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Sunday Notes: MLB Executives Weigh in on the Implications of MiLB Contraction

Almost inexplicably, the proposed reduction of 42 minor league teams has largely become second-page news. Baseball’s biggest story simply a few cases short months ago, a potentially ruinous revision of the game’s landscape has witnessed itself overshadowed by cheating scandals, administrative fraca, and the controversial swap of a superstar by a deep-pocketed team. In arguably one of the most-tumultuous off-seasons ever, a hugely-important issue lies nearly dormant within the story cycle.

Here at FanGraphs, we’re doing our best not to let that happen. My colleague Craig Edwards is taking an in-depth look at the situation — expect those articles in the coming days — and what you’re seeing here serves as a lead-in to his efforts. My own beliefs aren’t included. What follows are the designs of a handful of high-ranking MLB administrations, the largest proportion of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity.

In the opinion of one GM, lawsuits are likely, if not inevitable. Speaking on the record would thus be an invitation to trouble. Another said that the ongoing discussions are at the organization tier, and independent of individual crews. For the above reasons, furnish a public opinion wouldn’t is in conformity with his best interest.

With no exception, each exec expressed that his organization’s bottom line is to optimize player development, regardless of the structure of the minor league. An American League GM throw it this action 😛 TAGEND

“I don’t conceive[ reduction] would change our operations that much in terms of what we’re focused on internally. We just wanted to made the best resources in front of our musicians, and whether we have 10 minor league teams, five minor league squads, or somewhere in between, we’re going to do the same thing.”

Continuity came up multiple times. Asked if all organizations would be impacted similarly by contraction, one director said that some organizations have numerous DSL units, or multiple rookie-league units, while others don’t. As he put it, “I’m of the tent that the more consistent we are in terms of number of squads, and number of musicians across minor-league baseball … that’s something I’d be supportive of.”

All agreed that losing a short-season team could prove problematic in matters of publicities. For speciman, what do you do if a player in the Gulf Coast League is deemed ready for the New York-Penn League, but not for the South-Atlantic League? In essence, you’d either have to leave him stagnant or double-jump him to a grade potentially deleterious to his occurrence. Again, the importance of continuity. If all organizations face the same challenges, you have a more-level playing field.

A National League GM who weighed in on the question agreed. He likewise rued the idea that an undetermined number of potential overachievers would never get that chance.

“There is definitely a subset of participates that shouldn’t be becoming that doubled jumping. With a good deal of affiliates, you don’t face that challenge. The more participates you have … it makes for a good deal of good stories. Chaps come out of nowhere. In that sense, I don’t cherish the idea of reducing it down.”

And then there are the towns. Losing a baseball unit influences their home communities , not only in terms of the fan experience, but too economically. One exec in particular was thoughtful when addressing that issue:

“Philosophically, is minor-league baseball altogether for actor growth, or is it also a business for these municipalities? We have promises here, but we also have 12 kids who were drafted in order to give those other 12 someone to play with. Are we OK that this is part development, character amusement business? We’re spending money on kids who are drafted and developed, in order to give players to that business. This is a theoretical question that needs to be answered.”

It is generally understood that MLB owners have the money to continue “subsidizing, ” and they could afford to do so more generously. This is especially true when it comes to minor-league payments, which are a drop in the bucket compared to other expendings. Eliminating affiliates isn’t necessary for that to happen. Therein lies the business part of the equation, which is intertwined with the greater good of the game. One director I spoke to freely admitted that the best interests of MLB owners and the best interests of baseball as a whole aren’t the same thing.

The timing of June’s amateur draft came up multiple times. The consensus was that the draft should be pushed back, perhaps to the All-Star break, and that’s whether contraction departs forward or not.

Which draws us to the contentious negotiations between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball. As one of the aforementioned directors said, those are taking place beyond the purview of individual squads — all he and his brethren can do is wait for a resolution, and then act according. Which doesn’t want there aren’t things they’d like to see happen.

“I precisely crave it to be well thought out, ” expressed one of the NL execs. “I don’t want the tail to wag the dog. I think that’s the road it is now: the posterior wags the dog. We have all these short-season affiliates, we have to draft 40 rounds, we’re filling out rosters. What we have now isn’t ideal. The road it’s set up could clearly be optimized.”


