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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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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by princeton View Post
    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.
    I think you're failing to understand my point. I think the claim "there have been bad outcomes in the past" has been fully proven and I'm not arguing that point. I'm not saying the Reds haven't been bad or made poor choices. I think the results of the past decade bear out that claim.

    Rather, I'm asking for an understanding of how and why so that we can more accurately understand how we are today. That some guy no longer in the organization picked Chris Gruler instead of Scott Kazmir tells me nothing about the process or intelligence of picking Devin Moreseco over Rick Porcello, for example. How can we assess the quality of that pick and that player? Must we wait 5 years? Should we simply go on hype or consensus? Who made that pick and why? Was it using the same logic as the Gruler > Kazmir pick? Was it a decision based on the same kind of information? Can we expect that kind of decision to be made in the future given everything we know about the Reds today?

    We supposedly have access to why things happen. Why is it wrong to ask the questions how and why? The Reds don't suck because sucking is an intrinsic characteristic of being the Reds. There are specific reasons, specific actions, specific PEOPLE, responsible for that sucking. If those things change, it's eminently reasonable to ask the question, might the decisions of today and tomorrow be different as well?

    Quote Originally Posted by princeton View Post
    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)
    Well, I'll try and take the high road here. I don't mean to be an apologist. What I try to do is separate out what happens from why it happens. The former is interesting. However, the latter is required if we are to try and use the former to project forward what is likely to happen in the future.

    I want to understand what underlying causes result in the bad outcomes we've observed. Sometimes bad outcomes happen because people make bad decisions. But sometimes bad outcomes happen when people make good decisions. (and visa versa for that matter).

    The Reds have had bad outcomes, that has been clearly established. I want to understand whether the decisions (actions, etc.) were also bad. Or more precisely, what bad outcomes were the result of bad decisions/actions, and which were simply the result of something beyond anybody's control (call it luck or random variance if you want). It's not a direct cause/effect relationship where every bad outcome is the result of a bad decision/action. Using 3 specific examples in which a bad decision resulted in a bad outcome doesn't prove otherwise. Being told that Reds scouts missed on 3 specific players doesn't begin to answer my question.

    Regarding Coffey, either I wasn't clear or I was being misinterpreted. My point in that conversation, and others like it, is that merely describing things that have happened in the past and using those events to predict future events are very different things. You need to assess causes to understand likely future outcomes.

    It seems to me that the above point highlights our fundamental misunderstanding.

    Your typical line of reasoning seems to be:

    Things that have happened in the past are likely are likely to happen in the future. It is based on an assumption that outcomes are all the result of the observed actions.

    Example: Todd Coffey allowed a lot of HR in 2007. Todd Coffey is a pitcher who allows lots of HR. Todd Coffey will continue to allow lots of HR in 2008.

    Mine is:
    Things that have happened in the past have happened for lots of reasons, only some of which are causes we've observed. If we want to understand what is likely to happen in the future, we should understand more precisely what caused that thing to happened and see if that cause(s) is likely to reoccur, thus producing the same result. Then we can predict what's likely to happen in the future.

    Example: Todd Coffey allowed a lot of HR in 2007. The rate at which Todd Coffey allowed HR was so high, so out of line with his other numbers, and so out of line with what we see from pitchers generally speaking who perform as he performed otherwise that we can reasonably expect his HR allowance rate to be lower in the future. Thus, Todd Coffey will likely allow fewer HR in 2008 and not suck as much.

    It's not that Todd isn't "at fault" for allowing lots of homers in 2007. It's that the occurrence of him allowing lots of HR is not 100% a result of the quality of his pitching. If Todd Coffey is the exact same pitcher in 2008, based on everything we know about pitchers and baseball, we would expect him to allow fewer HR in 2008.

    Let me take a simpler example. Free throws. I give you 5 free throws. You clank 1 off the back rim, 1 lips out, and 1 hits the backboard, then side rim and misses. You're shooting 40%. Now, based on that, I can say pretty definitively that you are responsible for that 40% FT%. However, if somebody watching you with me says, let's give him another 5 shots and asks me how many you're going to hit, I'm going to consider more information than just the fact that you were 2 for 5 last time. I'm going to look at your career FT%. I'm going to look at your form. I'm going to see if the wind was blowing. Bottom line, I'm not going to assume you're going to go 2 for 5 next time. That past performance is merely 1 data point among many to consider. Would you call me an apologist for suggesting that you're most likely to hit 3 of 5 next time?

