WSJ on baseball: Why it pays to go to college


Recent drafts can’t provide a definitive answer because most picks haven’t yet reached the major leagues. Earlier drafts generally indicate that teams with early picks get more value from college players. Writing for ESPN in 2004, Keith Scherercompared high-school and college players drafted between 1982 and 1994. He paired players of roughly the same age, so he was matching one year’s college draft class with the high-school class from three years earlier. Scherer concluded, “In almost every category, the collegians are the better bet.”

Erik Manning conducted a similar exercise last month on Beyond the Boxscore, using the drafts of the 1990s as his data set (though he didn’t build in lag time for the younger draftees to develop). Manning’s conclusion: College hitters outperform their high-school counterparts, and the same goes for college pitchers.

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