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Thread: Question: Reds Player Development

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    Question: Reds Player Development

    I'm new over here, and not as familiar with the Reds history as you folks are. While doing some research on WMP's career thus far http://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?s...ic=3679&st=630, I noted that Pena really hadn't improved in any of his rate stats during his 3+ seasons, and in fact had regressed in his K-Rate over that time. I'm sure none of that is new to you folks here.

    I also did pulls on Kearns and Dunn and found that they really hadn't shown any signs of improvement in their rate stats either over the same period of time. With Kearns, a lot of that has probably been injury-related, and Dunn just seems to be really inconsistent at this point in his career, so his rates are a little hard to analyze. So just because their numbers don't show improvement, it doesn't mean they haven't improved, of course.

    With Pena, I've seen a lot of ideas thrown out about why he hasn't realized his potential so far (inconsistent playing time, not enough minor league at bats, questionable makeup, etc), but I don't know what to believe.

    Are these guys just three individuals who get lumped together because they came up at around the same time, or are there trends in the organization that are/were impeding their development, such as minor league system, rushed to the big leagues too soon, coaching, etc?

    I'd appreciate any insight I can get.

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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Question: Reds Player Development

    I'm glad this person has shown up, because these very basic questions are seriously things that I can't get my head around either. I'd be very impressed if anyone could put it in a nutshell.

    I do think Dunn has improved though. Where is that awesome analysis that Cyclone posted a few weeks ago?

    edit: http://www.redszone.com/forums/showt...363#post888363

    Ok, this does nothing to answer your questions about long-term improvement, but I think it's fascinating nonetheless.
    Last edited by vaticanplum; 03-22-2006 at 01:42 PM.
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

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    Re: Question: Reds Player Development

    The organization has been playing musical chairs.

    Since those three came on the major league roster they've had three different managers, three different gm's and you can guess the stability of the coaching staff. I seem to remember Bob Boone going through 3 different hitting coaches one year and of course he "coached" several of them directly because he had to have his finger in every pie.
    Last edited by dfs; 03-22-2006 at 01:44 PM.

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    Re: Question: Reds Player Development

    Exactly dfs. Absolutely no stability in this organization from top to bottom since those guys came up. If the organization can't remain consistent, I don't see how they can expect the players to do the same. Hopefully Castellini and Krivsky will be around a long while, and can build an actual organization, something that we haven't seen in Cincinnati for a long time. Not only do our position players suffer, but obviously the pitchers too. We haven't developed a decent young starting pitcher since Tom Browning. That's startling. Some of that can be attributed to Marge Schott and her wacking most of the scouts that we had, some of it can be attributed to injuries, bad luck, or whatever. But regardless, we have a poor history as of late in developing our own players. Hopefully, that will change, and I think that's in the process of happening.

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    Re: Question: Reds Player Development

    That is a good point Cincrazy. Stability might be able to improve the players.

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    Re: Question: Reds Player Development

    Quote Originally Posted by vermonter
    I'm new over here, and not as familiar with the Reds history as you folks are. While doing some research on WMP's career thus far http://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?s...ic=3679&st=630, I noted that Pena really hadn't improved in any of his rate stats during his 3+ seasons, and in fact had regressed in his K-Rate over that time. I'm sure none of that is new to you folks here.

    I also did pulls on Kearns and Dunn and found that they really hadn't shown any signs of improvement in their rate stats either over the same period of time. With Kearns, a lot of that has probably been injury-related, and Dunn just seems to be really inconsistent at this point in his career, so his rates are a little hard to analyze. So just because their numbers don't show improvement, it doesn't mean they haven't improved, of course.

    With Pena, I've seen a lot of ideas thrown out about why he hasn't realized his potential so far (inconsistent playing time, not enough minor league at bats, questionable makeup, etc), but I don't know what to believe.

    Are these guys just three individuals who get lumped together because they came up at around the same time, or are there trends in the organization that are/were impeding their development, such as minor league system, rushed to the big leagues too soon, coaching, etc?

    I'd appreciate any insight I can get.
    Short answer = never let Bob Boone or Tom Robson anywhere near young hitters. In fact, don't let them near any hitters. And the more I think about it, don't let them near a baseball field, dugout, clubhouse, batting cage, any players, nothing of the sort.

