A fantastic study by BP’s Rany Jazayerli. It’s divided in two. Part 1:
… Here’s my point: I don’t think anyone would argue that, all things equal, a 17-year-old player is likely to develop into a better player than an 18-year-old player. But I wondered if the baseball industry as a whole has underestimated the importance of age. I wondered if, given two players taken at the same slot in the draft, the younger player returned greater value. In other words, even accounting for the fact that teams took age into consideration—presumably, a player who is particularly young for his draft class might get picked earlier—I wondered if those players were stillundervalued. So I decided to do a study.
So far, all I’ve presented to you are anecdotes, and the plural of anecdote is not data. For instance, the youngest hitter drafted #1 overall wasn’t Griffey, it was Tim Foli, who in 16 years in the majors hit a total of 25 home runs. We need some data.
Fortunately, this is what BP interns were created for. With the help of Bradley Ankrom, Paige Landsem, and Clark Goble, I compiled a list of every high school hitter selected in the first 100 picks of every draft from 1965 through 1996. I stopped the data set at 1996 because I wanted to look at how these players performed over the course of their careers—I defined “careers” as the 15 years after they were drafted. …