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Let's Talk a Little About Competitive Balance in Youth Baseball

Discussion in 'Coaches Corner' started by LoweTek, Jan 15, 2018.

  1. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    It's going to be difficult to make this description brief but I'll try.

    This is 10U rec league. For years the league has been trying to address the competitive balance issue brought on by manager's and coach's kids. A Manager automatically gets his kid on his team and his Coach's kid on his team and his other Coach's kid, how does that impact the draft, competitive balance, etc.?

    So this is the process they decided:
    1. All Managers and one named Coach per team participate in player evaluations (5 teams, 10 evaluators)
    2. All players, including Manager and Coach kids, must participate in evaluations and give best effort
    3. Everyone (theoretically) objectively rates each kid in 5 skill areas on a scale of 1-5
    4. If a Manager or Coach kid does not participate in the assessment, he is scored a 25
    5. All scores are totaled, combined and averaged then a player rank list is released
    6. The list is divided into (draft) rounds with 5 players in each draft round based on their average score
    7. If a Manager's kid ranks in the first round, the team is required to pick him with their first round pick
    8. Coach's kid same thing etc., two first rounder kids, lose second round pick as well, etc.
    9. Draft order is otherwise determined by lot
    10. Effectively, Manager kid and Coach kids had to be "Locked" or "Frozen" by the team.
    11. Problem: some Managers and Coaches had no kids in the league
    12. Compromise: each team could lock up to four players if the non-Manager/Coach player played for the Manager in the past two seasons
    13. Coach and Manager kids counted in these four locks
    14. Problem: one kid, who is locked by a team but not a Manager or named Coach kid, wants to switch from this team to play with a friend. Player who wants to switch is one of the best players in the league.
    15. Acquiring team has a Manager and named Coach already
    16. Acquiring team proposes to make switching kid's Dad the "new" named Coach instead
    17. Acquiring team's previous named Coach's kid would be locked based on two season rule
    18. Acquiring team is not required to give up a player of equal or comparable value
    19. Team losing the player theoretically gets a high(ish) draft pick because they do not lose a slot with the good player no longer locked
    Any thoughts or experience with something like this?

    My thought was the team losing the player should get a supplemental draft pick in whatever draft round the kid ranked in (first round in this case). This was not accepted under the theory a higher draft pick would be available due to not having to lose a slot due to locking the kid in question.

    There are a lot more details but hopefully, comment can be generated from the above brief as possible description.
  2. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

    We had a youth league (not baseball) stop allowing assistant coaches to glom onto a head coach.

    There was grumbling of course but if you’re there for right reasons then it shouldn’t matter.

    Nothing else worked. Teams were told this would happen if things continued to be a problem.

    I mean, it’s a rec league. You want to stack teams go play travel/legion/whatever and play other stacked teams.
  3. leftfieldlegacy

    leftfieldlegacy Member SoSH Member

    Moving to a more player-centric process could simplify things.
    1. Evaluate all the players and assign a skill rating as per your plan.
    2. Player's would not be drafted but instead they would be assigned (anonymously) to a team based only on their skill rating.
    3. Set aside the manager's kid's name and place him/her on the manager's team as the first pick of the appropriate round.
    4. In line with DrewDawg's suggestion: Assign coaches to their kid's team. (Coaches follow the players instead of the other way around.)
    5. Do not allow switching teams to be with friends. Kids meeting new kids is a good thing.
  4. tonyandpals

    tonyandpals Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    We 'struggled' with this for years and the solution became, the league director assigned a draft round to to all of the manager/coach kids and they were slotted there. It was kept that simple. Managers w/o kids didn't get to lock anyone. They just got to pick before everyone else, typically. I managed for years w/o kids in at the 14/15yo level. At that age most teams had managers/coaches that had been together for years. Most had 2-3 players locked up. I was fine w/ making picks from what was left.
  5. BigJimEd

    BigJimEd Member SoSH Member

    I like that plan lll. Like the anonymous aspect.

    I agree coaches should follow kids. Our league the manager was allowed to name one coach ahead of time. Which in theory I think is a good thing. But unfortunately you get guys that try to recruit each other. This is a 10-12 league team so if you can get 2 top 5 players you are "ahead of the game" so to speak.

    I do not agree with letting managers lock players. Seen too many kids get stuck with the same coach that they don't like year after year.
    Many coaches tend to pigeon hole kids. Even with good coaches it is often good to get a different perspective at those ages.

