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Minor Leagues 1994 (Vol 1)


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#1 philly sox fan


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Posted 11 October 2005 - 09:10 PM

Introduction

Is there any particular reason to care about minor leaguers from 1994? Sadly, no. The end.

But the general question - how many good major leaguers are in the minors at one time? – is an interesting one that comes up from time to time and I had never seen anyone really try to answer it. It’s easy to look up old BA lists and find out which prospects (and what percentage of those prospects) made it, but that’s just part of the picture. Since those players were well known at the time, it’s arguably the least interesting part.

In order to find every future good MLB player you have to go through the roster of every team in the minors. Even if you have access to those rosters, that’s a pain in the ass. I know because I’ve done it twice, which is hopefully enough to not have missed many players.

The BA Almanac contains stat lines for every player in the minors. If you’re willing to go through each roster, you can answer the answer question – how many good major leaguers were in the minors in a particular year. You can also use that answer to ask and answer other (hopefully) interesting questions.

I chose the 1994 season (with all players found in the 1995 Almanac) because I intended to use career production through 2004 and 10 full seasons seemed like a reasonable time for most players to make it through the minors and at least start to make whatever mark they could in the majors. In a ranking of productivity a player who was in short season ball is at a serious disadvantage to a player who was in AAA, but it’s easy to just look at the players and make the appropriate mental adjustment.

Every player is listed with the organization they were in in 1994, the level they had most of their AB or IP, their total WARP3 through 2004, their total WARP3 through their age 29 season and their ranking in the BA League Top 10.

Those categories should be self-explanatory except what I called “29WARP3”. A player’s age 29 season is a decent quick estimate of how long they were under control by their original organization. I was going to do some rankings using rough pre-FA vs post-FA service time productivity, but I ended up dropping that. Nevertheless, I calculated it and it is semi-useful so I left it in.

There are six parts, but it seemed more than a little indulgent to spread it over six days. (Oh, and all six parts probably aren’t stand alone good anyway. Don’t tell anyone I said that.)

The first volume contains a simple ranking of the players (with some background on the interesting ones) and separation of the players by their 1994 level.

Next volume will be how the top 75 players were acquired and a quick look at team rankings.

Last volume will focus on pitchers and a closer look at the way BA ranked these players.

Part 1: Players Ranked by Career WARP3

Rk  Team  Player          Level      WARP3   29WARP3   BA
1   Sea   Alex Rodriguez  Lo-A-MWL   104.2    104.2     1

It’s not a surprise that the best player in the minors in 1994 was Rodriguez the top overall pick in the 1993 draft and a player considered a great prospect long before he signed his first contract.

Rodriguez is one of six 1994 minor leaguers who are on a HoF track. The others, in my opinion, are Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Vlad Guerrero, Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen (the injury this year didn’t help, obviously). Earlier this year Rany Jazayerli of BP wrote an article pushing for Bobby Abreu, but I don’t think he’ll make it. ESPN.com did a series on current major leaguers who might make the HoF and listed the ones I mentioned and Johnny Damon, which seems a little far fetched too.

You can take those eight players as the pool of potential HoFers. Each player started his professional career as a toolsy teenager. Half were HS draftees from the first two rounds (Rodriguez, Jeter, Damon and Rolen) and the other half were signed as international free agents.

Rk  Team  Player          Level      WARP3   29WARP3   BA
2   PHL   Scott Rolen     Lo-A-SAL    75.0     75.0     9
3   Oak   Jason Giambi    AA-SL       70.8     39.1

This is a pretty good pair. Giambi was a 2nd rd pick out of college in 1992 and Rolen was a second rd pick out of HS in 1993. There’s a natural assumption that college players provide a quicker return on investment. That’s definitely true of most mid-range players, but amongst elite players like Rolen and Giambi that difference can be minimized because the elite HS prospects tend to explode through the minors. Giambi spent most of three full years in the minors and had his first solid season at age 25 and his breakout year at age 28. Rolen also spent most of three full years in the minors and he was basically a good to great player at age 22/23. Giambi’s slow transition in the majors is somewhat atypical for a very good college player, but both spent just three years in the minors.

Since Rolen was so good so quickly he generated much more value in his 20s and that difference is also reflected in the ratio of 29WARP3 to WARP3.

It looks like the SL managers and BA missed Giambi as a prospect, but that’s an artifact of an odd season. Giambi had 193 ABs with a 686 OPS in AA and 176 ABs with a 906 OPS in AAA. He probably didn’t play enough to qualify in AAA and he didn’t play well enough to qualify at AA. The 686 OPS is a fluke and not a pre-steroids baseline or anything like that. In his other significant minor league stops his OPSs were 897, 906 and 981. After the 1994 season BA ranked Giambi as the 4th best prospect in the A’s system. He was recognized as a quality prospect at this point in his career.

Rk  Team  Player          Level      WARP3   29WARP3   BA
4   Minn  Brad Radke      AA-SL       68.1     55.6
5   Tor   Shawn Green     AAA-IL      66.8     56.1     1
6   NYY   Mariano Rivera  AA-EL       66.6     30.0
7   Tor   Carlos Delgado  AAA-IL      66.2     41.7     3
8   NYY   Derek Jeter     Hi-A-FSL    66.0     57.1     1
9   Cle   Brian Giles     AAA-IL      65.8     31.3
10  Atl   Andruw Jones    R-APP       65.8     65.8     2
11  ChiAL Ray Durham      AAA-AA      62.8     46.0     4
12  Pitt  Jason Kendall   Hi-A-CAR    61.7     53.1
13  NYY   Andy Pettitte   AAA-IL      61.2     47.8
14  Bos   N Garciaparra   Hi-A-FSL    61.0     58.0

The five players who made BA league Top 10s all went on to make at least two All Star appearances and I expect Jeter and Jones to make the HoF. These are nice examples of premium prospects who panned out perfectly. Jeter and Green were 1st rd picks from HS. Durham was something of sleeper as a 5th rd pick out of HS. Delgado and Jones were both signed as international free agents. A few years after Delgado signed the Jays players from Puerto Rico became draft eligible.

That Radke is the first pitcher on the list was a surprise to me. He’s had a very solid career, but despite once winning 20 games he’s never been considered and ace or a true #1 whatever that means to you.

He was an 8th rd, HS pick in 1991. I mentioned this in my draft studies last year, but it’s such an outlandish fluke it bears repeating. That 8th rd produced three very good HS pitchers in Radke, Derek Lowe and Jason Schmidt. It would be a neat little side project to see how many 1st rounds produced three better HS pitchers.

Radke had an unremarkable pedigree, but he was very successful and consistent throughout his trip through the minors from the GCL at 18 in 91, to the MWL at 19 in 92, to a split 93 season at age 20 in the FSL and EL. Aside from that half season in the EL, he basically put up similar lines – very good ERAs, low walk rates and modest K rates.

Radke did not make the Twins Top 10 list. I assume his average stuff and low K rate (5.9/9 IP) weren’t suggestive of much more than a back of the rotation starter. The keys to Radke’s success were that he was able to turn his good command into great command and that he’s been remarkably durable with nine 200 inning seasons in the first 10 years of his MLB career. As we’ll see (much) later his good health was despite a heavy workload in his early 20s.

There are some players that BA missed that probably would have been picked up by good performance analysis, but Radke with his modest K rates and high workload probably would not have been one of them.

Rivera was an international free agent from Panama. He was a starter for most of his minor league career. He had a very impressive season in the SAL in 1991, but he only pitched one hundred innings in 1992/93 and had Tommy John surgery at some point in that time frame. Today a TJ surgery isn’t considered too much of a negative for a pitcher, but I assume 10+ years ago it marked Rivera as damaged goods. He was pretty effective in 1994 in three levels, but his K rate was markedly decreased from his pre-surgery days. He made the Yankees Top 10 at #9 so he was at least somewhat on the prospect radar. The Yankees converted him to a reliever prior to the 1996 season and he’s done ok since then.

