Would love to hear some opinions on how the various stages of Minor League Ball compare to a large D1 school (like SEC, Big 12, ACC). Talent level of players, conditioning, etc..
Original Post
The #1 pitcher at my sons school was drafted in June. It is a top 40 program in a weak conference, ranked in the teens most of the year. Drafted in 2004 and 2005, cudda pitched for anyone. He spent the summer in Low A and pitched about 45 innings. Most of his stats were nearly identical from spring to summer, from strikeouts to walks, K's per 9 innings, ERA, BA against, all almost the same.

I doubt any college situation approaches a professional level much above Low A, given the fact that most AA guys are older, sometimes much older, than college age.

Proball is hard to compare due to the bats. If you look at the batting averages in the Cape League, the best there is, you see lots that begin with .100 and .200. I'd be curious as to others opinions, Fungo?
Last edited by Dad04
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Good question...

When someone smarter than me answers this question please include a discussion of development.

How does the player development in high/mid DI compare to A Ball?

Thanks.

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Observer

The two entities have different goals, products and resources.

College baseball is 4 seasons playing in 5 years, if you are lucky, gets all the players MLB can't sign, needs to win right now, not next year. Oh yeah, and you better be pulling down 15 or 18 hours per semester too, with NCAA mandated practice limits.

Proball can last 20 years. They want to win, but realize winning is a byproduct of developing talented players for the next level, and the next, and the next, without career threatening injury.

Between spring training, the summer season, off-season follow-up workouts, instructional leagues, international winter ball opportunities and no schoolwork, proball is hands down the development oppotunity of choice. There is no comparison. Apples and oranges, imo. One is full time, the other part time
Last edited by Dad04
I know the B'Jays GM has said many times that the very top DI program would not be competitive even if short season rookie ball. Talking with a lot of my son's teammates, two of whom attended UT and others who went to Stanford, UCLA, and Vanderbilt, they all agree with that assessment. Some of the stated reasons include:
On the hitting side, in professional ball, you have nine hitters who were the top hitters in college or high school. As a pitcher, you really cannot pitch around anyone and there is no place in the order where you get a "breather." A pitcher is required to maintain focus and effectiveness against every hitter. Even those batting 7-9 in the order were usually 2-5 hitters on their college team or very top DI recruits out of high school.
From a hitters view, every pitcher you see was a top pitcher in his league. If you see a starter and two relievers in a minor league game, they most likely were all #1 starters in college, they all can spot the ball usually, throw hard and have command.
Finally on the defensive side, with wood, infielders quickly find the need to charge balls more often, cannot wait at all for the ball to come to you and you are making throws from places you never had to in college.
In minor league ball, the players are bigger, stronger and faster than even the best college team because they were each usually the best on their college team. As you move through the minors, the game continues to get faster, the players stronger and the skillset much more accomplished.
Infielddad is right. I go to a college game and look down at most of the players. I go to a minor league spring traing game where you can basicly sit next to the bench, and I look up at most of them. They are huge.
quote:
Originally posted by Dad04:
Infielddad is right. I go to a college game and look down at most of the players. I go to a minor league spring traing game where you can basicly sit next to the bench, and I look up at most of them. They are huge.


Obviously you never stood next to any of the Georgia Tech players, they are HUGE. Big Grin

I have no answer other than the fact that I saw some games this year in the ACC and CWS that were better than some MLB games.
quote:
How does the player development in high/mid DI compare to A Ball?


Comparing the two is really no comparison. The minor league player does nothing other than eat/sleep and play baseball. In Spring training they are on the field 7-8 hours per day, 6-7 days per week working on skills, changes and nuances to the game to allow them to adapt. When not in formal practice, they are in the cages or taking extra fungos. If they stay at the skill level they were in college, a player will be shown the door quickly, unless they have a lot of bonus money. I watched one player who was a high pick and all SEC selection completely rework his swing this year. Had been a .350 plus hitter in college with metal. Was struggling just below .200 heading into July this year. Worked countless hours on removing a loop that did not get exposed in college but did with wood and better pitching. Amazing to see him adjust, shorten his swing and be so direct to the ball, and have success afterward. In college ball, the talented players can get away with flaws. In professional ball, many struggle for the very first time because those flaws get exposed.
TPM
quote:
I have no answer other than the fact that I saw some games this year in the ACC and CWS that were better than some MLB games.


Better played or more fun?

IFD
quote:
I watched one player who was a high pick and all SEC selection completely rework his swing this year. Had been a .350 plus hitter in college with metal. Was struggling just below .200 heading into July this year. Worked countless hours on removing a loop that did not get exposed in college but did with wood and better pitching.


