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View Full Version : Why Haven't The Sox Built A Team The Same Way They Did In The Late 80's Early 90's


Thome25
10-09-2008, 08:59 AM
I was just thinking about the White Sox teams from the late 80's and early 90's. We had a great home grown players like Jack McDowell, Wilson Alvarez, Alex Fernandez, Jason Bere, Melido Perez, Ray Durham and Robin Ventura. These were the players that got me interested in baseball when I was a 12 or 13 year old kid.

Why haven't we built another team of good homegrown talent by now? Years have passed since these guys have been on the White Sox. You think we would've built a team in this manner again.......even if we found good homegrown players by accident. Why has drafting and player development been so bad since Larry Himes left?

Sure, we've had a handful of homegrown talent since then like Carlos Lee, Magglio Ordonez, Mark Buehrle, and Joe Crede but, those guys are few and far between and we never built a team full of these types of guys like we did back then.

I am in no way complaining either. I have enjoyed the White Sox success over the past 20 years. They've obviously done well for themselves, But, I was just wondering why they abandoned the route they were headed in in the late 80's and early 90's. Was all of the success they've had over the past 20 years the culprit? I.E. Winning records=lower draft choices? Or has their scouting and player development absolutely just dropped the ball?

What do you think? THANKS for posting.

guillen4life13
10-09-2008, 09:05 AM
I was just thinking about the White Sox teams from the late 80's and early 90's. We had a great home grown players like Jack McDowell, Wilson Alvarez, Alex Fernandez, Jason Bere, Melido Perez, Ray Durham and Robin Ventura. These were the players that got me interested in baseball when I was a 12 or 13 year old kid.

Why haven't we built another team of good homegrown talent by now. Years have passed since these guys have been on the White Sox. You think we would've built a team in this manner again.......even if we found good homegrown players by accident. Why has drafting and player development been so bad since Larry Himes left?

Sure we've had a handful of homegrown talent since then like Carlos Lee, Magglio Ordonez, Mark Buehrle, and Joe Crede but, those guys are few and far between and we never built a team full of these types of guys like we did back then.

I am in no way complaining either. I have enjoyed the White Sox success over the past 20 years. They've obviously done well for themselves, But, I was just wondering why they abandoned the route they were headed in the late 80's and early 90's. Was all of the success they've had over the past 20 years the culprit? I.E. Winning records=lower draft choices? Or has their scouting and player development absolutely just dropped the ball?

What do you think? THANKS for posting.

I think the bold statements have something to do with it. I also think that the business of the game has changed so much to where now it's really hard to grow your own team from the ground up while being successful at the major league level. Scott Boras got involved.

The only team that seems to build its own teams (that never seem to go anywhere) are the A's and to a much lesser extent, the Indians. The Rays have done it also but it's not like they had much of a choice.

barryball
10-09-2008, 09:10 AM
There are a few reasons that come to mind.

1) Back then (80's and early 90's) we were awful and had many years of high draft picks ala the same way the Marlins and Tampa Bay's have built there reams. This includes the Indians and the recent Tiger teams. All of these teams were built based upon good high selection drafts due to previous bad years.

2) Since about or around 2000 we have had one of the ebst records in baseball making the palyoffs in 2000, 2005 and 2008. During that time we have had the players you mentioned (Lee, Crede and Ordonez etc...) but the same depth like we had in the 90's since we have been drafting lower.

3) Even with the lower draft selection we have not drafted all that well thus the orgnization change in our monor leagues over the past two years.

4) In addition we have signed free agents and traded alot of our high ceiling picks (Chris Young, Jeremey Reed, Ryan Sweeney, Gio, de los Santos etc...) as we have been in a competitive "win now" mode.

The only team I see that has really been able to to do both over the same span was the Braves and that seems to have finally fizzled out in the past two years, although they have a good group of young talent just about to hit their stride.

oeo
10-09-2008, 09:15 AM
I was just thinking about the White Sox teams from the late 80's and early 90's. We had a great home grown players like Jack McDowell, Wilson Alvarez, Alex Fernandez, Jason Bere, Melido Perez, Ray Durham and Robin Ventura. These were the players that got me interested in baseball when I was a 12 or 13 year old kid.

Why haven't we built another team of good homegrown talent by now? Years have passed since these guys have been on the White Sox. You think we would've built a team in this manner again.......even if we found good homegrown players by accident. Why has drafting and player development been so bad since Larry Himes left?

Sure, we've had a handful of homegrown talent since then like Carlos Lee, Magglio Ordonez, Mark Buehrle, and Joe Crede but, those guys are few and far between and we never built a team full of these types of guys like we did back then.

