It seems like Katz writes a whiny article like this every couple months or so. I know he probably gets tired of watching a loser but doing what's best for the player is the most important thing.
Dragons moving up; team making little progress
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By Marc Katz
the Dayton Daily News
Thursday, June 05, 2008
All of a sudden, players are moving up in the Cincinnati Reds farm system at warp speed.
Those times of being patient to a fault seem to be over.
That's a good thing for the players, and a good thing for the Reds. It's a bad thing for the Class A Dayton Dragons ... a very bad thing.
With the best players moving ahead quicker, teams in the low minors are having a problem finding a way to win.
"In the last couple years, our system's gotten stronger," said Reds farm director Terry Reynolds. "We have more players that have the ability to move."
Players are moved up for two reasons. One, they're considered good enough to be successful at the next level. Two, there's a need for a certain position player or pitcher at the next level. For instance, when shortstop Chris Valaika was moved from "high" A Sarasota to AA, Todd Frazier was moved from the Dragons to Sarasota. Frazier was hitting .321 with the Dragons, and no one on the team now is close to that kind of batting average. The Dragons were in first place when Frazier was here. They're virtually out of contention now.
"We're not trying to win championships in the minor leagues," Reynolds said. "If that happens, that's a great benefit. Our goal is to create big leaguers, and you do that by promoting players when you feel they're ready, or if you have a need on a club to fill a spot."
Reynolds said there are three possible ways for Dayton to get better: improvement of players already here, two to four players still at extended spring training and the two-day draft that begins today, June 5.
"The way kids get better and grow is they go through some tough times," Reynolds said. "Guys who can handle adversity move up. Those who don't, move out."
Reynolds is in only his second season as farm director, so maybe he didn't notice the adversity the system has already been through. For instance, the Dragons failed to make the playoffs four straight seasons before last year's team made it. That's tough to do, since four of the six teams in Dayton's division make the postseason.
And while last year's Dragons team was a good one, as Reynolds points out, by the time the playoffs arrived, the best players had already been moved up. Again, good for the players, but a fine slap in the face for the most well-attended team in the Reds' organization.
Even two years ago when Jay Bruce, Paul Janish and John Cueto — now all with the Reds — played on the Dragons, they didn't make the playoffs. Maybe that's why the Reds are working on an eighth straight losing season. In the minors, their culture is to develop the players. Team championships appear to be an afterthought.
That might not be the best way to go.