Aaron Civale doesn’t boast countless four-seam fastballs. The Cleveland Indians right-hander propelled the lurch simply 3.2% of the time in his rookie season. And while upping that usage in 2020 isn’t undoubtedly a goal, having a higher-quality four-seamer is. Cognizant of the fact that he’s ”always been able to spin a baseball, but not really backspin a baseball, ” Civale has been working out at Cressey Sports Performance in hopes of deepening that dynamic.

As for his primary fastball, the 24 -year-old Northeastern University product doesn’t throw a traditional two-seamer. He described the traction as “a little bit offset, creating almost one-seam spin; I rotate at a different axis to create more of a lateral flow, versus time depth. The better I invent it — I do spin the chunk well — the more it moves in the direction I want it to.”

Not amazingly, technology is playing a role in his efforts to improve his sporadically-thrown four-seamer. The Indian sent Civale an Edgertronic to use over the offseason, and it’s facilitated him work on his liberation target.

“I’m generally on the side of the clod at exhaust, so I tend to get a little baby trimmed on the ball from the revolve axis, ” said Civale. “The direction it’s spinning isn’t really is contributing to carry. Having the Edgertronic and the Rapsodo allows me to see the immediate results of the spin axis and direction, which allows me to quantify possible small changes.”

Again, those small changes aren’t intended to remake the righty’s repertoire.

“It’s not something that’s being prioritized, ” explained Civale, who logged a 2.34 ERA in his 10 starts with the Indians. “The goal isn’t undoubtedly for it to be a plus lurch, it’s more to help offset my other degrees better. And because I do mix it in, I need to make sure it’s there when I need to go to it.”



Pee Wee Reese exited 34 for 100 against Lew Burdette.

Joe Torre travelled 35 for 100 against Juan Marichal.

Irish Meusel extended 37 for 100 against Jesse Haines.

Paul Waner get 40 for 100 against Pat Malone.

Joe Adcock proceeded 42 for 100 against Johnny Klippstein.


Tim Kurkjian told a pair of good Greg Maddux stories on Friday at a Foundation To Be Named Later interest occasion in Boston. The first laid bare just how well the Hall of Fame right-hander could read the tendencies of certain hitters. Harmonizing to Kurkjian, Bobby Cox had come out to the mound to remove Maddux from a postseason sport in a tense situation.

“You can’t take me out against this chap, ” Maddux told his director. “I know what he’s going to do. He’s going to pop out to the third baseman on the first degree. You can take me out after this, but don’t take me out now, because he’s going to pop up to third base on the first pitch.”

What happened? He sounded up to third on the first pitch.

The ESPN analyst proceeded to share another claim that came to fruition.

“Greg Maddux trod 999 guys in his career, ” recounted Kurkjian. “He had 999 with three starts to go, and he told Derek Lowe, frisking golf one day,’ I’m not going anybody else. I’m not stepping 1,000 people in my career.’”

Maddux acted 18 innings over those last three outings. He didn’t accompany anybody.


An historic comp 😛 TAGEND

Mookie Betts’s last three seasons before being dealt from the Red Sox to the Dodgers:. 299/.389 /. 535, 85 home run, 140 wRC +, three Gold Gloves.

Fred Lynn’s are three seasons before being dealt from the Red Sox to the Angels in January 1981:. 311/.396 /. 540, 73 home run, 148 wRC +, three Gold Gloves.

Lynn was 28 years old at the time. The three actors Boston acquired in the deal — Jim Dorsey, Joe Rudi, and Frank Tanana — went on to combine for 0.1 Struggle while wearing Red Sox regaliums. Betts, arguably the best player in baseball not worded Mike Trout, is 27 years old.



Sean Foreman, who founded baseball-reference.com in 2000, will be honored with the 2020 SABR Analytics Conference Lifetime Achievement Award.

Major League Baseball has promoted Chris Young to Senior Vice President. Per a press release, the onetime big-league right-hander will oversee MLB’s on-field operations, and umpiring, bureaux. Young had been serving as Vice President, On-Field Business, Initiatives& Strategy.

Maura Sheridan has been hired as the new play-by-play voice of the Cleveland Indians’ Carolina League affiliate, the Lynchburg Hillcats. The 23 -year-old Syracuse University graduate spent last season as the No. 2 broadcaster with the Fayetteville Woodpeckers.

Blaine McCormick will be joining the Richmond Squirrels broadcast team this coming season. A recent graduate of Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, McCormick announced tournaments for the Boise Hawks last summertime. The Squirrels are San Francisco’s Eastern League affiliate.