I am in no way complaining either. I have enjoyed the White Sox success over the past 20 years. They've obviously done well for themselves, But, I was just wondering why they abandoned the route they were headed in in the late 80's and early 90's. Was all of the success they've had over the past 20 years the culprit? I.E. Winning records=lower draft choices? Or has their scouting and player development absolutely just dropped the ball?

What do you think? THANKS for posting.

Most of our starting position players as recently as 2004 were homegrown (not quite the talent of the early 90s, but homegrown nonetheless). That was the "small market" team, remember? I'm glad they've gone away from that. While I'd like to have more homegrown talent, I don't want to depend solely on that. You need a good mix of young homegrown talent, talent from other organizations, and veterans in order to succeed.

Just ask how this method is working for the Royals, Pirates, etc.

veeter
10-09-2008, 09:15 AM
I find it amazing you didn't mention Frank Thomas. Frank was the White Sox first round pick in 1989, IIRC. After Frank was promoted in 1990, the Sox were contenders for the next five seasons, and may have won in all in 1994. So yes, they were picking a lot lower during that time. Alex Fernandez, Ventura and some of the guys you mentioned were also high picks because the Sox were really bad in the mid to late 80's. Ray Durham came later, though. IMO with Kenny Williams at the helm, you'll never see a team built from the ground up, because he's impatient. I am too, so I like what he's doing.

Lorenzo Barcelo
10-09-2008, 09:23 AM
Maybe Lip or an older poster can confirm or not if Larry Himes could be the reason for the White Sox drafting success in the 80's before Schueler took over.

palehozenychicty
10-09-2008, 09:24 AM
Most of our starting position players as recently as 2004 were homegrown (not quite the talent of the early 90s, but homegrown nonetheless). That was the "small market" team, remember? I'm glad they've gone away from that. While I'd like to have more homegrown talent, I don't want to depend solely on that. You need a good mix of young homegrown talent, talent from other organizations, and veterans in order to succeed.

Just ask how this method is working for the Royals, Pirates, etc.


Indeed. It is like a gumbo of spices and meats that creates a winning team. You need all three factors clicking. I hate to say it, but the Red Sox are doing this better than anyone in baseball right now.

The Royals and Pirates have made awful choices for their picks, and weren't willing to invest much in their farm or in MLB talent. Tampa decided to invest their finances into scouting and development, and it's paid off this season.

oeo
10-09-2008, 09:26 AM
Indeed. It is like a gumbo of spices and meats that creates a winning team. You need all three factors clicking. I hate to say it, but the Red Sox are doing this better than anyone in baseball right now.

Agreed. If there is a model organization today, it's the Red Sox. They're not depending on their homegrown talent, depending on trading for it, or depending on paying for it. They're using it all in order to get it done. The Sox, OTOH, depend too much on trading for talent.

Tampa decided to invest their finances into scouting and development, and it's paid off this season.

If Tampa wants to sustain that success, though, they're going to have to do more. No #1 overall pick this year, and probably not for quite some time. Then when the time to pay these guys comes around, they have to be willing to pony up. Also, this offseason, for instance, they can't be afraid to trade some of their big pieces from the farm in order to get good veteran pieces to the puzzle (this is a problem with organizations like the Dodgers, Braves, D'Backs, etc.).

SteveFakeBlood
10-09-2008, 09:33 AM
I agree with most of what's been said about the business of baseball having changed so it's harder to keep homegrown talent, etc. But there's also simple dumb luck- from 1987-1990 our first round draft picks were Jack McDowell, Robin Ventura, Frank Thomas and Alex Fernandez. What are the chances that you're going to get four straight first round draft picks that end up being successful for your organization at a major league level? The next four first round draft picks after that were Scott Ruffcorn, Eddie Pearson, Scott Christman and Mark Johnson. And let us not forget Joe Borchard, Jason Sturm, Royce Ring and Kris Honel...

I'm not sure if it's a failure of talent evaluation or just bad luck- but we've had a hard time drafting impact players in the first round for a while now; hopefully, Beckham and Poreda will pan out... but it's not only harder to build your own team from within, but to keep players when they're developed.

In a perfect world, I'd love to see a mostly homegrown Sox team; hell I'd love to see a team with a few players on it that actually grew up in the Chicagoland as Sox fans... but now I'd settle for our farm system bringing up a few and clever manuevering bringing the rest.

~Steve

voodoochile
10-09-2008, 09:44 AM
1986-1989 the Sox went 299-357 and failed to play .500 ball a single time. It was the worst 4 year stint in JR's stewardship of the team.

They had years with 72, 71 and 69 wins during the stretch which happens to coincide with a certain broadcaster tenure as GM.

Fortunately Himes (whoops) - the guy they hired to replace Hawk - had an eye for talent and managed to draft a boatload of it with all the high draft picks.

