"There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect” (TINSTAAPP) was popularized by the Baseball Prospectus and Gary Huckabay (who helped found it in 1996). “TINSTAAPP” was inspired by “TANSTAAFL” ("There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch")—after the saying “No more free lunch!”—in Robert Heinlein’s science fiction novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966).
“There’s really no such thing as a pitching prospect; injuries simply make too big of a dent to build a farm system around them” was written by Gary Huckabay in rec.sport.baseball on March 13, 1997. “TNSTAAPP” has been cited in print since at least August 2003.
Wiki Gonzalez: TINSTAAPP
Q. What in the world does TINSTAAPP stand for?
A. “TINSTAAPP” is an abbreviation for There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect. It is used as cute shorthand among statheads to debunk the notion of a pitching prospect, particularly the notion of a highly drafted pitching prospect.
It is generally thought to have been adapted by Gary Huckabay (one of the founders of Baseball Prospectus, although Gary’s coinage of TINSTAAPP on rec.sport.baseball predates Prospectus) from Robert A. Heinlein’s “TANSTAAFL” ("There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch”, from the novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress).
Google Groups: rec.sport.baseball
Only Edgard really has any star production potential. On the mound, there’s Heath Bost, Mark Brownson, Chris Macca, and a few other guys, but pitching prospects just don’t cut it for me. There’s really no such thing as a pitching prospect; injuries simply make too big of a dent to build a farm system around them.
Google Groups: alt.sports.baseball.pitt-pirates
Cam Bonifay’s latest victim
Repeat after me Chris; there is no such thing as a pitching prospect. No matter what any scout tells you gambling on a 20 or 23 year old pitcher almost always makes you regret you had done so.
Google Groups: alt.sports.baseball.texas-rangers
Pitchers are an entirely different topic anyway since they’re so much more prone to injury. One of the most repeated lines in the book Baseball Prospectus 2001 is “There is no such thing as a pitching prospect” because the development paths are so unpredictable, the rate of attrition is so high, and the continued employment in organized baseball of Dallas Green.
Wednesday, June 27, 2001
Do great pitching prospects make The Show?
By Rob Neyer
My friends over at Baseball Prospectus have a saying, “There’s no such thing as a pitching prospect.” They don’t really mean that, of course; they write about pitching prospects all the time. What they mean is that pitching prospects are only about as predictable as the weather six months from now.
August 12, 2003
No Such Thing
by Joe Sheehan
There’s no such thing as a pitching prospect.
I probably use that phrase a couple of times a week. It comes up a lot around trade-deadline time, as teams swap known quantities for unknowns in Double-A or lower and make a big deal about how those guys will be throwing 200 innings and saving 30 games in a few years’ time. It doesn’t happen that way.
What does it mean, though? Clearly, hundreds of young men pitch for baseball teams below the level of the major leagues, and many of them have the chance to become major-league pitchers. They’re prospective ones, so literally, the phrase is untrue. Pithy, but untrue.
“There’s no such thing as a pitching prospect” (TNSTAAPP, for short) is actually a shorthand way of expressing the idea that minor-league pitchers are an unpredictable, unreliable subset of baseball players. The concept isn’t mine, although I’m probably the most dogmatic BPer on the subject. Gary Huckabay was the first to use the phrase; some Googling turned up credit to him in the late 1990s on rec.sport.baseball.
Baseball Between the Numbers:
Why Everything You Know about the Game Is Wrong
Edited by Jonah Keri, Baseball Baseball Prospectus
New York, NY: Basic Books
TINSTAAPP: A term coined by Baseball Prospectus founder Gary Huckabay that stands for “There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect.” TINSTAAPP is meant to be a warning to teams not to overinvest in young pitchers—especially high school pitchers—due to their high attrition rates. The term shouldn’t be taken absolutely literally, as some pitching prospects do beat the odds and become successful major leaguers. Inspired by TANSTAAFL, an acronym for “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch” from Robert Heinlein’s classic book The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.
New York (NY) Times—Bats blog
September 29, 2011, 12:34 pm
For Rays to Win, They Need Moore
By DAN ROSENHECK
Longtime readers of our Keeping Score column may remember the statistical adage There Is No Such Thing As a Pitching Prospect (TINSTAAPP). It is commonly used to refer to young hurlers’ tendency to flame out or get hurt. But it also reflects the recognition that pitchers, unlike position players, do not display a stable aging curve, in which they improve until a certain point and then begin to decline.