Minors

Reds make additional investment in minor league development

The Reds announced coaching staffs for some minor league affiliates, and there weren’t many surprises. You can find all the details of these staffs here. Triple-A Louisville’s staff, including manager Delino DeShields, will return to the club, and Pat Kelly will helm Double-A Pensacola’s squad once again.

What was surprising was the fact that the Reds decided to add a fourth coach to each minor league coaching staff, creating the position of bench coach for each affiliate. It may seem like a small thing, but it seems like a positive sign. Over the last couple of years, the Reds have continued to pump money into international scouting, the minor league system, and player development.

Zach Buchanan has the details, courtesy of Reds’ Director of Player Development Jeff Graupe, regarding what the minor league bench coach’s duties will be:

“We try to have as many diverse and versatile staff members as possible, whether that be English/Spanish, catchers and infielders and outfielders, former starting pitchers and former relievers. We’re trying to have someone on staff who can hold their expertise and be able to help every player we have.”

Go read the entire piece, as it lays out the entirety of what’s expected of these bench coaches. Some other teams are doing this, so the Reds aren’t exactly breaking new ground here. But any increased investment in player development is not only welcome, it’s a necessity in the current environment.

Of course, when the Reds spend money on things other than the big league roster, I’m always reminded of former owner Marge Schott’s reluctance to spend on such things. Specifically, the fact that she didn’t want to pay scouts, because: “All they do is sit around and watch ball games.”

That’s apropos of nothing, but it’s exactly the sort of crack analysis that you can expect from us here at the Nation. Enjoy!

12 thoughts on “Reds make additional investment in minor league development

  1. Williams is quoted as increasing baseball IQ AS one of the reasons to add the additional coach.

    Thank. God. Over the past couple seasons this Reds team has made some of the absolute dumbest plays imaginable even for little league teams. Kudos to Williams.

  2. Travis Dawkins is hitting coach? It’s been a while since he was a reds prospect but I remember hitting or lack there of was his main issue.

    • I had the same thought. My next thought was “He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.” (Well, it was actually George Bernard Shaw’s thought, but whatever.)

      • Charlie Lau couldn’t hit. Rudy Jaramillo couldn’t hit. (Henry Kissinger couldn’t hit, but he probably can’t coach it, either.)

        Not sure if it matters at all.

  3. There will be some ups and downs along the way as it will take some additional time to find the right mix of coaches. Still, this is the absolute best news I’ve seen this off season.

    As a small-market club, the Reds have to squeeze each dollar until it squeals and concentrate on those opportunities with the highest return of capital. High leverage, just like in the use of relievers.

    This is about as high leverage as it can get. Using the common guideline around here that 1.0 WAR is worth about $8MM for matured talent, imagine the cash return if better coaching brings better skills and “baseball IQ” and simply raises the productivity of those
    players in the pipeline who actually make the big club by 1.0 WAR over a few years time.
    Measure that against the extremely modest cost of adding coaches/instructors across the
    minor league org – 5-10 positions at, guessing, less than $100K/year = annual invest on
    the order of $1MM (OK, $2MM if I don’t understand compensation….still….).

    Finally, someone -gets- it.

  4. Adding coaches to our minors league system? Trading high on a player (and I love what Straily did for the reds last year)? Speaking about advanced metrics instead of just era or rbi’s when discussing players/moves? Hoarding some cash until the team is closer to contending? I’m really stoked about the front office recent moves.

  5. I had similar thought what in the world is Dawkins doing as hitting coach? But he seemed to do pretty well at Daytona

  6. I was at spring training a few years ago, and in my wanderings, I came across Barry Larkin and Gookie Dawkins on an out-of-the-way infield working with a handful of guys. They were working on positioning their bodies to hasten the throw to first on grounders. … Maybe hanging around Larkin has taught Gookie a bit about how to teach hitting as well.

  7. Gookie may understand and be able to teach. He just never had the physical tools to be a good ML hitter. Being able to explain and teach counts for a lot. Some great players were coaches and were terrible just because it came so naturally to them. They just couldn’t teach someone else what came so naturally to them.

  8. My impression of Delino DeShields is that he is a poor manager. This isn’t based on any facts or personal observation, but simply seems to an accepted theme. I would like to know, from those who have observed Louisville games, or have some metric that can be applied to managing, how DeShields rates. It does seem that prospects coming up from the Bats lack fundamentals, although I suppose you should learn that in high school.

    • Like you. I’m agnostic on DeShields at Louisville. Reviews of his time here in Dayton were mixed, but a lot of that has to do with the constraints of the talent he had to work with while he was there.

      What the staffing changes may be telling us is that he’s been overloaded in Louisville….i.e. that the system keeps sending up players who aren’t adequately skilled in fundamentals to the level they -should- be at when they get to AAA. Thus, he has to remediate on top of getting them ready for the final step to the bigs.

      Adding a fourth coach in Louisville will take some of the stress off.

      But, on balance, Louisville is the last place to look. Where you -should- be looking is at low and high A, where these skills should have been inculcated in the first place. Improvement there should propagate upwards over time, but it may take two-three seasons for that to be fully apparent.

      Like everything else, investing -early- is faster, better, cheaper in terms of quality than having to invest in catch-up and correction later on down the road. So the critical stage is to get the -right- instructors into A ball.

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