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Thread: Organizational Rankings from Dave Cameron

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    No half measures, Walter RedEye's Avatar
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    Organizational Rankings from Dave Cameron

    Interesting discussion of Krivsky and the Reds over at the U.S.S. Mariner. Dave Cameron, now famous as the on-line sabermetric tutor of King Felix, is one of the most thoughtful baseball analysts around in my opinion. The Reds don't fare well in his rankings, but he seems to think highly of WK's minor league plan.

    Sorry for the long post, but this is good stuff:

    http://ussmariner.com/2007/10/12/org...onal-rankings/

    As we talked about in the Seeds of Success post the other day, there are a lot of organizations that are moving forward with efficient, highly successful philosophies and are putting their teams in a great position to win a lot of the games in the future. Which teams are doing this better than others?

    Here is my take. This is based on management personnel and organizational cohesion, not on field talent or recent success. Essentially, this is my opinion of which organizations have laid the strongest foundation between their ownership, baseball operations department, and coaching staffs to insert a winning DNA into their baseball teams. I included a grade with the numerical ranking because, in a lot of cases, there’s no real difference between a few spots on the list.

    Rank Organization Grade
    1 Cleveland A+
    2 Boston A
    3 Tampa Bay A
    4 Milwaukee B+
    5 Oakland B+
    6 NY Yankees B
    7 Detroit B
    8 San Diego B
    9 Arizona B-
    10 Atlanta B-
    11 NY Mets B-
    12 Anaheim C+
    13 Colorado C+
    14 Minnesota C+
    15 Florida C
    16 Chi. Sox C
    17 Washington C
    18 Toronto C-
    19 Chi. Cubs C-
    20 Los Angeles C-
    21 Texas C-
    22 Pittsburgh D
    23 Seattle D
    24 Philadelphia D
    25 Kansas City D
    26 St. Louis D
    27 San Francisco F
    28 Cincinnati F
    29 Houston F
    30 Baltimore F
    No surprise here - I’ve been calling the Indians the best run organization in baseball for about four years, and that hasn’t changed. Boston is perfecting the big market, high salaried bully approach in contrast to Tampa’s load-up-on-cheap-talent philosophy, but both are the correct direction for their organizations to go in, considering their relative financial positions. The Brewers are quietly putting the pieces together to dominate the NL Central for the next decade, Billy Beane keeps doing his thing in Oakland while waiting for a new stadium, and the Yankees have transformed themselves into an organization with foresight, planning, and rationalization to go with their $200 million payroll. Scary.

    On the other side of the coin, there’s a couple organizations that are going head first off the cliff at full speed. The Baltimore Orioles have a meddlesome owner, a front office that lacks necessary power, outdated analytical techniques, and, oh yea, they play in the A.L. East. Barring a one season fluke where everything just breaks right, I’m not sure Baltimore makes the playoffs in the next 10-15 years. If you’re raising a child near the nation’s capital, make them a Nationals fan.

    Houston’s not a whole lot better, honestly. Meddlesome owner? Check. Retread failure of a GM? Check. Completely ignoring the farm system? Double Check. The Astros spent a mind-boggling $600,000 in signing bonuses in the first 11 rounds of this summer’s draft - combined. Houston spent about as much on the draft as the Mariners did on Matt Mangini. With some aging, overrated players tied up to long term contracts and no help on the way from the farm system, Houston’s poised to be terrible for a long, long time.

    The Mariners come in 23rd, buoyed by their strength in amateur scouting and ownership’s commitment to giving the front office a payroll advantage over most of baseball. The front office? Well, we’ve covered their flaws in detail. Under Bill Bavasi, the Mariners have done a good job of resurrecting what was a horrible farm system, but their major league transactions have been brutal, and there isn’t a winning organizational philosophy in place.

    So, if you’re a fan of the Indians, Devil Rays, Red Sox, or Brewers, you should be pretty happy with your club. If you’re allegiances lie with Baltimore, Houston, San Francisco, or Cincinnati, well, you might want to find something else to do with your summers for the next ten years or so.
    A couple of good questions about the Reds:

