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Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Memo to White Sox fans: Root for the prospects, not their service time – The Athletic $$

Well, this is silly. When the CBA is changed so teams don’t get an extra year of control for managing a player’s service clock, Fegan can make the argument again. In the meantime, somebody might also want to explain to him that he can watch Jiménez on MiLB.TV or at the AAA park.

But mostly it’s a bummer that the fetishization of optimal human asset management has trumped the interest in seeing great players do their thing. It’s one thing when general managers and teams do it because it serves their best interests, because ultimately they’re being rewarded or fired based on how they achieve specific goals. It’s another thing when fans intone it, dismiss the idea of seeing entertaining players and winning baseball as “pointless” until it correlates immediately with a potential World Series-winning team, and value hoarding team control more than the front offices of teams themselves.

Also, the White Sox sped up the timetable for Yoan Moncada to show fans the return for Sale. How is that working out?

Jim Furtado Posted: August 07, 2018 at 02:13 PM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: white sox

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   1. Mark Edward Posted: August 07, 2018 at 04:37 PM (#5722600)
Also, the White Sox sped up the timetable for Yoan Moncada to show fans the return for Sale. How is that working out?


Perfectly OK? Moncada isn't blowing the league away but he's basically been an average hitter with solid defense (via the eye test, haven't looked at his defensive stats). I really don't think bringing him up last year has harmed his development- he was hitting .282/.377/.447 in Charlotte. Yeah the strikeouts were high but I'm not sure if giving him another 500 AB's in AAA would've changed anything. And more importantly (from a Sox fan perspective) it's been much more fun watching Moncada in the majors over Brett Lawrie/Gordon Beckham/random 30 year old AAAA 2nd baseman.

There's nobody on the major league roster blocking Jimenez- I'm tired of watching Nick Delmonico flail around in LF while struggling to hit for any sort of power. With Kopech it's even more egregious- he's pretty clearly better than 3/5 of the Sox rotation. And considering the fragility of pitchers, it's silly to keep him in AAA.

I don't really care about 2025. I want to see good baseball players playing Major League Baseball now.
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 07, 2018 at 04:49 PM (#5722614)
But mostly it’s a bummer that the fetishization of optimal human asset management has trumped the interest in seeing great players do their thing.
Right, because it has nothing to do with wanting to see great players doing their thing more with your favorite team.

If, like Mark Edward, you just want to see them now, that's one thing, but don't make the disingenuous argument that people on the other side are more interested in optimization than in being entertained by great players, period.
   3. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 07, 2018 at 04:56 PM (#5722622)
I don't really care about 2025. I want to see good baseball players playing Major League Baseball now.


Go to Wrigley.
   4. PreservedFish Posted: August 07, 2018 at 04:57 PM (#5722623)
I agree with the excerpt. I get so tired of all the contract ####. One of the most pernicious effects of all the overanalysis is that nobody ever talks about player quality without their salary. Every website has a "trade value" ranking but who is ranking the best players without regard to their contract situation?
   5. Rally Posted: August 07, 2018 at 05:10 PM (#5722632)
Right, because it has nothing to do with wanting to see great players doing their thing more with your favorite team.


More for your favorite team, but less MLB time in baseball. If a guy is ready to play at 19, 20, 21 or whatever I'd like to see teams have the incentive to get him on the field at the moment he's better than their alternatives.

The easiest way would be age based free agency. Say any player not under a multiyear contract after his age 27 season (or whatever age is agreed to between management and the union) is a full free agent. Any year before that they can keep you through the arbitration process.

That takes away any benefit a team has from keeping Kris Bryant in the minors for extra time, unless said player actually does need to work on his defense.
   6. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: August 07, 2018 at 05:25 PM (#5722644)
I don't really understand why they haven't implemented something along those lines.
Seems like both the players and ownership would be happy with it, no?
   7. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 07, 2018 at 05:31 PM (#5722647)
I know the Bryant thing (plus countless other examples) happened. But why are we convinced this is what's happening here? Because of Juan Soto? I put this in the Eloy thread the other day, but he has just over a month's worth of games in AAA that included a 2 week injury stint in the middle. And not that much more AA time besides that.

