A few days ago Jim gave readers a beautifully indepth look into his personal tracking system called ‘TPS (Total Performance Score.) This system has many many parts in which Jim tirelessly combines together to create a score that pitchers basically earn through criteria far past your common game score. I stand in awe of how Jim was able to come up with such an intricate system in combination with how busy a schedule he currently keeps. I’d like to think the process Jim created was parallel with the mindset that in order to stay ahead of our fantasy league competition, he had to come up with a better, more personal way to sift through the “best” kids money and draft status could buy; along with helping him produce the best possible product for MLBDepthCharts. And now for our own endeavor here.
Much like Jim talked about TPS in previous daily posts, I, too, have mentioned my own scoring system called ‘PAG (which stands for Points Average per Game.) I didn’t create PAG as far back as Jim’s TPS, but I should have. When Jim and I began writing for Jason in 2009, I followed box scores charting the best daily performances much like I do today. However, I only used core statistics, memory, gut instinct and per-organizational set-up to predict a players ascent to the big leagues. Was I able to predict the future of Brandon Belt (SF), Matt Adams (STL) and Adam Eaton (ARI/CWS)? Sure. It’s not difficult to watch a kid who never stops hitting while having a clear path ahead of him. But, I always felt like I was climbing a mountain with a bag full of frayed rope. The failures far outweighed the successes so, I decided to follow suit and develop my own system.
Now, PAG is a system which follows fantasy based scoring, but does involve many other factors. The idea was based on finding a way to create a parallel plain in which both top prospects and “notspects” could match up. This was the origin of the notion that regardless of whether you’re Twins phenom prospect Byron Buxton or the last position player picked in the 2013 Major League draft (Kyle Buchanan, Florida Gulf Coast center fielder in case you were wondering) my scoring system was going to grade players based on daily performance. No more no less. *(As I mentioned in my introductory piece ‘About Us,’ I’m not a scout. I don’t aspire to be a scout. I attend as many minor league games that my life allows, but this doesn’t stop me from wanting to find grossly overlooked, good players in the minors. Lazy isn’t a word that describes Jim and I. We’ve worked hard within our means to create ways to do what we do.)* So, as the minor league season wears on, each of those daily PAG scores become a seasonal score which turns into another phase of PAG. My system does have a different effect when calculating off-season numbers as opposed to in-season dailies. Yet, it’s all relative. I’ve employed my system now for two seasons and have been able to predict the “short term” success of quite a few kids. This season’s ‘Breakout Players of the Year” installment was the first in which I used PAG along side the other tools in my goody bag and feel that PAG helped me create my best list to date. But, long term success is the ultimate goal.
Now, where PAG becomes most unique is how it requires distinct interpretation based on defensive positioning. PAG takes on a life of its own when trying to compare corner outfielders with second baseman or shortstops to catchers. Fundamentally, each defensive position has its own offensive calling card so even though PAG spits out a straight number, that number needs to be sifted through more carefully based on the particular (and eventual defensive home of said) player. Take Arizona prospect Stryker Trahan for example. The Diamondbacks 1st round pick in 2012 scored a 3.69 PAG as a catcher in his debut season in the AZL. The following year for Pioneer League Missoula, Trahan logged a 3.58 PAG; an exceptional number for a catcher. Now, heading into 2014, the Diamondbacks decided a move to the outfield was best for both Trahan and the organization. So, off to left field Trahan goes which changes the trojectory of his PAG. As a catcher, his scores were well above PAG average for the position, but as corner outfielder, Trahan now has a longer way to go to match other outfielders scoring well ahead of him irregardless of what his own bat can do.
This is why I’ve decided during the off-season to add several new parts to PAG which will make the system even more of a staple in my researching your next wave of prospects. This will take time. Jim began his TPS process long before PAG was conceived therefore Jim has mounds of seasonal data to compare. PAG is still a baby crawling, hoping to glide along the coffee table, soon to be walking then running away from its parents. I ask that you bear with me in hopes that we can crawl, then walk and eventually run away together toward finding those next great set of kids.