    Dunn has stated many times he's constantly learning about the strike zone more and more, learning which pitches he can and can't hit, and learning how to better identify those pitches. He took a massive leap in 2001 when he exploded in AA, AAA and MLB during his late season stint up in the bigs. Then in 2002 he took another massive leap by drastically increasing his BB% while being able to hold K% pretty stationary. His path from 2000 --> 2001 --> 2002 was an outstanding path for a developing young hitter of his talent.

    Then in 2003 it all changed when Bob Boone and Tom Robson got their hands on him.

    Old school baseball thinking seems to have dominated the Reds' philosophy in recent years (on a tangent, I pray Krivsky is changing this). There's a great deal of backlash against Dunn because of his BA hovering in the .250 to .260 range and even more backlash against him because of his high strikeout totals. When Boone and Robson got together in spring training of 2003, that backlash reached the Reds' clubhouse. They attempted to fundamentally alter his approach at the plate because the low BAs and high strikeout totals were unacceptable. The concept of having a young hitter with a .250 BA, .400 OBP and incredible power continue to develop as he did from 2000 to 2002 was a mistake in their eyes. Robson attempted to alter everything about Dunn at the plate, including his approach and wanting him to be more aggressive instead of patient. Robson was hoping for a higher BA and less strikeouts, and the result is the regression we see in his 2003 season.

    Thankfully Boone and Robson were short lived and Dunn got back on track approaching hitting the same way that got him up in the bigs, with the ongoing development of plate discipline and strike zone judgement continuing. He had a good year in BABIP in 2004, which helped result in a breakout year. In 2005, his BABIP dropped 40 points, but it was offset by an improvement in his BB and K ratios, which tells me at least that his "talk" of recognizing pitches better gradually over time is true.

    For Kearns and Pena, IMO, it's a combination of injuries and mismanagement with playing time (injuries playing a bigger role for Kearns). The Kearns/Pena playing time saga played out far longer than it should have, and usually when one was playing, the other was on the bench. When Kearns slumped, he went to the bench and Pena started. When Pena slumped, he went to the bench and Kearns started. It was an absolute fiasco, and it likely impeded the development of both hitters. Other times the Reds would give guys such as Ruben Mateo and Reggie Taylor much more playing time than necessary all the while Kearns and/or Pena were on the bench.

    The non-trade of Sean Casey after 2004 is the massive inaction failure of the Dan O'Brien era; if he moved Casey when Casey's trade value was pretty high, we'd have gotten a much better return than Dave Williams and opened up full-time playing time for both Kearns and Pena for 2005. Casey was never traded, the Kearns/Pena playing time situation lingered, likely impeding development of both hitters, and we got screwed from a variety of angles.

    Specifically for Pena, it's a combination: Not enough minor league plate appearances, inconsistent playing time and mismanagement while on the ML roster, and ineffective/bad coaching. It doesn't get much worse than that.
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    Re: Question: Reds Player Development

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone792
    Short answer = never let Bob Boone or Tom Robson anywhere near young hitters. In fact, don't let them near any hitters. And the more I think about it, don't let them near a baseball field, dugout, clubhouse, batting cage, any players, nothing of the sort.

    Dunn has stated many times he's constantly learning about the strike zone more and more, learning which pitches he can and can't hit, and learning how to better identify those pitches. He took a massive leap in 2001 when he exploded in AA, AAA and MLB during his late season stint up in the bigs. Then in 2002 he took another massive leap by drastically increasing his BB% while being able to hold K% pretty stationary. His path from 2000 --> 2001 --> 2002 was an outstanding path for a developing young hitter of his talent.

    Then in 2003 it all changed when Bob Boone and Tom Robson got their hands on him.

