To expand on my point earlier, having a winning culture in the minor leagues is imperative. Based on being closely connected to minor league baseball for over 20 years, I am convinced of this more than ever. If I look at a farm system, the first thing I am going to look at is the ages of the players. Do they have teams stacked with players who are mostly the appropriate age for that league? The second thing I would look at is the records of the clubs. Then I would look at individual players. Developing a winning culture does many things. Players are excited to get to work when they arrive at the ballpark in the early afternoon. They develop a killer instinct. They develop a non-tolerance for losing rather than an acceptance for losing. The 140 game season doesn't become as grinding and they continue developing for the full five months. They feel good about what they are accomplishing instead of frustration with the team. They learn how to "win" rather than just going out and playing nine innings of baseball. And on top of all that, it is a heck of a lot easier to play well when the guys around you are playing well.
What the Reds had last year at Sarasota, Dayton, and Billings was partially caused by injuries but it was totally inacceptable from a player development perspective. You just can't let that happen. You have to add some reinforcements. They are not hard to find. I believe the Reds overall system record last year ranked 29th of the 30 clubs, and that included a strong team at Louisville. That is just not going to cut it for a small market team that has to stay a step ahead of the pack with player development and scouting.
Katz takes a lot of heat for beating the drum over and over on this, and Katz will drive you crazy because he says the same thing over and over, not to mention that his agenda focuses on only one team, but in the final analysis, he is saying this because he sees it and hears it from the managers of the teams he has covered.
Interesting post. There really is a soft middle in the talent pool right now, between what they had at AAA/AA and the GCL. We'll see what kind of effect it has in the next 2-3 years.
Redsof72, is it your impression that the team has failed in recent drafts, or is it more that there is a "culture" that these players fall victim to?