Thank you for the response to my question on Saturday.
I don't think his system or strategy needs to necessarily special or different from other teams to require patience to see whether or not it bears fruit. This isn't the NBA or the NFL where a GM can get near instant results from his first draft. Doesn't matter who's at the helm, it's generally going to take 3-4 years at minimum before we see what kind of talent he's able to find and develop. It took a year and a half for Theo's first draftee to make a major league appearance (the immortal Abe Alvarez) but it was nearly three years before a draftee of consequence broke in (Jonathan Papelbon). Considering Bloom got five bites at the apple (4 signed) in his first draft compared to 52 picks for Theo (34 signed), I doubt the fruit will be forthcoming quite as fast. But it has to come eventually, and that's when he should be judged on it.
Understood. And I get that Theo's or Dombrowski's or whomever's draft picks didn't rocket up the minor league system and pay dividends immediately. That's not what I'm asking. I know that baseball is what it is, some big time prospects get stuck in the minors for years before they make it to the Majors. Some never get out of AA.
But what I'm getting at is that there seems to be a lot of confidence in Bloom and I'm trying to figure out why, if this is just SOP for a big league front office. If Bloom wasn't here, and Joe Schlobotnik was the head of baseball ops, would you place the same faith you have in Bloom in him? I'm taking a long road in asking, what makes Bloom so worthy of being patient for? What is it about his drafting or his signings or his trades that makes you say, "Yup. That's him. This is the guy that's going to lead us back to the promised land!"
And please, I'm not trying to be disrespectful or disingenuous, if Bloom is just doing what other GMs/HOBOs have done for years--what's the big deal about him (other than that he's leading your favorite team)?
Bloom is trying to get the farm system built back up to the point where he can start promoting players to provide a cheap compliment to the more expensive players he will eventually sign, or to trade some of the prospects for young, cheapish talent. Also, by having a farm system that can provide value, either through trade or promotion, it allows Bloom to make big free agent signings without worrying too much about the signing not working out. For example, if the Yanks sign Judge they are not going to be overly concerned if he turns into Eric Hosmer as unlikely as that is. They can either promote a player from the minors who can provide some of the of value from Judge for cheap or they can use the prospects to trade for talent that can do the same thing. It is kind of team building 101.
Yes, I completely understand this. But isn't this something that's been done for well over 100 years? Ball players get old. Ball players all of a sudden don't produce. You need replacements and the cheaper, the better. Understood. But what is Bloom doing that's making you say, "Yes. That's a way of doing something that I've never thought of."
For example, when Epstein was promoted he did something that no one had done before, namely take the smarts of Moneyball (when that was still sort of a new concept) and combined it with John Henry's cash. He saw what Billy Beane did in Oakland worked, but he also knew that extra cash would hedge the bets a bit (ie instead of getting one on-base savant, he picked up three in his first off-season: Mueller, Millar and Ortiz) that way if one of them sucked, he wouldn't have been up a creek. Especially the Millar thing, that was a bold ass move that paid huge dividends that I think sort of gets lost.
Bloom, to his credit, trolls the Rule V waiver wire smartly. I think he's really good at that and Whitlock is a great example of what he's able to do. But what else has he done that's as bold? Maybe taking Judd Fabian in the second round, but that didn't work out. Maybe trading Renfoe at his highest value for JBJ (who was at his lowest value) and two prospects? That didn't work out. IDK.
You want to know what's in the black box, right? I feel like we can't really answer your question unless we work for the team and have all of their proprietary info and whatnot.
If this is your response to this question, we should just close up SoSH right now. None of us knows nothing and we still spend a shit load of time talking about what we don't know for sure.
All that you mention above is about player acquisition. Player development is what do you do with the players once you get them. It seems that some organizations have a method that is working better than others. The Astros, Guardians, and Rays churn them out pitchers every year. I think @jon abbey
could give better insight on how the Yankees develop pitching. The Royals are at the other end of the spectrum as they spent a lot of draft capital on pitching and none of them improved.
My hope is that the Sox with Bloom do know a little more about developing pitching once they are drafted. He spent his high picks on hitting and we hope they meet expectations. There is more out there about improving pitching through mechanics, pitch shape, spin, and sequencing that successful teams have used to turn mediocre prospects into above average major league pitchers. It seems that more minor league pitchers in the Sox system made jumps this year and the hope is that becomes normal operating procedure to create a pitching pipeline.
This is a really good point. I'm still not 100% sure on what Bloom's organizational philosophy is, aside that it appears he values middle infielders very highly. And I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. Middle infielders, especially shortstops, tend to be the best athletes/players on their teams. They should be able to convert from SS to 2B, 3B or OF very easily. Mookie Betts is one example, he was drafted as a second baseman and turned into an MVP in RF. The annals of baseball are littered with similar stories. I really do like this philosophy and see the wisdom in it--it probably speaks a lot to Bloom's obsession with players having some sort of pliability and being able to play them at multiple positions at the Major League level. I don't really agree with him on that, BTW, not everyone is cut out to be Jose Oquendo or Tony Phillips. It seems to me that baseball is a game where routine and assurance of position matters the most and having players constantly bounce around (Arroyo for example) is not the best idea because it ruins their ability to properly prepare for their jobs.
That being said, I'd like to know more about Bloom's pitching philosophy, specifically what does he value most in an arm? I know at the ML level it appears that he likes to take chances on oft-injured and older players to get them at a premium and hope for a bounce back season (see Michael Wacha) but there's a lot of risk with that gamble. Is Bloom an optimistic gambler? I'm beginning to think that he might be, but I'm not sure.