    Old school baseball thinking seems to have dominated the Reds' philosophy in recent years (on a tangent, I pray Krivsky is changing this). There's a great deal of backlash against Dunn because of his BA hovering in the .250 to .260 range and even more backlash against him because of his high strikeout totals. When Boone and Robson got together in spring training of 2003, that backlash reached the Reds' clubhouse. They attempted to fundamentally alter his approach at the plate because the low BAs and high strikeout totals were unacceptable. The concept of having a young hitter with a .250 BA, .400 OBP and incredible power continue to develop as he did from 2000 to 2002 was a mistake in their eyes. Robson attempted to alter everything about Dunn at the plate, including his approach and wanting him to be more aggressive instead of patient. Robson was hoping for a higher BA and less strikeouts, and the result is the regression we see in his 2003 season.

    Thankfully Boone and Robson were short lived and Dunn got back on track approaching hitting the same way that got him up in the bigs, with the ongoing development of plate discipline and strike zone judgement continuing. He had a good year in BABIP in 2004, which helped result in a breakout year. In 2005, his BABIP dropped 40 points, but it was offset by an improvement in his BB and K ratios, which tells me at least that his "talk" of recognizing pitches better gradually over time is true.

    For Kearns and Pena, IMO, it's a combination of injuries and mismanagement with playing time (injuries playing a bigger role for Kearns). The Kearns/Pena playing time saga played out far longer than it should have, and usually when one was playing, the other was on the bench. When Kearns slumped, he went to the bench and Pena started. When Pena slumped, he went to the bench and Kearns started. It was an absolute fiasco, and it likely impeded the development of both hitters. Other times the Reds would give guys such as Ruben Mateo and Reggie Taylor much more playing time than necessary all the while Kearns and/or Pena were on the bench.

    The non-trade of Sean Casey after 2004 is the massive inaction failure of the Dan O'Brien era; if he moved Casey when Casey's trade value was pretty high, we'd have gotten a much better return than Dave Williams and opened up full-time playing time for both Kearns and Pena for 2005. Casey was never traded, the Kearns/Pena playing time situation lingered, likely impeding development of both hitters, and we got screwed from a variety of angles.

    Specifically for Pena, it's a combination: Not enough minor league plate appearances, inconsistent playing time and mismanagement while on the ML roster, and ineffective/bad coaching. It doesn't get much worse than that.
    Yep. Pena's development was hindered the moment he signed his first professional contract. Inconsistent playing time doesn't help a young freak of nature who desperately needs reps. Ray King sitting on a shoulder (Kearns) or a freak HBP injury (thumb) that turns into an open wound doesn't help a young player either of course.

    And yes, don't let Bob Boone near a MLB hitter.

    Dunn has progressed significantly since 2002:

    2002: .151 IsoD, .206 IsoP, .464 Secondary Average (MLB Rank- 11th)
    2003: .139 IsoD, .249 IsoP, .459 Secondary Average (MLB Rank- 8th)
    2004: .122 IsoD, .303 IsoP, .502 Secondary Average (MLB Rank- 7th)
    2005: .140 IsoD, .293 IsoP, .506 Secondary Average (NL Rank- 1st, MLB Rank- 2nd <Giambi>)

    That climbing SecA is huge. It's where the superstars play. Dunn's actually the only guy in MLB to post a SecA over .500 for both of the past two seasons. Only a handful of guys have done it twice this century. The scary thing is that Dunn's SecA still hasn't hit his ceiling.

    In each year since 2002, we've seen progression in either the IsoD or IsoP category from a year prior. That's a big time young hitter finding his way. I fully expect Dunn to push his IsoD back well over the .150 mark as he continues to forget what Boone tried to teach him. Eventually, I expect he'll approach the .180-.200 IsoD mark if he's just left alone to hit the pitches he likes.
    "The problem with strikeouts isn't that they hurt your team, it's that they hurt your feelings..." --Rob Neyer

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    Re: Question: Reds Player Development

    Fine Post Cyclone about both Bobo and the worst failure of DanO's regime.

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    Re: Question: Reds Player Development

    Wow, great responses guys, and thanks. Looking at how well Lopez made the transitions at the plate last season and how well Edwin has been hitting this spring are certainly signs that the Reds are on the right track with their hitting development now, and Dunn and Kearns are still young enough to harness their enormous talents.