Experts tell me the wood bat is the seperator of good swings. Kids swinging linearly with metal in college that don't adapt to rotational in pro ball quickly fall behind.
Last edited by Dad04
I think Infield dad summed it up and I agree. I'll just add a few observations in my short tenure as a minor leaguer’s dad (short “A”) whose son played three years in the SEC. But.. BBScout needs to weigh in because he would be the one that could give you the straight scoop. From my perspective and I think my son’s, the three obvious differences are WOOD, MONEY, and NO ACADEMIC DISTRACTIONS.
The players are totally focused on baseball. That’s good because they suddenly realize they have a lot to learn. Wood and great pitching force hitters to adjust. Speed and strong arms modify the defense and the running game. The money adds a new dimension to the personal life for many of the players that are just coming of age. $1,100.00 is not a great deal of money but add that with a signing bonus that many players received and it allows the players to experience some things that maybe they didn’t in college. Players get few breaks from baseball and the long bus rides to and from the games are a reality. Players are basically transients during the season. They wake up to a new word each day and the only thing they are sure of is they are going to play baseball somewhere.
As far as talent goes I would have to say the minors would dominate. I was always led to believe the major D-1’s could compete with the “A” and “AA” teams....Now, I don’t think so. Sure there are college pitchers that can compete and college hitters that compete but I’m not sure the teams could match up ....depth is the difference.
Fungo
Have to add the Latin professional players to the mix of minor league talent.

In college, one or two or three on a team get a chance to be paid to play professionally.

As a professional player, you ALL get paid because someone thinks you have some skills projected to the next level.
I agree with Infielddad very much. D1 teams can't compete in a short season league, let alone full season "A" ball. As Bill mentioned, every player on the pro team was a solid player to star on his college team and all 10 pitchers were the studs on their college teams. Also, the kids in "A" ball are out of college and for the most part are 22-23 years of age who were studs on their college teams when they were 19-20. They now have about 500-600 at bats or 200 innings pitched in pro ball and anyone that thinks a college team can go into a league like that and compete is dreaming.

As Fungo mentioned, the young men in pro ball don't have to go to classes anymore or study for exams. They just eat, sleep and go to the park and play. They also play 140 games as opposed to the 55-60 played in college. They play about 15 games in the spring and then another 30 in instructional ball, and after one season in pro ball, the player is much better than he was in college. As far as wood goes, I don't see a big difference in the hitters once they get a couple hundred AB's under their belt. The first summer can be hard if the player does not have much experience with wood. The other difference is that .330 is a nice solid BA in college and .270 is considered a nice solid average in the minors.
Last edited by bbscout
I forgot to mention one more thing. The cream of the crop high school players never see college, as they recieve large bonus' to sign. They are kids who would have been All Americans, but are instead playing pro ball and the D1 teams would be competing against them too along with the college players who have signed. No contest. Just watching the Braves and see kids like Francoeur. McCann and Langerhans who would just be Seniors in college if they had gone to school and stayed there.
Last edited by bbscout
Very interesting discussion. This leads to a question in my mind. Is college ball even a realistic developmental path to the pros? Thus, are guys who are getting drafted out of college more than likely the guys who would have been drafted out of high school anyways but chose to attend college? In other words, if you were not a pro prospect in high school, are you more than likely not a pro prospect after your college experience?
Yep, I agree CD, it is an interesting thread that I wondered about several years ago.

Long ago, I took bbscouts word for it that college was not comparable to minor leagues, but at the time, it was difficult for me to accept, because it is widely accepted (incorrectly) that there are similarities to A or AA ball and the major D1 conferences.

I also believe that the definition of "development" evolves as players pass through the 8-10, 13-14, 15-16, high school and college ages on to the minor leagues.

So, when a high school parent asks whether a particular college or minor league organization is a better development option, I don't really know how to answer that, because, in my mind, I see them looking back and trying to project the future development in college or the minors based on what they have seen previously.

I think, with the exception of pitchers and hitting, that by the time players reach a D1 level, that the development is largely complete and players developed skills are refined further based on the talent level they face.

quote:
Thus, are guys who are getting drafted out of college more than likely the guys who would have been drafted out of high school anyways but chose to attend college?


I think in general this is true.

quote:
In other words, if you were not a pro prospect in high school, are you more than likely not a pro prospect after your college experience?


I think in general this is true, but even though a restatement of the first sentence, I don't think it is to the same degree.

I see a lot of young still growing bean pole pitchers that may not be physically mature until as late as their junior year.

One of the questions I asked bbscout, a long time ago, was how long does a typical high school player play and a college junior or senior play in the minors before making it to the major leagues.