Giles is another late rd HS pick (17th) that BA and the league managers completely missed. Like Radke he didn’t even make his team Top 10. During the season John Sickels has done a lot of retrospective prospect reports over at his site. He did one for Giles back on April 21 (you can find the full report if you scroll way, way back through the archives and yes the fact that I’m including this is a sign that I’ve been working on this off and on since April).

http://www.minorleagueball.com/main/5

Since Giles is a prototypical “BA miss/performance analysis get”, I thought it would be interesting to use Sickel’s retrospective look at Giles’ stats and grades.
1989   age 18  APPY  310/368/364   C
1990   age 19  NYPL  289/408/378   C+
1991   age 20  CAR   310/414/376   C+
1992   age 21  CAR   264/397/379   C/C+
               EL    216/314/270    
1993   age 22  EL    327/410/438   C+
1994   age 23  IL    313/394/479   B
Giles is a good example of a slow developing prospect. He spent his first five minor league seasons as a C/C+ prospect exhibiting good BAs and walk rates (with low K rates), but struggling to hit for the power necessary to make it as corner OF. He didn’t escape dime a dozen C prospect status until he reached AAA in his sixth professional season.

Also note that in 1992 he had an injury plagued season with a terrible late season promotion to AA. Looking back at some of these player’s minor league stats (thanks Baseball Cube!) you see that that’s not uncommon. I think a lot of people have the idea that good prospects have steady progressions from minor league stop to minor league stop to MLB. In reality, it’s probably only the superstar players who have that kind of straight, ascending line from minor league point A to major league point B. There are a lot of good to very good players like Giles who have a “stall year” somewhere in their minor league track record.

Jason Kendall was a HS 1st rd pick in 1992. He was awful that summer in the GCL hitting 261/316/279 at 18. He moved up the SAL at 19 and wasn’t much better hitting 276/322/352. After that 1993 season there were probably a few people ready to call him another HS catching bust, but he had a real breakout year in the CAR League in 1994. He hit 318/398/437 at age 20 and for the first time demonstrated the great plate discipline that has become his trademark. Despite mediocre walk rates in his first two years he jumped to 47 BB against just 21 strikeouts in 371 Abs. He also demonstrated his athleticism with 14 SBs. That wasn’t enough to get him on the league CAR Top 10, but BA did have him in their Pitt Top 10.

Andy Pettitte is the second most productive starting pitcher from 1994 and in a lot of ways he’s a big market (count the rings!) version of Radke. He was a late pick from HS (22nd rd, 1990) though he didn’t sign until after a year of JC ball as a draft and follow. Like Radke his minor league career was characterized by modest K rates but good to very good BB rates. In AA he had a K rate of 6.2 and a BB rate of 2.2. In AAA he had a K rate of 5.7 and a BB rate of 2.0. He also moved through the minors relatively quickly with just three full seasons in the minors. After an early peak with a 20 win season at age 24, he settled in as a very good, durable #2 starter.

Pettitte missed the league top 10 in 1994, but that may have been because he split the year almost in half between AA (73 IP) and AAA (97 IP). Sometimes players like that can fall through the cracks on the league lists. He did make the BA team Top 10.

One thing that statheads and traditional scouting types generally agree on is the importance of high K rates for pitchers. You rarely see anybody call a pitcher with a mediocre 6 K rate a top prospect and yet the top two minor league starting pitchers from 1994 were both 6 K rate pitchers.

Nomar was a 1994 draft pick. He signed quickly and got 105 Abs in the FSL, but he didn’t have the playing time to make the league top 10. BA ranked him the Sox top prospect in the winter of 1994/95. Nomar is the first college player on the list.

Rk  Team  Player          Level      WARP3   29WARP3   BA
15  Hou   Bob Abreu       AA-TL       59.2     49.0     6
16  NYY   Jorge Posada    AAA-IL      58.0     30.7
17  Mon   Vlad Guerrero   Comp-GCL    56.8     56.8     4
18  Cal   G Anderson      AAA-PCL     56.3     36.4     4
19  Mil   Jeff Cirillo    AAA-AA      56.9     40.4
20  KC    Johnny Damon    Hi-A-CAR    54.9     46.5     1 
21  NYM   Edgardo Alfonzo AA-EL       54.8     50.6
22  Cle   Bartolo Colon   R-APPY      52.6     40.8
23  ChiAL Mike Cameron    Hi-A-CAR    51.4     37.6
24  Det   Bob Higginson   AAA-IL      51.4     34.7
25  Fla   Charles Johnson AA-EL       50.1     41.1     2

This group of players that made the BA league Top 10 lists are a little less impressive though I believe all have made at least one All Star team. Guerrero and Abreu are both stars. Both were international free agents. Damon and Anderson were both HS draft picks – Damon as a supplemental pick and Anderson in the 4th rd. Charles Johnson was a 1st rd pick out of both HS and college. Johnson’s career cratered the last couple of years and appears to be over, but he was a very solid player.

And that’s perhaps a good time to point out that this ranking combines players at very different points in their careers both in 1994 and today. Some of these players were then in the high minors and are now coming to the ends of their careers and some were then in the very low minors and are perhaps not even half way done with their careers. Five or ten years from now Johnson will rank much lower on this list.

Jorge Posada was a late rd (22nd, 1990) draft and follow out of PR. In 1994 he was 22 in AAA and he hit just 240/315/406. This was the first of three seasons in AAA for Posada, but what I hadn’t realized is that he skipped AA. He hit 259/366/459 in the CAR in 1993 and then for some reason the Yankees skipped him past AA. Considering he had also recently switched to catcher and was probably quite rough defensively, it’s no wonder he didn’t make much of an impression on IL managers. However, BA did have him in their Yankees Top 10.

Jeff Cirillo and Bobby Higginson are quite similar. Both were late rd picks (11th for Cirillo and 12th for Higginson) out of college. Both were very good players for their Midwestern small revenue teams in their pre-FA service time years, but both were rewarded with contracts that quickly became albatrosses as they hit the wall in their early 30s.

Cirillo had a strong minor league career that culminated in a very good 309/386/530 line in 1994 although the power was a bit out of character. BA didn’t have him in the Mil Top 10.

Higginson had a more modest minor league career. He hit 275/343/492 at age 23 in AAA with a BB/K rate of 0.5. Just two years later he went on to hit 320/404/577 at age 25 in MLB with a BB/K rate of 1.0. It’s hard to see the statistical or scouting indicators that might have predicted that jump. It’s not much of a surprise that the AAA managers missed him. BA had him in their Det Top 10.

Edgardo Alfonzo was signed in 1991 out of Ven at age 17. The Mets promoted him very aggressively. He played at 18 in the NYPL and hit 356/396/443. He jumped over low A and played in the FSL at age 19 in 1993. He didn’t show much power, but his overall line of 294/370/409 with a BB/K ratio of 57/51 was excellent considering his age and experience. He played 1994 at age 20 in AA and hit 293/377/460 with a 64/55 BB/K ratio. He was listed playing 2B and 3B so perhaps there were some questions about his defense, but BA left him out the league Top 10. He did make the Mets Top 10.

Bartolo Colon is the third most productive starting pitcher from the minors. He’s basically the opposite of the high minors polish of Radke and Pettitte. He had the high K rate you would expect in a top prospect – 11.5/9 IP – but he also had a lousy BB rate of 6.0/9 IP. At age “19” he was young for the Appy League, but he was seemingly a long way away. Colon was subsequently caught lying about his age and was actually 21 which would have made his wildness a bigger concern.

Colon didn’t make the league Top 10 or the Indians Top 10. I assume that was mostly due to his command problems, but perhaps the scouts didn’t think his slight frame –he was listed in the BA Almanac at 6 ft, 185 lbs – would hold up as a starter.

Mike Cameron is the quintessential tools guys who made it. He was an 18th rd pick out of La Grange HS in GA, which I mention only because I recognized that was Dernell Stenson’s HS too. Why I remember stuff like that…

In 1991 he played in the GCL at age 18 and “hit” 221/312/243. He started 1992 in the NYPL and hit very well at 276/361/448, but it was just 87 Abs. He was promoted to the MWL and played down to his GCL line at 228/296/342. In 1993 he returned to the MWL at age 20 and was even worse at 238/291/297. His BB/K ratio was an awful 27/100 in 411 ABs. Nobody bothers to call 18th rd picks busts, but he surely looked like a tools goof who would never amount to anything.

