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Thread: What makes a good minor league system?

  1. #31
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    A lot of us wanted Weaver over Bailey. And we are all amateurs.
    Who can magically sign draftees for free!

    The Reds have almost always had a policy not to give major league contracts or well-over-slot bonuses to draftees. The decision not to draft Weaver came a long time before they selected Bailey.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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  3. #32
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by lollipopcurve View Post
    Who can magically sign draftees for free!

    The Reds have almost always had a policy not to give major league contracts or well-over-slot bonuses to draftees. The decision not to draft Weaver came a long time before they selected Bailey.
    Doesn't matter. The Reds messed up. So what if they give a college draftee a major league deal, pay way higher than slot money (he got more than the guy before him and after him combined and almost double what Bailey got). Bailey took longer to get there, obviously won't ever be good enough to warrant his taking, was a high school pitcher taken in the top 10, so he is bound to fail, was a pitcher drafted by the Reds so he is bound to fail (which means we shouldn't have taken Weaver either), so really the Reds should have drafted Billy Butler, Stephen Drew, Hunter Pence or Dustin Pedroia.

    And yes, that was TONS of sarcasm.

  4. #33
    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
    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.
    Well, the problem I have is the difference between identifying failure and identifying solutions. I'm all for change. But you're right -- I want to know what I'm changing, why I'm changing it, and what I think the effect of that change will be. We can all see the failures that have occurred. You've enumerated a handful of them. What I haven't seen are recommendations of prescriptive changes to address those problems. I wanted Lincecum and was quite vocal about it. I disliked the Stubbs pick then and now. But that's neither here nor there. I'm not interested in patting people on the back (or being patted) for being right in retrospect.

    The point of this thread in particular is to try and understand why the Reds picked Stubbs over Lincecum. What was their process for that selection and what does it tell us about the quality of the organization? What does that tell us about how they're going to draft in the future. How do successful organizations draft, by comparison?

    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.
    It's not "fortune-telling". There's not some magic ball. Good GMs aren't just baseball mystics. It's guys who synthesize information well -- be that intuitively, with computer assistance, or both.

    Projecting bust prospects is likely projecting lottery losers. We all are pretty darn good at it. Pointing out that the Reds have problems in player developing isn't great insight. I could project right now that 90% of the Reds draft picks will never reach the majors and I'll be really close to being right every single year. And yet, some teams do draft better and develop better. Why?

    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.
    An interesting paragraph with some nice observations. You've identified that you feel the upper level brass was not previously aware of the systematic failure of player development. This suggests that organizational communication and collaborative planning are trademarks of a well functioning organization. These are the kinds of things I'm looking for. What activities/decisions are done by a good organization and how the do the Reds stack up? This is a good example. However, you're "detecting signs" and "not getting the full picture yet". I don't get why you have to make this seem like some mystic exercise. Is it really that to site specific examples and cases?

    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.
    Ah! More actual insight. Another one of the problems you've identified is that in the past, the Reds have drafted poorly, picking players who simply lack the talent to become good ballplayers. This is in isolation of how that player developed. Furthermore, player development people and GM have been at odds with the types of players drafted -- a philosophical difference which led to inefficient (or non-existent) development strategy. Given the development problems you identified earlier, picking a guy who needed a lot of development (like Bailey) instead of a guy who was nearly good to go (like Weaver) made little sense.

    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.
    See, the thing, it's not. A "full season" for a reliever is simply not that large of a sample. 51 innings pitched is a small sample, particularly when looking at a relatively rare outcome like HR allowed. There is a ton of room for variance here that has little or nothing to do with how well the guy actually throws the ball. This is THE problem which leads to reliever over-analysis and subsequent overreaction. It's that kind of thinking that led to the Rheal Cormier trade. He had a 1.59 ERA in 34.0 innings (including just 2 HR allowed) -- he must be a good pitcher now! It's not that I don't like change. It's that I don't like change based on reaction to bad outcome as opposed to bad process. I don't like overreaction to problems that aren't really the result of something bad (or good), but of bad (or good) luck. Todd Coffey doesn't have to change a darn thing and chances are he'll allow significantly fewer homers next year. That's the whole point. I want him to lose weight too, but attributing his HR issues in 2007 primarily to his weight is downright silly. It's coming up with an explanation because we feel like we have to do something. Coffey had a higher groundball % and higher strikeout rate in 2007 than in 2006. Why didn his weight only affect his HR rate? Oh, nevermind, I see it affected his BABIP too.....

    I imagine that if you were a manager, you'd be a small ball guy all the way. You don't want to wait for the 3 run homer. You'd want to make it happen on the basepaths. Actively sacrifice the guy in to scoring position -- don't wait for a hit or a walk or risk the chance of an unproductive out. You wouldn't want your guys work deep in to counts to get a good pitch, but rather put the ball in play and make something happen at the first opportunity. Maybe I'm wrong, but that seems to be the type of thinking going on.

    You're providing the kind of thoughts and insights I'm curious about, but it's like pulling teeth. I don't fear change. I just want rational decision making, evaluation, suggestions, projections, etc. "It was bad, change it." simply isn't good enough. Change is good. But change for the sake of change has never appealed to me and likely never will.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 01-04-2008 at 02:24 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.

