Since the Cubs’ recent acquisition, Jose Quintana, just pitched a gem today I decided to compile the 30 MLB affiliates in the A+ minor league and look at the players the White Sox got in return. The A+ league is one level below AA, two below AAA, and 3 below MLB. There is one level below A+ but not sure if that’s worth compiling.
The Cubs’ A+ team is the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Back in 2013 they were in Daytona and they might have won it all that year. These affiliates move around a lot in the lower leagues. Here is the Pelicans’ team status.
This is a good team even though their fielding (UR) is sub average, worse than the MLB Cubs. Here are their top players in Myrtle Beach.
Cubs have a lot of guys in the top 200 out of 30 MLB A+ affiliates. The three guys in bold tan are who the Cubs gave up for Quintana. The forth prospect Dylan Cease played for the Cubs in South Bend on their A team. We’ll wait until the end of the season to look at him if the White Sox decide to elevate him to A+.
A WinPct column has been added just for minor leagues. Since WAA represents wins, the delta between W-L, it can be converted to WinPct using the following formula.
WinPct = 0.5 + 0.5*WAA/Games
Where Games = PA/38.4 for batters, IP/9 for pitchers. This is explained more here. You can’t do this with WAR.
The weighted WAA is the only value that can be used to rank. Unlike In MLB, minor league players move from league to league in a season. A value stat accumulates with playing time so just looking at WAA in these leagues can be deceptive. A WinPct is considered a rate at which a player is accumulating value much like a batting average which is also a rate.
Many sites and TV commentators like to tout rates to compare players and that is improper. Rates can only provide context. A player who hit 0.300 with 700 ABs made 210 hits whereas a player who hit 0.300 with only 500 AB made 150 hits. The TV commentators and most Sabermetric stat sites don’t make this distinction and consider the rate sacrosanct.
In the minors we need to provide context. We don’t in MLB. In MLB all that matters is a player’s contribution. We don’t care what could be if that player had more ABs because nobody knows. Rates change and past results do not affect future results. When a GM needs to pick a player to elevate they want to do that mid season or several times a season and they don’t want to wait. That’s where these WinPct rates can be beneficial, they put the WAA value stat into context. All three Cubs’ prospects who were traded are around 0.600 which is a very good rate.
There’s also scouting intuition like Clint Eastwood in “Trouble with the Curve” that comes into play that can have its own completely separate model used to evaluate the knowledge base of scouts. There are coaches developing players who might not care about stats as they’re trying out different things. The above numbers can’t discern this. These numbers simply provide one perspective.
The Cubs don’t have any A+ players in the top 25 but, like their MLB team, they are all playing around the same level. A team can win championships without many superstars as long as everyone contributes a little bit. It all adds up.
I was going to do the White Sox’ Winston Salem team but they’re just as bad as their AA and AAA teams described here. The White Sox farm system is in complete disarray. Not sure what Reinsdorf has been doing all these years.
Since we’re here let’s list the top 25 players of all MLB affiliates in the A+ league. Although many of these teams have cool names we only tag players with their franchise ID.
The WinPct rate is not needed and would only confuse on a top level sort like this. Notice ranks 2-7 are from the Colorado Rocky affiliate. Normally when something like this happens I”m thinking bug in the code but this isn’t a bug. Here’s their team status.
LOL! This is about as lopsided a team can possibly get. They’re pitching is absolutely horrible and it’s balanced out by a team of minor league Babe Ruths. The Lucky Runs (LR) is described more here. They’re basically runs that score where no one gets an RBI. Unlike Unearned Runs which a team can improve upon, there’s nothing a team can do to improve lucky runs. That’s why we call them lucky. We include them in team status reports for completeness. I have never seen LR this high.
Anyway, that’s all today. New series with Atlanta tomorrow. Until then….