Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
luismatos4prez

Rethinking Minor League Baseball

Recommended Posts

I have a lot of disconnected, disorganized thoughts on this subject.  I like Tony's suggestions, or at least the acknowledgment of the idea that there are alternate ways of developing players that might be more efficient or at least more cost-effective.

A few points:

- I've never thought that the current setup was optimal, but rather formed by a series of events more related to economics than player development.  In the beginning all minor league teams were just like major league teams except in small cities.  Only in the 1920s, and then accelerating in the 30s because of the Depression, did the majors start buying up the minors and turning them into development squads instead of teams trying to draw fans and win their pennant.  For 50+ years MLB teams didn't have any full-time affiliates.  That was probably less successful at wringing out all the talent, but MLB got along just fine.  The majors wanted to own the minors to keeps costs down.  They got tired of having to pay $100k for Lefty Grove after a protracted negotiation with Oriole owner Jack Dunn.  Much easier if they just owned Jack Dunn and all the rest of the Orioles.

- I think one reason for the sprawling system we have today is MLB contracts, options, and related issues.  I think most good prospects would do just fine as part-time major league players at 20 or 22.  They spend that time in the minors because nobody wants to burn service time.  We've convinced ourselves that prospects would stall if they were utility infielders or relievers at 18 or 20.  But we don't know that, in fact we know many successful MLB players did just that in the pre-draft era, and some even became MLB stars as teenagers.  If service time wasn't a thing (for example, if everyone became a free agent at 28), I think lots of players would shoot through the minors in record time.  And there would be much less need for eight levels of affiliates.

- Japan has one level of minors.  I don't know that this is seen as any kind of impediment to development.  Ichiro was in the NPB as a teenager.  They do have more teenagers in the NBP than we see in the US.  But they also don't get to free agency until something like eight or nine years in, so they don't care as much about service time.

- Mexico, Korea, Taiwan, the rest of the world... no minors at all.  At least in any cases I know of.  Of course they top out at the equivalent of A or AA levels, so not quite the same.  But nobody else has the resources to have huge, sprawling development systems.  Maybe not optimal, but the world doesn't end when you regularly have 18-year-olds playing alongside 36-year-olds.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good points Drungo! I like the idea of working backwards from the desired outcomes of a system.

Goal 1: Service time should no longer be a deciding factor in free agency or player promotion. I think automatic free agency after the age 27 season would be good (or after age 23 if they've never made it to the majors), with a better compensation system worked out between the team that signs and the team that loses the guy in free agency. Maybe a % of the contract value?

Goal 2: Significantly reduce the bloated, inefficient system. Limit minor league affiliates to 2 full season teams, 1 short season team, and whatever overseas academies they want. Pay the minor leaguers better. Cut the draft in half (20 rounds).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/12/2019 at 1:19 AM, Frobby said:

Fascinating.    Of course, the two articles are talking past each other.   The first is positing that major league teams could develop players just as well or better without having so many layers of minor league teams and so many “supporting” players who will never play Major League Baseball.    The second is not really disputing that point; it’s arguing that minor league baseball is enjoyed by fans who like going to relatively high level baseball games regardless of whether that set-up is the most efficient way to develop major league players.    So both articles can be right, and probably are.    

I’ll say this: there’s no one size fits all for player development.    Some players need very little time and benefit from constantly being challenged.    Others take longer and need time and space to develop their skills.    A team probably could cut 50% of its farm system and personnel and still yield 80% of the major league talent that’s yielded today, but the 20% would never get discovered.

Of that 20% would any be in the top 40% of MLB baseball players? Over a three year average. There is always a fluke guy or two every season. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, weams said:

Of that 20% would any be in the top 40% of MLB baseball players? Over a three year average. There is always a fluke guy or two every season. 

You might lose a Yaz or two.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Frobby said:

You might lose a Yaz or two.

Mike was a 14th rounder out of Vanderbilt. Certainly some upside must have been seen there.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, weams said:

Mike was a 14th rounder out of Vanderbilt. Certainly some upside must have been seen there.  

My point is simply that with fewer minor league teams, clubs would be making decisions more quickly about who to keep and who to let go.   So you might miss some slow  developers.    You might not hold on to guys who stalled at AA/AAA for 2-3 years.    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Frobby said:

My point is simply that with fewer minor league teams, clubs would be making decisions more quickly about who to keep and who to let go.   So you might miss some slow  developers.    You might not hold on to guys who stalled at AA/AAA for 2-3 years.    