Sometimes guys are ready, sometimes not. Should we always assume the teams are being underhanded?
   8. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: August 07, 2018 at 05:37 PM (#5722650)
I don't assume it's THE reason with Eloy (or Kopech, for that matter), but teams would be foolish to not at least factor it in. And it seems like it'd be in everyone's interest (except AAA owners) to eliminate it as a consideration.
   9. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 07, 2018 at 05:37 PM (#5722651)
I don't really understand why they haven't implemented something along those lines.

Because from the union leadership's view, the hot rookie prospect is making the major league minimum or close to it while the veteran player being displaced is presumably making much more.
   10. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: August 07, 2018 at 05:51 PM (#5722659)
I think you're wrong. The union wants players to be able to hit free agency at their highest value. The rule change would lead to that. Which I guess is a good (and obvious, though I failed to think of it at first) reason for ownership to object. Clubs would get maybe a little more value out of the young phenoms, but a lot less from every other pre-FA player.
   11. BDC Posted: August 07, 2018 at 05:59 PM (#5722665)
If a guy is ready to play at 19, 20, 21 or whatever I'd like to see teams have the incentive to get him on the field


Particularly if he's better than the alternatives. I'd been grousing intermittently about Willie Calhoun earlier this year. Calhoun is 23, not a phenomenal prospect, but he hit .300 with power in AAA last year. He spent another half-season in AAA this year while the Rangers went with a group of journeyman outfielders who just don't seem to be any good.

Calhoun hasn't done much since being promoted after the ASB, but he's at least hitting .241, while the guys who were "blocking" him are hitting .194, .181, and .169. I can absolutely see keeping Calhoun in the minors indefinitely to play Shin-Soo Choo (having a nice comeback year), or Joey Gallo, or really any veteran of any quality. But it gets me down to follow a team that won't promote a player over guys who have proved they aren't major-leaguers.

OK, that's my last Calhoun whine :) He's in the majors now and he has to play well to stay, I grant that.
   12. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: August 07, 2018 at 06:19 PM (#5722675)

Perfectly OK? Moncada isn't blowing the league away but he's basically been an average hitter with solid defense (via the eye test, haven't looked at his defensive stats). I really don't think bringing him up last year has harmed his development- he was hitting .282/.377/.447 in Charlotte. Yeah the strikeouts were high but I'm not sure if giving him another 500 AB's in AAA would've changed anything. And more importantly (from a Sox fan perspective) it's been much more fun watching Moncada in the majors over Brett Lawrie/Gordon Beckham/random 30 year old AAAA 2nd baseman.

There's nobody on the major league roster blocking Jimenez- I'm tired of watching Nick Delmonico flail around in LF while struggling to hit for any sort of power. With Kopech it's even more egregious- he's pretty clearly better than 3/5 of the Sox rotation. And considering the fragility of pitchers, it's silly to keep him in AAA.

I don't really care about 2025. I want to see good baseball players playing Major League Baseball now.


This a million times.

I heavily discount anything that is happening in 2025. That's 7 years from now. So much can ####### happen in 7 years. And we know for certain that the CBA will be renegotiated in that time. That makes discounting 2025 even easier.

Eloy and Kopech should be up as soon as rosters expand. They probably should have been up at the start of August.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: August 07, 2018 at 06:26 PM (#5722678)
I know the Bryant thing (plus countless other examples) happened.

There aren't countless other examples unless they've come along in the last couple of years. Rizzo is a related example as the Cubs kept him down long enough to reset his clock from SDP. The Rays may have done it to David Price.

Historically, for ages 19-20, teams are a bit more "conservative" about promotion which gives them cover for Bryce Harper (159 days) but by 21-22 they have not been. Players (at least hitters) who tear up AA-AAA at those ages have nearly always gotten mid-season call-ups, usually no later than mid-Aug but sometimes just for Sept. We went over this back in real time with Bryant.
   14. SoSH U at work Posted: August 07, 2018 at 07:12 PM (#5722713)
That takes away any benefit a team has from keeping Kris Bryant in the minors for extra time, unless said player actually does need to work on his defense.


