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Very nice of people to notice things. We'll take any positive feelings people can send our way. Things are challenging to say the least. I'll give some impressions...

There have been many discussions about low minors and D1 baseball and I'll offer my 2 cents on that topic. I have seen many schools in the ACC, SEC and the Big 12 play up close and personal. Many of these programs have future minor league prospects on their rosters and so in some sense, there is some equivalence. Using my son's 2008 super regional team as an example, two outfielders, three infielders, a catcher, and several pitchers are now playing pro ball off that team. Several of the teams they played in regionals had similar or better numbers of future pro players on their rosters.

Now that I have watched several pro games either live or on the Internet, here on some noticable differences.... (note - the level my son is playing is considered A- baseball or five levels below the big leagues, where many of the players on his roster were either in college last year or in rookie ball which is six levels below the big leagues).

Left-handedness is vastly different in the pros. Tremendous numbers of hitters and pitchers are left handed. This is a big difference from most D1 rosters.

Most pitchers would probably be Friday night starters in college imho and many of them are already millionaires. Thus, you go from seeing one Friday starter a week to five or six of them all week long.

In some cases, the three or four year college players are more polished than the younger guys coming up from rookie ball.

The next time I see a catcher with a weak arm will be my first time. Every catcher I have seen thus far (three on our team and four opposing teams) has a tremendous arm. Most positions on the field show plus arms however.

Pre-game practice is serious business and hard work for both coaches and players. One noted difference was for infielders. After they take BP, they go stand on the cut of the infield grass while the power hitters take BP. They stand there until a rocket-shot comes their way (which they are expected to field) and then the next guy takes his turn. The Rays roving infield instructor said they hated that drill when Josh Hamilton was a member of the organization.

Reports are sent to the organization after every game.

Production doesn't always mean playing time or lack of playing time. Development clearly takes precedence over winning and losing although it appears the team tries to balance things if possible.

The size of the players on minor league teams seems comparable to high-end D1 programs.

There seems to be good speed and arms in the outfield. The overall speed of a low minor game seems comparable to me to a decent D1 team where speed is a priority for the program.

Only two umpires work each game which is one less than in college.

Probably other differences as well. There is less per diem on the road than in college for example.

It is still baseball however minus the ping of metal bats Smile
Last edited by ClevelandDad
Very good observations, and I agree. I might add that the outfielders are generally speedier with stronger arms. You can truck a catcher and not get thrown out of the game. If you observe the respective bullpens during the game, the pro bullpen is decidedly more "professional". It's not that they don't have fun. They simply take care of business.
Last edited by Dad04
Originally posted by 04Parent:

Great post. One more thing - they travel a lot with only one or two days "off" per month.

Thanks everyone for their kind responses. I thought my list might generate a little more controversy than it did so I am pleased with the response.

04Parent - nice to hear from you. We still need to meet one of these days - perhaps at a big league ballpark someday? Big Grin Seriously, I have followed Connor all these years and he is obviously doing well Smile

FO - perhaps you can comment on the differences between high A ball and the lower A levels? I am assuming the pitching is a little better up there? Big Grin

its - what is your perspective for AA baseball thus far?
My initial thought is that the overall experience level of the players at high A is greater than the lower level teams and that has an impact on the game.

The high A players are more accustomed to the schedule and have been to spring training where they may have played a few games with the AA or AAA teams.

So maybe a little less sense of wonderment and a better understanding of the competition and 'the system.'

The pitching does step up and the hitters are better, as you would expect.

There were some pitchers on the high A team last year that are on the MLB roster now.

It may only be perception, but I think the move to AA is significant.

bbscouts words about at least 600-800 AB's before being MLB ready continue to ring in my ears. That can take two to three seasons.

For the most part, I think players that have a full season of AAA are essentially MLB ready. But, players reach AAA, and never make the MLB roster.

If you look at the AAA rosters many have MLB experience and move back and forth to the MLB roster depending on injuries and other roster moves.

My observation, so far, is that if you can have success at AA, then you can probably play at AAA and MLB. Might be a matter of just more experience and luck.

I thought the comment about development over winning was appropriate, although that usually does not sit well with the collegiate group.

A player that heads to a D1 really needs to be able to play at that level from day one to get playing time.

The various levels in the pro system allows for placement of the player based on talent and experience so that development can occur over time.

Once the minor league pro player begins to stand out at a level, they get promoted, like its' son did.