Gil Coan, an outfielder for four squads from 1946 -1 956, died earlier the coming week at senility 97. Coan’s best times came with the Washington Senators, for whom he batted. 303 in both 1950 and 1951.

Last Sunday’s column noted that the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame would be announcing their 2020 inductees on Tuesday. They did so, and the honorees are Justin Morneau, John Olerud, Duane Ward, and Jacques Doucet.


A random shoutout to a Kelowna, British Columbia native who had a short-but-successful big-league career that concluded with an elbow injury 😛 TAGEND

Jeff Zimmermann came out of the Texas Rangers bullpen 196 terms from 1999 -2 001, with yearly figure totals of 65, 65, and 66. In the last of those three seasons, Zimmermann was ascribed with 28 saves. His path to MLB was unique.

Undrafted out Texas Christian University, Zimmermann pitched for Team Canada, and for Barracudas de Montpellier in France’s Division Elite. He then returned to this side of the pond and pitched for the Winnipeg Goldeyes in the Northern League. The Rangers acquired Zimmermann’s contract from the indie-league club in January 1998.


Last Sunday’s column included a peek at the new player-development-focused class that Andy Andres is coaching at Boston University. Noted within those paragraphs was the fact that Peter Bendix, Mike DeBartolo, and Jeremy Greenhouse are among the 12 onetime Sabermetrics 101 students who have been hired by MLB squads. Of the nine not mentioned, here are the six who remain in noteworthy arrangements 😛 TAGEND

Ethan Bein, Senior Analyst R& D, Milwaukee Brewers Joe Harrington, Coordinator Performance Science, Los Angeles Dodgers Matt McGrath, Assistant Director Player Development, Los Angeles Dodgers. Alex Merberg, Director of Baseball Enterprise, Cleveland Indians Julia Prusaczyk, Analyst Baseball Development, St. Louis Cardinals Will Vandenberg, Bio-mechanical Quantitative Analyst, Los Angeles Dodgers



How do baseball teams exchange medical information, and what does it mean for the Mookie Betts trade? Alex Speier explained the process at The Boston Globe.

Chris Welsh pitched in the big leagues before becoming a broadcaster with the Cincinnati Reds. Jim Leeke profiled the southpaw-turned-analyst for SABR’s BioProject.

Janie McCauley of the Associated Press wrote about how Alyssa Nakken is espousing her role as MLB’s first girl coach-and-four. Nakken’s official title with the San Francisco Giants is Major League Assistant Coach.

Sticking closer to home, Stephanie Springer wrote about “The Astros, mental safe, and MLB front office culture, ” for The Hardball Times.

Over at The Tampa Bay Times, John Romano wrote about how all the Rays exes live in Texas … and in Boston and Los Angeles.



Babe Ruth reached 29 home run in 1919, his final year with the Red Sox. Mookie Betts hit 29 home run in 2019,[ probably] his final year with the Red Sox.

Mookie Betts has 37.2 WAR through his age-2 7 season. Andruw Jones had 47.1 Battle through his age-2 7 season.

White Sox outfielder Leury Garcia scored 47% of the time he reached base last year, the highest rates in MLB. The organization median was 31% .( Per ESPN’s Sam Miller .)

Whit Merrifield has flogged. 352/.382 /. 590 in 295 profession layer looks against the Detroit Tigers. The Kansas City Royals infielder is a mixed 30 for 62 versus Matthew Boyd and Daniel Norris.

Larry Walker had 8,030 sheet appearances, 383 home run, and 230 pilfer bases. Ryan Braun has 7,199 plateful appearings, 344 home run and 215 pilfer bases.

Dom DiMaggio croaked 29 for 101, with 10 strolls, against Early Wynn. Joe DiMaggio vanished 29 for 102, with 10 paths, against Early Wynn.

In 1929, Chicago Cubs infielder Woody English had a 72 OPS +…. and scored 131 runs.

On this appointment in 1946, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Preacher Roe suffered material fractured skull upon hitting the storey after being punched by a referee during a high school basketball game. Roe, who was coaching one of the teams, had feuded a call.

The Seattle Mariners transactions Ken Griffey Jr . to the Cincinnati Reds on February 10, 2000 in exchange for Mike Cameron, Antonio Perez, Brett Tomko, and Jake Meyer.

Charlie Wilson, an infielder for the Boston Braves and St. Louis Cardinals in the the 1930 s, was nicknamed “Swamp Baby.”

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