On the other hand, it keeps Bryce Harper from getting the big multiyear payout until he's been in the big leagues for nine seasons, or two years later than he will now.

As long as the developmental curve varies for baseball players (an inevitability if for no other reason than you have nearly half the guys signing out of HS and the other half signing after three years of college), you're going to have a system that works to the advantage of some and not others.

   15. PreservedFish Posted: August 07, 2018 at 07:50 PM (#5722733)
you're going to have a system that works to the advantage of some and not others.


Yeah but the fans are more important.
   16. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: August 07, 2018 at 07:50 PM (#5722734)
There are ways around it. Have college draftees under control until age 27 and high school draftees/international signings until age 25. Or something like that. It could work, though as you say, someone will always be getting screwed.

   17. Zach Posted: August 07, 2018 at 08:11 PM (#5722745)
I remember a contingent of Royals fans going through this analysis when Eric Hosmer came up. It seemed nonsensical to me.

The risk with prospects isn't that they will get too good and cost too much money six years from now. It's that they won't get good enough for anyone to care about their service time. If you have a need, and you have a player who can fill that need without crippling their development, just promote them and don't worry about it.

The 2011 Royals needed a first baseman. The 2018 Royals have bigger things to worry about.

As an interesting aside, trading 2018 Eric Hosmer for the 2011 version was actually a pretty good move:

                                                                                                                        
Year   Age  Tm Lg   G  PA  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+  TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards
2011    21 KCR AL 128 563 523 66 153 27  3 19  78 11  5 34  82 .293 .334 .465 .799  118 243  13   1  0  5   7  *3  RoY-3
2018    28 SDP NL 109 472 429 49 109 24  2 10  46  5  4 43 103 .254 .322 .389 .711   95 167  13   0  0  0   7         *3
   18. PreservedFish Posted: August 07, 2018 at 08:19 PM (#5722748)
I remember a contingent of Royals fans going through this analysis when Eric Hosmer came up. It seemed nonsensical to me.


I got into an argument in the Mets Reddit forum over whether or not the Mets should delay the debut of Matt Reynolds.
   19. Zach Posted: August 07, 2018 at 08:23 PM (#5722749)
Historically, this is the kind of thing the Royals would always try to do and fail. They'd take a situation with two kinds of risk ("prospect doesn't develop properly" vs "prospect hits free agency too early") and try to thread the needle instead of simply minimizing the more important risk and accepting the other as a cost of doing business. Then they'd end up in a position where both things went wrong -- the prospect would take several years to develop, and would hit free agency just as he was getting good.

To my way of thinking, the dominant risk in any prospect is that they will fail to develop properly. The best course of action is almost always to maximize his chances of turning into a useful player. Service time is a red herring.
   20. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: August 07, 2018 at 09:37 PM (#5722790)
I got into an argument in the Mets Reddit forum over whether or not the Mets should delay the debut of Matt Reynolds.

Well, it looks like the "keep him down" contingent was right, though the reasoning may have been a little off.
   21. , Posted: August 08, 2018 at 07:20 AM (#5722916)
David Price was mentioned but I can't think of any pitchers that have been fiddled with this way. Are there?

AAA pitches tax the arm just like MLB pitchers (okay, maybe not as bad because, presumably, it's easier to get AAA hitters out with the same stuff). If I have a MLB ready pitcher, I want as many of his pitches as possible being thrown in MLB, service time be damned.

It seems to me the way to avoid service time shenanigans is to do away with counting by days. If you appear on the roster of a pro team, it counts as a year of service time.
   22. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 08, 2018 at 09:39 AM (#5722980)
I'm tired of watching Nick Delmonico flail around in LF while struggling to hit for any sort of power.


Delmonico has a .178 ISO in the majors over the last two years, which is perfectly respectable.