Despite his awful 1993 season he was promoted to the CAR in 1994 at age 21 and he showed a nice spike in his walk rate. His overall line still wasn’t very good at 248/338/391 with 60/101 BB/K ratio in 468 ABs. Not surprisingly, he didn’t make either the league Top 10 or the White Sox Top 10.

Cameron followed up his BB rate improvement in 1994 by improving his power numbers in 1995. He nearly doubled his career HR high to 11 and hit 249/353/429 in AA at age 22. That’s pretty much been the type of hitter he’s been in MLB. His career line through 2004 is 248/340/440. Combined with superlative defense, Cameron has grown from a barely 600 OPS player in the low minors to a very good, underrated player.

Rk  Team  Player          Level      WARP3   29WARP3   BA
26  Cal   Troy Percival   AAA-PCL     48.2     25.8
27  ChiAL Magglio Ordonez Lo-A-SAL    47.0     45.0
28  Mon   Rondell White   AAA-IL      46.6     36.0
29  Bal   Armando Benitez AA-EL       46.2     34.3     1
30  Fla   Edgar Renteria  Hi-A-FSL    45.6     45.6
31  Sea   Derek Lowe      AA-SL       45.6     37.7
32  Hou   Billy Wagner    Lo-A-MWL    45.1     27.4     2
33  PHL   Mike Lieberthal AAA-IL      44.0     25.2
34  LA    Ismael Valdes   AA-TL       42.0     40.2
35  Oak   Tony Batista    Hi-A-CAL    42.0     37.4
36  Mil   Mark Loretta    AA-TL       41.3     19.5
37  Tex   Rich Aurilia    AA-TL       40.5     30.6
38  Tor   Alex Gonzalez   AAA-IL      40.3     34.0     2
39  Mon   Uggie Urbina    AA-EL       40.1     36.9

Only three players made their BA league Top 10. Benitez has been a good, but much maligned, closer. Wagner has been a great closer. Gonzalez has bounced around a bit and is a nice example of a premium prospect that makes it and provides decent value, but is probably considered a disappointment nonetheless.

Percival was drafted as a collegiate catcher in the 6th rd of the 1990 draft. I’m not sure how much he caught in the minors, but he was already pitching in 1991. Percival was groomed as exclusively as a reliever. His entire minor league career is ~130 games and ~150 innings. He was pretty good in 1994, but it’s not really a surprise he didn’t make the league Top 10. He did make the Angels Top 10.

Magglio Ordonez was signed out of Venezuala at age 17. He’s another player that Sickels wrote up as a retrospective prospect profile (it was posted 4/22).
1991   age 17  DSL   298/344/351   no grade for DSL
1992   age 18  GCL   180/272/333   C
1993   age 19  SAL   216/290/330   C-
1994   age 20  SAL   294/357/431   C/C+
1995   age 21  CAR   238/303/370   C
1996   age 22  SL    263/323/461   C+
1997   age 23  AAA   329/371/476   B+
In Ordonez first 5 professional seasons he posted an OPS in the 600s four times and “peaked” at 788. Although not really considered a tools player in his incarnation as a major league slugger, he spent most of his time in the minors as a generic tools guy trying to figure out how to hit. He didn’t escape the C prospect range until after his breakout year in AAA.

Rondell White was a toolsy HS 1st rd pick in 1990. He was injured in 1994 and only had ~270 Abs combined between AAA and Montreal. It looks like he didn’t make any top 10s because he had too many Abs in 1993 and 1994 combined. If I had realized that sooner I wouldn’t have included him, but he’s already in all of the other iterations of this so he stays. His minor league career is a pretty smooth progression – he basically hit 300 with solid walks and power right from the start.

Edgar Renteria signed illegally at age 15 out of Colombia (if you check The Cube you have to subtract a year from his listed ages). Even without that age correction he was extraordinarily young for every league he played in and not surprisingly his production wasn’t very good. In 1994 he played at age 17 in the FSL and hit 253/313/292. Of course, he didn’t make the league Top 10, but BA did have him in the Marlins’ Top 10. Renteria’s career minor league line is 258/314/321, but with massive age corrections that’s not so bad. His last full minor league season was in AA Portland and he hit 289/336/388 at 18.

Derek Lowe is the second 8th rd HS pick from 1991 to make the list. His minor league track record is very ordinary. He pitched 1994 in AA at age 21. He had a 4.94 ERA and 75/50 K/BB ratio in 151 IP. That works out to a terrible 4.5 K rate. Obviously he didn’t make either the league or team Top 10. Lowe became a very good pitcher only after learning how to throw and control his power sinker. I’m not sure at what point he actually did that, but that kind of sudden development of a new pitch can radically alter a pitcher’s potential. That teams or scouts missed Lowe as a good pitching prospect before he had hitters smashing balls into the dirt every other pitch shouldn’t be much of a surprise. If people thought he was a generic pitcher at that point, it’s largely because he was.

The K rates of the top 4 starters from the minors – all of whom would win 20 games in the majors at one point - were 5.9, 5.9, 11.5 and 4.5. Thank god for Colon to validate the importance of minor league K rates.

Mike Lieberthal was a 1st rd HS catcher in 1990. He was considered a huge overdraft as the #3 pick and his minor league track record screams bust. His minor league OPS for each stop of at least 100 Abs – 620, 742, 693, 672, 586. That 586 is for 1994 in his repeat season in AAA at age 22. In his 3rd year in AAA he somehow jumped to 281/382/432. He struggled for a few years in the majors before breaking out in 1999 at age 27. He did actually make the Phillies Top 10 after 1994, but that was probably a combination of his 1st rd pedigree and an awful, awful Phillies farm outside of Rolen.

Ismael Valdes signed with LA out of Mexico in 1991. His minor league path is very odd with some jumps back and forth between the US and Mexico. He split 1994 between AA, AAA and LA without pitching very much in any location. He pitched pretty well, but didn’t make either league or team Top 10.

Tony Batista was signed out of the DR in 1991 at 17. He has a very strong minor league record. In 1994 he hit 281/360/459 at age 20 in the CAL. CAL inflates offense, but at his age and position – he was still a SS at the time – that’s a pretty impressive line. For some reason his adequate minor league BB rate – 46 per 500 AB – completely cratered in MLB to 30 per 500 Abs. He also changed positions to 3B, which made his MLB career 298 OBP even worse. Batista didn’t make the league or team Top 10.

Mark Loretta was a 7th rd pick out of college in 1993. He played most of 1994 in AA at age 22 and had a solid year at 315/375/397. He wasn’t quite that good his next season in AAA, but he was in MLB to stay at age 24. He almost matched that 1994 line as a solid 2B for Mil from 1997-2000 and then it looked like he began a normal decline. He bounced back with great years at age 31/32. Loretta made the Mil Top 10 after 1994.

Rich Aurilia is similar to Loretta. He was a late rd college SS pick – in this case 24th rd. He also made it to AA at age 22, but he had by far his worse minor league season at 234/318/378. He was in MLB to stay at age 25. He’s had a string of decent 750-ish OPS seasons with one fluke year at 941. Also like Loretta his outlier great year was not with the organization that drafted him. He didn’t make the league or team Top 10.

Uggie Urbina was signed out of Ven in 1990 at age 17. He was exclusively used as a starter throughout the minors. In 1994 he was a 20 yr old repeating AA. He had a solid year – 3.28 ERA, but only a 6.4 K rate (as if that matters). Somewhat surprisingly he was ranked as the Expos top prospect.

