He compares the 50 pitchers who have ranked between #20 and #20 on Baseball America's prospect list between 1998 and 2007 and found:
The average is 7.2 WAR per player. If we take these subgroups and combine them into three large groups:
...That is to say that half the time, you end up with a single Pelfrey or worse.
- 40% were ultimately disappointments: middling relievers, sub-replacement starters, and the pitchers who never made it to the majors
- 32% became useful pitchers: setup men, closers, or Pelfreys
- 28% became good pitchers: aces, all stars, and quality starters
The average career WAR is 2.5. If we take these sub-groups and put them together into three bigger groups:
In other words, 61% of pitching prospects similar to Jeurys Familia ultimately disappoint, either by never reaching the majors, having short careers, or by becoming middling relievers. 61% fail. 61%! The odds are against Familia amounting to anything.
- 61% were disappointments: Sub-replacement level pitchers, poor relievers, and the pitchers who never made it to the majors
- 31% become useful pitchers: Middling starters or decent relievers
- 8% become good pitchers: A top reliever or a good starting pitcher