Because I was secretly, at the time, hoping my son would go to college, I was hoping the answer was substantially shorter than what I received.

bbscout said that on average the typical high school drafted player spends 4-5 years in the minor leagues and the college drafted player spends 3-4 years.

So, a high school drafted player might be 23 and a college draftee 25 by the time they reach the major leagues.

So, by inference, it was very clear to me that something happens in the minor leagues that does not happen in college.

As my son went through his first year of intrasquads, I realized that the talent level much stronger overall, but I still saw players that I did not believe had the skills to play professional baseball.

During the past year, I have realized that many other factors enter into the equation.

Professional baseball is a profit making venture. So, and I learned this from bbscout and have now observed this for a few drafts, they try to pick players that will have the ability to play in the major leagues as soon as possible.

So, if a player they like can go to a major conference and compete, it costs professional baseball nothing to watch them develop for three years.

Then, when they draft the 21 year old college junior, they get a prospect that has three more year of maturity, used to traveling, and has faced the highest level of competion available short of the minor leagues.

So, it costs money to keep a player in the minor leagues, not much per player, but multiply that times about 200.

For a player where there is some doubt, going to college can be revealing to professioinal scouts.

One thing I have noticed, and this is debated after each draft, is the number of college v. high school players drafted through the first ten rounds.

Since my son is a catcher, I watch the draft by that position, and I saw a lot of college catchers drafted in the first 10 rounds this past year.

Each position and player develop offensively and defensively at different rates, and it seems that catchers take the longest to enter the major leagues.

So, while the decision was made to attend college solely on fit (and to frustrate the academcians, academics weren't even a thought) , it seems that criteria may be sufficient to consider these other more subtle factors, too.

Looking back, I think it is important to note that the apprenticeship for professional baseball is 5-7 years out of high school.

And now to placate (frustrating me) the academicians, am very glad my son is getting some college behind him.

Guess what, he now knows for himself that it is a long way to professional baseball.

And for those whose sons are in the minor leagues out of high school, they are likely there because they are viewed as being ready to enter the major leagues sooner, rather than later.

In summary, it did not go unobserved by this observer that bbscout's son attended college first.

You can observe a lot by watching is no BS.
Last edited by FormerObserver
ClevelandDad

A while back we looked at the 2004 All Star teams. Who went to college and who did not. Slightly more players did not attend college than did attend. I think around 55% not attending.

Generally speaking the most talented players turn pro after high school. Plenty of kids turn pro after (some) college and have nice careers.

Alex Gordon, Nebraska 3B, was not drafted from HS. He just signed for something like $4,500,000 out of college as the 2nd overall pick. 20 of the first 30 picks this year were college players. They are not being paid $1,000,000+ each to fill rosters on short season teams. They are prospects for now.

There are exceptions, but I still think that the minor leagues develop players better than colleges.

That being said, major league baseball has shown a preference to allow right handed pitchers to (or not to) in college, weeding out the geneticly less sturdy with multiple 100 inning seasons plus summer and fall ball, with the survivors getting picked after two, three or four years. Zero dollars invested as the strongest have emerged.
Last edited by Dad04
Fo, For a former observer, I think you have been listening to bbscout too much. I am glad you noticed (observed) that my son went to college. He will have his degree this year and his older brother and sister have theirs already. bbscout barely got through high school.
ClevelandDad,
Great post!

After watching a year of college baseball, it is not too hard to figure out who will be drafted and who will not, and whether they will be higher, mid or lower picks. I would say most of the higher picks would have been or were high picks out of HS to begin with. Many at son's school, better pick than in HS. The one thing I have noticed is that many players coming out of college might get a year or two in before some type of nagging injury shows up. I do believe this occurs because they hide injuries during college so that they will be drafted. Pitchers in college might pitch more innings in 3 years than if they were drafted out of HS during those three years. An important consideration.

Dad04,
I don't always think the best players are drafted out of HS, I think the most signable are. JMO.
C"Dad, I will be waiting for the Oct. 17 summary. Wake me up if necessary!
You raise another really great question/observation. Just my view of things, but there are plenty of players who get drafted out of college who didn't even have a look out of high school. One reason is players improve/develop an enormous amount from ages 19 to 22. More importantly is the fact that boys become men during that time. When mine graduated HS he was 5'11" and weighed about 155 lbs. In the next 3 years he went to just under 6'1" and put on 25lbs through growth and weight training. party I do not think strength can be underestimated and do not think the changes that occur in a college program can be overestimated. IMO, by the time players are 22, a scout has a lot better chance of projection. When they are 18, unless they have developed early, the chances to project correctly are minimized. I imagine there are stats on the percentage of players not drafted from high school who are from college. In our house, that percentage is 100. biglaugh
Last edited by infielddad
Great stuff everyone! Here are a few thoughts I have gleaned from reading this thread:

Proposition: No D1 team could compete against a minor league team -

Why -

1) All minor league guys are prospects whereas only a few of the D1 guys at best are prospects

2) The minor leaguers work on their craft all day long as opposed to part time in college

3) In general, the minor league guys are more physically mature.