Rk  Team  Player          Level      WARP3   29WARP3   BA
40  Minn  Matt Lawton     Hi-A-FSL    39.7     29.3
41  Pitt  Esteban Loaiza  AA-SL       39.5     23.5
42  KC    Mike Sweeney    Lo-A-MWL    39.0     35.9
43  Fla   Carl Everett    AAA-PCL     38.7     27.2
44  SF    Bill Mueller    Hi-A-CAL    38.5     19.0
45  Hou   Richard Hidalgo Lo-A-MWL    38.4     38.4     4
46  Tor   Shannon Stewart Lo-A-SAL    38.2     35.5     6
47  Minn  Cory Koskie     R-APPY      37.7     26.5
48  SD    Derrek Lee      Hi-A-CAL    37.6     37.6     4
49  Hou   Phil Nevin      AAA-PCL     37.0     16.4
50  Tex   Rick Helling    AAA-AA      36.9     26.8
51  Atl   Jason Schmidt   AA-SL       36.8     19.7
52  Minn  Eddie Guardado  AAA-PCL     36.2     17.6
53  Tor   Kelvim Escobar  Comp-GCL    35.6     35.6
54  Cle   Richie Sexson   Lo-A-SAL    34.9     34.9
55  LA    Chan Ho Park    AA-TL       34.8     32.9    10
56  Bal   Arthur Rhodes   AAA-IL      34.0     18.4
57  Mil   Troy O’Leary    AAA-AA      34
58  Bos   Matt Stairs     AA-EL       33.3      7.2
59  Mon   M Grudzielanek  AA-EL       33.2     16.2
60  Atl   Jermaine Dye    Lo-A-SAL    33.1     28.8     4
61  Bos   Jeff Suppan     Hi-A-FSL    32.9     32.9    10
62  Mon   Jose Vidro      Hi-A-FSL    32.2     32.2
63  NYM   Quilvio Veras   AAA-IL      32.1     29.6
64  Atl   Kevin Millwood  R-APPY      32.1     32.1
65  Minn  Damien Miller   AA-SL       30.5     24.5
66  StL   Placido Polanco Comp-AZL    30.5     30.5
67  Det   Tony Clark      AA-EL       30.5     28.4
68  Minn  Marty Cordova   AAA-PCL     30.0     22.8

We’re starting to get down to some very average players so I’m only going to do quick mentions of select players.

You also start to see players who’ve had solid careers, but in some respect are still considered disappointments. You can see that clearly in the players who made the BA league top 10. With the exception of Lee who may have just has a break out year, each of the others have questions about consistency or injury or just not quite meeting the buzz they carried into the majors.

Mike Sweeney is a good example of the kind of good major leaguer who probably should have flown under the radar. He started his career as a 10th rd pick out of HS. Right from his first days in the minors he was an all bat no glove catcher. Anyone trying to project his future would have had to consider both whether his defense would ever be good enough to stick at catcher (apparently not) and whether or not his bat could handle a move to 1B (it sure did). In lo-A those question were big enough hurdles to keep Sweeney off the Royals Top 10.

Carl Everett didn’t make the league or team Top 10 despite a 1st rd pedigree and a good year in 1994 (336/377/505). He was already in his second organization and I think had had a few off-field issues already. Everett is a player that was missed for purely non-performance character issues.

Bill Mueller is a similar type to the previously mentioned Loretta and Aurilia. He was a 15th rd pick out of C though it looks like he was a senior pick so he started out a little old for his leagues. In 1994 he hit 302/438/425 (including 103 walks in 120 games), but he was 23 in the hitter happy CAL. Low draft pedigree, lots of walks and modest power at a position that traditionally has some power – Mueller is a classic under the radar prospect.

Jason Schmidt is the last of the great 8th rd HS pitchers from the 1991 draft. He had a strong year in 1994. He was in AA at age 21 and put up a 3.65 ERA and a good 8.4 K rate. Given his eventual MLB stuff, I was surprised he didn’t make the league Top 10 with that line, but he was #3 on the Braves list. It looked like he was having a smooth progression up the minor league ladder, but after a trade to Pitt he floundered for several year before emerging as an ace with SF at age 28.

Eddie Guardado was a 21st rd pick out of JC. In 1994 he was a very mediocre starter – 4.83 ERA and a 5.2 K rate. He’s a nice example of a completely random starter who became a good reliever.

Sexson was a 24th rd pick out of HS. He’s not the stereotypical tools player, but certainly his development was primarily about harnessing the raw power in his 6’8” frame. His minor league performances fluctuated quite a bit from year to year. In his four full seasons in the minors his OBP bounced between .307 and .368 and his SLG bounced between .418 and .530.

Troy O’Leary and the number 34. Occasionally I run across retired players whose BP DT cards don’t pop up in searches for whatever reason. In order to rank him I took his career WS total, divided it by 3 and used that. You may (or may not) be surprised that that kind of conversion usually works pretty well. Strangely, enough metrics built on the same data inputs tend to spit out the same output no matter how they are manipulated. And yet it’s all proprietary. Go figure.

Vidro was a 6th rd pick out of HS in Puerto Rico. He started his pro career at age 17 in the GCL. He struggled throughout most of his minor league career though he generally played each level at a very young age. He didn’t have a real breakout year until his 6th pro season when he hit 323/376/523 in AAA at age 22.

Millwood is a good example of the Braves developing and polishing one of the many toolsy teenagers they sign every year. Millwood played four seasons in A ball had an overall walk rate of 4.9/9 IP. In the high minors he knocked that down to 2.9/9 IP. And he just led the AL in ERA.

Rk  Team  Player          Level      WARP3   29WARP3   BA
69  NYM   J Isringhausen  Hi-A-FSL    29.8     21.7     4
70  Bos   Trot Nixon      Hi-A-CAR    29.6     28.0     6
71  StL   Dmitri Young    AA-TL       29.4     26.5
72  Col   Curt Leskanic   AAA-PCL     29.3      9.9
73  ChiNL Frank Castillo  AAA-AA      29.1     15.8
74  Minn  LaTroy Hawkins  AA-SL       28.2     17.5     2
75  Cle   David Bell      AAA-IL      28.1     21.0     9
76  LA    Paul LoDuca     Hi-A-CAL    27.8     10.1
77  Hou   Melvin Mora     Hi-A-FSL    27.7      6.6
78  KC    Mike Tucker     AAA-AA      27.6     16.4     7
79  Sea   Shawn Estes     R-NWL       27.6     23.2
80  Minn  Torii Hunter    Lo-A-MWL    27.5     27.5
81  LA    Omar Daal       AAA-PCL     27.3     21.9
82  Minn  Todd Walker     Hi-A-FSL    27.2     20.9     7
83  Cinn  Aaron Boone     R-PIO       27.2     19.5     1
84  Fla   Kevin Millar    Lo-A-MWL    27.2     11.2
85  NYM   Mike Remlinger  AAA-IL      26.6      1.0
86  ChiAL James Baldwin   AAA-AA      26.4     24.9     1
87  Oak   Ben Grieve      R-NWL       26.3     26.3     1
88  NYY   Ramiro Mendoza  Hi-A-FSL    25.8     20.2
89  PHL   R Bottalico     AA-EL       25.8     16.9
90  SD    D Hermanson     AA-TL       25.4     20.6     3
91  ChiNL Terry Adams     Hi-A-FSL    25.3     20.1
92  ChiNL Doug Glanville  AA-SL       25.3     17.9
93  Col   John Thomson    Lo-A-SAL    25.1     20.2
94  Oak   Scott Spiezio   Hi-A-CAL    25.1     18.9     5
95  NYM   Preston Wilson  Lo-A-SAL    24.7     24.7
96  PHL   Mike Williams   AAA-IL      24.5      8.2
97  Tor   Chris Carpenter R-Pio       24.5     24.5     3
98  Det   Brian Moehler   Hi-A-FSL    24.4     23.4
99  Det   Jose Lima       AAA-IL      24.3     18.5
100 Col   Neifi Perez     Hi-A-CAL    24.2     19.2
101 Cle   Paul Shuey      AAA-IL      23.8     15.5
102 Minn  AJ Pierzynski   Comp-GCL    23.8     23.8
103 LA    Paul Konerko    R-NWL       23.6     23.6     2
104 SD    Matt Clement    Comp-AZL    23.6     23.6
105 Col   Craig Counsell  AA-EL       23.1     8.5
106 NYY   S Hitchcock     AAA-IL      23.1     20.3
107 Pitt  Tony Womack     AAA-AA      22.7     13.9
108 Cle   Steve Kline     Lo-A-SAL    22.5     17.1
109 Cinn  Pokey Reese     AA-SL       21.9     20.0     3
110 Cle   Paul Byrd       AA-EL       21.8      8.3
111 Mil   Scott Karl      AAA-AA      21.7     21.7
112 NYM   Jay Payton      R-NYPL      21.6     10.5
113 Pitt  Kevin Young     AAA-AA      21.5     10.9
114 Mil   Cory Lidle      Lo-A-MWL    21.3      9.8
115 Det   J Encarnacion   R-APPY      21.0     21.0
116 NYM   Rico Brogna     AAA-IL      20.9     21.0
117 Mil   Ron Belliard    Comp-AZL    20.7     20.7
118 KC    Glendon Rusch   Lo-A-MWL    20.3     20.3
119 Cinn  Scott Sullivan  AA-SL       20.2     12.2
120 LA    Roger Cedeno    AAA-PCL     20.2     20.2     5

