Commentary

BP Daily: Breaking the mold

Some players just defy projection because of physical or performance oddities

Originally Published: March 20, 2009
By Kevin Goldstein | Baseball Prospectus

First, a quick admission of guilt -- I have a fascination with the freak show, or as its participants are called in a day of more political correctness, "human oddities." Long gone are the days when they were the main attraction at the circus and cultural icons, and it's long forgotten that someone like Zip the Pinhead made the equivalent of millions of dollars a year, was as well known during his time as any celebrity is now, and, when he died, had his obituary printed on the front page of The New York Times. Among my collection of memorabilia from that age is a one-sheet poster of the Ringling Brothers sideshow from the early 20th century that features, among others, "The Moss-Haired Girl," "The Human Skye Terrier" and "What Is She?" all under the label of "The Peerless Prodigies Of Physical Phenomena."

Baseball has its own peerless prodigies, players who are so unique in either a physical or ability level that projections become quite difficult. Whether you're a scout or a stathead, but hopefully a little bit of both, projecting the future is all about knowing your past. Our PECOTA system is based on finding comparable players as an insight for what to expect next, while scouts do the same -- looking for physical and tools comparisons to help provide some patterns in the tea leaves to go on for future reference.

Still, there are those who are difficult to categorize, those without precedence. So, step right up folks, don't be shy, as we take you to a land where ballplayers break the mold.

[+] EnlargeC.C. Sabathia
Mark Cunningham/Getty ImagesThere are no similar players for a 300-pound pitcher.