Based on the above responses, it would seem that if you get stronger in college and have/develop the requisite baseball skills, that you can become a prospect even though you may not have been drafted out of high school.
While infielddad's post was very good, Fungo added the finishing touches when he commented on depth.

I do not agree that all minorleague players are prospects, however.
quote:
I do not agree that all minorleague players are prospects, however.


Chill, you are absolutely correct!. The fact that MLB is talking about reducing the draft to 30 rounds and dissolving the GCL,AZL and even compacting players into the Appalachian league suggests, amongst other things, that there are way more "players" than "prospects."
From what I have been able to learn, it appears players drafted in the first 10 rounds, and a few others drafted later, begin their pro career as a "prospect." If they struggle, they are given a longer look to see if they can maintain/increase their status.
Drafted after the 10th round, you have to prove/earn prospect status by performing well whenever you get a chance. Even then, you probably won't fully know when or if you have transitioned from one to the other. Words from your manager to the effect that "you have put yourself on the radar and you have earned your position" sure have a nice "ring" to them though!
Additionally, organizations are very different in their approach and how long they will give "non prospects" a chance to prove themselves.
Last edited by infielddad
Just a quick story. Was at a "Roast" Saturday night for Dusty Rhodes-UNF head coach-it was also a fundraiser(raised $100,000). Former player came to the microphone and gave Rhodes all the credit for being in the Major League today.
Mike Wood-KC Royals said he was given an opportunity to play DII ball(now DI) and
he was 6'1", 155#-an infielder that barely could hit 80mph. He told Dusty if it weren't for him he would not have made it to the bigs.

Point being, it's tough to know what the future will hold for a young guy with little talent. But if the desire is there and a coach can see "past" the obvious
shortcomings and develop the strengths miracles can happen. Scouting, imo, is more
of an art than a science and the "good" scouts will trust their instincts more than their radar gun or their stopwatch.
if I'm missing something I'm sure someone will set me straight

anway a teams 1-10 round choices will be spread among 3 or 4 teams, last yrs top guys moved up a level, but some guys repeating are developing well - others are filler type players

so explain again why a good Tennessee, Texas, or Tulane team could not match up with "rookie" team in a best of 5 series Confused

by bbscout:"The cream of the crop high school players never see college, as they recieve large bonus' to sign"

the numbers don't bear this out.
18 of 30 in 1rst round of the '05 draft were college guys.
those guys would be the 50% of a former hs "cream of the crop class" who didn't take the bonus and thought the college route would be good for them and were right.


there seems to be room for a good debate here



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Last edited by Bee>
Bee, some things that might be overlooked about Rookie league rosters:
They are filled with Latin players, some of whom have signed for very significant bonuses. They are hungry and can play. Might be raw but they can play.
Rosters also contain a fair number of JC players who were signed as draft and follows the prior year or who have just signed instead of transferring to a DI program.
Fillers: can play...a lot and some become prospects. Players who are "fillers" often were stars on their college teams.
If you were to compare the #6-9 hitters and the 5th-12th pitcher on a staff in rookie ball with those at a top DI, you will likely find the #6-9 and the pitchers were stars at the collegiate level, JC level or just signed a huge bonus out of a Latin country. Even at the schools you have listed, the #6-9 players/5th-12th pitchers are very good college players, but may not even be "fillers."
Professional baseball is taking the very best from a pool that is scouted nationally and beyond. By and large, even the top DI's are limited in recruiting by budget and 11.7 so they look regionally for the most part.
The cream of the crop of HS players does sign. When the draft is held and as you said there was 12 HS guys taken in the first round, they won't be available for the draft 3 years from now. Add on about 10-15 more HS kids that teams backed off on because of signability and drafted later on in the draft and then signed them, and the cream is about 25-30 high school players that don't head off to college, and won't be in the draft pool 3 years from now.

Also, a teams top 10 picks are usually spread over two teams, not 3-4.In fact a teams top 20 picks are usually spread over two teams.

