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Baseball has been very very good to me
January 28, 2014 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Curious about which sport has the best odds of a male or female High School or College player going pro? OSMguy has a data visualization for that. [Via Tableau's Viz of the Day]
posted by Potomac Avenue (26 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Spoiler: it's hockey.

Now, I wonder though of those that do make it to the big leagues, what's the pay expectation and what's the chance that you will make it through your career without a career ending injury?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:21 AM on January 28


Those hockey and baseball odds are surprisingly good.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:29 AM on January 28 [4 favorites]


It's not surprising that the odds favor hockey, given how many fewer hockey players there are, but I feel like it's slightly off there because so many drafted hockey players aren't domestic college and high school players. It's also a little off to reduce "going pro" to top level leagues for every sport except baseball*, which gets minor leagues players that are drafted included as well. It's possible for a good American college player to "go pro" overseas in basketball, for instance.

*This might also apply to hockey, since at least some AHL players were taken in the NHL draft. I don't think all, but to be honest, I don't really understand the AHL.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:30 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


100% of Calvinball players are drafted into adulthood. None make it out alive.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:32 AM on January 28 [7 favorites]


This might also apply to hockey

And basketball and soccer.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:39 AM on January 28


Yet another visualization that does nothing to help visualize the data. Eight identical funnels somehow communicates the likelihood of success more effectively than a table with simple percentages?

Sombody needs to start VisualizationsVsTables.com -- a hot-or-not site comparing visualizations to simple tables.
posted by rouftop at 11:43 AM on January 28 [7 favorites]


Yeah, the baseball draft is huge with most players having no shot of making it to the majors. Many players turn down the offers because they would rather go to college than play baseball in Iowa.

I always thought that if you were good enough, playing basketball in the Philippines or wherever just for a year right after college would be fun even if you knew you had no shot at the NBA. Great way to do that young coming of age travelling thing and get paid (not much) for it.
posted by solmyjuice at 11:44 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


Actually the soccer numbers seem like they must be insanely off because you can 1) play not in America and 2) not enter the MLS through the MLS draft. In fact, if you want to make a career out of playing soccer don't enter the MLS draft; 1/3 of players taken in it from 2010 to the present are not playing professional soccer at any level right now.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:44 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


solmyjuice: I always thought that if you were good enough, playing basketball in the Philippines or wherever just for a year right after college would be fun even if you knew you had no shot at the NBA.

When I was on vacation in a little town in Italy, we ran into this young guy and his family (who ended up being friends-of-friends with my family, but that's beside the point) who had played Division 2 basketball in New Hampshire or something and got signed by a second- or third-tier Italian team to play for them for a season. He was making enough money to live and enjoying the "semester abroad" experience he never got to have in college because he was too busy playing ball.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:51 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


Hockey and Baseball both have a very large minor league system because of their respective popularity in small cities in Canada and the US - hockey alone has 13 professional leagues between the USA and Canada and a presence in 160 North American cities. Minor league games for these sports are very well attended, which means demand for athletes is higher than football, soccer or basketball, which have very little interest outside college or the big leagues.

You can have a long career as a professional athlete in hockey or baseball with middling talent - just not a very lucrative one.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:03 PM on January 28


You definitely do get American college basketball players who wind up overseas. One of my favorite college players ever, Ed Cota, played overseas for seven or eight years after he left Carolina. It's definitely a viable way of making some money playing basketball.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:07 PM on January 28


He is confounding professional and semiprofessional ball isn't he? I wouldn't call a minor league baseball player, whose salary structure looks like this, a professional:

First contract season: $850/month maximum.
• Alien Salary Rates: Different for aliens on visas – mandated by INS
• Triple-A – First year: $2,150/month, after first year no less than $2,150/month
• Class AA – First year: $1,500/month, after first year no less than $1,500/month
• Class A (full season) – First year: $1,050/month, after first year no less than $1,050/month
• Class A (short-season) – First year: $850/month, after first year no less than $850/month

Even comparing that to the NFL is more than a bit spurious as the minor league guy isn't really "pro". There are graduate stipends that pay better than that. And doesn't hockey also have big developmental leagues? This is pretty useless information.