With Kopech it's even more egregious- he's pretty clearly better than 3/5 of the Sox rotation. And considering the fragility of pitchers, it's silly to keep him in AAA.


Kopech has walked 4.8 batters per nine this year in AAA, which probably translates to around 5.5 per nine in the majors. In the month of June, he walked 27 batters in 28 innings and had a 5.46 ERA. I just watched the Pirates make the same mistake by giving in to fan pressure and promoting Tyler Glasnow before he was ready, so I'm speaking from experience when I say this: He needs to get that #### under control before he gets promoted, or else he'll never be anything but the next Bobby Witt.

Now that Kopech has finally had five starts in a row where he threw some strikes, maybe they can start thinking about a callup. Maybe.
   23. SoSH U at work Posted: August 08, 2018 at 09:42 AM (#5722988)
It seems to me the way to avoid service time shenanigans is to do away with counting by days. If you appear on the roster of a pro team, it counts as a year of service time.


Then the guy who showed he was ready in July would be held back until the following year.

Again, while I'm sure there are ways to design the system better than we have now, I don't think you can build one that's completely free of shenaniganny behavior, or doesn't disadvantage some group of players compared with another group.

   24. McCoy Posted: August 08, 2018 at 10:07 AM (#5723007)
I think you're wrong. The union wants players to be able to hit free agency at their highest value. The rule change would lead to that. Which I guess is a good (and obvious, though I failed to think of it at first) reason for ownership to object. Clubs would get maybe a little more value out of the young phenoms, but a lot less from every other pre-FA player.

No the union wants to protect union members. The guy in the union has a vote and a say. The guy in the minors does not. Existing union members don't care if a potential union member is better than them or that a new union member can make the union better or the product. What they care about is their own security. An existing union member largely doesn't care about a lower threshold to FA because it is likely it won't matter to them. Either they have already entered that period of their career or will very shortly.

Most union members are not forward looking that is why what Miller and the union was able to do back in the 70's was so amazing.
   25. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 10:16 AM (#5723010)

Again, while I'm sure there are ways to design the system better than we have now, I don't think you can build one that's completely free of shenaniganny behavior, or doesn't disadvantage some group of players compared with another group.


Jesus Christ you are so consistently reasonable. Does it ever get boring?
   26. Rally Posted: August 08, 2018 at 10:28 AM (#5723031)
The 2011 Royals needed a first baseman. The 2018 Royals have bigger things to worry about.

As an interesting aside, trading 2018 Eric Hosmer for the 2011 version was actually a pretty good move:


Hosmer looks like a classic case of keep them down on the farm just a bit to get an extra year of service time. He played 26 games in AAA to start the 2011 season and hit .439. Had he made the team out of spring training he would have been a free agent after 2016, not 2017.

To gain his 2018 service, they would have not only had to keep him in AAA for all of 2011, he would have had to start 2012 there as well. Now that's a tough sell. I don't think you'll find many cases of a top prospect dominating a full year in AAA and then being send back there to start the next season before getting any MLB shot.

Even with Kris Bryant, he split his 2014 season evenly between AA and AAA.
   27. Rally Posted: August 08, 2018 at 10:36 AM (#5723041)
He needs to get that #### under control before he gets promoted, or else he'll never be anything but the next Bobby Witt.


Makes me look at Bobby Witt's stats. Drafted #3 overall in 1985, he goes straight to AA. 11 games, 8 starts, 0-6 record with 6.43 ERA. Walked 44 in 35 innings. Makes the big league team next year anyway (no 1986 minor league time), leads the league in walks and WP but not totally hopeless with 9.9 K/9.

Bobby Witt coming up today would spend a lot more time in the minors, and most likely debut at a lower level. Also very likely that he is turned into a late inning reliever.
   28. dlf Posted: August 08, 2018 at 10:47 AM (#5723046)
In 196 college innings, Witt walked 154 batters. I can't imagine him getting drafted #3 in 2018, let alone rushed through MiLB.
   29. Rally Posted: August 08, 2018 at 10:48 AM (#5723048)
As long as the developmental curve varies for baseball players (an inevitability if for no other reason than you have nearly half the guys signing out of HS and the other half signing after three years of college), you're going to have a system that works to the advantage of some and not others.


