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Thread: To Push or Not to Push..That is the question

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    Ya can't teach speed... Triples's Avatar
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    To Push or Not to Push..That is the question

    In the 5/1/07 game thread there is a bit of a debate going on about when to push Jay Bruce up to AA. I'm not trying to recreate that debate here but rather to explore the basic subject of when to promote a guy to the next level. Aside from the late season call ups that create a reverse waterfall effect, when is the correct time to push a guy to the next level?

    I'll start the discussion with the notion that it depends on a lot of things like room at the next level, needs at the next levels, the players performance at the current and past levels, statistical analysis of the players performance, personal behavior of the player, and so and so on. However, most importantly I would think is how that promotion is going to effect the particular player. Some people, (whether talking about baseball, accounting, or tidley winks) respond better to being "challenged" than do others. Push one guy and he'll somehow grab another gear. Do the same to yet another similarly talented player and the pressure may be to much too soon. Further, some guys will respond better when the promotion is intended as a reward for performance and hard work (you can do well but not perform at a maximum level or not work hard). The ability to make those calls seems so incredibly important and it seems the mistake is made over and over again. Its a call that I personally would find difficult to make.
    Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal. ~George Will


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    Re: To Push or Not to Push..That is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by Triples View Post
    In the 5/1/07 game thread there is a bit of a debate going on about when to push Jay Bruce up to AA. I'm not trying to recreate that debate here but rather to explore the basic subject of when to promote a guy to the next level. Aside from the late season call ups that create a reverse waterfall effect, when is the correct time to push a guy to the next level?

    I'll start the discussion with the notion that it depends on a lot of things like room at the next level, needs at the next levels, the players performance at the current and past levels, statistical analysis of the players performance, personal behavior of the player, and so and so on. However, most importantly I would think is how that promotion is going to effect the particular player. Some people, (whether talking about baseball, accounting, or tidley winks) respond better to being "challenged" than do others. Push one guy and he'll somehow grab another gear. Do the same to yet another similarly talented player and the pressure may be to much too soon. Further, some guys will respond better when the promotion is intended as a reward for performance and hard work (you can do well but not perform at a maximum level or not work hard). The ability to make those calls seems so incredibly important and it seems the mistake is made over and over again. Its a call that I personally would find difficult to make.
    Did you mean move Stubbs to AA, or Bruce to AAA?

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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: To Push or Not to Push..That is the question

    I think players generally dictate when they get promoted. Every now and again you just dont have the option of moving a guy up that deserves it (see Ryan Howard behind Jim Thome), but 95% of the time the players will show you they are ready for it.

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    Ya can't teach speed... Triples's Avatar
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    Re: To Push or Not to Push..That is the question

    I would agree, that the player does show when they are ready for it. It just occurs to me that "ready" doesn't always mean when they're stats might indicate its time. I would say that is more pronounced the younger the player is and being close to them on a day to day basis is the maybe the only what to know that.

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    I think players generally dictate when they get promoted. Every now and again you just dont have the option of moving a guy up that deserves it (see Ryan Howard behind Jim Thome), but 95% of the time the players will show you they are ready for it.
    Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal. ~George Will


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    Re: To Push or Not to Push..That is the question

    I'm not a fan of pitchers doing a half a year at a level, regardless of performance. Yes Bailey has risen to the occasion, but Cueto hasn't been as dominant as he was in his first go around at High A. Bailey is the exception, not the Rule.

    That said, I hate when pitchers repeat a level they have dominated. There is no reason Calvin Medlock should repeat AA after the year he had in 2006. He is clearly ready for AAA. I like the pace that has been set for LeCure.

    Hitters seem to be a different story. Bruce could see AA by June, then go all Adam Dunn on the the org in 2008 (AA, AAA, Major Leagues)
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    Re: To Push or Not to Push..That is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by Triples View Post
    I'll start the discussion with the notion that it depends on a lot of things like room at the next level, needs at the next levels
    With respect to "needs at the next levels," to me, that's a consideration if and only if the level in question is the MLB club. It's nice to keep the affiliates happy by fielding competitive clubs, but the purpose of the farm system is to develop players for Cincinnati. I wouldn't care if Chattanooga had the worst outfield in professional baseball, it shouldn't be a factor in deciding whether Jay Bruce should be promoted. (If they had the best outfield, then you run into the "room at the next level" factor you mentioned, but an elite prospect rarely has to wait on another elite.)

