Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Pirates move High A team
I usually am on board with the Pirates moves since Neal Huntington and his front office were hired,but this one makes absolutely no sense.
The Pirates today purchased the Sarasota Reds of the High A Florida State League and will be moving them to Bradenton and play their games at the Pirate City complex.
The Cincinnati Reds will assume the Pirates contract with the Lynchburg Hillcats organization for the 2010 season.
This move makes little sense on several fronts.
The first is that the Carolina League is the Lincoln Continental of the High A leagues.
Nicer ballparks, more fans,better weather and most importantly-the most balanced league to evaluate prospects by the numbers.
The Florida State League has always been a pitchers league,while the California League has been been a hitters paradise with the Carolina being the one league that was somewhat balanced.
Anytime that an entire league has questions about its statistical data,the result is that your evaluations of your prospects are always going to have questions,no matter how bright the talent is or the evaluator in question.
The Pirates will have issues getting players up and down from Charleston to Bradenton as well as Bradenton to Altoona,where from Lynchburg,players could drive themselves to their new teams and be at their destination same day.
The FSL ranks at the bottom of attendance of leagues and the weather is stifling after April.
I cannot imagine players loving to play in towns that rarely support their teams,oppressive weather and empty ballparks.
Want attendance numbers?
By sheer attendance and keep in mind that these numbers include all the short season leagues that do not have as many home dates.
of the 176 teams in Minor League baseball,the top team in the FSL was the Charlotte Stone Crabs at number 102,the last team was the team leaving Sarasota at 167.
You want average attendance?Try this one on for size.
Only three teams in the Florida State League averaged more than the Hagerstown Suns number of 2,138-Charlotte,Clearwater and Daytona and three teams averaged less than 1,000 fans a night-Lakeland,Dunedin and Sarasota with Palm Beach barely beating the four digit mark at 1,008.
Several players that I have talked to about Bradenton had less than glowing words for the nightlife in Bradenton (not that Lynchburg VA is Los Angeles by any means) and the High A player could spend their time there from Feburary to September.
The only redeeming part of this decision is the theory of keeping their players "on campus",but this often backfires as the player almost hits the going through the motions zone seeing the same concrete jungle every day.
Sure,they will eventually have these things as they move up the ladder,but these are younger and less mature players and this could affect them more.
The Bucs will regret this one,ask the Reds.
They left the CL years ago and my CL contact has told me for years that the Reds were constantly attempting to return to the league for all the reasons that I wrote above.
At least,for the signature world,this brings a new team to the area in the Reds so this could have been worse as far that goes,but still....
What is plane fare from Hagerstown to Bradenton cost anyway???
Sorry,Neal-I don't have your back on this one.