=== Batting Averages for Pitchers ===
Bill James observed that the "blow 'em away lefties" have a tendency to be terrible hitters. In my view they tend to actually be physically-awkward geeks, with Randy Johnson being the prototype. I've noticed that the typical Cy Young pitcher tends to be a worse hitter than other pitchers are.
For every Greg Maddux who handles the bat well (IIRC) there are a dozen Randy Johnsons, Matt Cains (103 K in his first 199 AB's), Ryan Dempsters, Aaron Harangs, Brett Myerses, Chris Carpenters, and Barry Zitos...
If I worked for the Hardball Times, that would be one mini-study I'd do: The last 100 guys who finished with K rates above 8 (or 9, or 10), how did they hit compared to the average pitcher? Since the gig is SSI, I'll let somebody else spend their afternoon proving something that I don't care about enough, to set aside the time to resolve. :- ) We'll chat baseball.
Would be pretty tough to design a good study asking, "how did the multi-sport stars do?" Almost impossible to isolate the variables since most ML stars were high-school good at every sport. Which ML players, in retrospect, were Taijuan Walker-freakish in other sports? How do you use a dunk video to separate player groups A and B?
Which ML players were freakish at basketball and football .... vs., which were only very good? Tough study to design.
And it would be very tough to isolate the variables for a study that asked, "did these 50 guys overperform draft expectations?," though that is at least possible.
=== He Hate Me, Dept.===
Having played my share of inner-city hoops, you recognize this type of personality when you see it. It goes far beyond Chris Tillman type of immaturity. This isn't immaturity; it's a personality. There's a difference.
Of course, every org would love to stay away from the T.O. personality if at all possible. We once asked an AL exec whether this kind of swagger was a positive or a negative. He was adamant: baseball isn't about swagger. It's about intelligence. Let me know when you find something intelligent on that MySpace page...
That's what the minor-league system is for, to smooth out those kinds of wrinkles, but...
That kind of personality is a handicap in baseball, no, a disability. But at what point do sheer personality problems cause a player to slide too far? If Randy Moss should have been the #1 overall, and he slides to #10, do you take him then? What if he's around in the 5th round? You take him sometime.
In the M's dream scenario, they got a top-10 pick here that nobody wanted to touch because of Betancourt-type problems with discipline (as reflected in his pitching inconsistency). Then they teach him to play team ball, as they did in fact do with Chris Tillman, and they've got a value pick...
=== Moneyball Dept. ===
Generally, baseball has a good handle on the fact that 1,500 yards rushing doesn't help a guy play baseball.
However, there does remain an irrational bias against ballplayers who are lousy athletes. People associate Billy Beane's value Moneyball judgment with walks. I associate it with the fact that he doesn't care -- as much as other teams do -- whether a ballplayer is carrying 15 pounds too many.
We remember when Prince's dad, Cecil, brought a 5-year-old Prince to the ballpark. The M's radio announcer talked about it later in the booth. "Boy, Cecil's son is a chip off the old block," he said with great distaste.
This remains an opportunity for value in baseball. It's going to be there for a long time. Some baseball men sneer when a ballplayer is 15 pounds too heavy.
Jack Zduriencik, a huge Prince Fielder fan, doesn't. One more long-term advantage for the M's.