Minor league data for this model was old. Not old in a not valid way but old in a relational database kind of way. Updating became laborious because scripts broke and none of it was organized properly. Thus, much of the minor leagues hadn’t been updated since the end of the 2013 season.
Being off season it was time to rewrite scripts and reorganize this data into something easily searchable. Back in late October 2013 minor leagues were introduced starting with AAA. Leagues are compiled by class of player. Right now only A+, AA, or AAA, the three levels below MLB are supported. Each of those leagues has 30 teams all affiliated with an MLB franchise. Each league is a compilation of data from 30 teams with players weighted and ranked exactly how it’s done here for MLB.
This will be the first of a many part series exploring minor league systems. Sometimes players who do well in minor leagues struggle in MLB and vice versa.
In Part 1 we’ll explore a list made in October 2013 titled “Where do the Cardinals get these players?” The Cardinals had a pretty strong farm system and this list showed all the home grown players on their 2013 World Series team.
tl;dr The below list of tables is long. Many players below get washed out of baseball, one becomes a top tier player, and a couple become good muddy middle players. One signed with the Cubs a few days ago. We know this now because we are from the future. In October 2013 our perspective was different.
Note: Tables below are a proof of concept. Will probably move year to column #1 and work on a color scheme to make them easier to read. Also considering adding an age column since that seems important in evaluating a career.
Minor league search reports include a rate called WinPct. The rate is necessary information for minor leagues because players typically do not spend an entire season in one league, thus, they can’t accumulate WAA to achieve a high rank. The rate shows rate of increase of WAA which translates directly into what is considered a WinPct. See this post for an explanation how that’s computed. A WinPct > 0.600 is pretty good. This rate is not computed for MLB records as it would be deceptive.
We’ll go from bottom up and the last name on the list was Daniel Descalso who posted these numbers in his MLB career.
Pretty average career with his best MLB season last year. Maybe that’s why the Cubs acquired him. 2013 was his career MLB season in October 2013 after a rough couple of rookie years.
Trevor Rosenthal was a reliever whose career apparently ended in 2017. He had Tommy John surgery and missed 2018. This report shows his minor league activity. In 2012 he went from AA to AAA to MLB.
Not sure if Seth Maness is still in baseball. He only pitched 12 innings in AAA in 2018. A WinPct of NA means not enough playing time to compute. His career high year was 2013 ranked #140 in the top 200.
Matt Adams had a career season in 2013 and a very good run in AA and AAA. He has since been consistently productive the last three seasons.
It doesn’t appear Siegrist pitched in minors or MLB in 2018 so he may be through. He had his career year in 2013 then fell off a cliff in 2014 and bounced back in 2015, According to this article he was suspended at the beginning of 2018 for not showing up to Pittsburgh’s AAA team. Something about velocity being down … whatever.
Shelby Miller is another 2013 Cardinals player who had a career year that season (at the time). Miller’s career year according to the future will be 2015 for Atlanta followed by a career worst year in 2016 for Arizona.
Joe Kelly also had a career year in 2013 then the Cardinals got rid of him the next season. His worst season was 2015 with Boston. He had > 0.600 WinPct rates in his early years except for AA. Cardinals still promoted him to AAA in 2012 and he pitched well for them.
Incredible numbers in AA and AAA between 2008 and 2010 and then had outstanding first three years in MLB. And then something happened. His last MLB appearance was 2015 and it wasn’t good and then spent time in AAA. Last season He performed well with the Padres’ AAA team so who knows.
Since we’re from the future we know this. In October 2013 Craig looked like a future HOFer. For some reason the Cardinals let him go — possibly free agency.
Matt Carpenter is a top 50 player according to last 3 seasons split. He was their best player to come out of Cardinal farm system based upon that 2013 list. His minor league trajectory is rather not that special.
There are a lot of variables, many very difficult if not impossible to model mathematically that go into evaluating a minor league player and guessing who can make it into an MLB star or merely an above average player contributing to the win bottom line. This is a vice versa case. The model shows so so value in the minors but he turned it on in MLB to become a top tier player. This model also shows that as well.
Unlike other players on this list who suffered hard times after that 2013 loss in the World Series, Matt Carpenter kept putting up consistent numbers. Cardinals know this which is why he and the next player are the only players still on the team.
Michael Wacha was NLCS MVP in 2013 after spending most of the season where he pitched well with a 0.661 WinPct. His career year was 2015 ranked #130 in top 200 and then he suffered a career worst year in 2016, ranked #51 in the bottom 100, a list no one wants to be #1.
Last season he pitched well although only 84 innings. it appears the Cardinals will keep him around. Reliable above average pitchers are keepers. Wacha might be free agent in 2020 so the Cardinals might deal him at the trade deadline if they’re forced to sell.
That is all for now. Part 2 of this series will focus on Cub players’ minor league fortunes. Until then ….