doesn't even look at HS kids for their draft.

But I'm just guessing.

I'm surprised. The theory has always been draft the high school pitcher before a college coach can inflict three more years of mileage on his arm.

The only reason to draft a college pitcher is he's a few years closer and easier to project as a MLB producer.

First of all, there is risk involved in every draft pick.  There is just more risk involved in HS players/pitchers.  However sometimes the potential reward is so high that it makes the risk worthwhile. The draft is a guessing game.

Even though not many HS pitchers have been the first over all pick, HS pitchers represent a big percentage of the first Rd nearly every year.

Name whoever one thinks are the best pitchers in the game today and see if they signed out of HS or College.  I'm sure whoever someone would list as the best, there would be some that signed right out of HS.  Same thing goes for position players.

In the velocity thread someone posted a good article on the first round of the draft. The evidence shows its wiser to select college players. I was surprised at the difference in the numbers whether pitchers, hitters, all stars or top WAR players.

I think the issue mostly boils down to potential ceiling ( HS pitcher) vs. a more known commodity (College Pitcher). Take this years crop with Pint for example. Now, you have the best arm upside in the draft (some would argue Puk or Groome here). A mid-high 90's 18 year old with spotty command (from what I read). Secondary stuff developing. If he reaches his possible ceiling, command gets in line, feel for secondary stuff & this becomes plus, you have a legit #1 Big League Starter. He would be a very likely 1-1 pick. The unknowns are command  & the soundness of his mechanics.

Some of the others are easier to project but may have a tick less upside & less risk. This year you probably have many different organizations with a different 1-1 overall evaluation. 

PGStaff posted:

Name whoever one thinks are the best pitchers in the game today and see if they signed out of HS or College.  I'm sure whoever someone would list as the best, there would be some that signed right out of HS.  Same thing goes for position players.

Clayton Kershaw, 2006 grad from Highland Park HS, Dallas, Texas. Debuted in 2008. I'd say he's done fairly well! I'll also say that Clayton is an extreme exception to the rule, personally & professionally! 



Here is a subjective list of top 10 Current MLB Pitchers & College / HS.

Kershaw- HS


Syndergaard- HS

Bumgarner- HS


Felix H- HS





Fairly balanced. Interestingly, I may be missing it & probably am, but out of the College crew, I only see Sale as drafted out of HS in the 21st Round. Strasburg, Cole & Price were all overall 1-1 picks in College having not been drafted in HS. This alone displays the huge potential upside to HS pitchers.




Dominik85 posted:

I think you also have to consider that teams mostly care what a player does in his first 6 years while the guy is cost controlled. 

Not sure I understand. That only applies to MLB Service Time. If he is slugging it out in A Ball this does not run the clock you reference.

Good list Steve

We saw all those pitchers in HS.

Cole actually was drafted first rd by the Yankees out of HS.  He decide to attend UCLA rather than sign.

Sale was an 87 mph type in HS and not even highly recruited by the power colleges.  But a ton of projection and unusually good life on his fastball.

Price was upper 80s in HS and dead set on Vandy.

Strasburg we did get up to 91, but his body was soft.  He looked like he could get extra fat and soft.  He could pitch but everyone was afraid of the body. Then he went and turned everything around.  no one could ever have guessed that he would look the way he does today.

So Cole was one of the very best we have seen in HS, and the other three guys really blossomed in college.

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