As far as kids going to College and improving and turning into high picks......of course they do, but the topic was about D1 teams competing against minor league teams of all levels. D1 ball is not even Rookie ball. It is not even close to "A" ball and the guys that think it is "AA" caliber have no clue at all.
Last edited by bbscout
I forgot about the international signs

OK so my match-up team combo will be Tulanasee,
pitching rotation
Hochevar
Bogesevich
Adkins
Owings

Wink



.
oops b'scout, would ya believe I wrote that earlier??

AND we'll play it "with/on" EAsports Baseball
NCAA Baseball - it beats the he-ll out of a moose (or is that mouse) rolling dice
Eek

someone will have to enter the latin player's stats (in english please)


d04, yea but - I never comment on Neighborgall stuff - great kid wishing him the best

too bad about Bonifay??

bee



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Last edited by Bee>
It takes some of those "cream of the crop" kids signed out of HS a few years to catch up. In the meanwhile they are being kept on teams and being given playing time due to their potential more than their current ability to compete. In many cases they aren't as good of players at the moment as college players who will never be drafted.

I think you can look at how pitchers coming out of D1 fare in short season ball and A ball and get a pretty good idea how the minors match up with D1. D1 pitchers usually do pretty well in short season A. Full season A ball is another story and a fair jump upwards. I think a top D1 (let's say top 50) is as good as an average short season team but would get trounced day in and day out by a full season A team, although obviously a good college pitcher having a good day will be able to keep their team in a game. The short season team is still weeding out players and has a mixed talent base while the full season A team has done some of the weeding and is going to be too deep for a college team.

I got into a long "discussion" on this subject once before so this will be my only post on this one.
Caldad, I have to disagree very much with most of your post. Saying it takes the cream a few years to catch up is wrong unless you mean catching up to Clemens or Manny. Compared to the college guys who were Juniors this year, the cream from 2002 who would have been Juniors this year are "way" ahead of their classmates. Upton, Greinke, Fielder, Hermida, Kazmir, Francoeur and Cain are all first rounders out of HS in 2002 who have reached the Big Leagues. Santos in "AAA", Loney, Span and Hamels in "AA" will be there next year. Everts (TJ surgery) and Gruler (2 shoulder operations) are behind.They were the cream from 2002. 7 out of 13 have made the big leagues and 4 more will be there next year.

If they are good enough to play in the big leagues, don't you think they would have made a dent this year in college. By the way, one HS 1st rounder from 2002 did not sign. John Mayberry signed this year and hit .250 in short season ball.

Yourreasoning of how D1 pitchers fare in Short season ball is like saying all the high school pitchers will fare well in college. Some do and some don't.

Saying that a top 50 D1 team is as good as a short season team is nonsense.Only the best 3-4 players on the D1 team get to play short season ball. If you rounded up the 4 best players from each team in the Pac 10, don't you think they would beat up on a single Pac 10 team? That is what you are dealing with.

To make a good comparison, a fellow should go see about 20 D1 games and then watch about 20 short season games. I just finished my pro reports for the year. I reported on 317 minor league players after seeing all the major college teams on the west coast this spring.

I am now waiting for someone to say that the top 30 high school teams in the nation can beat up on D1 college teams.
Last edited by bbscout
bbscout

Trust me--someone will !!!

Too many people have opinions on things they have no knowledge about and all too many people take what they read on a website as "gospel"
One other factor that I would like to mention regarding short season A ball and full season (low) A ball ... quite a few players on each team are NOT first year players. Short season teams often have several returning players who were in extended spring training ... for several reasons including (but not limited to) rehabs and even position conversions. Likewise, full season (low) A can have quite a few "repeat performers" who are actually in their 3rd year (2nd full season). (Our son had several of each on both his short season and his low A teams the past 2 years.) With returning players like this at the lower levels, it puts an added twist on the level of play at these levels ... which I believe is quite a bit different than even the best D-1 college programs.

I will admit that I was a believer in the "a good D-1 team is comparable to short season / low A / high A / AA ... pick one" but I have definitely changed my opinion since watching 3 pro levels over the past 2 summers ... there is definitely a difference ... IMHO. Wink
Last edited by FutureBack.Mom
quote:
I never comment on Neighborgall stuff - great kid wishing him the best

too bad about Bonifay??


I wish him well too. He's perservered when many would not.

The DRays have mostly drafted very well but plugged in shabby vets on the cheap. They should have brought up Delmon Young and they need pitchers besides Danny Baez and Kazmir. Brazleton is a bust.
FBM

Although you have seen it with your own eyes Smile I bet you have enough faith in bbscout to understand his opinion is from years of experience....and we should value the opinion of those who do it for a living.

There are many, many examples of top players at one level, who cannot succeed at the next level because they are simply not good enough. It is not a dig at the player but simply a fact. The level of play is completely different.

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