Monday, August 25, 2008

Minor League Playoff Races

This is the final full week of the regular season for the minor leagues, and we currently have a number of teams fighting for playoff berths. I'll go from top to bottom.

AAA - The Beavers are in third place (68-67) behind Salt Lake (Angels) and Tacoma (Mariners). The Salt Lake team got off to a blistering start and never relinquished the lead. There won't be playoffs this year in Portland, as the Beavers are 10 games back. However, considering how much we've been forced to take from them this year and how young a team they have, it's been a very good season.

AA - San Antonio (68-63 overall) is fighting for a wild card spot with Midland (A's) in the Texas League. The Missions are currently 2.5 games behind Midland with nine to play. These two teams are very similar, sharing the top five spots in individual ERA and the top two spots in terms of team walks.

HA - This one is a little complicated for Lake Elsinore. Lancaster won the first half, so they have an automatic bid, and they are also leading the second half by 3.5 games. If they hold on in the second half, there will be two wild card spots up for grabs. Lake Elsinore currently holds the top position for those spots with a three game lead and seven to play.

LA - Ft. Wayne (68-64 overall) is also battling for a wild card spot. They're three games back with eight to play. They won two big games over the weekend against the Lansing Lugnuts, who sit just ahead of them in the standings.

SA - Short-season Eugene has roared back from a slow start to sit one game out of first with 10 to play. They still have four more starting tonight against the first place club from Salem-Keizer (Giants). This one could get interesting.

R - Rookie League Arizona has also caught fire and is just a half game back with five to play in the second half. They're 17-5 in the second half and 31-20 overall.

DSL - The Dominican Summer League concluded with a 2nd place finish for the Padres.

As frustrating as it has been at the Major League level this year, it has been nice to see each and every affiliate performing well and competing for a chance to continue their respective seasons. After all, winning can become a habit.

14 comments:

Alex said...

Has there ever been any measure of minor league W-L records having any correlation to future success for the parent club?

Since the majority of minor league rosters are comprised of guys who never make it to the show, I'm sure they mean very little outside of pride, but I just thought I'd ask, outside of pride (I mean obviously you'd rather have a winner than a loser), is there anything a minor league W-L means?

Do players that play on winning minor league teams have a greater chance of repeating their success in the future because they are more mentally confident? Does winning in the minors help a prospect progress any faster or slower? Completely irrelevant to player development?

CptJack said...

"They still have four more starting tonight against the first place club from Salem-Keizer (Giants). This one could get interesting."

Until the Giants start sending MLB players down to finish us off.

I hadn't realized how close to contention for a playoff spot we were in the other leagues.

Peter said...

Alex,

I'm quite certain there is not direct correlation, however, the Padres are trying to create a "culture of winning." They want prospects used to doing what it takes to win, they want them focused on getting the win. If you take the emphasis off winning during player development, it will be hard for that player to "turn it on" later when it does matter...

Paul DePodesta said...

peter,

The concept of creating a "culture of winning" is right on the mark. Proving direct correlations are tough (we're not going to set up a control group of players who lose at every minor league level), however we do believe that an expectation of winning is part of player development. That doesn't mean we're using 28 year olds in A ball so that we can get a few more wins. It does mean that players need to learn how to win, how to play under pressure. We believe that part of developing each player is developing the confidence he has in himself and his teammates.

Padman42 said...

Mr Depodesta,
Loved the idea of starting Latos in the first game of the Salem series, he pitched lights out, and will be able to pitch the final game of the series too. Also the lineup in Lake Elsinore is WOW. Adding Dykstra and (the finally off the DL) Kulbacki, to a lineup that already has Durango, Hunter, Sogard, Canham, Joynt, and Carter. I am excited to see the Storm play in Petco on Wednesday.

field39 said...

If Kyle Blanks wasn't 6'6" 270 pounds, would the scouts suddenly recgonize his hitting skills?

Mark said...

Paul,

A quick request since he isn't much if any attention locally: can you give us some info on Blanks.

The guy's hitting .318/.397/.503 as a 21 year old in San Antonio(AA and a bad hitting environment).

Is he a top 20 prospect in all of baseball?

Is he athletic enough to handle LF? How much worse could be then Adam Dunn?

Wes said...

Paul:

Like Field039, I'm also curious about Kyle Blanks. He doesn't hit lefties very well (.237 vs .340). Would the organization be looking for that to balance out more before moving him up to Portland? Or might they move him up knowing he might only be a platoon player? I guess I'm wondering how much of a factor that imbalance is in looking at a player's future.

hector said...

Congrats on building the farm system. I do have a question. Are the Padres expected to make minor trades since this is the final week the players can be traded and still appear on playoff rosters?

I think the Padres are prohibited -per contract- from offering arbitration to Iguchi, Is that true?

Gavin said...

Wes,
Blanks has less than 100 ABs against LHP so I think you're probably looking at a sample-size issue rather than an inability to hit them. Also, both his strikeout rate and BABIP are lower against LH than RH, so its probably a case of bad luck to some degree as well.

David said...

Paul,

When do you think the Padres will promote Grounds-crew Gorilla to the MLB squad?

His smooth work and speed should bring a lot to the big-club.

You Know Me! said...

paul,

who are the possibilities for september call ups?

Paul DePodesta said...

you know me,

I can't share that right now, so you'll have to wait and see. The good thing is that we have a number of young players in Portland this year who have made their way through our system.

hector said...

Paul,

What type of player would you be more interested in for the Padres in 2009?

A superb defensive 2B with excellent speed and .300/.367/.450 or a big OF with petco power and .238/.381/.521

Both will be free agents this offseason and teammates :)

The team needs to consider the defense up the middle as well as the small ball qualities this guy brings to the table, I love the idea of bringing the big guy, but Blanks and Venable are so close to being here, I would go for the 2B