On preview what slap*happy said.
posted by Luminiferous Ether at 12:11 PM on January 28


The Southern Professional Hockey League, which is like, 4th or 5th tier in the US, has a salary cap of around $6000 per week...for the whole team.
posted by ghharr at 12:24 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


While I'd always like to see people make more money than that, that fact that you can get paid anything to play hockey in Biloxi is kind of crazy.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:36 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


1 in 20 college players will be drafted to the NHL?

Who wants to enroll at an online college and start a metafilter team?

We'll get drafted!
posted by hal_c_on at 12:41 PM on January 28


1 in 8,926 High School Players will be drafted in the NBA

That number seems a little low, given that the NBA doesn't allow this.
posted by mcstayinskool at 12:44 PM on January 28


1 in 20 college players will be drafted to the NHL?


There really aren't that many Div I hockey programs. 59 for hockey vs 124 for football (according to wikipedia).
posted by ghharr at 1:05 PM on January 28


How many girls’ high school hockey players will be drafted to the WPHL (a proposed league called the Women’s Professional Hockey League)? 1 in 59

Well if you're gonna imagine a proposed league why not also imagine it will be so popular that everyone gets drafted to play.
posted by three blind mice at 1:10 PM on January 28


1 in 8,926 High School Players will be drafted in the NBA

That number seems a little low, given that the NBA doesn't allow this.


The graphic means "eventually," not "immediately." As in, out of 8,926 people playing high school basketball today, one of them will at some point in his life be selected in the NBA draft.
posted by Etrigan at 1:59 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


First contract season: $850/month maximum.

How does this work out, practically? I mean, who can actually afford to be a rookie in the minor leagues? It's not like you can hold down a part-time job while you play away games. Do people supplement with seasonal jobs like working at ski resorts or something? Are the minor leagues just composed of people subsidized by their families and international players making more?
posted by Sara C. at 2:32 PM on January 28


Jesus Tableau, how embarrassingly bad can your choices for visualization of the day be?

Why does choosing a gender wipe out my choice of sport?
Why are there two dotted lines pointing to the same damn thing?
Why is there a "graphic" which is basically the same for every data point?
posted by TypographicalError at 2:45 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


I remember an Australian university rep telling my classroom of Canadian computer engineers that we could all get Masters degrees while working as professional hockey players in Australia. It was one of the best group belly laughs I have ever experienced.
posted by srboisvert at 3:04 PM on January 28


Sara C.: "First contract season: $850/month maximum.

How does this work out, practically? I mean, who can actually afford to be a rookie in the minor leagues? It's not like you can hold down a part-time job while you play away games. Do people supplement with seasonal jobs like working at ski resorts or something? Are the minor leagues just composed of people subsidized by their families and international players making more?
"

In the rookie leagues and low-A, players often live with local families. I don't know if they pay rent in that situation, but, if they do, it's presumably well below market rate.
posted by hoyland at 4:01 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm pretty sure minor leaguers aren't paid year round. People work in warehouses or whatever in the off-season. Basically, the idea is to keep your head above water until you get to maybe AAA (which is probably semi-sustainable as a career for a little while) or until you see the writing on the wall.
posted by hoyland at 4:05 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


I vaguely remember reading in a Cubs Quarterly circa 1994 that 14% of high school players drafted will play in the major leagues.

In fact, if you want to make a career out of playing soccer don't enter the MLS draft;

Yeah, I'm surprised they even included the MLS, given that playing in college and waiting for the MLS draft is absolutely not the best route to a career overseas. It's obviously been known to work, but is not the way to go if you have the potential to be a world-class player.
posted by hoyland at 4:14 PM on January 28


The data used seems very incomplete, particularly for hockey. It looks like he is just dividing the number of US high school boys playing hockey by the number of scholarships available; as a number of those scholarships will go to Canadian kids (like Jonathan Toews to pick a prominent recent example) that's sloppy at best. Then you get the US kids that take the CHL route like Seth Jones and bypass college completely.

Spend 30 seconds checking your numbers and you'll find that the NCAA thinks only 0.1% of high school hockey players will go pro.
posted by N-stoff at 11:24 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


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