    I hear what you are saying about old school player development. It wasn't that long ago that nearly every team in baseball had that attitude with position players - the throw the baby in the pool and see if he can swim, mentality. Some teams can get by with veteran mentoring, but the Reds don't really seem to have guys like that on their roster, so having proper coaching at the major league level is imperative for teams that rely heavily on young players like the Reds.

    Very interesting stuff.

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    Re: Question: Reds Player Development

    Question: Reds Player Development
    On another note.

    Sign of team that is treading water is the amount of players starting on their team that were actually drafted by the organization.

    Unless of course you have a 9 figure payroll.

    The Reds stand to have 33% of their roster as being home grown, add EE as an early grab and that's 44%.

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    Re: Question: Reds Player Development

    Quote Originally Posted by SteelSD
    That climbing SecA is huge. It's where the superstars play. Dunn's actually the only guy in MLB to post a SecA over .500 for both of the past two seasons. Only a handful of guys have done it twice this century. The scary thing is that Dunn's SecA still hasn't hit his ceiling.
    Although, to be fair, Dunn's SecA is helped in large part by his middling BA. It's kind of tough for a guy like Albert Pujols to put up a .500 SecA with a .330 BA.

    For that reason, I expect Dunn's SecA to slowly drop off over the next few years as his BA slowly rises into the 275-285 territory. All of his minor league numbers (5.4 PA/K, .299 BA) indicate that his K rate will eventually drop and his BA will start catch up to his plate discipline and power. When that happens, maintaining a .500 SecA will be a pretty tall order.

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    Re: Question: Reds Player Development

    I know its been said, but great post Cyclone...

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    Re: Question: Reds Player Development

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainHook
    Although, to be fair, Dunn's SecA is helped in large part by his middling BA. It's kind of tough for a guy like Albert Pujols to put up a .500 SecA with a .330 BA.

    For that reason, I expect Dunn's SecA to slowly drop off over the next few years as his BA slowly rises into the 275-285 territory. All of his minor league numbers (5.4 PA/K, .299 BA) indicate that his K rate will eventually drop and his BA will start catch up to his plate discipline and power. When that happens, maintaining a .500 SecA will be a pretty tall order.
    That's not how it works because Secondary Average is tied to both BB rate and non-Out event quality.

    In 2002, Jim Thome posted the highest Secondary Average of his career- .625 SecA. His Batting Average was .304. Giambi's career-high SecA of .586 occurred in 2002 when he hit .333.

    In 2004, Barry Bonds put up a ridiculous SecA of 1.086 while recording a .362 BA.

    Pujols, while still good from a IsoP standpoint, has a "natural" (i.e. non-IBB influenced) IsoD of around 70 points. It took 27 Intentional Walks just to push his IsoD to .100 in 2005. The only think keeping Pujols IsoD under .500 is Pujols.
    "The problem with strikeouts isn't that they hurt your team, it's that they hurt your feelings..." --Rob Neyer

    "The single most important thing for a hitter is to get a good pitch to hit. A good hitter can hit a pitch that’s over the plate three times better than a great hitter with a ball in a tough spot.”
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    Re: Question: Reds Player Development

    Quote Originally Posted by vermonter
    Wow, great responses guys, and thanks. Looking at how well Lopez made the transitions at the plate last season and how well Edwin has been hitting this spring are certainly signs that the Reds are on the right track with their hitting development now, and Dunn and Kearns are still young enough to harness their enormous talents.

    I hear what you are saying about old school player development. It wasn't that long ago that nearly every team in baseball had that attitude with position players - the throw the baby in the pool and see if he can swim, mentality. Some teams can get by with veteran mentoring, but the Reds don't really seem to have guys like that on their roster, so having proper coaching at the major league level is imperative for teams that rely heavily on young players like the Reds.

    Very interesting stuff.
    Be it good analysis, good scouting, dumb blind luck or some combination of the three, the Reds have done a solid job at identifying young hitting talent in recent seasons. For them to lead the NL in runs last season, something has to be going right with the young hitters. Chambliss is now entering his third season as the team's hitting coach, and he's appearing to do a solid job with the core of young hitting talent. Dunn's rebounded from the Boone/Robson mistakes, Lopez has taken off, Encarnacion is ready to take off and LaRue/Valentin have provided ample offense from behind the plate.