The first time I went flipping through the 1995 BA Almanac was after I tossed out a guess that there were probably only 50-75 “good” (depending on your definition) players in the minors in any given year. What answer you’re comfortable with is largely dependent on how high you set the bar for “good player”, but looking at this list I’d say that seventy-five is about right. Some of the players in the 50-75 range are probably more “solid” than “good”, but there are probably 5-10 “good” players who are outside the top 75 only because they were very young in 1994.

I have no idea how representative 1994 really is, but if it is somewhat representative, then it suggests that on average the 30 organizations have 2-3 “good” players in their farm systems at any one time. There are probably another 50 “useful” players, so in addition to those 2-3 “good” players there may be another 1-2 “useful” players. An average team might have 4-5 “useful” to “good” players in its farm system at any given time. That’s the baseline every team is trying to beat.

Isringhausen and Nixon top this grouping and are a good pair. Both were elite prospects in the minors who struggled due to injury (Izzy) and a slow, almost stalled development path (Trot), but eventually overcame those obstacles to become good players albeit in slightly different ways than projected. Izzy became a good closer instead of a front of the rotation starter and Nixon became a good platoon player instead of a complete 5 tool star.

Torii Hunter and Kevin Millar make a tremendous odd couple. Both played in the Midwest League in 1994. Hunter was a tools laden former 1st rd pick who held his own at age 19, but generally struggled to hit in the minors. His tools nevertheless made him a prospect. Millar was an undrafted free agent who bashed his way through lo-A to the tune of a ~900 OPS at age 22. Despite generally hitting very well in the minors he was never considered much of a prospect. Ten years after they played in the MWL they had produced essentially the same MLB value, approx 27 WARP. I doubt many MWL observers would have guessed that was possible. Of course, five years from now Hunter will still be in the majors and Millar will be just another loud mouth in Texas, but at one point in time these two very different types of prospects had produced the same overall value. It’s a funny game like that.

There are a lot of fungible reliever types in this group – Remlinger, Mendoza, Bottalico, Adams just to name ones with Boston connections – but also some highly rated players just starting their careers in the short season leagues. That group includes Ben Grieve, Chris Carpenter and Paul Konerko.

Rk  Team  Player          Level      WARP3   29WARP3   BA
121 Cal   Benjy Molina    Lo-A-MWL    19.9     19.9
122 ChiAL Mike Sirotka    Lo-A-MWL    19.7     19.7
123 Bos   Scott Hatteberg AAA-IL      19.7     10.2
124 Bal   Jimmy Haynes    AA-EL       19.4     19.2
125 Sea   Jim Mecir       AA-SL       19.4      6.5
126 Pitt  Jose Guillen    Comp-GCL    19.4     19.4
127 Hou   Brian Hunter    AAA-PCL     19.3     16.1     1
128 NYM   Rey Ordonez     Hi-A-FSL    19.2     17.5     2
129 Cle   Einar Diaz      Lo-A-SAL    18.9     16.2     7
130 Minn  Rich Becker     AAA-PCL     18.9     18.9
131 LA    Darren Dreifort AA-TL       18.4     15.4     1
132 Sea   Darren Bragg    AAA-PCL     18.3     15.9
133 Hou   John Halama     Lo-A-MWL    18.0     10.7
134 Det   F Catalanotto   Lo-A-SAL    17.8     16.5
135 Mon   Gabe White      AAA-IL      17.7     13.2
136 NYM   Terrence Long   R-APPY      17.6     17.6     4 
137 Atl   Tony Graffanino AA-SL       17.6      9.6
138 Atl   Esteban Yan     Lo-A-SAL    17.5     17.5
139 Sea   Raul Ibanez     Lo-A-MWL    17.2      3.5
140 SF    Bobby Howry     Lo-A-MWL    16.9     14.3
141 Col   Juan Acevedo    AA-EL       16.6      7.5
142 Sea   Matt Mantei     Lo-A-MWL    16.2     15.3
143 Sea   Ron Villone     AA-SL       16.1      6.7
144 CLE   Jaret Wright    R-APPY      15.7     15.7     3
145 NYM   Brian Daubach   Hi-A-FSL    15.4     10.6
146 Tor   Chris Stynes    AA-SL       15.4     12.9
147 StL   John Mabry      AAA-AA      15.3      9.6
148 StL   Eli Marrero     Lo-A-SAL    15.0     11.6
149 Bal   Alex Ochoa      AA-EL       14.9     12.1     8
150 Cle   Alan Embree     AA-EL       14.9      6.1
151 Fla   Mike Redmond    Lo-A-MWL    14.8      6.7 
152 Oak   John Wasdin     AA-SL       14.7     14.8     4
153 Bal   Jay Powell      Hi-A-CAR    14.6     13.0
154 Cal   Bill Simas      Hi-A-CAL    14.4     14.4
155 Bal   G Stephenson    Hi-A-CAR    14.1     10.0
156 Sea   Desi Relaford   Hi-A-CAL    13.9     12.7     2
157 Cinn  Willie Greene   AAA-AA      13.8     13.8     2
158 Mon   FP Santangelo   AAA-IL      13.8      9.2
159 Bal   Gregg Zaun      AAA-IL      13.7      8.6
160 Col   Q McCracken     AA-EL       13.6     11.1 
161 Oak   Tanyon Sturtze  AA-SL       13.3      1.8
162 Minn  Rich Garces     AA-SL       13.2     10.9
163 NYY   B Boehringer    AA-EL       13.2      7.4
164 Bos   Frank Rodriguez AAA-IL      12.6     12.6
165 Cal   O Palmerio      AAA-PCL     12.4      2.4
166 NYM   Butch Huskey    AAA-IL      12.3     12.3
167 StL   Jay Witasick    Lo-A-MWL    12.3      9.5
168 Hou   Scott Elarton   Comp-GCL    12.0     12.0     2
169 NYY   Shane Spencer   Hi-A-FSL    11.6      6.9
170 SF    Doug Mirabelli  AA-TL       11.6      3.4
171 Bal   Damon Buford    AAA-IL      11.5      9.1
172 Cal   Jorge Fabregas  AAA-PCL     11.5      9.6
173 Atl   Eddie Perez     AAA-IL      11.3      2.2
174 SD    Homer Bush      Hi-A-CAL    10.8     10.9
175 TEX   Scott Podsednik Comp-GCL    10.5     10.5
176 NYY   Rickey Ledee    Lo-A-SAL    10.3      9.2

This is not an exhaustive list of every player in the 10-20 WARP range. I eventually got tired of pulling some of these generic relievers and utility players. Nevertheless, this group gives a good flavor of what kinds of players end up with this kind of career.

There are eleven prospects who made their BA League Top 10. Jaret Wright came the closest to meeting his potential. The other two notable players are Jose Guillen who has finally translated his athletic tools into MLB production and Scott “Picking Machine” Hatteberg.

Most of the players had complementary roles for a few years. Many were low tools grinders like Brian Daubach that made it for a few years.

