Tuesday, March 13, 2012
With the White Sox leading, 3-1, San Diego score four times in the fifth inning and added one more run to hand the Sox a 6-3 loss at Peoria on Tuesday afternoon. Gavin Floyd started for the White Sox, allowing one run and no walks over 4.0 IP with five strikeouts, while Charlie Leesman took the loss.
“I feel like things are progressing,” Floyd said, who added he was able to work on certain things during the outing.
Last night, Jake Peavy of the White Sox and Barry Zito of the Giants hosted the Fifth Annual Strikeout 4 Troops Spring Training dinner in Scottsdale.
Wounded Marines and Navy Corps men from San Diego, many whom are purple heart recipients, attended the event, along with a host of Major League players, coaches and front office executives. The event began with a cocktail hour allowing time for the groups to mingle and was followed by dinner. During dinner, each of the troops in attendance introduced themselves and many shared their stories. Following dinner, Barry Zito, Jake Peavy, SF third base coach Tim Flannery and singer/songwriter Steve Poltz (writer of Jewel’s hit song “You Were Meant for Me”) provided musical entertainment for the evening. And, at the conclusion of the event, each of the troops attending last night’s dinner received a guitar signed by all of the Major Leaguers in attendance.
Here’s what Jake had to say to the troops: “I’m honored to be here to be a small part, a very small part, of having you guys out today. And, I’ll tell you guys, how you think we make an impact on you, when you guys leave the clubhouse like you did today and you guys came in, were introduced and got autographs and had a good time, when you guys leave the boys sit around and I just watched our whole clubhouse talk about you guys, and Nick’s story and everybody…it was just amazing to watch the guys talk about — it just makes it real to us when you guys come in, you do as much for us as we do for you. So, I hope you know that and I really am honored to be here tonight. So, let’s have some fun.”
Earlier this week our friends at Baseball Prospectus, long supporters of White Sox Baseball, released their rankings of major league teams’ minor league systems with the Sox ranking …. surprise! … 30th.
With a major-league roster that features Gordon Beckham, Brent Morel, Dayan Viciedo, Chris Sale and Addison Reed among the most recent arrivals, it’s pretty clear that our view of the role of a minor-league system (producing talent for the major league club) differs from how these lists are created (accumulating “prospects” in your minor league system).
Anyway, Assistant General Manager Rick Hahn offered the best rationale for our approach during SoxFest:
“We don’t get too hung up on these ratings. I understand they are a big story right now, and obviously we prefer to show well as oppose to showing poorly. But that’s not the priority within our draft and within our minor league system. Our goal is to do two things with the minor league system; first, provide high impact assets for the major league club in Chicago. This year we have a potential impact starter in Chris Sale who was home grown, a potential impact back of the end bullpen guy in Addison Reed and a right fielder, an everyday position player, in Dayan Viciedo who we developed. So from that element, the farm system is doing what we need it to do.”
“The second thing a farm system needs to do is create trade assets that allow us out onto the market and acquire players to help us in Chicago. We have those available. Obviously, I’m not going to go deep down that list, but there are guys who people want who will allow us to go out and get big league help.”
“Now, the ratings system isn’t based upon other clubs’ opinions. It’s usually based upon a reporter’s opinion, as well as a handful of scouts who will talk to that reporter. In contrast to rating 30th, in 2001 we ranked 1st in Baseball America’s farm system and we had five guys in baseball’s Top 100. Jon Rauch was in the Top 5, Joe Borchard was in the Top 25, Joe Crede was in the 30s, Matt Ginter was in the 40s, and Danny Wright was in the 60s. One of those guys contributed to a championship in Chicago. One of the other four had himself a nice career but bounced around as a journeyman reliever. It’s incumbent upon us to know the players who are going to help us win a championship – players like Joe Crede – and who are the guys who the rating system has inflated or exaggerated a little bit? Those are the guys you trade for other assets, like we did with Carl Everett to help us win in 2005.”
“Over the past five seasons we have been able to draft talented players who have not needed much time in the minor leagues; guys like Chris Sale, Daniel Hudson, Addison Reed, Brent Morel and Gordon Beckham. Addison and Chris give the White Sox two pitchers who went from Class A ball to the major leagues in one season. That’s a tribute to them, to our scouts, to our development staff and to our entire organization. No other MLB team has had two pitchers move that quickly.”
“So if you have these players – guys who already are helping us win games at the big league level – follow a typical developmental path, they are still in the minor leagues. Add them into our Top 10 prospect list and I would guess we would certainly rank far higher than we do today.”
“Yes, we prefer to rank higher but it’s not the purpose of the farm system. It is right that in recent years we have not devoted as many assets to the draft. The fact of the matter is we have X dollars to spend and we made a decision that we were committed to win at the major league level. When you do that you have to make sacrifices elsewhere. I will tell you under our new collective bargaining agreement, our draft spending is going to increase dramatically. Our international spending is going to increase dramatically as well, and with Marco Paddy now representing the organization internationally, we are now ready to reinvest in Latin America. As a result, we are going to start showing up a little better in some of these rating systems. But at the end of the day, give me the Chris Sales, the Addison Reeds, the Dayan Viciedos, and give me the assets that we can move to help Chicago win another championship. That’s what we care about.”