Zimmerman: Should short pitchers still get short shrift?

From Jeff W. Zimmerman at The Hardball Times on October 6, 2014:

Brandon Finnegan, who has introduced himself to baseball fans during the Royals’ postseason run, was the first player from the 2014 draft class to make to the majors. He was in the big leagues less than three months after being drafted, which rarely happens — players usually don’t get called up until at least the year after they’re drafted. The call-up is even more impressive when we consider Finnegan’s stature, as he stands under six feet tall. Pitchers under six feet rarely get drafted high (Finnegan was the 17th overall pick),  and they fight an uphill climb to get to the majors.

I am not the first to look at the possible biases based on pitcher height. Kevin Goldstein took a stab at the subject in 2008. Some of the best work though, was done by Glenn Greenburg for the Fall 2010 SABR Baseball Research Journal. He concluded:

The data speak for themselves. Baseball organizations have been scouting, signing, and developing players based on a fallacious assumption. Shorter pitchers are just as effective and durable as taller pitchers. If a player has the ability to get drafted, then he should be drafted in the round that fits his talent.

“The opportunity for major-league clubs is currently at its greatest potential. Clubs that value short pitchers with talent have an opportunity similar to those of clubs that, a decade or more ago, valued on-base percentage at a time when many of their competitors did not.”

I am not going to argue his point one bit. Instead, I am going to expand past draft picks and look at when and where the biases are more pronounced.

Read the full article here: http://www.hardballtimes.com/short-pitchers-still-getting-short-shrift/

Originally published: October 6, 2014. Last Updated: October 6, 2014.