As far as towns go, the town of Mudville was not particularly notable. It didn't have any great museums, or interesting landmarks, or natural features that would make it stand out from dozens of other small towns in America.
So, it is not what Mudville offered, so much as who was living there, that made it such an interesting place to visit. You see, Mudville was the home of Sabermetric Brown, a sneaker-wearing, baseball enthusiast who had a knack for solving mysteries. More so than any adult in town, or anyone else for that matter, you could count on Sabermetric to get to the bottom of any type of mind-boggler. The remarkable thing was that he was only ten years old!
Sabermetric's father was Mr. Brown, a journalist who covered major league baseball. Mr. Brown was proud of his writing skills and analytic ability, and had a loyal group of readers who enjoyed reading his weekly column. But every now and then, Mr. Brown would come across a story or topic that he couldn't quite understand. That's when he'd turn to Sabermetric for help.
One particular evening, Mr. Brown was sitting at his desk in the study, rubbing his forehead, when Sabermetric and Mrs. Brown entered the room.
"Oh, Sabermetric, I'm glad you're here," Mr. Brown stated. "I came across a story that`s got me puzzled."
"This doesn't have to do with the HGH scandal, does it?" Sabermetric said. "Because we solved that last week."
This doesn't have to do with the HGH scandal, does it?
Mr. Brown shook his head. "No, fortunately, that's over and done with. Unless Congress can come up with another $36 million, that is."
Mr. Brown pointed at an article on his computer monitor. It was from Baseball Prospectus, a website Mr. Brown frequented often for interesting facts and story ideas.
"I can't figure it out. They're reviewing each team's minor league system," Mr. Brown furrowed his brow. "I thought the Royals were improving, but according to this they've dropped 13 spots!"
Mrs. Brown put her hand on her hips. "Oh, Harold, you know that they graduated both Gordon and Butler to the majors. A drop was only natural."
Mr. Brown looked up at Mrs. Brown in bewilderment. "That's what I thought at first, too. But teams graduate players all the time. Not to mention that the Royals dropped more than both Seattle and the Tigers, two teams that traded away half their farm this offseason."
"Wow, that really is queer," Mrs. Brown blurted. "What could it mean?"
"Oh, it's not so odd when you think about it," Sabermetric said. "In fact, it seems pretty obvious."
The two looked at Sabermetric in amazement. Sabermetric had solved the riddle again.
WHAT DID SABERMETRIC KNOW THAT HAS PARENTS DID NOT?
"It's simple logic," Sabermetric explained to his family. "If you want your farm system to rate high, you have to draft well."
Sabermetric took the mouse from his father, and navigated to the Baseball Cube website.
"The Royals did something unique last year," Sabermetric continued. "See if you can guess what it is."
Both Mr. and Mrs. Brown peered over Sabermetric's shoulder at the website. Mr. Brown shook his head again.
"Beats me, Sabermetric," he said. "I'm stumped."
"There's something peculiar about their draft strategy," said Sabermetric. Based on his parent's expressions, he could tell that they still didn't understand.
"Okay, I'll give you a hint." Sabermetric scrolled down to a certain part of the webpage. "There's two things of note here."
Sabermetric leaned back in his chair so his parents could get a better look.
"The first is that you'll notice nobody that they drafted played above Rookie Ball last year."
"Hmm, is that unusual?" asked Mrs. Brown.
"Only if you look at every other team in the majors." Sabermetric smiled slyly.
"It's true, Margaret," Mr. Brown said. "You'll rarely see that happen."
Mrs. Brown gave Sabermetric a look. "Okay, Sabermetric, you might be onto something there. What's the other thing we should have noticed?"
"Look at their first 10 draft picks. Do you notice any patterns?" the young enthusiast queried.
"Well, they do all seem awfully young." Mr. Brown offered.
"Exactly!" said Sabermetric. "8 out of the 10 were drafted straight out of high school."
"What's so special about that?" Mrs. Brown asked.
"Well," began Sabermetric. "If you look at every other team in baseball, they all used at least half of their first 10 picks on college players. In fact, most used seven or eight."
"It's true!" exclaimed Mr. Brown. "Why, Baltimore used all 10 on Collegians!"
"Yes," Sabermetric said, "but Baltimore is stupid."
Mrs. Brown fanned her face and slumped down into a chair, overcome with emotion.
"What does it all mean?" wondered Mr. Brown. "Did the Royals blow the draft?"
"Yes and no," Sabermetric explained. "One could say they were too unconventional with their draft, relied too much on unproven talent, and now are paying for it."
"That sure sounds crummy," sulked Mr. Brown.
Sabermetric continued, "On the other hand, maybe Dayton Moore was wise enough to see that all of the other teams were drafting guys out of college, and took advantage of inefficiencies in the market, so he focused on high schoolers instead."
"So, you think maybe Dayton was looking for the next Andruw Jones?" Mr. Brown asked.
"Inefficiency in the what now?" Mrs. Brown cried. "I don't understand, dear."
"Are you sure I'm not adopted?" Sabermetric smirked. "What I'm trying to say is that maybe the Royals made the right choice. Maybe all the good college players were being scooped up, leaving a bunch of prime 18 year olds for the taking..."
"Wow, that's a relief," interrupted Mr. Brown.
"...or maybe Dayton Moore is just retarded," finished Sabermetric.
"Oh, my!" gasped Mrs. Brown. "That is some mouth you have on you."
"It sure is, Sabermetric," glowered Mr. Brown. "Are you sure you're not adopted?"
Mr. Brown grabbed Sabermetric by the ear and led him to the doorway. "Up to your room, son, to think about what you just said."
"Ah, jeez," Sabermetric pleaded. "Don't you want to know if the Royals made a mistake with their draft?"
Mr. Brown looked at his son sternly. "Too late, Sabermetric. It looks like we'll just have to let the readers decide."