    Andy Stallings Says:
    Great post, Dave — a fine example of why this is my favorite time of year to be reading the site.
    I’m curious about the Reds — it’s seemed to me like they’ve made some interesting low-risk pickups in the past twelve months (Phillips and Hamilton stand out, but guys like Keppinger and Burton are interesting as well, while Arroyo and Harang predate the time-frame but are of a similar bent), and there are certainly a few top talents near big-league ready (though admittedly little else coming soon). I’m no Wayne Krivsky fan, but I’m surprised to see them rank at the bottom, nonetheless.
    What puts them there, in your opinion?
    terry Says:
    I’m wondering if Cincinnati doesn’t at least deserve a D-. In the last two years the new regime has done a lot of positive things:
    1. they’ve traded a fourth outfielder for 400+ above average innings in their rotation, 2. they’ve economically extended the top of their rotation (which is very good as #1 and #2’s go in the NL),
    3. they’ve leveraged platoons at first base to be above average in ‘06 and average in ‘07 at a cost of less than $2.5M per,
    4. they’ve mitigated a past sin by forcing Jr to right field (while trying to trade him several times if rumors can be trusted),
    5. they worked out an extension with Dunn in ‘06 that lets them jettison him as early as this year but allows them to keep him by simply paying him market value next season (even considering his defense-this year, if you believe UZR, his bat carried his glove at market value (UZR will at least be lower than -18),
    6. they traded a non-prospect arm (that is still in A ball) for 200 slightly above average innings in their rotation from Lohse before flipping him for a kid that has a good chance of eating innings from the back end of their rotation for the next few years,
    7. they’ve witnessed their farm system take a nice step forward such that they have the best outfield prospects in the game in Bruce (even better than AJ) coupled with two of the best pitching prospects in the game (Bailey, Cueto)and an intriguing option at first base (Votto),
    8. acquired Hamilton for $50K (enough said),
    9. acquired Brandon Phillips for some stale ballpark franks (enough said),
    10. they’ve been retooling their future pen with a youth movement that has good krates and GB tendencies.
    11. they traded Felipe Lopez
    12. they’ve made a very smart marketing decision when teaming the Brennamans (father and son) together in the both…
    13. They are negotiating to take back advertising rights from their radio broadcasts,
    12. Next season roughly 5 of their starting positions players, 3/5 of their rotation and practically their whole bullpen won’t even be arb eligible and these guys are legit major leaguers not replacement level talents.
    I’d argue for a mark higher than D- but the rumor is that they are about to make Dusty Baker…..
    And Cameron's response:

    Krivsky is basically bringing the Twins model to Cincy. On one hand, that has some positives, as they place an extreme value on finding good young talent and emphasize the scouting department. On the other hand, there’s a complete breakdown in the understanding of how to value major league players. Cincy is actually a lot like the Mariners, just with a smaller payroll.
    Last edited by RedEye; 10-12-2007 at 02:08 PM.
    "Iíll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. Thatís just how I do things.Ē -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013

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  3. #2
    Making sense of it all Matt700wlw's Avatar
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    Re: Organizational Rankings from Dave Cameron

    That's comforting...

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    No half measures, Walter RedEye's Avatar
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    Re: Organizational Rankings from Dave Cameron

    Yeah sorry... didn't mean to be a downer. I just thought that the discussion afterwards was high quality. "terry" in particular has some good points, and he kind of sums up the extant pro-WK argument on RedsZone. Cameron's response to him is somewhat reassuring -- at least on the minor league front. We could do worse than to turn into the Twins, I suppose... although then I don't get why we would be compared to the Mariners after that.
    "Iíll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. Thatís just how I do things.Ē -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013

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    Making sense of it all Matt700wlw's Avatar
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    Re: Organizational Rankings from Dave Cameron

    I appreciate the posting....it's good information, but I was hoping the Reds were a little more thought of....

    Oh well...just win, baby!!

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Organizational Rankings from Dave Cameron

    While I would argue we deserve at least a D- for the low cost acquisitions, the overall commentary seems spot on. Krivksy, like the Twins, seems to lack a fundamental understanding of value at the major league level -- as evidenced by the Stanton, Cormier, and Castro moves.

    What Beane has shown is that at this payroll level, you can win, but you have to have everything going right. Until and unless Krivsky irons out those inefficiencies, we're not going anywhere.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Re: Organizational Rankings from Dave Cameron

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    While I would argue we deserve at least a D- for the low cost acquisitions, the overall commentary seems spot on. Krivksy, like the Twins, seems to lack a fundamental understanding of value at the major league level -- as evidenced by the Stanton, Cormier, and Castro moves.

    What Beane has shown is that at this payroll level, you can win, but you have to have everything going right. Until and unless Krivsky irons out those inefficiencies, we're not going anywhere.
    I don't agree. Krivsky has made a number of major league, or near major league, moves that have worked and a number that have failed. I think the plus outweighs the minus. Adding guys like Arroyo, Phillips, Burton, Hatteberg, Gonzo have outweighed the minuses you mention. And the guys who haven't worked out are not big long-term deals, but short-term relatively low cost stop gaps.

    My criticism is that the team -- for years now -- has been in no man's land. Either go completely young by trading valuable players for great kids or spend some real money and get good now. This team has done neither. I don't blame Krivsky for this, he possibly could execute either strategy. But he has to have the backing to either go completely young or to go out and get winning veterans.

