Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Irritant in the Lotion

Regular GROF-lurkers know that prospect pr0n is one of the many relevant, topical items I tend to avoid around here. Mostly because I don't know jack about the kids and additionally because I don't care. That might be harsh, but there is so much noise in the evaluative process that it's near impossible to get a real handle on how players project unless you use a real scout's eye.

As such, the Jays bumpercrop of signed and unsigned kids from the 2010 class doesn't mean a great deal to me. Other than the kid that sounds like Rocco and the kid from Newmarket that didn't sign, I don't know much about prior years picks either.

My lack of prospect acumen firmly established, it is with a little dread that I pass along this tidbit from a Baseball Analysts post dated Monday. Batters Box pro and all around solid Jaysman Marc Hulet examines recent drafts by teams with a multitude of high picks in the early rounds. He lets slip a slight damnation of the previous regimes ability to maximize on the young talent they drafted in bulk.
The club has had little to no luck with developing prep players from this draft and the minor-league coaching staff may have been unprepared to handle the initial wave.
Obviously there is more to this story than a lack of preparedness on the part of the minor league instructors, but it raises an interesting point. Consider how much higher maintenance a player one year removed from high school is relative to a college player. First time on your own with a wad of bonus money in your pocket?

As I see it, minor league development is a numbers game. There are so many players and only so many coaches and instructors. There are so many opportunities to fail yet so little context outside of pre-established allegiances born from the long drafting process. How much love and attention a certain player gets may date back to war room debates and who fell into which camp.

That said; it is imperative the Jays (and all teams) put their kids into a position to succeed. If that means coaching them up or letting them run off and play, so be it. Not every kid is going to make it, the minors are littered with stalled prospects unable to adjust and push themselves to improve.

One can only hope that young prodigy Alex Anthopoulos learned more than "don't piss off every single person in sight" while under the tutelage of a certain Mr. Ricciardi. We can only hope a decent support structure is in place to guide, groom, and gird the loins of this fleet of young studs drafted in 2010. This is the path - no sense sparing the expense of ensuring the best foot goes forward first.

Image courtesy of Fadden Pics flickrstream


  1. Adding to that, reading The Bullpen Gospels, I was taken aback by the complete disregard for proper nutrition that seemingly exists all throughout minor league baseball. You'd think that after paying millions of dollars in bonuses to guys who they're hoping will someday be good enough to warrant being paid millions more dollars to be athletes, they wouldn't mind dropping a few extra bucks and maybe a little bit of time on proper nutritional training rather than letting these guys scrape by eating McDonalds every night.

    If you're drafting kids out of high school, that means they've lived with their parents for their entire lives and have probably never even had to buy their own groceries. Giving these kids fifty bucks a week for food and telling them to eat whatever they want is so outrageously detrimental to their overall health... it just boggles the mind.

  2. Much has been made about this nutrition issue. There are many pro atheletes that get by on junk food and always have. It would be a major undertaking to enforce a healthy eating rule/guidline. Chances are if they are given more money they'll still eat the same way...

  3. Agreed. If you are really concerned about it, your best bet is probably to provide a meal at practices, meetings, games, warm-ups etc.

    Atleast then you know they are eating right some of the time. Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if some kids ended up skipping those meals to eat McCrap (TM) anyways.

  4. I find it hard to believe that an organization (and organizations, apparently) that invests so much in its players couldn't even hire a part-time nutritionist to develop some sort meal plan for its players at every level. Even if they do not supervise meals, some sort of daily meal plan/meal guide should be easy enough for even an undergraduate Nutrition student to put together. Heck, have one make one for the team as part of their thesis.

  5. Mattt, I agree that it would be a major undertaking but I don't think it's even close to impossible. Considering he amount of time and energy these guys spend training and conditioning their bodies as athletes, I don't see how eating properly can be considered an unreasonable commitment.

  6. Hey I'm with you. It is totally reasonable to expect an athelete you're paying to develop to eat right to maximize his potential. I'm just not convinced these young kids would follow the guidlines.

    There are pro atheletes that eat garbage and perform at a level we can only dream of. I've heard many pro baseball players say when interviewed that they lost weight when they first retired because of all of the junk food available in the clubhouse. This is the pro clubhouse I'm referring to. I think you see what I'm getting at.

  7. Drew has posted before about nutrition being the next possible frontier in the baseball management paradigm. Let's do it. I'm on board with any competitive advantage we can find.


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