    It's the same way with Todd Coffey's HR allowed. And now I'm trying to gather information about minor league systems so that I can be more objective than simply saying "we missed on Kazmir, Weaver, and Lincecum, therefore we're doomed for eternity."

    What frustrates me is that I think you are being more objective than that. I think you do have a sense of what's really going on behind the scenes. You see that things haven't changed substantially and thus feel that because the causes are still there, the outcome isn't likely to change. But for some reason you seem to averse to actually making that argument. It's easier to throw out an example or two and be done with it. I want more evidence before making my judgment and will take a neutral position until then. If that makes me an apologist, so be it.
    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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  3. #17
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Betterread View Post
    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.
    Thanks for the response BR. This is what I'm getting at. Can we distill it down in to a few categories and then rate organizations on how well they do those things? A best practices matrix of quality if you will? I think it would be a fascinating exercise. Flawed and subjective, certainly. But it would be a great talking point. What things matter and in what proportion. How can we measure ability to do those things? How do we measure success?
    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: What makes a good minor league system?

    I think you do have a sense of what's really going on behind the scenes.
    No one who posts regularly here has any idea what is going on behind the scenes.
    "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 lollipopcurve View Post
    No one who posts regularly here has any idea what is going on behind the scenes.
    Well, I certainly have very little -- hence my reluctance to pass judgment on people who haven't yet themselves failed. If claims about things not changing meaningfully behind the scenes are going to be made, I would hope that they would be based in something better than assumption. Placing the failures of the past Reds brass on the shoulders of the new just doesn't make sense to me. If the are bad policies, systems, decisions, or people currently in the organization, I'm sure we can discuss them specifically. If not, we should reserve judgment until we have evidence borne of results for which they are actually responsible.
    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: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    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.
    4 guys in 10 years (and Dunn and Kearns had plate discipline from the moment they were drafted - I'm not sure the Reds helped them that much) with Frazer and Janish added to that list. I'd like to see a larger number of examples. I want to see how the Reds can get Stubbs, Dickerson, Mesoraco, Soto, Valaika and Turner (all of whom show signs of plate discipline) to improve. Francisco is the big one. If he earns 50 walks or more and reduces his Ks so that they do not exceed hits total amount of hits, I'll give the Reds kudos.

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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
    4 guys in 10 years (and Dunn and Kearns had plate discipline from the moment they were drafted - I'm not sure the Reds helped them that much) with Frazer and Janish added to that list. I'd like to see a larger number of examples. I want to see how the Reds can get Stubbs, Dickerson, Mesoraco, Soto, Valaika and Turner (all of whom show signs of plate discipline) to improve. Francisco is the big one. If he earns 50 walks or more and reduces his Ks so that they do not exceed hits total amount of hits, I'll give the Reds kudos.
    I don't think its a lack of trying with Francisco. I recall several comments from the Dragons manager, both before and during the season about Francisco's inability to take a walk and how they wanted to work on it. I would be interested in some theories on how to help improve ones plate discipline. How would you go about working with someone on it?

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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    I don't think its a lack of trying with Francisco. I recall several comments from the Dragons manager, both before and during the season about Francisco's inability to take a walk and how they wanted to work on it. I would be interested in some theories on how to help improve ones plate discipline. How would you go about working with someone on it?
    I don't doubt that this was recognized by Dayton staff, but whatever they did about it wasn't enough in his case.
    Hitters with good plate discipline know what pitches and what pitch locations they can hit and what give them trouble. A lot of young players need help with this.
    For a start, get the data on all the pitches Francisco saw this year and show him where his strengths and weaknesses are. He needs to be aware of what pitches he misses. Then, he can work on both his strengths and weaknesses. After improvement has levelled off, then he has to work on what to do when he sees problem pitches. The offseason is a great time to parse this data with the player.

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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
    I don't doubt that this was recognized by Dayton staff, but whatever they did about it wasn't enough in his case.
    Hitters with good plate discipline know what pitches and what pitch locations they can hit and what give them trouble. A lot of young players need help with this.
    For a start, get the data on all the pitches Francisco saw this year and show him where his strengths and weaknesses are. He needs to be aware of what pitches he misses. Then, he can work on both his strengths and weaknesses. After improvement has levelled off, then he has to work on what to do when he sees problem pitches. The offseason is a great time to parse this data with the player.
    I think thats a great idea. My question is, do the Reds have that type of system in place with the video and charting that charts the types of pitches? While they probably know that he cant hit a _____ for the life of him, showing him lots of video on it would probably be a nice help. I think having him take BP against a veteran type pitcher who can throw a ton of different pitches (AAAA fodder type guys) and not actually swinging at anything, but having him identify the pitches as they come in would be something that would help him as well. The questions are though, do the Reds have that stuff available to the players and are they willing to make that available if they don't?