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    Re: Organizational Rankings from Dave Cameron

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    Until and unless Krivsky irons out those inefficiencies, we're not going anywhere.
    And yet the Nationals, a team that is foolishly trying to resurrect the gloried carcasses of the 2001-2004 Reds, is headed in a better direction? Same with the Pirates, who have had a GM for all of, what, three weeks? Or perhaps the White Sox, who have lavishly thrown around money at a manager after a 90-loss season?

    This list is entertaining, but it is quite laughable if the author wants it to be taken seriously.

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    No half measures, Walter RedEye's Avatar
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    Re: Organizational Rankings from Dave Cameron

    Quote Originally Posted by D-Man View Post
    And yet the Nationals, a team that is foolishly trying to resurrect the gloried carcasses of the 2001-2004 Reds, is headed in a better direction? Same with the Pirates, who have had a GM for all of, what, three weeks? Or perhaps the White Sox, who have lavishly thrown around money at a manager after a 90-loss season?

    This list is entertaining, but it is quite laughable if the author wants it to be taken seriously.
    For what it's worth, here's what Cameron responded to someone who asked about the Nats:

    I know this would be a lot of work, Dave, but could you break out the elements that led you to the grades you gave? For instance, you gave the Nats a C, but whatís good or bad about that organization?

    I donít have time to do that for every time, unfortunately. Washington has some strengths - good ownership and executive leadership, a strong manager in Manny Acta, and Jim Bowdenís got some positive qualities, but in the end, theyíre still a Jim Bowden team, and heís never going to win anything with his ridiculous management style.
    Seems like he's on the same page with you, basically -- so that doesn't explain why the Nats get a "C" and the Reds an "F". I agree that the list is inconsistent. He seems to have a clear idea of which organizations are the best (and I have to agree with most of his top 10 or 15), but he's much less clear about how to rank the different brands of futility at the bottom.
    "Iíll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. Thatís just how I do things.Ē -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013

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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: Organizational Rankings from Dave Cameron

    Here is my problem with the list starting with the #3 team. How can a team be the best run team (I am not saying that they aren't well run) when the likely hood of the competing in their division in the next 10 years is slim. They can develop all the prospects they want but until they are able to retain them I find it foolish to say that they are the best run organization when in reality the Reds have a better shot at winning their division than the D Rays do.

    I also find it ironic that San Diego has such a high ranking when they havn't been able to find offense for the past number of seasons. They have a great staff but they can't find the offense to put them over the top. The A's are in the same scenario. They just can't get it done to put a complete team together.

    I would probably put Arizona in the top 3 and drop Milwaukee down out of the top 10.

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    Re: Organizational Rankings from Dave Cameron

    I used to read this guy on what I think was the old TeamOne Baseball site -- back then he thought he knew better than everybody outside the game and most inside it, too. How surprising that feels qualified to come out with dreck like this....

    I hope someone resurrects his predictions for him in a year or two.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Organizational Rankings from Dave Cameron

    Just a couple of points. Dave's a sharp fellow with a comprehensive knowledge of the league (both at the major and minor league levels) and this list has more to due with how the organisations are run from a philosophy/decision making standpoint rather than a ranking based upon a summation of recent successes and failures per se (i.e. often decisions that turn out well were in fact poor ones and vice versa so he's critiquing the decision making processes not the results).

    He's too hard on the Reds IMHO. As I stated in a recent thread about Krivsky, in my opinion the differences between the 40 man roster of January '06 and how the 40-man will look in April '08 will be pretty substantial considering the overall talent level/ceilings of individuals and the rosters ability to legitimately compete for the division.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Member JaxRed's Avatar
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    Re: Organizational Rankings from Dave Cameron

    I think the question from Terry was smartest thing in that piece
    The lowest acceptable payroll amount for ownership to show they are not greedy pigs is 15 million more than they are currently paying. No matter what that currently is.

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    Re: Organizational Rankings from Dave Cameron

    Just a couple of points. Dave's a sharp fellow with a comprehensive knowledge of the league (both at the major and minor league levels)
    I can tell you that a few years ago he knew very little about the minor leagues. Once he began to turn his attention that way, presto -- evaluation guru.

    Which is not to say he isn't smart -- I'm sure he is.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Re: Organizational Rankings from Dave Cameron

    Alright, which one of you is Terry?

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    Re: Organizational Rankings from Dave Cameron

    The guy's an absolute idiot. REDS are like the Mariners? From the very top, the ownership, it's completely different, one not having anything to do with the other. The Mariners have loads of money to spend every year while the REDS have little. Dave Cameron is an idiot. He should try the words once in a while, "I don't know what I'm talking about on this subject, so I think I won't say anything at all," rather than just make stuff up from stuff that he reads off of the internet.
    Rob Neyer: "Any writer who says he'd be a better manager than the worst manager is either 1) lying (i.e. 'using poetic license') or 2) patently delusional. Which isn't to say managers don't do stupid things that you or I wouldn't."


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