Got it. Good thought. Max Muncy types too. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This thread really takes an MLB owner's type of perspective. It's about what's most efficient for the ML team.

I get it, but I for one don't want MLB to fundamentally re-think MiLB. I like that towns like Salisbury, Frederick and Norfolk have teams. I think it keeps fans interested in their regional teams and in players that end up on other teams. I agree that it could be more efficient, but I suspect the current inefficiency also has benefits (e.g., spreading out the game beyond major metropolitan areas) that most don't really talk about. I wonder, for example, what happened in terms of merchandise sales and TV ratings for the Braves when they left Richmond. I have no idea, but imagine (speculate) there was some effect which will grow over time. 

If MiLB were much smaller, I suppose college baseball as a replacement could be something more than it is today. I kind of doubt it, but It's a theory at least. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Frobby said:

My point is simply that with fewer minor league teams, clubs would be making decisions more quickly about who to keep and who to let go.   So you might miss some slow  developers.    You might not hold on to guys who stalled at AA/AAA for 2-3 years.    

If guys like Yaz or Means got cut in this scenario, they wouldn't necessarily retire. Fewer minor league clubs would lead to a rise in overseas and independent baseball. Maybe the Long Island Ducks' league becomes bigger and more legit. The Mexican league would rise in quality. Maybe some leagues pop up in South America.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/12/2019 at 12:34 AM, luismatos4prez said:

Two interesting articles came out this week:

Do We Even Need Minor League Baseball? - the title is a bit sensationalized but has a good critique of how the Minor League system overall works. Good examples of how players improve nowadays. Walker Buehler's quotes were interesting.

 

A player like John Means would probably never make it to the majors if they changed things as suggested in the article.  

I get the idea that you have better competition and need fewer levels if you only have the best players in the minors.  But it seems baseball is so bad at identifying that good players at a young age that the system suggested won't be ideal. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/20/2019 at 9:45 AM, Frobby said:

My point is simply that with fewer minor league teams, clubs would be making decisions more quickly about who to keep and who to let go.   So you might miss some slow  developers.    You might not hold on to guys who stalled at AA/AAA for 2-3 years.    

You wouldn't even draft guys or have them on teams.  A guy like Hader wouldn't be drafted and perhaps just goes on and does something else with his life.  If baseball was good enough to implement this system there wouldn't be so many high round draft picks that succeed.

The NBA has everything figured out and they only need 2 rounds of a draft.  When they had more rounds of draft next to no one made it from later rounds.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎9‎/‎20‎/‎2019 at 9:45 AM, Frobby said:

My point is simply that with fewer minor league teams, clubs would be making decisions more quickly about who to keep and who to let go.   So you might miss some slow  developers.    You might not hold on to guys who stalled at AA/AAA for 2-3 years.    

They would play in Indy ball.  They'd be getting paid the same anyways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎9‎/‎20‎/‎2019 at 1:24 PM, LookinUp said:

This thread really takes an MLB owner's type of perspective. It's about what's most efficient for the ML team.

I get it, but I for one don't want MLB to fundamentally re-think MiLB. I like that towns like Salisbury, Frederick and Norfolk have teams. I think it keeps fans interested in their regional teams and in players that end up on other teams. I agree that it could be more efficient, but I suspect the current inefficiency also has benefits (e.g., spreading out the game beyond major metropolitan areas) that most don't really talk about. I wonder, for example, what happened in terms of merchandise sales and TV ratings for the Braves when they left Richmond. I have no idea, but imagine (speculate) there was some effect which will grow over time. 

If MiLB were much smaller, I suppose college baseball as a replacement could be something more than it is today. I kind of doubt it, but It's a theory at least. 

I think these teams/towns you speak of would be indy leagues, if MLB didn't try to force a monopoly.  I think teams would go defunct, but others would be successful in maintaining an Indy league status.  And there would be enough "talent" with the minors depleted. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, jarman86 said:

They would play in Indy ball.  They'd be getting paid the same anyways.

How would they be getting paid the same? Indy ball is 600 to a grand for four or five months a year. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

Orioles Information


Orioles News and Information

Daily Organizational Boxscores

News

Tony's Takes

Orioles Roster Resource

Orioles Prospect Information

2018 End of Season Top 30 Prospects List

Prospect Scouting Reports

Statistics

2019 Orioles Stats

2019 Orioles Minor League Stats

Baseball Savant Stats







×
×
  • Create New...