I don't think the short season players get the full impact of the 140 game schedule during their first year, even with 56 plus playoff games and maybe 70 short season games.

Many talented high school players and collegiate players never really face failure the way they will have to in the minor leagues.

1 for 3 is a good day at the plate. 1-2 is awesome. 2-4 is awesome. An rbi is awesome.

And, if there are runners on, and a ball gets past you, the runner will score.

You will fail at some point when you play that many games.

Sorry, I rambled a bit...............
Last edited by FormerObserver
I think that your assesment was pretty good. Short season is filled with college players, mine once said it reminded him of summer at the cape (talent wise). For most, short season is more of a introduction to pro ball and those younger players who were in extended this past spring.
I know you asked about high A and AA, would like to share what son said about it. He now plays in the Texas league, which is more of a hitter's league (short parks). In high A the FSL is more of a pitcher's league (with ML size parks). What might be a good discussion is the differences between all leagues and teams. I'd like to know the differences between the Eastern and Texas leagues for example.

Also in some leagues you will find that some teams have younger players than others, depending on the advancement philosophy.

In the Texas league there are only 8 teams in that league, so you do play the same teams over and over and everyone gets to know each other very well.

Anyway in AA, the hitters are of course much closer to ML in age and in ability, the weeding process has taken place, and you will find ages ranging from 20-21 up to possibly 26-27 depending upon the team. The perception son got was that hitters wait on the ball, they will wait you out no matter what and a pitcher can find himself deep in counts. I guess you might say they have learned to be patient. Smile And most can hit anything they are served up. It actually becomes more mental than anything else at that point.
That was good stuff FO. Someone told me on some teams once you make AA, you are one step away actually, AAA is for some teams just a holding cell for what's needed for the big league and yes of course, many in AAA won't make it, but will become organizational guys.
One thing I might add for pitchers, the higher you go, the more the pitcher will get hit, and what is dependent upon your success is the guys behind you.
Last edited by TPM

It hasnt been all that long - but so far the biggest difference is the pitching.

Pitchers throw backwards in the count alot more - and with better control. And less fastballs in hittable spots.

In High A - each team had 2 - maybe 3 - lights out guys - and the rest were good to middling.

In AA - each team has the reverse - a bunch of lights out guys - and a few good to middling.

Big Grin
Being a life long Red sox fan I can say for the most part AA is where the Sox like to keep their prospects while AAA is for players needed to pop up and help the big club in a pinch. Usually when a player is called up that has a chance to stay with the big club he has been called up from AA or from having a "cup of coffee" with the AAA club.

Living here in NH as I do I have started to read the Fisher Cats stuff a lot more to follow Darin Mastroianni knowing he is a son from a parent here (even if I can't remember I know the radio announcers like him and how he plays the game, had a lot of positive things to say about him the other day.

The company I work for has season tickets 3 rows behind the home team dugout that we can use so I'll have to go see him play in person. If anyone is ever coming to the area and wants to go see him play just let me know and I'll try to get you the good tickets, probably better then the players get, so let me know if you are ever coming up Dad!!
When Walker was 14, his performance on the mound was IMHO the sole reason his team defeated my son's team in the championship game of the Texas state little league tournament. (Son's team had played them when a different pitcher was on the mound and had no problem beating them.) We were extremely impressed with Walker and followed him throughout his high school career.

Fast forward to Feb. 24 of this year, when my son's college team played Walker's (TCU). Walker pitched one inning and retired my son on a groundout.

Walker continues to dominate!

Btw, he has grown a little since little league days. TCU's roster lists him at 5'10", 195 lbs.
Last edited by Infield08
I have to tell you, it is awfully nice of people to notice but I won't be upset at all if he goes about his time in relative obscurity Big Grin

Serously, baseball is the MOST humbling of games. A little over a week ago he was hitting in the 300's and the last several games I wondered if he would ever get another hit. He went from batting in the 3-hole to the 6-hole last night. He was 0-10 when he stepped up and belted the homerun on a changeup that the other kid threw one too many times. To start the game, he hit into a double play and then line-out to first his next time up. Two at bats, three outs, and heading into his next at bat 0-10 Eek I would have taken an infield nubber at that point.

He walked in his next at bat so I was feeling pretty good with a 1-3 and a walk for the evening after he batted in the 8th. Somehow, they managed to turn the line-up around and he got their closer with two outs in the ninth. Three pitches later he was 1-4. As I said above, this is a very humbling game

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