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Average and School

I've been thinking more about this average average thing, and I've reached a conclusion: academia kills the way we think of baseball value. In school, the best grade was an A+, or 100%. 90% was great, 80% good, 70% fine, and 60% was acceptable. Anything below 60% was failing and unacceptable.

In baseball, sometimes that same mindset interferes with reality. Gabe Gross isn't 60% of Albert Pujols, or 50%, or even 30%. Try 20%. Yet Albert Pujols is the best player in the game, and Gabe Gross is an average ballplayer. Yeah, you read that right: last year Gross was worth 20% of what Pujols provided, yet Gross is an average player. If Albert Pujols was the genius in school who skipped a few grades and still aces his tests, that makes Gross the kid who sits in the back making jokes about giant freaking spiders and gets a 20% on each test. Their futures would look like this:

Pujols - valedictorian - Harvard - Oxford - Nobel Prize - discovers cure for cancer and AIDS while goofing off in his lab.

Gross - flunks out - sells drugs - arrested - dies in jail at the hands of a giant freaking dude named "Spider".

For Gabe to "graduate" at their current rates, Pujols would have to make 300% on every test.

The first time I noticed that I was shocked. How can a player be worth only 20% of another, yet still be valuable? It is because baseball's talent is not equal, and not a pie graph, but rather a reverse pyramid. There are more replacement level players than fringe players. More average players than above average players. Less superstars than anything, yet they get most of the attention and fan desire.

Being a superstar in baseball requires an otherworldly amount of talent, but being an average player still requires being one of the best players in the world.