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June 23, 2006 12:00 am

Future Shock: Midpoint National League Report

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Kevin Goldstein

Kevin now turns to the National League as he gives us highlights from the minor leagues' first half.

The minor league regular season is over at the end of August, which means we've now reached the halfway mark. Let's take a look at whose stock has risen and fallen, who the candidates are to be each team's top prospect in my postseason rankings, and what unresolved questions need to be answered as we officially move into summer.

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March 21, 2006 12:00 am

Future Shock: California, Here They Come

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Kevin Goldstein

Kevin takes a closer look at the Class A California League, and how its extreme offensive environments make raw performances look more impressive than they truly are.

Of the 14 teams that have their Low Class A affiliate in the Midwest League, eight have their High Class A affiliate in the California League, a very different offensive environment for young hitters and pitchers. The dramatic change in the California League leads to plenty of performances which look like growth, owing the the way the League as a whole inflates offense. Taking a step back and looking at the broader picture, however, shows that one needs to evaluate more than just raw statistics to determine the difference between a true offensive breakout season and one that is a product of the California League.

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February 24, 2006 12:00 am

Lies, Damned Lies: Any Such Thing?

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Nate Silver

A closer look at the validity of one of BP's best-known theories.

Everything in prospect analysis is relative. Pretty much everyone agrees that some discount needs to be applied to pitching prospects. Baseball America isn't treating Mike Pelfrey like he's Justin Upton, and rest assured that we wouldn't trade Matt Cain for Trevor Plouffe. But figuring out exactly what the discount rate should be is something that hasn't really been resolved. Traditional prospect analysis almost certainly isn't discounting enough, and I've come to believe that Baseball Prospectus isn't discounting enough, either. Although the amateur draft has seen a substantial correction--perhaps even an overcorrection--pitching prospects are still treated in trade talks like they're black chips at the Bellagio.

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June 25, 2004 12:00 am

Can Of Corn: Double-A All-Stars

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Dayn Perry

You've stumbled into the midst of series on minor league All-Stars. These aren't the ones you'll find on the various and sundry All-Star teams that will soon be squaring off against one another around the minors. Rather, these are the prospects who should be regarded as the luminaries of the minor leagues, at least according to this particular pontificator. Here's my Double-A All-Star ballot, the best of the Eastern, Southern and Texas Leagues....

You've stumbled into the midst of series on minor league All-Stars. These aren't the ones you'll find on the various and sundry All-Star teams that will soon be squaring off against one another around the minors. Rather, these are the prospects who should be regarded as the luminaries of the minor leagues, at least according to this particular pontificator.

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You've probably read Joe Sheehan's nifty explanations of his AL and NL All-Star ballots. In summary, Joe's theory is that you don't fritter away an All-Star spot on a player who's had a hot two months preceded by season upon season of mediocrity. Instead, you give the spot to a proven, top-tier performer who, ideally, is also enjoying a strong first half. I couldn't agree more with that philosophy. Today, I'm going to begin extending Joe's balloting hermeneutics to the minor leagues. By that I mean I'm going to name my personal level-by-level minor league All-Stars. In the very low minors, where I'm beginning this series, it's difficult to distinguish fluke performance from genuine skills growth--the track record either isn't substantial or isn't there at all. It's when I get to the upper levels of the minors that I'll get to wield my variant of Joe's philosophy. By way of example, I'm not going to hand out any spots to the Hiram Bocachicas of the world. Irrespective of his merits, he's not a highly valuable prospect by any standard. What I'm going to do is give spots to those who are not only performing well in the early months of the 2004 season, but also are doing so in tandem with legitimate prospect status.

Today, I'm going to begin extending Joe's balloting hermeneutics to the minor leagues. By that I mean I'm going to name my personal level-by-level minor league All-Stars. In the very low minors, where I'm beginning this series, it's difficult to distinguish fluke performance from genuine skills growth--the track record either isn't substantial or isn't there at all. It's when I get to the upper levels of the minors that I'll get to wield my variant of Joe's philosophy. By way of example, I'm not going to hand out any spots to the Hiram Bocachicas of the world. Irrespective of his merits, he's not a highly valuable prospect by any standard. What I'm going to do is give spots to those who are not only performing well in the early months of the 2004 season, but also are doing so in tandem with legitimate prospect status.

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June 5, 2002 11:15 pm

Prospectus Feature: Draft 2001: The First Round

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Joe Sheehan

The First-Year Player Draft concludes today. The annual allocation of teenaged baseball talent is a decidedly inexact science, especially in a year, like this one, with no clear top tier of players. Just for fun, let's take a look at the first round of last year's draft and get an idea of how well that crop is doing.

Draft 2001: The First Round

by Joe Sheehan


The First-Year Player Draft concludes today. The annual allocation of teenaged baseball talent is a decidedly inexact science, especially in a year, like this one, with no clear top tier of players.

Just for fun, let's take a look at the first round of last year's draft and get an idea of how well that crop is doing:

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Just for fun, let's take a look at the first round of last year's draft and get an idea of how well that crop is doing:

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March 5, 2001 12:00 am

Lost in America

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Keith Scherer

Following the 2000 season, the minor leagues underwent dozens of changes. Organizations changed their affiliations within leagues, moved their affiliates from one league to another, and jumped and bumped teams between levels. Along with the reconfigurations, there will be several new parks throughout the minor leagues. What follows below is a delineation of the changes, along with an attempt to anticipate what effects those changes might have.

Most of the changes occurred at the lower levels. At any level, the talent matters more than the park or league. That's especially true for the low minors, where the change is so rapid, the talent so immature, and the organizational goals so much more focused on development than statistical results. This article doesn't spend much space addressing changes at the rookie or short-season levels. But all the changes are worth noting, both to help track player movement and to better analyze drastic changes in player performance.

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