Originally Posted by Sea Ray
I can give you several examples. Travis Wood last year was 9-3 with a 1.21 earnie at AA. Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey also had huge AA and AAA numbers. Other teams would have promoted these guys right away but the Reds decided to leave them for more seasoning.
Bruce had a great half seasons in A+ ball in 2007 before being promoted to AA. After just 16 games in AA, he was promoted to AAA. The Reds meanwhile had an OF of Dunn, Hamilton, and Junior. All three were hitting very well. At the start of 2008, the Reds wanted to give Bruce a little more time. He continued to mash in AAA, Corey Patterson bombed, and Bruce was up by the end of May. Should they have promoted in 2007? I find it hard to make the case. Should they have started him in CF in 2008, maybe. But they didn't exactly take long to remedy that and I find it extremely specious to suggest that 2 extra months in AAA as a 21 year old somehow stunted his growth.
Bailey had 13 good starts in AA in 2006. In 2007 he had 12 good starts in AAA before getting promoted to the majors. He bombed in the majors. In 2008, he had 2 mediocre months in AAA and was promoted again. He bombed again and finished the year in AAA. In 2009, he dominated AAA for 14 starts before being promoted for a 3rd time. He's been here since. If anything, that pattern suggests to me that he was advanced to the majors too early - not too late. Surely you aren't suggesting that he would be a better pitcher if he came straight to the majors in 2007 having just turned 21 and throwing less than 70 pitches above high A?
Travis Wood got crushed over 17 stars AA ball in 2008. In 2009, he pitched extremely well in AA, though with a ridiculous, unsustainably low HR rate. The Reds promoted him to AAA where he pitched well, but not great. Should he have been promoted to the majors over Justin Lehr? Maybe. Over Matt Maloney? I don't see how you could argue that consider both players' ceilings and Maloney's significant AAA success. And now this year, Wood was the last pitcher cut during camp and is pitching ok, but not great in AAA.
I get your basic premise. Sometimes guys don't need AAA seasoning. In some circumstances, a team is just wasting time by taking a guy through AAA when he could perform in the majors -- better than existing alternatives. In the abstract, I agree. But the Reds simply haven't had any recent examples where a guy clearly was ready but was held back arbitrarily, save maybe for 2 months of Jay Bruce (who didn't exactly light the world on fire during his rookie campaign).
I'm curious how you would have handled any of those 3 guys differently, even in light of the benefit of hindsight.