  5. #34
    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
    Who can magically sign draftees for free!

    The Reds have almost always had a policy not to give major league contracts or well-over-slot bonuses to draftees. The decision not to draft Weaver came a long time before they selected Bailey.
    Which begs the question, is that a smart policy? Do winning organizations adhere to that policy?
    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
    It's not "fortune-telling". There's not some magic ball. Good GMs aren't just baseball mystics. It's guys who synthesize information well.
    of course it's fortune-telling. It's learning to synthesize information well to project the future of ballplayers, long in advance. If you do it well, you win a lot of trades if not a lot of games. And it's fun, and it's a little bit scary.

    You want all of the information, you want to find it inside a chatroom, and even if you get the information you'll question it-- "but what does THAT mean?" You'll be paralyzed to do anything.

    Take what you've got, make a prediction-- the less likely, the better-- and see how good you are.

    Here's one that I made LONG ago before anyone even on this board had heard of Todd Coffey: Todd Coffey has a ceiling as the fourth guy out of the bullpen, and will have a short career because overweight guys don't last long.


    I heard one the other day: Eric Bedard = Dave Burba. I love it. THAT'S a prediction. I doubt it will come to pass, but it could be right. I've seen guys that just didn't blossom. Who thought that Austin Kearns wouldn't blossom? Not me. can you imagine what we could have traded the guy for at one time? and it made sense to trade him, because we NEEDED pitching. It's important to know who those guys are BEFORE they don't blossom.

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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Which begs the question, is that a smart policy? Do winning organizations adhere to that policy?
    Exactly. Several of us have identified this policy as a significant problem for years.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

  8. #37
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by lollipopcurve View Post
    Exactly. Several of us have identified this policy as a significant problem for years.
    Considering how far that Rick Porcello fell this year, I would say that a majority of teams go by such a policy.

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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Considering how far that Rick Porcello fell this year, I would say that a majority of teams go by such a policy.
    This is correct. Which makes the policy that much more understandable, but also that much more frustrating, since it would be so easy to get better domestic talent than much of the opposition.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

  10. #39
    Ya can't teach speed... Triples's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    This is really one of the more interesting threads I've read on RZ in a while. A lot of good points have been made. Going back to the title of the thread "what makes a good minor league system" I would have to make the argument that it's not as much predicting talent as it is developing talent.

    There have been a number of arguments already made that prediciting talent is both art and science but also highly dubious. That is, even the best prognosticators on talent are wrong a lot more than they are right (but baseball is predicated on failure anyway). I would go on to argue that the difference between guys that make a contribution at the major league level and those that top out at AAA or even AA is very slight. If the talent of a major leaguer fits nicely in a five gallon bucket; all you have to do is dip out a cup full and you would have a AAA player. How incredibly difficult would be be to see that difference when a kid is 18-21 years old? (with some obvious exceptions, ie Jay Bruce.)

    So, if my arguement that there is are only minor differences in talent is even partly correct, then how is it that some clubs seem to consistently have strong minor league systems while others seem to continually flail around like a beached tuna? The most obvious reason in my mind is that the success minor league systems are based on not just on drafting talent but also put a high priority on developing that talent.

    With that said, I would still maintain that the Reds have made moves since Krivsky has come on board that signal a move toward developing talent rather than just drafting talent and then see what floats to the top.
    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


  11. #40
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    It seems we sometimes focus too much on domestic prospects. Isn't it a huge advantage to double your population by adding guys from Latin America, Asia, etc.? It seems that has been a problem for the Reds as well...
    "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."

  12. #41
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    I think you've got a good minor league system if you can consistently count on it providing you with 1 ML Glove/Bat and 1 ML arm per year.

    Whether that glove/bat and arm are via development or trade doesn't really matter.

    It's nice if those players are impact / All-Star type players. But they don't have to be. A constant supply of solid every day players is just fine.

    Anything beyond that is gravy.

  13. #42
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by princeton View Post
    of course it's fortune-telling. It's learning to synthesize information well to project the future of ballplayers, long in advance. If you do it well, you win a lot of trades if not a lot of games. And it's fun, and it's a little bit scary.

    You want all of the information, you want to find it inside a chatroom, and even if you get the information you'll question it-- "but what does THAT mean?" You'll be paralyzed to do anything.

    Take what you've got, make a prediction-- the less likely, the better-- and see how good you are.
    I guess we simply have different purposes. You like playing predictatron and seeing how well you do. I want to understand why things happen so that I can be better at playing predictatron next time.

    "Fortune-telling" implies a whole lot of BS with very little actual information involved. I can predict that you'll have eggs with hot sauce tomorrow morning. Now THAT's a prediction. Tomorrow afternoon, tell me if I was right or not. It will be fun!