#2 philly sox fan


  • SoSH Member


  • 9748 posts

Posted 11 October 2005 - 09:14 PM

Part 2: Players Sorted by Minor League Level

Sometimes the title heading is pretty much all the introduction that you need. Within each level I grouped the pitchers and hitters separately. I also added a little gap for players who have already exceeded the 40 WARP benchmark that I generally use for “good” players. Note that it’s much easier for players who were in the high minors to hit that benchmark than for players in A ball.

AAA
Rk  Team  Player          Level      WARP3   29WARP3   BA
Hitters
1   Tor   Shawn Green     AAA-IL      66.8     56.1     1
2   Tor   Carlos Delgado  AAA-IL      66.2     41.7     3
3   Cle   Brian Giles     AAA-IL      65.8     31.3
4   ChiAL Ray Durham      AAA-AA      62.8     46.0     4
5   NYY   Jorge Posada    AAA-IL      58.0     30.7
6   Cal   G Anderson      AAA-PCL     56.3     36.4     4
7   Mil   Jeff Cirillo    AAA-AA      56.9     40.4
8   Det   Bob Higginson   AAA-IL      51.4     34.7
9   Mon   Rondell White   AAA-IL      46.6     36.0
10  PHL   Mike Lieberthal AAA-IL      44.0     25.2
11  Tor   Alex Gonzalez   AAA-IL      40.3     34.0     2

12  Fla   Carl Everett    AAA-PCL     38.7     27.2
13  Hou   Phil Nevin      AAA-PCL     37.0     16.4
14  Mil   Troy O’Leary    AAA-AA      34
15  NYM   Quilvio Veras   AAA-IL      32.1     29.6
16  Minn  Marty Cordova   AAA-PCL     30.0     22.8
17  Cle   David Bell      AAA-IL      28.1     21.0     9
18  KC    Mike Tucker     AAA-AA      27.6     16.4     7
19  Pitt  Tony Womack     AAA-AA      22.7     13.9
20  Pitt  Kevin Young     AAA-AA      21.5     10.9
21  NYM   Rico Brogna     AAA-IL      20.9     21.0
22  LA    Roger Cedeno    AAA-PCL     20.2     20.2     5
23  Bos   Scott Hatteberg AAA-IL      19.7     10.2
24  Hou   Brian Hunter    AAA-PCL     19.3     16.1     1
25  Minn  Rich Becker     AAA-PCL     18.9     18.9
26  Sea   Darren Bragg    AAA-PCL     18.3     15.9
27  StL   John Mabry      AAA-AA      15.3      9.6
28  Cinn  Willie Greene   AAA-AA      13.8     13.8     2
29  Mon   FP Santangelo   AAA-IL      13.8      9.2
30  Bal   Gregg Zaun      AAA-IL      13.7      8.6
31  Cal   O Palmerio      AAA-PCL     12.4      2.4
32  NYM   Butch Huskey    AAA-IL      12.3     12.3
33  Bal   Damon Buford    AAA-IL      11.5      9.1
34  Cal   Jorge Fabregas  AAA-PCL     11.5      9.6
35  Atl   Eddie Perez     AAA-IL      11.3      2.2

Pitchers

1   NYY   Andy Pettitte   AAA-IL      61.2     47.8
2   Cal   Troy Percival   AAA-PCL     48.2     25.8

3   Tex   Rick Helling    AAA-AA      36.9     26.8
4   Minn  Eddie Guardado  AAA-PCL     36.2     17.6
5   Bal   Arthur Rhodes   AAA-IL      34.0     18.4
6   Col   Curt Leskanic   AAA-PCL     29.3      9.9
7   ChiNL Frank Castillo  AAA-AA      29.1     15.8
8   LA    Omar Daal       AAA-PCL     27.3     21.9
9   NYM   Mike Remlinger  AAA-IL      26.6      1.0
10  ChiAL James Baldwin   AAA-AA      26.4     24.9     1
11  PHL   Mike Williams   AAA-IL      24.5      8.2
12  Det   Jose Lima       AAA-IL      24.3     18.5
13  Cle   Paul Shuey      AAA-IL      23.8     15.5
14  NYY   S Hitchcock     AAA-IL      23.1     20.3
15  Mil   Scott Karl      AAA-AA      21.7     21.7
16  Mon   Gabe White      AAA-IL      17.7     13.2
17  Bos   Frank Rodriguez AAA-IL      12.6     12.6

There are 52 AAA players in the study, but as always remember that the bottom group is underrepresented. Overall there is a big advantage for the hitters. There were 22 hitters and 15 pitchers that exceeded the 20 WARP “useful” level and that advantage is even bigger for players that reached the 40 WARP threshold. Of the 13 players that reached the 40 WARP all but two were hitters.


AA
Rk  Team  Player          Level      WARP3   29WARP3   BA
Hitters
1   Oak   Jason Giambi    AA-SL       70.8     39.1
2   Hou   Bob Abreu       AA-TL       59.2     49.0     6
3   NYM   Edgardo Alfonzo AA-EL       54.8     50.6
4   Fla   Charles Johnson AA-EL       50.1     41.1     2
5   Mil   Mark Loretta    AA-TL       41.3     19.5
6   Tex   Rich Aurilia    AA-TL       40.5     30.6

7   Bos   Matt Stairs     AA-EL       33.3      7.2
8   Mon   M Grudzielanek  AA-EL       33.2     16.2
9   Minn  Damien Miller   AA-SL       30.5     24.5
10  Det   Tony Clark      AA-EL       30.5     28.4
11  StL   Dmitri Young    AA-TL       29.4     26.5
12  ChiNL Doug Glanville  AA-SL       25.3     17.9
13  Col   Craig Counsell  AA-EL       23.1     8.5
14  Cinn  Pokey Reese     AA-SL       21.9     20.0     3
15  Atl   Tony Graffanino AA-SL       17.6      9.6
16  Tor   Chris Stynes    AA-SL       15.4     12.9
17  Bal   Alex Ochoa      AA-EL       14.9     12.1     8
18  Col   Q McCracken     AA-EL       13.6     11.1 
19  SF    Doug Mirabelli  AA-TL       11.6      3.4

Pitchers

1   Minn  Brad Radke      AA-SL       68.1     55.6
2   NYY   Mariano Rivera  AA-EL       66.6     30.0
3   Bal   Armando Benitez AA-EL       46.2     34.3     1
4   Sea   Derek Lowe      AA-SL       45.6     37.7
5   LA    Ismael Valdes   AA-TL       42.0     40.2
6   Mon   Uggie Urbina    AA-EL       40.1     36.9

7   Pitt  Esteban Loaiza  AA-SL       39.5     23.5
8   Atl   Jason Schmidt   AA-SL       36.8     19.7
9   LA    Chan Ho Park    AA-TL       34.8     32.9    10
10  Minn  LaTroy Hawkins  AA-SL       28.2     17.5     2
11  PHL   R Bottalico     AA-EL       25.8     16.9
12  SD    D Hermanson     AA-TL       25.4     20.6     3
13  Cle   Paul Byrd       AA-EL       21.8      8.3
14  Cinn  Scott Sullivan  AA-SL       20.2     12.2
15  Bal   Jimmy Haynes    AA-EL       19.4     19.2
16  Sea   Jim Mecir       AA-SL       19.4      6.5
17  LA    Darren Dreifort AA-TL       18.4     15.4     1
18  Col   Juan Acevedo    AA-EL       16.6      7.5
19  Sea   Ron Villone     AA-SL       16.1      6.7
20  Cle   Alan Embree     AA-EL       14.9      6.1
21  Oak   John Wasdin     AA-SL       14.7     14.8     4
22  Oak   Tanyon Sturtze  AA-SL       13.3      1.8
23  Minn  Rich Garces     AA-SL       13.2     10.9
24  NYY   B Boehringer    AA-EL       13.2      7.4

There are 43 AA players in the study. The split between pitchers and hitters is exactly even – 14 of each over 20 WARP and 6 of each over 40 WARP. The group of pitchers who missed the 40 WARP cutoff is more impressive though.