    Admittedly, it gets more complicated when it's the Reds that have the gaping black hole and the player is tearing up the high minors. But even then, "is he ready?" is a separate question from "do we need him?"
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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: To Push or Not to Push..That is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    I'm not a fan of pitchers doing a half a year at a level, regardless of performance. Yes Bailey has risen to the occasion, but Cueto hasn't been as dominant as he was in his first go around at High A. Bailey is the exception, not the Rule.

    That said, I hate when pitchers repeat a level they have dominated. There is no reason Calvin Medlock should repeat AA after the year he had in 2006. He is clearly ready for AAA. I like the pace that has been set for LeCure.

    Hitters seem to be a different story. Bruce could see AA by June, then go all Adam Dunn on the the org in 2008 (AA, AAA, Major Leagues)
    Cueto was having blister problems at the start of the season. no word if he still is having them, but if he is, it surely explains some things. His ERA has been affected by a poor bullpen as well.

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    Ya can't teach speed... Triples's Avatar
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    Re: To Push or Not to Push..That is the question

    Point well made, need at the next level is bad example of a reason to promote or not promote a player.

    However, at the risk of turning this into "should Bruce be promoted", I don't necessarily agree that High A is the high minors. Lots of players will tear up the FSL and not AA or AAA. Which gets me back to my orginal point. Just because a player appears to tearing up one league still doesn't necessarily mean that a quick promotion for that player is the best decision. IMO

    Quote Originally Posted by IslandRed View Post
    With respect to "needs at the next levels," to me, that's a consideration if and only if the level in question is the MLB club. It's nice to keep the affiliates happy by fielding competitive clubs, but the purpose of the farm system is to develop players for Cincinnati. I wouldn't care if Chattanooga had the worst outfield in professional baseball, it shouldn't be a factor in deciding whether Jay Bruce should be promoted. (If they had the best outfield, then you run into the "room at the next level" factor you mentioned, but an elite prospect rarely has to wait on another elite.)

    Admittedly, it gets more complicated when it's the Reds that have the gaping black hole and the player is tearing up the high minors. But even then, "is he ready?" is a separate question from "do we need him?"
    Last edited by Triples; 05-01-2007 at 05:10 PM.
    Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal. ~George Will


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    Re: To Push or Not to Push..That is the question

    I can't say it enough: Walks matter. Maybin 19 vs. Bruce's 8.

    Today's game would be my prime example why Bruce shouldn't be promoted yet. 1-5 no walks. Cut that down to 1-3 and 2 walks. Cut down on the outs.

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    Re: To Push or Not to Push..That is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by Aronchis View Post
    I can't say it enough: Walks matter. Maybin 19 vs. Bruce's 8.

    Today's game would be my prime example why Bruce shouldn't be promoted yet. 1-5 no walks. Cut that down to 1-3 and 2 walks. Cut down on the outs.
    *edit* I thought that said Maybin had 2 walks today.

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    Re: To Push or Not to Push..That is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by Triples View Post
    However, at the risk of turning this into "should Bruce be promoted", I don't necessarily agree that High A is the high minors.
    "High minors" is supposed to be AA/AAA. My post was shifting gears back and forth from things that involved Jay Bruce to things that didn't, the last paragraph wasn't meant to refer to him specifically. My bad for the ambiguity.
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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: To Push or Not to Push..That is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by Aronchis View Post
    I can't say it enough: Walks matter. Maybin 19 vs. Bruce's 8.

    Today's game would be my prime example why Bruce shouldn't be promoted yet. 1-5 no walks. Cut that down to 1-3 and 2 walks. Cut down on the outs.
    Maybin walks more.... Bruce hits the ball a lot harder and a lot more. I will take the guy who hits better as 20 year olds.

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    Ya can't teach speed... Triples's Avatar
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    Re: To Push or Not to Push..That is the question

    We're talkin about when to promote any player to another level and you're talking about the stats for two guys for one game. Huh? The thread isn't a debate about Maybin vs Bruce. That was yesterday on a different thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by CTA513 View Post
    *edit* I thought that said Maybin had 2 walks today.
    Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal. ~George Will


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    Re: To Push or Not to Push..That is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by Aronchis View Post
    I can't say it enough: Walks matter. Maybin 19 vs. Bruce's 8.