    Here's one that I made LONG ago before anyone even on this board had heard of Todd Coffey: Todd Coffey has a ceiling as the fourth guy out of the bullpen, and will have a short career because overweight guys don't last long.
    Overweight guys don't last long. Really? You mean like David Wells? Bob Wickman? CC Sabathia? Bartolo Colon? Fernando Valenzuela? You predict that he has a certain ceiling and want to claim victory when he's 26 years old and barely arb eligible. We won't know what ceiling he reaches until his career is over, sorry. Then you blame his struggles on his weight, and yet show no evidence whatsoever that any struggles he's experienced are weight related.

    I heard one the other day: Eric Bedard = Dave Burba. I love it. THAT'S a prediction. I doubt it will come to pass, but it could be right. I've seen guys that just didn't blossom. Who thought that Austin Kearns wouldn't blossom? Not me. can you imagine what we could have traded the guy for at one time? and it made sense to trade him, because we NEEDED pitching. It's important to know who those guys are BEFORE they don't blossom.
    That's a prediction alright. Adam Dunn will hit 75 HR in 2014. There's a prediction too. What's your point? Predictions are really easy to come by. You don't have to know a darn thing to make them. I want to understand why things happen so that I can make informed predictions that are more likely to be accurate.

    And don't confuse asking another question with inaction. I'll continue to act on the information available to me while I gather more. For example, the information I have available to me says that Todd Coffey is likely to rebound a bit in 2008 for 2 reasons

    1.) He was unlucky both in terms of a hit rate relative to the types of batted balls he allowed and HR per fly ball. There is a copious evidence supporting the claim.
    2.) He'll be 27 years old and in his 4th ML season and pitchers tend to improve at that age and at that place in their career.

    You think he's doomed to 4th middle relieverdom for 1 reason:
    1.) He's fat.

    We can both make our predictions, but I'm more comfortable with the reasoning underpinning mine. Your action might be to cut Coffey loose. Mine would be to give him more innings to allow that variance issue to play out. You equate a decision to gather more data while allowing those events to continue as inaction. It is an action. It's not sitting on my hands. It's simply not the action you support.

    If you have a stock and it's struggled, do you automatically sell it and invest in something else? Of course not. There are things to consider. Maybe the fundamentals are diving, you have good, evidenced backed reasons to believe it will continue to dive, and so you choose to sell. Maybe you aren't quite sure what's going on, so you choose to hold tight while you do some more research. Or maybe you look at the company, seem good fundamentals and think that the market is undervaluing, so you hold on and ride it out.

    You seem to want to equate the choice not to sell (your personal gut choice) with inaction. I'm taking action. That action, in regards to the Reds minor league system is gathering more information so that I can make an informed decision on what should be changed and how. I'm not sure why you have a problem with that. The only thing worse than sitting tight while you gather more info is making an uninformed change and making things worse.

    You seem to feel like you have all the information you need to start making changes. I'm curious what specfic changes you'd make to the way the Reds do business in the minor leagues.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 01-04-2008 at 03:44 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.

  14. #43
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Doesn't matter. The Reds messed up. So what if they give a college draftee a major league deal, pay way higher than slot money (he got more than the guy before him and after him combined and almost double what Bailey got). Bailey took longer to get there, obviously won't ever be good enough to warrant his taking, was a high school pitcher taken in the top 10, so he is bound to fail, was a pitcher drafted by the Reds so he is bound to fail (which means we shouldn't have taken Weaver either), so really the Reds should have drafted Billy Butler, Stephen Drew, Hunter Pence or Dustin Pedroia.

    And yes, that was TONS of sarcasm.
    oh brother.

    No the Reds had a chance to do 2 things, draft a position of need and get a pitcher that was close to major league ready. Bailey met only one of those criteria. And go ahead and ignore Lincecum/Stubbs too. Kazmir was the consensus pick by everyone with a pulse over Gruler.

    The point is the Reds fail in two areas pretty consistently.
    1. Identify the right talent
    2. develop said talent
    2004-05 The Reds acquired some top level talent. Bailey, Cueto, Bruce. They developed another from the previous regime: Votto. Krivsky has added Volquez and to a lesser extent Maloney, but the guys he's added are at AA and AAA. That's good, but the development was done for the Reds. Cueto and Bailey were on very accelerated paths. A little too accelerated as far as I am concerned.
    Suck it up cupcake.

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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by *BaseClogger* View Post
    It seems we sometimes focus too much on domestic prospects. Isn't it a huge advantage to double your population by adding guys from Latin America, Asia, etc.? It seems that has been a problem for the Reds as well...

    Reds lost their guy there. He went to Atlanta. We'll lag in Latin America as a result. Fortunately, the depth in the domestic draft has been good, so I don't think that it'll be too big of a problem. Could have been better, though.

  16. #45
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    Re: What makes a good minor league system?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I guess we simply have different purposes. You like playing predictatron and seeing how well you do. I want to understand why things happen so that I can be better at playing predictatron next time..
    if you can't predict, you can't understand. it's the scientific method. observation, hypothesis, test. It leads to understanding of parts of the universe.

    You ask questions, which is great. But good scientists form a hypothesis even if they know that their knowledge is limited, because it is ALWAYS limited. You don't form a hypothesis, and you really never test. the value of this is very limited.


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