    Unfortunately, Chambliss isn't filling out the lineup card, and both Miley and Narron have/had a penchant for not playing our young hitters regularly. Case in point, see Rich Aurilia. Aurilia provides the team with a fair amount of value if he's utilized in a proper role, which is as a utility backup infielder and pinch hitter off the bench. If healthy, Lopez, Encarnacion and Freel deserve to start 150 games, with Aurilia giving the team maybe 10 starts per season at each infield slot to give the young hitters an occasional day off. Instead, management gets it in their head that Aurilia needs to start 50 games at each position and relegating our young hitters to the bench during those 50 games. Miley was on pace for doing that with Aurilia/Lopez at shortstop last season until Aurilia got injured, and the fear is Narron might attempt to do the same with Aurilia at third base this season, costing Encarnacion valuable plate appearances and impeding his development. And for some reason, the team sees Freel as some sort of super sub instead of just plugging him at second base and throwing his .370 OBP in the leadoff slot.

    The Reds have been able to churn out some solid young hitting talent, but mismanagement of that young talent over several seasons has impeded the development of it. They've got the personnel to put a ton of runs on the board again in 2006, but it's likely the personnel won't be utilized anywhere near as well as it could be.

    As far as pitching development, the Reds have done most everything wrong and few, if any, things right. Krivsky's got to change that and get the team on a proper path in developing pitchers if we're ever going to compete anytime soon.
    Last edited by Cyclone792; 03-23-2006 at 12:34 PM.
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    Re: Question: Reds Player Development

    Here's my take on Adam Dunn.

    Code:
    Adam Dunn Career Rates
    Year PA   BA   OBP  SLG  OPS  BB/PA 1B/PA 2B/PA 3B/PA HR/PA ToH  BRC/PA K/BF
    2001 288 .262 .354 .578 .932  .132  .090  .063  .003  .066 .487  .153   .257
    2002 686 .249 .380 .454 .835  .187  .112  .041  .003  .038 .423  .133   .248
    2003 473 .215 .330 .465 .794  .156  .089  .025  .002  .057 .411  .129   .266
    2004 692 .266 .374 .569 .943  .156  .103  .049  .000  .066 .487  .153   .282
    2004 683 .247 .363 .540 .903  .167  .083  .051  .003  .059 .461  .145   .246
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    TOT 2822 .248 .364 .518 .882  .164  .097  .045  .002  .056 .453  .142   .260
    Notes on the metrics:
    1. Hit rates are given per PA.
    2. ToH is similar to OPS in content, but is based on the linear weighted values
    of the batting rates. Numbers over .420 are all-star. Numbers over .500 are MVP caliber.
    3. BRC/PA are batting runs created per PA. These are again based on the linear weighted values of their hit rates, translated into run production. I consider .150+ to be elite run production, 170+ is MVP caliber.

    There's not a lot wrong with Dunn at all. His BA is fairly tiny, but his walk rates are exceptional and his OBP's have been over .350 every season but 2003. He's a big man with a big swing and huge power. He is an all or nothing type hitter, as his poor singles and average doubles rates imply.

    Hitters like Dunn are always going to be inconsistent, there's nothing much to be done with that. Home runs create run clusters and run clusters create inconsistency in run scoring from game to game. Strikeouts also affect run clusters, but to a much lower degree than HRs, so I am of the opinion that high strikeout rates for home run hitters aren't tremendously important.

    The difference between a hitter like Dunn and the true elite hitters like A-Rod, Ramirez and Pujols is that the latter guys have the ability and skill to shorten their strokes and turn the power on and off at will. I am not sure that this skill is possible or even desired for Dunn. He hits HRs often enough and gets on base often enough to be an extremely valuable hitter. I consider the .150 BRC/PA mark to be the cutoff for elite hitters, and Dunn has reached that twice and was close last year. As time goes on, he may increase his non-HR contact skills and cut down on his strikeouts, and become a more complete hitter, but if he does that, it will be icing on the cake. If I were a Reds fan, I would wake up every morning with a smile on my face knowing he was batting cleanup for the Reds.


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