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Thread: What makes a good minor league system?

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    What makes a good minor league system?

    Setting aside the specfic talent for a minute, I'm curious about the structural quality of a minor league system. What determines how good your minor league system is? How do we measure the quality of the system itself, aside from the current level of talent? Can we isolate the problem(s) in a struggling system? Maybe development is good but scouting is poor. Maybe scouting is good and development is fine, but players are being rushed by a desperate GM.

    A few thoughts:
    - Draft position helps, but isn't a top factor, as evidenced by the Red Sox and Yankees strong systems and the Pirates and Orioles comparatively weak ones.
    - The level of talent in a minor league system ebbs and flows, but good systems always rebound quickly after graduating their current crop.
    - Money matters, but how much? The really strong systems aren't primarily strong because of over-slot bonuses and major league contracts.
    - What are the general areas to consider and who are the people to be judged?

    It seems to me that we often mix up the strength of a team's minors in regards to talent and the quality of the organization itself. I'd like to separate the latter as much as possible. It's one thing to do this on an ad hoc basis, "Braves are good. Pirates are bad." but can we create a measurement system that can be applied repeatedly.

    Maybe there are 3 or 4 general areas we can rate 1-10. Maybe we have to do it by level. Maybe personnel turnover is such that we can't yet rate certain aspects, but I'd like to be able to understand the quality of the Reds organization from the non-player perspective.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 01-02-2008 at 04:34 PM.
    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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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Continuity, every SS in the system should approach a DP the same way every man should have the same approach on the bases regardless of the situation or the time of year or the venue. Style isn't to be threatened if everyone knows from day one in the organization how something is to be handled whether in Billings or Cincinnati.

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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Among other things...

    • draft position
    • $$$ for signings in the international markets
    • volume of top-round picks (via free agent compensation)

    Quick ways to get top talent.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    15 game winner Danny Serafini's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    Continuity, every SS in the system should approach a DP the same way every man should have the same approach on the bases regardless of the situation or the time of year or the venue. Style isn't to be threatened if everyone knows from day one in the organization how something is to be handled whether in Billings or Cincinnati.
    That's good to a point, but adhering too strictly to a style leads to things like "all batters must talk a strike before swinging". A main core idea is good, but it has to have some flexibility in it to take advantage of an individual's strengths or weaknesses.

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Danny Serafini View Post
    That's good to a point, but adhering too strictly to a style leads to things like "all batters must talk a strike before swinging". A main core idea is good, but it has to have some flexibility in it to take advantage of an individual's strengths or weaknesses.
    I'm thinking more Branch Rickey and the Dodgers then Dan O'Brien and the Dayton Dragons, one thing's for sure... don't be an orthodox about any dogma.

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    Start the Reactor! *BaseClogger*'s Avatar
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Danny Serafini View Post
    That's good to a point, but adhering too strictly to a style leads to things like "all batters must talk a strike before swinging". A main core idea is good, but it has to have some flexibility in it to take advantage of an individual's strengths or weaknesses.
    That is exactly what I was thinking. I don't want to lose out on a guy because he doesn't fit the perfect mold. From what I have seen recently, I think one of the most important things that determines the strength of a system is the international scouting. It is just such a huge bonus if you can mix a bunch of Johnny Cueto's with your draftees. I think part of the problem with our farm in the past was a lack of young latin players in our system...
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Other questions:

    Have we really drafted poorly? Are we picking less talented players than we should have picked? By what measurement? Compared to what baseline?

    Do we have a problem with player development -- that is a failure to get players to realize their talent? Again, by what measurement and compared to what baseline? Is this concentrated in certain areas, such as pitcher control?

    Is health something we can blame/credit to the organization or primarily luck? That is, if a pitcher's arm falls off, who's fault is it?

    What role does the GM play in supplementing the system from outside, beyond just draft picks? How have the Reds done in this regard?

    Regarding WOY's point, I would go back to what my 7th grade basketball camp instructor always said "Practice doesn't make perfect; It makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect." We could consistently teach guys to do the wrong things and it would not be a virtue.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 01-02-2008 at 04:40 PM.
    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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    Vavasor TRF's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    Other questions:

    Have we really drafted poorly? Are we picking less talented players than we should have picked? By what measurement? Compared to what baseline?
    Gruler instead of Kazmir
    Bailey instead of Weaver
    Stubbs Instead of Lincecum
    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    Do we have a problem with player development -- that is a failure to get players to realize their talent? Again, by what measurement and compared to what baseline? Is this concentrated in certain areas, such as pitcher control?

    Is health something we can blame/credit to the organization or primarily luck? That is, if a pitcher's arm falls off, who's fault is it?
    Lot's of surgeries and washouts early in this decade. The surgeries dropped under DanO's watch and that trend seems to be continuing under Krivsky.
    Suck it up cupcake.

