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December 14, 2006

Team and Organizational Ages

Young Mariners and Old Birds

by Clay Davenport

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I was putting together team box info for Baseball Prospectus 2007, and ran a little test to see which teams had the oldest and youngest systems.

Average team age is established by looking at the weighted average of the ages of all players on the team as of July 1, 2006. Ages are calculated in days, with weights assigned by plate appearances (hitters) and innings pitched (pitchers). Batters' and pitchers' scores are then averaged together to get team total age.

The average age of each level was determined to be as follows:

Triple-A: 27.4
Double-A: 25.0
High-A: 23.5
Mid-A: 22.3
Short-Season A: 21.9
Rookie (Pioneer/Appalachian): 21.3.
Teams were compared to the league average, so Albuquerque, at an average age of 28.2, would be rescaled as +.8 (since the average Triple-A team was 27.4 years old). Take the average of each score in the minor-league system, without accounting for season lengths. (Note: the Isotopes' parent club, the Marlins, had an average age of just 25.8).

The youngest system? By far, it was the Mariners at -.85. Tacoma and San Antonio were the youngest teams in all of Triple-A and Double-A, and every team in their system was below average for their level. In fact, relative to the average age for their level, they were the first- and third-youngest teams in all of the minors (Durham, Tampa Bay's Triple-A team, slipped into second).

The Cubs were second youngest at -.52. Like the Mariners, all of their teams scored young, although none were as extreme as Seattle's top two.

The next three were the Twins (-.50), the Braves (-.48) and the Angels (-.45).

The race for oldest minor-league system was a three-team affair between teams located very close to each other, the Pirates, Phillies and Orioles. Down to the wire, the Orioles emerged with the dubious title with a score of +.64. Hitters on their four full-season teams averaged an astonishing +1.42, nearly a year and a half above average for their level--and even then they weren't any good. Ottawa's and Bowie's hitters, at +1.7, were the tied for fifth-worst in all of baseball, behind the Giants (+4.8), Albuquerque and Reading (+2.0), and the Yankees (+1.8). Frederick took the prizes for oldest hitters and oldest pitchers in High-A, the only team to manage that double (although Florida had the youngest hitters and pitchers in the majors).

The Pirates took second with a +.62 score, led by their pitchers. Indianapolis and Altoona were the oldest pitching teams in their brackets at +1.6 apiece. The Phillies were third, at +.58, thanks largely to Reading, the oldest minor-league club in baseball relative to their level. Interestingly enough, the second- and third-oldest minor-league teams were Altoona and Bowie, meaning the top three were all in the Eastern League.

Here's the full list. "-85" means 0.85 years younger than average for their level.

Minors

Sea    -85
Chi    -52
Min    -50
Atl    -48
Laa    -45
Lad    -39
Col    -38
Ari    -33
Tex    -25
Tb     -17
Mil    -16
Cle      1
Cws      3
Stl      7
Sd       9
Bos     10
Tor     13
Fla     14
Kc      15
Hou     17
Det     18
Nym     21
Nyy     29
Oak     32
Sf      33
Cin     36
Was     46
Phi     58
Pit     62
Bal     64
Majors
Marlins      -3.6
DevilRa      -1.9
Pirates      -1.85
Twins        -1.35
Indians       -.95
Rockies       -.95
Cubs          -.75
Rangers       -.7
BlueJay       -.6
Mariner       -.55
Brewers       -.55
A's           -.5
Angels        -.5
Braves        -.4
Nationa       -.2
Royals        -.1
Tigers        -.1
Orioles        .15
WhiteSo        .15
Cardina        .3
Reds           .3
Diamond        .35
Phillie        .7
Dodgers       1.1
Astros        1.25
Padres        1.45
Mets          2.1
RedSox        2.1
Giants        2.35
Yankees       2.8

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