2017 Reds / Minors

Are the Reds beginning to think outside the box?

C. Trent Rosecrans had this interesting piece in the Enquirer recently. The Reds evidently sent some minor leaguers to a leadership retreat:

The exercise was part of an obstacle course in the two-and-a-half day leadership training event that 12 Reds players attended at Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point, N.Y., this past week.

“Leadership is obviously a hot topic in all of sports. The age old question is how do you develop leaders?” said Reds director of player development Jeff Graupe. “There’s a lot of methods you can try – a lot of things you do within baseball – but with the investment of putting these guys on field, we wanted to match that off the field with the nutrition program, with sports psychology, with all the sports science initiatives. This is one that bubbled up to the top. Once we researched and found a program, we were pretty excited about it.”

I encourage you to read the whole thing; Trent has the details of what the players — some of the club’s top prospects across all levels — endured during the event.

A lot of people poked fun at the idea of a leadership retreat for baseball players, because that’s what people do on the internet: poke fun at things. But I’m all about outside-the-box thinking, and this certainly qualifies. It also seems to me (and to some of our astute commenters) to be an indication of changing times and changing attitudes within the Reds front office (now that Dick Williams in the GM in charge). Can you imagine Walt Jocketty signing off on something like this?

I particularly liked this quote from Reds minor league pitcher Rookie Davis:

“I’m all in on what we’re doing. Very rarely in minor-league baseball do you feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself, and I honestly, truly feel that I am,” Davis said. “I know that these guys are all in as well. We were talking about it during the World Series about how can we get there and stay there like the Cubs? Just talking about it, you’d see guys light up, that’s what they want. We want to win championships and win it with the guys around us. Honestly, I couldn’t ask to be put in a better position than I am right now and I’m happy I’m going to do it with these guys.”

Who knows? It certainly can’t hurt.

18 thoughts on “Are the Reds beginning to think outside the box?

  1. I love it. It builds camaraderie at the lower levels that travels with you through the system. You fight for the guys you came up with. That’s part of what made 2010 so special, most of the players knew each other and grew up in baseball with each other. Training like this only accelerates and strengthens the teammate bond. And like Rooke said, you feel like you’re part of something bigger, which only gives them extra motivation to succeed, advance and compete at the big league level together. You don’t want to be the only guy out of that group who doesn’t make it. It’s an additional layer to the support system of the minors.

  2. My first thought when I read the article initially was to wonder what the staff at RLN would think about it. I like it, but it’s not exactly SABR-friendly. Leadership and culture are things that I think get dramatically undervalued in the analytics era. Glad to see the Reds investing in those areas in an innovative way. But, that’s just me.

  3. Good read, thanks for sharing. This and the pitching summit last offseason do seem to suggest a change in operation has occurred.

  4. I like this. The thing I like most about it is it is a natural first step towards having an organizational standard for how things are done. I’m hoping it leads to more consistency throughout the farm-system.

  5. Love the quote by Davis. Glad to see them trying some unconventional things and looking for small advantages wherever.

  6. I love the fact someone said this might be a little flaky but lets try this. I haven’t seen anybody say if this is something from a group of military or ex-military but if it is so much the better. The total lack of discipline at the plate is one of the things killing this team over the last uh say 24 years or so! he idea of tis group of young players developing some plate discipline has me breaking out in the warm and fuzzies all over. group has some talent add to that some discipline to play the game swinging at strikes instead of just because the pitcher turned loose of the ball and my little heart goes flutter flutter ! This team could be a .500 team next year and then be an even better team the following year!!!!!!!

  7. This is great in that camaraderie and shared goals make players – young and old – raise their game because they begin to hold themselves to their teammates expectations. This is not contrary to saber-metrics as it often correlates to a rise in statistical production. Trying experience/leadership with no talent is something the Reds have done before, and that does not work… at least this time around the players are young and could have some talent.

  8. Here’s another bit of change from the Reds. Dick Williams speaking more openly and honestly with Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) about the situation with Devin Mesoraco and also the Reds using the @reds Twitter feed to push and tag the link to the article….

    http://m.reds.mlb.com/news/article/208408254/reds-devin-mesoraco-steadily-progressing/

    High points of the article….

    Reds think Meso should be ready to catch by opening day but even the best case scenario will have him on some sort of “timeshare arrangement” at the start of the season. Williams also said, “The doctors said that really mid-January is when they’d be able to tell us with a lot more precision what the timetable looks like”. Accordingly Williams will likely be putting a “contingency plan” into place soon because “You can’t wait until after mid-January to come up with a plan”.

  9. CTrent wrote today about the Reds are comfortable with letting Billy Hamilton play in the WBC if he is asked. I think that is a load of crap by the Reds since BHam has ended the last 3 seasons injured.
    Remember that Reds 2B/3B prospect Alex Blandino got hurt in last year’s games, began the season injured, and had a horrible season. Blandino was a 2014 1st round-Supplemental draft pick. Signed for $1.8M and had a lost season last year. He will have to repeat AA ball if he isn’t demoted to A+. His prospect status has cratered and he has fallen out of Doug Gray’s new Reds Top-25 prospects list. We don’t need the risk of BHam starting the season injured in 2017.
    New GM Dick Williams needs to put his foot down on this one.

    • And while they’re at it…Eliminate Reds players in the HR Derby. Both Todd and Adam had sub par 2nd halves following the derby. It’s not only Reds players either, it’s happened to several All stars in the past.

      • Agreed. When hitters are facing 90 to 100 mph fastballs everyday and then they have watermelons thrown up there, it is bound to affect their timing.

    • And Billy Hamilton could get hurt in the gym working out.

      Winker got hurt playing in AAA. Maybe Dick Williams needs to put his foot down and mandate that NO ONE plays baseball anywhere but on an MLB field.

      The Monday Morning Injury Quarterbacking never goes out of style.

      And yes let’s tell the league that sorry, the Reds will not participate in the HR Derby and will not help promote the sport.

      • I don’t see the Reds prohibiting anyone from taking part in the home run derby. Frazier had already begun to cool off by the time the All-Star break rolled around, if memory serves, and who’s to say an unknown quantity like Duvall would have produced home runs at his first-half pace after the break if he had not taken part in the derby? Weren’t pitchers throwing him fewer strikes in the second half, leaving him to chase, or to take more walks?

        On Hamilton, we can agree to disagree. Yes, Hamilton could get hurt in the weight room, in the clubhouse, or driving to dinner, but his injuries seem to come from on-field plays, so I wouldn’t blame the Reds if they wanted to limit his off-season competition.

  10. I’m 50-50 on this. Any of us who have been in corporate america for any length of time have seen our share of leadership initiatives… to mixed results. It really comes down to the character of the people involved. It appears that Davis was already thinking in this direction and so something like this can reinforce those notions and might provide a positive benefit.

  11. If it adds up to 10 extra points on the team batting average, about 20 more home runs, and 100 RBIs and lowers the team ERA half point. (Old School here, those are the numbers that win games) I would say send every player in the entire system to a Leadership Camp.

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