There have been a few players who earn free agency before 27 like Harper and A-Rod. Griffey would have been there had he gone year to year but he signed a deal with Seattle to cover some of those years. As did Trout with the Angels. Had he lived Jose Fernandez would be a 26 year old free agent assuming he hadn't signed a long term deal with whatever team the Marlins traded him to last winter.

Most of the top free agent classes would get to market earlier. Such a rule change is bad for Bryce Harper's earning potential, but potentially good for the fans, and for his eventual counting stats. Had this rule been in place Harper certainly would have broken camp with the 2012 Nats, and he likely would have gotten at least a September callup when he was 18.
   30. SoSH U at work Posted: August 08, 2018 at 11:00 AM (#5723060)
Most of the top free agent classes would get to market earlier. Such a rule change is bad for Bryce Harper's earning potential, but potentially good for the fans, and for his eventual counting stats. Had this rule been in place Harper certainly would have broken camp with the 2012 Nats, and he likely would have gotten at least a September callup when he was 18.


But would teams become less inclined to continue to spend time and resources on late bloomers, knowing even if they break through they'll only have them for a few seasons of team control?

Maybe Aaron Judge or Jacob deGrom don't get the same opportunity in a hard age 27 free agency world.

I'm not saying this wouldn't be, overall, an improvement. Just that there will be winners and losers, in a variety of ways.
   31. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 08, 2018 at 11:30 AM (#5723092)
Historically, for ages 19-20, teams are a bit more "conservative" about promotion which gives them cover for Bryce Harper (159 days) but by 21-22 they have not been. Players (at least hitters) who tear up AA-AAA at those ages have nearly always gotten mid-season call-ups, usually no later than mid-Aug but sometimes just for Sept. We went over this back in real time with Bryant.

Then refresh my memory. Would 1 month at AAA after 2 months at AA fall in the promoted fast or too slow bucket?

He's played 82 games above A ball, and he has had injuries this year. I fail to see how it's obvious the Sox are playing service time games with him. I still assume he'll debut this year.
   32. geonose Posted: August 08, 2018 at 01:25 PM (#5723220)
Hosmer looks like a classic case of keep them down on the farm just a bit to get an extra year of service time.

Hosmer had played zero games in AAA prior to that. The Royals aren't really known for promoting guys to the majors straight from AA.
   33. Batman Posted: August 08, 2018 at 02:09 PM (#5723266)
As a White Sox fan, at this point I'm just rooting for everybody to have some fun and get some exercise.
   34. Rally Posted: August 08, 2018 at 02:20 PM (#5723286)
Maybe Aaron Judge or Jacob deGrom don't get the same opportunity in a hard age 27 free agency world.


The contractual upside isn't there for the team but as long as teams maintain 4 full season minor league teams there will be an opportunity for guys like that. You need to fill your AAA team with guys who can play some and maybe help you out if the MLB guys get hurt. And if a 27 year old comes up and proves he can play, you'll just have to be happy to have him until the end of the year.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of something like this would have been Josh Donaldson, going from a 91 OPS+ at age 26 to a 7.7 WAR season.
   35. SoSH U at work Posted: August 08, 2018 at 02:40 PM (#5723306)
The contractual upside isn't there for the team but as long as teams maintain 4 full season minor league teams there will be an opportunity for guys like that.


Possibly, but I doubt it would be identical to now. If you radically change the salary structure for young players at the big league level, it's hard to imagine it won't have an effect on developmental philosophy and execution in the minors.

Again, it doesn't mean a hard age isn't better than what we have now. I don't know. It's just that it would come with costs, some obvious (the 19-year-old who gets to the big leagues doesn't reach free agency for eight full seasons, while Josh Donaldson who finally figures it out at 26 is instantly rewarded) and some we wouldn't know until implementation.

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