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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 dougdirt View Post
    I think thats a great idea. My question is, do the Reds have that type of system in place with the video and charting that charts the types of pitches? While they probably know that he cant hit a _____ for the life of him, showing him lots of video on it would probably be a nice help. I think having him take BP against a veteran type pitcher who can throw a ton of different pitches (AAAA fodder type guys) and not actually swinging at anything, but having him identify the pitches as they come in would be something that would help him as well. The questions are though, do the Reds have that stuff available to the players and are they willing to make that available if they don't?
    If you don't mind my grabbing your discussion and running with it, this is exactly the kind of thing I'd love to know. Do the Reds struggle with development because of institutional failure to use certain methods of instruction? Do other organizations who have experienced success do things differently? Is it a cost issue? A philosophy issue?

    Great stuff.
    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: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    If you don't mind my grabbing your discussion and running with it, this is exactly the kind of thing I'd love to know. Do the Reds struggle with development because of institutional failure to use certain methods of instruction? Do other organizations who have experienced success do things differently? Is it a cost issue? A philosophy issue?

    Great stuff.
    See that is the problem, we really don't have much of an idea of the kind of stuff the organization uses to develop players. I know exactly what and how I would do if I were a farm director and how I would go about things. How far that actually is from what goes on, I don't really have a clue.

    Really, unless we get someone on here with a lot more insight, all we are going to be left with is a bunch of unanswered questions.

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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    See that is the problem, we really don't have much of an idea of the kind of stuff the organization uses to develop players. I know exactly what and how I would do if I were a farm director and how I would go about things. How far that actually is from what goes on, I don't really have a clue.

    Really, unless we get someone on here with a lot more insight, all we are going to be left with is a bunch of unanswered questions.
    I'll take a shot at offering some insight. I'm not an expert by any measure but I can share what I've observed personally and what I have gleaned from conversations with several of the Reds minor league players. Here are my thoughts:

    First, the changes we we've seen in the minor league staffs (from the top down) over the last couple of years are meant to address some of those development issues. Its not just about Krivsky wanting "his own people" on board. Krivsky came from an organization who by necessity had become pretty good at developing young talent. Its no surprise to me that he's brought that mentality with him. Some of his decisions to let certain folks go have been met with mixed opinions (here on RZ and elsewhere) but it appears that some house cleaning has been needed.

    Second, a number of the development people haven't been doing their jobs. Players with reasonably good talent have stagnated because the development programs and instruction are not in place. Maybe its old school or a "cream will rise to the top mentality" but there has been a lot of show up and play going on with little individualized instruction going on during the season. It appears the changes that have been made are to put in place people who embrace a more istructional approach to the minors.
    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: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by princeton View Post
    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)
    what he said. minus the apology stuff.

    Redszone screamed when Gruler was taken. I, in my only redszone draft picked Lincecum 1st overall for the Royals. A lot of us wanted Weaver over Bailey. And we are all amateurs. IMO we were 3-3, and the Reds K'd 3 times.

    And yes, I should have read the rest of the thread before posting.
    Last edited by TRF; 01-04-2008 at 01:13 PM.
    Suck it up cupcake.

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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Perhaps 2004 and 2005 are aberrations as far as minor league acquisitions are concerned.

    2006 seems to have been from all accounts a weak class, and the jury is still out on 2007, but the 1st round pick of a catcher that struggled to hit doesn't look good. Some of the Reds better minor leaguers are gone for no return, like Medlock. The Reds gave up on Miguel Perez after rehabbing him from a most odd injury of removing a rib. He was starting to hit too.

    Sometimes it seems as if there is no plan. Krivsky says he doesn't want to rush development, then rushes Bailey and Cueto. Both needed a year at AA and AAA respectively.Cueto might be ready for a year in AAA in '08. Bailey needs to tear up AAA for a June callup. He'll likely be in the Reds rotation out of ST instead. Minor Leaguers are shuffled like deckhands. get rid of Harris, get Keoppinger. Same player, so why make the move?

    I don't think the Reds are a good organization yet. Maybe Krivsky will make it one, but he seems to have ADD at times.
    Suck it up cupcake.

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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    You see that things haven't changed substantially and thus feel that because the causes are still there, the outcome isn't likely to change. But for some reason you seem to averse to actually making that argument.
    I constantly make that argument.


