Archive for Ecstatic Truth Prospect Analysis

Ecstatic Truth Prospect Analysis: Joe Panik

If there’s a weakness among the otherwise entirely useful body of work produced by the baseball community regarding prospects, it’s a preoccupation with “facts” — as opposed, that is, to estimates regarding what pleasures this or that prospect might be capable of eliciting in the mind, say, of a bespectacled and extravagantly educated 32-year-old sitting in his apartment in Madison, Wisconsin.

With a view towards filling this vacuum in the literature, NotGraphs utilizes what German filmmaker and relentless ubermensch Werner Herzog has called “ecstatic truth” — a term which defies easy explanation, but which Herzog has described as “a searching for truth beyond the facts and much deeper than facts.”

What follows is an ecstatic-truth prospect report on San Francisco Giants middle-infield prospect Joe Panik.

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Ecstatic Truth Prospect Analysis: A Brief Introduction

For the right-thinking baseball enthusiast — as opposed to the dour and glum, Patrick Dubuque kind — the great charm of the game is in what the author has called The Art of the Possible. While the past and present confine us to the mundanity of fact, the future allows us to contemplate the possibility of what-might-be — hyphenated just like that, as if it were translated directly from an important European philosopher. “Facci sognare!” (“Make us dream!”) the fans of certain Italian football clubs demand. “Facci sognare” perhaps certain readers, also, ask (more quietly than Italian people) of the game of baseball.

One great medium for the contemplation of the possible is prospect analysis. Prospect analysis is, essentially, an attempt to sketch roughly the landscape of Baseball Future. That the MVPs of the 2032 season have been born is quite likely. That their precise identities (i.e. the ones of those future MVP winners) are currently known, however, is distinctly unlikely. One objective of prospect analysis is to hold a developing player up to the light of experience and reason and ask, “Is this the future MVP?” And: “Is this him, maybe?”

If there’s a weakness among the otherwise entirely useful body of work produced by the baseball community regarding minor-league players, etc., it’s a preoccupation with “facts” — as opposed, that is, to estimates regarding what pleasures this or that prospect might be capable of eliciting in the mind, say, of a bespectacled and extravagantly educated 32-year-old sitting in his apartment in Madison, Wisconsin.

Read the rest of this entry »