    This reminds me of evals, we used to go solely by end of the season evals by their managers figuring they had then a whole season not just a day or two. But evals were all over the place. And I'm pretty positive some coaches would give certain players lower evals just to give them a better chance to draft them the following year.
  6. Cumberland Blues

    Cumberland Blues Dope Dope

    I have given up on this. It seems most of the coaches in my league are in it for their egos (Wins) and don't give a shit about the kids not on their team. I've tried for years to get a reasonable facsimile of an actual draft implemented - but nobody seems interested in fairness - only in keeping a few coaches and the parents of the best players happy.
  7. Doug Beerabelli

    Doug Beerabelli Killer Threads Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    My son doesn't do rec baseball, but in the rec hoops league he does, we are allowed to pick an assistant, but each kid is assigned a round based on evals. Still doesn't prevent a team from starting with two top players, but they aren't picking until the third round, so it helps balance that stuff out.

    I do like the anonymous assign players to a team via skill evals idea (I am part of Exec Bd of our local baseball league, although not non on field type job). I agree the ego winning thing is a problem, but I know from board discussions they think about these things and try to resolve them/limit them.
  8. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    I agree with you Cumby. The aggravating complication in this league is it's small, only five 10U teams. Start hoarding the better players on one team and only one team has a chance. For the past two seasons the same team has won the championship for this reason.

    The Coach conspired with a kid's parents to not have him register until after the draft. The kid in question is a top 10 in the league kind of player. When he was recruited and finally registered, the team doing the scam was short a player due to injury. A kid broke his arm or something. By the then existing rule, any late registrant goes first to a team who is short players and then to whatever team was next in the draft.

    The way the rules were written the Board claimed they were powerless to stop it. I called BS and advised one of the Board members I had first hand evidence the kid was recruited. He finally admitted to me the Coach in question, a local litigation attorney, threatened to sue the board if they did not allow him to take this player.

    Can you imagine?

    The issue here is the new Board is made up primarily of the Coaches and a parent or two currently in this 10U age group. The Board has the ultimate say on draft rules and they keep the rules to their collective liking.

    You hit the nail on the head with mention of keeping coaches and best player parents happy. It is exactly what is happening here.
  9. Doug Beerabelli

    Doug Beerabelli Killer Threads Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Let him sue the board! What are the damages if that player is allowed to play, but on a different team? What are the damages to the coach? He wants injunctive relief to put this kid on a different team? I'd bring popcorn to the courtroom to see that argument made before an actual judge. Talk about a waste of the court's time. And if there's actual evidence of conspiracy on the late registration, then the coach is a witness, and likely can't represent the aggrieved player in the case for free. Season will be over well before this gets resolved.

    Maybe put in rules that the board has some discretion on late registrant player placement for competitive balance purposes. Seems like this board was just willing to go along with things as is.

    As for the Board being "stacked" with mostly coaches, I've found there are few people willing to put in the volunteer time for this stuff without getting some sort of tangible benefit in the sense of their involvement benefitting their kid or kids team. It can be more directly bad like you describe, or perhaps just putting in rule changes they prefer or allocating funds to improve the fields their kids play on. If these volunteers are doing that, but also doing the league's business proper and putting in a lot of time helping out, I think it's a net win. The parents who don't volunteer often have great expecations on the quality of the league experience, the field conditions, etc etc, but usually do little to contribute to helping in these areas. If you've got motivated board members and coaches and team volunteers, a little dose of self interest in probably worth it if they generally do well by the league as a whole in how they run things.

    Of course, that's not always how it works out.
  10. RIFan

    RIFan Member SoSH Member

    What entitles the coach to have a team? Picking coaches should be at the discretion of the board. I'd ditch the guy.
  11. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Well, he was previously banned for three years. He is not permitted to manage but a couple of years ago he was given probation, sort of, to be a coach only under the wing of his sister, who was the manager. Again, I suspect this was under some sort of threat to the board, though nobody ever admitted it to me. He's a yeller. Some parents refuse to play for him.

    He was once thrown out of a game against my team for arguing a bang-bang play at 1B with an eight run lead in the top of the last inning. He's very volatile.

    Fortunately, this guy is going to start his own travel team this Spring and finally will no longer be the league's problem going forward.

    Small consolation.

    DB, unfortunately, a lot of these 'volunteer coaches' have baseball knowledge challenges. Any parent who comes into the 10U age bracket with a kid who has some talent (or parents believe he does) move on to other leagues or travel teams. This league has a reputation for poor coaching mostly because of this volunteer group. It's deserved.

    The result is a small league with a lot of players who are unlikely to participate in baseball for much longer.
  12. Heinie Wagner

    Heinie Wagner Member SoSH Member

    This thread makes me sad. Our LL handles this really well.

    They have a draft, no asst coaches are attached to coaches. If you want an asst coach, you have to pick his kid as part of the normal process. Teams are re-drafted every year, the only players attached to managers are the manager's kid(s).

    Manager's kids count as a draft pick, with the round depending on their age and whether they were an all-star or not the previous year. If you draft a player with a sibling, you get the other sibling, who must be picked in the next round (this can cause some imbalance, but it makes sense).

    Draft rules start on page 7 here:

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