Do We Even Need MiLB?

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Joe Shlabotnik
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Do We Even Need MiLB?

Post by Joe Shlabotnik »

Do we even need minor league baseball?

Jeff Luhnow leading the re-think of MiLB structure. Letting him go seems more like the Steve Carlton trade every day.
“For the baseball people, it was a feeling that it was better to concentrate the coaching resources. We were trying to support a bunch of players that had a less than one percent chance of making the major leagues,” said an ex-Astros official whose current team didn’t grant him permission to speak to us.

The Astros felt comfortable cutting the teams in part because of data harvested from new tech. Since turning over the vast majority of their player development staff and minor league coaches under GM Jeffrey Luhnow, the Astros feel they have become better at identifying which players have a chance to rise through their system.

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Big Amoco Sign
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Re: Do We Even Need MiLB?

Post by Big Amoco Sign »

Damn good article.

The Walker Buehler comments were interesting.

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go birds
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Re: Do We Even Need MiLB?

Post by go birds »

good article

i've wondered for a long time why there needs to be so many minor league affiliates--just seems like overkill.

and what buehler says makes sense...it could actually be hindering development.

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Big Amoco Sign
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Re: Do We Even Need MiLB?

Post by Big Amoco Sign »

go birds wrote:good article

i've wondered for a long time why there needs to be so many minor league affiliates--just seems like overkill.

and what buehler says makes sense...it could actually be hindering development.
Part of it is that it's revenue for MLB and small towns.

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JoeMcKim
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Re: Do We Even Need MiLB?

Post by JoeMcKim »

A lot of minor leaguers never make the majors but having so many extra levels gives young players to increasingly move up against tougher competition without being rushed to a level they're not ready for yet. Especially for high school players if you only had a AA and AAA levels those players would be forced to go against tougher competition then they would be ready for at that point in time.

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pioneer98
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Re: Do We Even Need MiLB?

Post by pioneer98 »

That was a very interesting read. Interestingly, the White Sox have most of their MiLB teams within a couple hour drive of each other in the Carolinas so they can utilize a lot of the same coaching specialists for all those levels. Pitching coaches, hitting coaches, scouts, etc. It's not a stretch to think other teams will try that.

This trend is going to have drawbacks though. Baseball is at risk of becoming boring, or should I say more boring than it already is?
MLB’s approach to the minor leagues is ripe for change in part because of how much data can be collected off the field these days. Independent hitting instructor Doug Latta tells his clients that they “don’t need much space to get better,” as improving via reps, video analysis and ball-tracking tech lessens the need for a player to play in regulation games. Latta worked with Marlon Byrd, Justin Turner and Hunter Pence in various storage-like facilities just before they changed their approach at the plate and improved their performance. Cody Bellinger was already a good major league player but became great this season after he changed his swing in similar modest spaces last winter. While batting cages have existed since Rickey invented them, they’ve never been the feedback machines they are today when outfitted with ball-, bat- and body-tracking tech.
Players are becoming baseball-playing robots. There are so many players now that are clones. Guys that hit 20-25 HR/year, hit .270 and are athletic enough to field a position pretty well. They are often utterly clueless about things that take experience and "feel" for the game, such as baserunning. There are no sensors that can tell you when to go for the extra base.

If MLB is in the business of creating the perfect baseball player, and making all players as close as they can to that perfect player, then all of this is good. If they are in the business of entertaining people, then all of this is not necessarily good. Keep shrinking the number of minor league teams. Youth baseball is continuing to shrink and has been for years. Make all the players start to conform as much as possible to one way of playing, one set of skills. Baseball is at risk of becoming a weird old-timey relic like Opera or Orchestra. Rich, old people appreciate these things when they are done well and that's about it.

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pioneer98
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Re: Do We Even Need MiLB?

Post by pioneer98 »

go birds wrote:good article

i've wondered for a long time why there needs to be so many minor league affiliates--just seems like overkill.

and what buehler says makes sense...it could actually be hindering development.
What he said about the current setup of minor leagues maybe hindering development might be right. But the second part of the quote about "preying on their dreams" only makes sense because minor leaguers are so horribly underpaid. Who the hell wouldn't want to play baseball for a living, even if it was only like $40K/year or something? In baseball you could be better than 99.99% of the players on the planet, but get paid less than minimum wage...despite there being high demand for what you do. Someone who is in the top like 0.01% of their field ought to be able to make a living doing it, and people should get the opportunity to see someone that good play, too. It would be sad to just lose all that.

So if you abolish the minors and have all real development occur within MLB baseball academies...then give all the other cities losing their minor league teams independent leagues, hopefully where they could pay players more. Abolish the anti-trust exemption too.

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CardsofSTL
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Re: Do We Even Need MiLB?

Post by CardsofSTL »

I love going to minor league ballgames. Plus Bull Durham doesn't make sense as a movie concept without the minors.

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pioneer98
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Re: Do We Even Need MiLB?

Post by pioneer98 »

Ol' double birds said it way better than me.

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ghostrunner
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Re: Do We Even Need MiLB?

Post by ghostrunner »

I don't think it's coincidence that this comes up as more attention is being drawn to minor league salaries, which are pitiful.

Apparently minor league baseball is actually making money, though I'm sure that would be affected if salaries went up.

I'd be ok with independent teams, but it seems like you need some sort of formal league with cost and revenue sharing because you're going to have places where teams aren't doing as well or attendance is lower, but you probably need some of those teams to help fill out a schedule.

Also - hitting and pitching are mentioned in that article, but fielding is not. I presume because you can't get adequate training for that off the field. To me that's the best and most exciting part of baseball. If it becomes all about hitters and pitchers, I'm not sure I'm into that.

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