Interestingly, the group of AAA players is probably more impressive. There’s a widespread belief that AA is the prospect league and AAA has become a retread league. That idea has probably been oversold. If it is true you would expect to see an even split of talent between AA and AAA in the past and a greater concentration in AA in the present. At least in this particular year the talent was split pretty evenly if not a little more towards AAA.

Hi-A
Rk  Team  Player          Level      WARP3   29WARP3   BA
Hitters
1   NYY   Derek Jeter     Hi-A-FSL    66.0     57.1     1
2   Pitt  Jason Kendall   Hi-A-CAR    61.7     53.1
3   Bos   N Garciaparra   Hi-A-FSL    61.0     58.0
4   KC    Johnny Damon    Hi-A-CAR    54.9     46.5     1 
5   ChiAL Mike Cameron    Hi-A-CAR    51.4     37.6
6   Fla   Edgar Renteria  Hi-A-FSL    45.6     45.6
7   Oak   Tony Batista    Hi-A-CAL    42.0     37.4

8   Minn  Matt Lawton     Hi-A-FSL    39.7     29.3
9   SF    Bill Mueller    Hi-A-CAL    38.5     19.0
10  SD    Derrek Lee      Hi-A-CAL    37.6     37.6     4
11  Mon   Jose Vidro      Hi-A-FSL    32.2     32.2
12  Bos   Trot Nixon      Hi-A-CAR    29.6     28.0     6
13  LA    Paul LoDuca     Hi-A-CAL    27.8     10.1
14  Hou   Melvin Mora     Hi-A-FSL    27.7      6.6
15  Minn  Todd Walker     Hi-A-FSL    27.2     20.9     7
16  Oak   Scott Spiezio   Hi-A-CAL    25.1     18.9     5
17  Col   Neifi Perez     Hi-A-CAL    24.2     19.2
18  NYM   Rey Ordonez     Hi-A-FSL    19.2     17.5     2
19  NYM   Brian Daubach   Hi-A-FSL    15.4     10.6
20  Sea   Desi Relaford   Hi-A-CAL    13.9     12.7     2
21  NYY   Shane Spencer   Hi-A-FSL    11.6      6.9
22  SD    Homer Bush      Hi-A-CAL    10.8     10.9

Pitchers

1   Bos   Jeff Suppan     Hi-A-FSL    32.9     32.9    10
2   NYM   J Isringhausen  Hi-A-FSL    29.8     21.7     4
3   NYY   Ramiro Mendoza  Hi-A-FSL    25.8     20.2
4   ChiNL Terry Adams     Hi-A-FSL    25.3     20.1
5   Det   Brian Moehler   Hi-A-FSL    24.4     23.4
6   Bal   Jay Powell      Hi-A-CAR    14.6     13.0
7   Cal   Bill Simas      Hi-A-CAL    14.4     14.4
8   Bal   G Stephenson    Hi-A-CAR    14.1     10.0

There are 30 Hi-A players in the study. The position players have a huge edge. All seven players who’ve exceeded 40 WARP are position players and several more are just on the cusp of doing so. Each of those seven players were toolsy up the middle players – 4 SS (Batista was a SS in the minors), 2 CF and one catcher.

Suppan, who went from a Maddux-lite prospect to a durable innings eater, and Isringhausen, who went from a stud starting prospect to a good closer, are the only pitchers of note.

Lo-A
Rk  Team  Player          Level      WARP3   29WARP3   BA
Hitters
1   Sea   Alex Rodriguez  Lo-A-MWL   104.2    104.2     1
2   PHL   Scott Rolen     Lo-A-SAL    75.0     75.0     9
3   ChiAL Magglio Ordonez Lo-A-SAL    47.0     45.0

4   KC    Mike Sweeney    Lo-A-MWL    39.0     35.9
5   Hou   Richard Hidalgo Lo-A-MWL    38.4     38.4     4
6   Tor   Shannon Stewart Lo-A-SAL    38.2     35.5     6
7   Cle   Richie Sexson   Lo-A-SAL    34.9     34.9
8   Atl   Jermaine Dye    Lo-A-SAL    33.1     28.8     4
9   Minn  Torii Hunter    Lo-A-MWL    27.5     27.5
10  Fla   Kevin Millar    Lo-A-MWL    27.2     11.2
11  NYM   Preston Wilson  Lo-A-SAL    24.7     24.7
12  Cal   Benjy Molina    Lo-A-MWL    19.9     19.9
13  Cle   Einar Diaz      Lo-A-SAL    18.9     16.2     7
14  Det   F Catalanotto   Lo-A-SAL    17.8     16.5
15  Sea   Raul Ibanez     Lo-A-MWL    17.2      3.5
16  StL   Eli Marrero     Lo-A-SAL    15.0     11.6
17  Fla   Mike Redmond    Lo-A-MWL    14.8      6.7 
18  NYY   Rickey Ledee    Lo-A-SAL    10.3      9.2

Pitchers

1   Hou   Billy Wagner    Lo-A-MWL    45.1     27.4     2

2   Col   John Thomson    Lo-A-SAL    25.1     20.2
3   Cle   Steve Kline     Lo-A-SAL    22.5     17.1
4   Mil   Cory Lidle      Lo-A-MWL    21.3      9.8
5   KC    Glendon Rusch   Lo-A-MWL    20.3     20.3
6   ChiAL Mike Sirotka    Lo-A-MWL    19.7     19.7
7   Hou   John Halama     Lo-A-MWL    18.0     10.7
8   Atl   Esteban Yan     Lo-A-SAL    17.5     17.5
9   SF    Bobby Howry     Lo-A-MWL    16.9     14.3
10  Sea   Matt Mantei     Lo-A-MWL    16.2     15.3
11  StL   Jay Witasick    Lo-A-MWL    12.3      9.5

There were 29 lo-A players in the study. Just four players exceeded 40 WARP a decade after being in lo-A. Not surprisingly those four players have all been impact MLB players. There are another handful of position players who will also make it over 40 WARP.

The ranks of lo-A pitchers are extremely thin. Wagner moved from being a very good minor league starter to become an elite MLB closer. The best MLB starters are mid-rotation journeymen John Thomson and Cory Lidle.

I’m sure these things run in cycles and other years there are several good future starters in full season A, but 1994 was very much a down year. Suppan-Thomson-Lidle-Rusch-Sirotka isn’t exactly a dream rotation.

Rookie-Advanced
Rk  Team  Player          Level      WARP3   29WARP3   BA
Hitters
1   Atl   Andruw Jones    R-APP       65.8     65.8     2

2   Minn  Cory Koskie     R-APPY      37.7     26.5
3   Cinn  Aaron Boone     R-PIO       27.2     19.5     1
4   Oak   Ben Grieve      R-NWL       26.3     26.3     1
5   LA    Paul Konerko    R-NWL       23.6     23.6     2
6   NYM   Jay Payton      R-NYPL      21.6     10.5     1
7   Det   J Encarnacion   R-APPY      21.0     21.0
8   NYM   Terrence Long   R-APPY      17.6     17.6     4 

Pithers

1   Cle   Bartolo Colon   R-APPY      52.6     40.8

2   Atl   Kevin Millwood  Lo-A-SAL    32.1     32.1
3   Sea   Shawn Estes     R-NWL       27.6     23.2
4   Tor   Chris Carpenter R-Pio       24.5     24.5     3
5   CLE   Jaret Wright    R-APPY      15.7     15.7     3

Only 13 players from the four advanced rookie leagues made the study. Two very good players have already been able to clear 40 WARP so far and another handful should eventually make it.

I haven’t mentioned the BA league rankings in this section, but this is a pretty impressive job. Performance analysis doesn’t really have the tools to meaningfully assess short season player performances so it’s nice to see traditional observational scouting pick up so many of the future good players.

Also note that the pitching ranks are much more impressive than the two full season A leagues. Both Colon and Carpenter have won 20 games and each could win the Cy Young this year.