    I like to predict, to project, and to make fast decisions. you seem to prefer to argue that we just don't know everything, and to stick with broken things for years in hopes that they'll right themselves. Certainly with this approach, you're less likely to toss out a baby with the bathwater. I just can't believe that there's a baby in that cesspool. More importantly, I find this approach pretty boring in a chatroom. Take a stance, be willing to be wrong, don't argue against everyone's predictions. And if someone takes Linecum over Stubbs (which I did NOT), pat them on the back and say you da man, because that was a righteous choice no matter what Stubbs goes on to do. Effective young pitching always ranks.

    I suspect that successful GMs are great fortune-tellers, not great "wait-and-see" guys. My track record on projecting the busts within the 19-20 year-old set shocks even me, but I don't think that it's due to any great skill on my part, rather I think that it's due to the Reds' very predictable developmental ineptitudes. If they ain't got "it" when they arrive, they ain't going to get it here.

    I'm detecting signs that the Reds at least now seem to understand that the developmental program is a huge problem, but they've acted V-E-R-Y slowly to fix it. I think that they were stunned by Homer Bailey's problems enough to cash out Naehring, finally. They are dangling Homer now, when he was a no-touch very recently. They can't really sack Terry Reynolds since he brought in two of the "4", but he was a very odd choice for that job, which demanded a long, successful track record. Finally, the fact that they brought up Homer when he really wasn't dominating suggests that some of the same problems will occur. We'll see. Most of the other pitchers haven't been pushed severely, so I'm not getting a full picture yet.

    Chris Buckley will help development some because he's providing more players that aren't clear stinkers, even if he hasn't scored in the first round yet. But I suspect that we'll still have many more than our fair share of those that fail-to-thrive. Both Krivsky and Buckley are adding really tall pitchers, at the expense of short RHPers, so it's nice to see that they're on the same page.

    your free throw analogy is a poor one. Coffey didn't shoot 2 out of 5, for a full season he served meatballs like he was the Olive Garden. I agree that he won't do this again-- he'll be released first. His performance, and the short halflife of hefty RHPers in general, suggests a drastic change. Weight loss and yoga are my prescription.

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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by princeton View Post
    I constantly make that argument.


    I like to predict, to project, and to make fast decisions. you seem to prefer to argue that we just don't know everything, and to stick with broken things for years in hopes that they'll right themselves. Certainly with this approach, you're less likely to toss out a baby with the bathwater. I just can't believe that there's a baby in that cesspool. More importantly, I find this approach pretty boring in a chatroom. Take a stance, be willing to be wrong, don't argue against everyone's predictions. And if someone takes Linecum over Stubbs (which I did NOT), pat them on the back and say you da man, because that was a righteous choice no matter what Stubbs goes on to do. Effective young pitching always ranks.

    I suspect that successful GMs are great fortune-tellers, not great "wait-and-see" guys. My track record on projecting the busts within the 19-20 year-old set shocks even me, but I don't think that it's due to any great skill on my part, rather I think that it's due to the Reds' very predictable developmental ineptitudes. If they ain't got "it" when they arrive, they ain't going to get it here.

    I'm detecting signs that the Reds at least now seem to understand that the developmental program is a huge problem, but they've acted V-E-R-Y slowly to fix it. I think that they were stunned by Homer Bailey's problems enough to cash out Naehring, finally. They are dangling Homer now, when he was a no-touch very recently. They can't really sack Terry Reynolds since he brought in two of the "4", but he was a very odd choice for that job, which demanded a long, successful track record. Finally, the fact that they brought up Homer when he really wasn't dominating suggests that some of the same problems will occur. We'll see. Most of the other pitchers haven't been pushed severely, so I'm not getting a full picture yet.

    Chris Buckley will help development some because he's providing more players that aren't clear stinkers, even if he hasn't scored in the first round yet. But I suspect that we'll still have many more than our fair share of those that fail-to-thrive. Both Krivsky and Buckley are adding really tall pitchers, at the expense of short RHPers, so it's nice to see that they're on the same page.

    your free throw analogy is a poor one. Coffey didn't shoot 2 out of 5, for a full season he served meatballs like he was the Olive Garden. I agree that he won't do this again-- he'll be released first. His performance, and the short halflife of hefty RHPers in general, suggests a drastic change. Weight loss and yoga are my prescription.
    Coffey's lost the weight, and a lot of it if the reports are to be believed. I think he's due for a solid rebound.
    Suck it up cupcake.


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