    Today's game would be my prime example why Bruce shouldn't be promoted yet. 1-5 no walks. Cut that down to 1-3 and 2 walks. Cut down on the outs.
    It's tough to find a bigger proponent of walks for any hitter, especially a young hitter, than me ... but I'm not really all that concerned about Bruce's walk rate yet. I wanted to take a look at walk rates for some recent/current Reds' hitting prospects during the last few years, and here's the tally ...
    Code:
    
    Minor League Walks
    
    Player         PA/BB    Per 600 PA    MLB PA/BB
    
    Bruce          11.15       54          -----
    Dunn            6.45       93           6.07
    Encarnacion    11.89       50          11.67
    Kearns          7.59       79           8.59
    Pena           13.50*      44*         16.04
    Votto           7.25       83          -----
    
    * The Baseball Cube did not have HBP, SH, or SF figures for Pena
    Generally, my rule has been if a young hitter keeps his PA/BB ratio under 12, then his walk rate is acceptable. Under 10 is good, and under 8 is fantastic. Edwin Encarnacion is a good example of a guy who didn't walk a ton during his minor league days, but he walked enough - 11.89 PA/BB in the minor leagues - to put off any concerns.

    So far in 2007, Bruce's PA/BB ratio is around 13.50, but it's still very early, and two walks in his next 10 plate appearances is enough to get him back where he needs to be. Also, thanks to RL's fantastic report on Bruce back in January, Bruce's walk rate is something that Bruce himself knows about and is focused on working to improve. It's quite impressive for a guy who just turned 20 who at least already has a decent walk rate and knows the importance of walks. Obviously I would love if Bruce was able to walk at a rate of a Dunn, Kearns, or Votto in the minor leagues, but he is at least walking enough for me not to be overly concerned.

    Interestingly, of the four guys in the above list who have reached the majors - Dunn, Kearns, Encarnacion, and Pena - only Pena's walk rate has suffered a pretty major collapse. Of course, Pena's walk rate was easily the worst among all of them in the minors, he's been a well-known hack for several years now, and he also had a contract situation that forced him up to the major leagues before he was ready to hit major league pitching. Dunn and Encarnacion have actually improved their walk rate in the majors a bit, and Kearns has only seen a small drop.
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    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Re: To Push or Not to Push..That is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone792 View Post
    It's tough to find a bigger proponent of walks for any hitter, especially a young hitter, than me ... but I'm not really all that concerned about Bruce's walk rate yet. I wanted to take a look at walk rates for some recent/current Reds' hitting prospects during the last few years, and here's the tally ...
    Code:
    
    Minor League Walks
    
    Player         PA/BB    Per 600 PA    MLB PA/BB
    
    Bruce          11.15       54          -----
    Dunn            6.45       93           6.07
    Encarnacion    11.89       50          11.67
    Kearns          7.59       79           8.59
    Pena           13.50*      44*         16.04
    Votto           7.25       83          -----
    
    * The Baseball Cube did not have HBP, SH, or SF figures for Pena
    Generally, my rule has been if a young hitter keeps his PA/BB ratio under 12, then his walk rate is acceptable. Under 10 is good, and under 8 is fantastic. Edwin Encarnacion is a good example of a guy who didn't walk a ton during his minor league days, but he walked enough - 11.89 PA/BB in the minor leagues - to put off any concerns.

    So far in 2007, Bruce's PA/BB ratio is around 13.50, but it's still very early, and two walks in his next 10 plate appearances is enough to get him back where he needs to be. Also, thanks to RL's fantastic report on Bruce back in January, Bruce's walk rate is something that Bruce himself knows about and is focused on working to improve. It's quite impressive for a guy who just turned 20 who at least already has a decent walk rate and knows the importance of walks. Obviously I would love if Bruce was able to walk at a rate of a Dunn, Kearns, or Votto in the minor leagues, but he is at least walking enough for me not to be overly concerned.

    Interestingly, of the four guys in the above list who have reached the majors - Dunn, Kearns, Encarnacion, and Pena - only Pena's walk rate has suffered a pretty major collapse. Of course, Pena's walk rate was easily the worst among all of them in the minors, he's been a well-known hack for several years now, and he also had a contract situation that forced him up to the major leagues before he was ready to hit major league pitching. Dunn and Encarnacion have actually improved their walk rate in the majors a bit, and Kearns has only seen a small drop.
    Great post as usual.


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