Complex
Rk  Team  Player          Level      WARP3   29WARP3   BA
Hitters
1   Mon   Vlad Guerrero   Comp-GCL    56.8     56.8     4

2   StL   Placido Polanco Comp-AZL    30.5     30.5
3   Minn  AJ Pierzynski   Comp-GCL    23.8     23.8
4   Mil   Ron Belliard    Comp-AZL    20.7     20.7
5   Pitt  Jose Guillen    Comp-GCL    19.4     19.4
6   TEX   Scott Podsednik Comp-GCL    10.5     10.5

Pitchers

1   Tor   Kelvim Escobar  Comp-GCL    35.6     35.6
2   SD    Matt Clement    Comp-AZL    23.6     23.6
3   Hou   Scott Elarton   Comp-GCL    12.0     12.0     2

Just nine players from the complex leagues are in the study. The small group includes one superstar and a handful of good players including another couple good starting pitchers.

The all short season rotation of Colon-Carpenter-Millwood-Escobar-Clement is quite impressive and certainly blows away the full season A rotation.

#3 LahoudOrBillyC


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Posted 11 October 2005 - 09:39 PM

This is great, and thinking about it this way is something new. Looking at the Red Sox farm system, we should expect on average 2 or 3 good players and another 1 or 2 decent guys. If we get more than that, we are an above average system.

What would be great to see (and maybe this is coming) is a comparison between BA's ranking of each farm system, and what that system ended up yielding in terms of total WARP3.

Thanks, this is fantastic.

#4 Randy Kutchers Mullet

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 10:06 PM

Just for reference, here's Troy O'Leary's DT card:

http://www.baseballp...oleartr01.shtml

29.3 WARP3, so he'd fall into Leskanic/Castillo range, which is really pretty fitting.

#5 philly sox fan


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Posted 11 October 2005 - 11:41 PM

This is great, and thinking about it this way is something new.  Looking at the Red Sox farm system, we should expect on average 2 or 3 good players and another 1 or 2 decent guys.  If we get more than that, we are an above average system.

What would be great to see (and maybe this is coming) is a comparison between BA's ranking of each farm system, and what that system ended up yielding in terms of total WARP3.

Thanks, this is fantastic.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Unfortunately I don't have any record of BA's assessments of overall farm strengths at the time. As far as I can tell that info isn't in the Almanac and that's the only BA product I have going that far back. I don't think they have the kind of stuff back that far on the web either.

In the team segment I'm going to list everyone in the study and there will be a couple different tables so people can get a sense of what good, average and poor farm systems look like.

Just as a teaser on the range of difference between top and bottom (ranked just by cumulative WARP) - the top team had 381 WARP within it's farm system and the bottom team had 80 WARP. That's a pretty big spread.

Thanks for the link RKM. I'll try and incorporate that.

#6 biollante


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Posted 12 October 2005 - 12:56 AM

What becomes more interesting is determining who will be those 2-3 good players. With the number of players that travel through the minors, how many actually contribute, with value, to a team or to MLB in general ?

#7 OttoC


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Posted 12 October 2005 - 07:20 AM

About 30% of the last two groups (69-120, 121-176) played for Boston, at one time or another, but only three were in the Boston system in 1994.

#8 jp

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 08:09 AM

Great work, Philly, though a little light on the details. Could you be more thorough next time? :lol:

It may make sense to say that each team should have, on average, 2-3 good players in their farm system at any time. However, the fact that the Yankees produced 4 of the top 16 players and have had so much success over the next several years since then speaks volumes. It is also interesting to note that they have since then picked up 2 of the top 3 players on that list as well. So, over the last decade they have at any time accounted for about a full third of the top talent on this list. Yikes! To quote Mel Brooks, "It's good to be the king."

Edited by jp, 12 October 2005 - 08:10 AM.


#9 PedroKsBambino


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Posted 12 October 2005 - 02:32 PM

Thanks, philly...this was great to read.

Are you going to assess drafting hitters vs pitchers as part of the analysis? Obviously a number of variables there but it's a question I always find myself asking about the draft.

Also, maybe this end up in geekage when it's all said and done? It'd be something to look back on later when other thoughts come up, and it'll be tough to find in the general archives.

#10 yecul


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Posted 12 October 2005 - 03:15 PM

Thanks philly, your projects are always great reads. Certainly puts things in perspective when people are penciling in 5-10 guys from the farm system into the 2006-2009 clubs.

#11 philly sox fan


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Posted 12 October 2005 - 04:38 PM

Thanks, philly...this was great to read.

Are you going to assess drafting hitters vs pitchers as part of the analysis?  Obviously a number of variables there but it's a question I always find myself asking about the draft.

Also, maybe this end up in geekage when it's all said and done? It'd be something to look back on later when other thoughts come up, and it'll be tough to find in the general archives.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Nothing on pitchers vs hitters, but the pitcher part includes a secion on the maybe changing usage pattern in the minors which is pretty interesting I think.

Yeah this will go into Geekage. MOst of the reason I made that forum was to find my own crap at some later point.

#12 philly sox fan


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Posted 12 October 2005 - 04:41 PM

Thanks philly, your projects are always great reads.  Certainly puts things in perspective when people are penciling in 5-10 guys from the farm system into the 2006-2009 clubs.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I think that's the big general issue. All year people have said the Sox have 5 untouchables (now six with Hansen!), but how do you maximize their value? Keep them all and live the the attrition? We could call that the Rose-Stenson plan. Or actively cash out their value with trades and risk losing out on some cheap productive players? We could call that the Bagwell-Schilling plan I suppose.

#13 jp

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 05:04 PM

I think that's the big general issue.  All year people have said the Sox have 5 untouchables (now six with Hansen!), but how do you maximize their value?  Keep them all and live the the attrition?  We could call that the Rose-Stenson plan.  Or actively cash out their value with trades and risk losing out on some cheap productive players?  We could call that the Bagwell-Schilling plan I suppose.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Philly - you only call holding onto prospects the Rose-Stenson plan and trading them the Bagwell-Schilling plan if you aren't great at evaluating the longterm potential of your own prospects. However, teams like Atlanta seem to have a great ability to trade away the suspects and hang on to the true prospects. If we got good at this then we could call the hold strategy the Nomar-Nixon plan and the trade strategy the Saba-Tankersley plan! Then it would make sense to have a list of untouchables, which you would never publicize because you would want all your trading partners to remain ignorant.

Hey, Eric, do the Sox have a secret list of untouchables? Who's on it? :lol:

Edited by jp, 12 October 2005 - 05:22 PM.


#14 LahoudOrBillyC


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Posted 23 October 2005 - 11:49 AM

In the April 3-16, 1995 issue of BBA, they ranked the 28 farm systems. How does this correlate with your results?

1. Atlanta Braves
2. New York Mets
3. Toronto Blue Jays
4. Los Angeles Dodgers
5. Kansas City Royals
6. Houston Astros
7. New York Yankees
8. Saint Louis Cardinals
9. Montreal Expos
10. Cleveland Indians
11. Seattle Mariners
12. Chicago White Sox
13. San Diego Padres
14. Baltimore Orioles
15. Boston Red Sox
16. Minnesota Twins
17. Cincinnati Reds
18. Oakland Athletics
19. Florida Marlins
20. Texas Rangers
21. Pittsburgh Pirates
22. Detroit Tigers
23. Philadelphia Phillies
24. San Francisco Giants
25. California Angels
26. Colorado Rockies
27. Chicago Cubs
28. Milwaukee Brewers

#15 philly sox fan


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Posted 23 October 2005 - 02:17 PM

Very cool Lahoud, thanks. When I get a little time I'll add that rank to a couple different team rankings I have.

Just off the top of my head...

Mets were #2 based on the Generation K pitchers, but they bombed out and the Mets were middle of the pack.

Tor was #3 and they did pretty well with Carlos Delgado, Shawn Green and a couple of others.

Yankees ranked #7, but were actually probably #1 with a great foursome of Jeter-Rivera-Pettitte-Posada.

Twins were ranked #16, but they actually were very deep with lots of pretty good players and have actually accumulated the most WARP.

Sox were ranked #16 and were a couple places better than that in actuality.

SHould be interesting to see everything more systematically.