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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Gruler instead of Kazmir
    Poor choice, but also poor budgeting.

    Bailey instead of Weaver
    Bailey was an excellent choice. Weaver was not chosen by the Reds, just as he was passed over by the rest of the top half of the first round in 04, because he wanted well over slot and a major league deal. It was an organizational preference, shared by many other teams, to avoid players with those demands. So, it's not a matter of Bailey vs Weaver -- it's a matter of policy that has more to do with budgets and roster management than it does with player evaluation. Again, it's a mistake to say Bailey was a bad pick.

    Stubbs Instead of Lincecum
    Looks bad now. But I wouldn't close the case yet. Long road ahead for both players.

    I've said this so many times, but I'm going to again. If your MO is to compare the Reds' choice to every other player taken after that choice, you'll wind up unhappy almost always. Because the odds are hugely, greatly in favor of at least one of the other 29 teams finding a player who has a better career than the player the Reds selected.

    My take is that starting in 04 the team has done much better in the draft. Much remains to be seen, but it's hard to argue that the system doesn't appear very healthy when compared to others.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    Gruler instead of Kazmir
    Bailey instead of Weaver
    Stubbs Instead of Lincecum

    Lot's of surgeries and washouts early in this decade. The surgeries dropped under DanO's watch and that trend seems to be continuing under Krivsky.
    The specific example thing always bugs me. We could do that all day. Every team that passed on Pujols (ie. every team) looks stupid. This is really the whole point of my thread. We can find copious anecdotal find reasons to point how horrible we are, but without a systematic way of evaluating performance, it lacks context.
    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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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    The specific example thing always bugs me. We could do that all day. Every team that passed on Pujols (ie. every team) looks stupid. This is really the whole point of my thread. We can find copious anecdotal find reasons to point how horrible we are, but without a systematic way of evaluating performance, it lacks context.
    Yep, a great example of the skill of the draft is found in mining lower level talent, not getting the star over the other guy your scouts thought would be a star. Look at successful teams and generally they find diamonds in the lower rounds, though not baseball the Detroit Red Wings have crafted the draft into a gold mine of late round talent that they obtained by having scouts scout the planet and a set system that they could telegraph their hopes about the players growth if drafted.

    Pitchers are a wild card, THE most volatile act in baseball is throwing a ball, it's unnatural and when you earmark a man-boy to be an instant star your setting the bar high from the start.

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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    The specific example thing always bugs me. We could do that all day.
    in those three cases the specific player cited was preferred at the time of the draft by a consensus of Redzoners. And that's eminently fair. Your Albert Pujols example isn't applicable.

    In your recent posts, you often serve as an apologist for a franchise that has long depended on apologists. You also apologize for ineffective players. For instance, IIRC, you posted that Todd Coffey isn't actually responsible for the home runs that he surrendered, correct?

    you, sir, are the Epitome of Apology.

    (I will retract this if seen as a personal attack. I intend no offense, merely making an observation)

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    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    The specific example thing always bugs me. We could do that all day. Every team that passed on Pujols (ie. every team) looks stupid. This is really the whole point of my thread. We can find copious anecdotal find reasons to point how horrible we are, but without a systematic way of evaluating performance, it lacks context.
    The one thing that gets my goat has been Cincy's refusal to draft the "tough signs" when they fall into the 5th round and even further. It kills me to watch Mike Stanton get $5-6 million and then have Cincy skip over first round talents in the 5th round just because they want 1st round money.

    Load up, then either follow them through the farm or package them together for proven players. Young talent has many benefits.

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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    What makes a good minor league system? The acquistion of talent, the development of that talent and the proper utilization of that talent.
    The Reds acquistion of talent is currently well-regarded. Now that we have some real major league talent - how do we best utilize it?
    Trade the talent for talent from other organizations or incorporate talented but inexperienced players into the big league mix? The Reds need to make the right decisions with our top 4 guys.

    Then there is development. I have been disappointed for a long time with the Reds development approach - they don't seem to teach plate discipline to a sufficient number of hitters and they don't seem to be able to increase velocity for a sufficient number of pitchers. I think more money should be injected into the development portion of the Reds organization - through staff salaries, better facilities, and better data and analysis. The Reds should be able to isolate and address weaknesses in organizational depth. They may not have the same amount of money as other organizations, but they have enough to improve what they are currently doing.

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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Betterread View Post
    Then there is development. I have been disappointed for a long time with the Reds development approach - they don't seem to teach plate discipline to a sufficient number of hitters
    Lets say that next year we look at the starting 8, only 3 players are really home grown. Adam Dunn, Edwin Encarnacion (sure, he was drafted by the Rangers, but from age 18 on, he was in our system for 4 years before debuting) and Joey Votto. All of these guys have good to very good plate discipline. Chris Denorfia also had that going for him while in our system. Austin Kearns had it. There are a few guys who came along without it, but there are plenty of guys who did.


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