Still, since Schueler refused to trade for talent, the team was pretty much home grown until KW took over.

Personally, I prefer the current team's makeup to those teams of days gone by because I know we have a shot at a pennant race every single year...

kittle42
10-09-2008, 10:04 AM
1986-1989 the Sox went 299-357 and failed to play .500 ball a single time. It was the worst 4 year stint in JR's stewardship of the team.

Don't remind me...this was right in the middle of my childhood Sox fandom from age 8-11. Kelly Paris? Russ Morman? Don Wakamatsu? Having to watch my favorite player ever get traded? AHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Luke
10-09-2008, 10:06 AM
Agreed. If there is a model organization today, it's the Red Sox. They're not depending on their homegrown talent, depending on trading for it, or depending on paying for it. They're using it all in order to get it done. The Sox, OTOH, depend too much on trading for talent.



If Tampa wants to sustain that success, though, they're going to have to do more. No #1 overall pick this year, and probably not for quite some time. Then when the time to pay these guys comes around, they have to be willing to pony up. Also, this offseason, for instance, they can't be afraid to trade some of their big pieces from the farm in order to get good veteran pieces to the puzzle (this is a problem with organizations like the Dodgers, Braves, D'Backs, etc.).

To be fair there is a built in advantage that teams like the Red Sox have with the draft, and their ability to sign top picks. It's not hard to identify exceptional talent, like Jacoby Ellsbury, but there was no way the Rays were ever going to sign him. He simply opted not to sign, and went to Boston in the next draft.

Kudos to the Red Sox for capitalizing on the situation, but the MLB draft can be quite unfair to the teams most in need of help.

Thome25
10-09-2008, 10:19 AM
I find it amazing you didn't mention Frank Thomas. Frank was the White Sox first round pick in 1989, IIRC. After Frank was promoted in 1990, the Sox were contenders for the next five seasons, and may have won in all in 1994. So yes, they were picking a lot lower during that time. Alex Fernandez, Ventura and some of the guys you mentioned were also high picks because the Sox were really bad in the mid to late 80's. Ray Durham came later, though. IMO with Kenny Williams at the helm, you'll never see a team built from the ground up, because he's impatient. I am too, so I like what he's doing.

Trust me, I remembered Frank was one of our draft picks during that era but I just forgot to type his name.:redface:

jabrch
10-09-2008, 10:28 AM
To be fair there is a built in advantage that teams like the Red Sox have with the draft, and their ability to sign top picks. It's not hard to identify exceptional talent, like Jacoby Ellsbury, but there was no way the Rays were ever going to sign him. He simply opted not to sign, and went to Boston in the next draft.

Kudos to the Red Sox for capitalizing on the situation, but the MLB draft can be quite unfair to the teams most in need of help.

Absolutely...The game needs to fix this problem. This, and the international FA situation. It has a strong adverse effect on the balance of power in the game.

Nice to see Tampa do what it has done so far this season - but it took 10 straight years of 70 or fewer wins, last place finishes in 9 of those 10, and lots of miserable baseball teams to assemble that kind of talent by their own drafts, and by trading vets for prospects.

There's a lack of fairness to the game in many ways. This is one of them. It is also something that is fixable. This isn't like MLB FA which is probably so beyond repair that it just is what it is.

MisterB
10-09-2008, 10:30 AM
The Rays being built on high first round picks is an exaggeration. They have 3 of their first round picks on the roster right now: Longoria, Upton and Baldelli (who due to his medical condition didn't contribute all that much). The other players that came up through the Rays' system: Crawford (2nd round), Shields (16th), Sonnanstine (13th), and Hammel (10th). The rest of the roster came from elsewhere.

PaleHoser
10-09-2008, 10:40 AM
IMO, this is a scouting/minor league talent evaluation issue and a philosophical issue. It seems the Sox were always drafting pitching, which is a commodity that's the easiest to trade.

I'm hard pressed to think of any minor league player the Sox have traded in the last five years that has made any kind of impact at the major league level.

Aaron Myles? Jon Rauch? Anyone you wish you had back?

Lip Man 1
10-09-2008, 10:53 AM
This and That:

1. Melido Perez was NOT home grown, he and Greg Hibbard came via trade with K.C.

2. Himes was a very good talent evaluator but apparently he just couldn't get along with people. To wit:“The fact is, Larry Himes cannot get along with anybody. You can hardly find anybody in the Sox organization that wasn’t happy when Larry Himes left.” – Jerry Reinsdorf to radio talk show host Chet Coppock. September 1990.

Lip

Lip Man 1
10-09-2008, 10:55 AM
And if you want to get a balance of minor league players and vets, your minor league system has to produce. It hasn't.

Daver can give a fuller explanation of why, since he studies it.

Lip

wilburaga
10-09-2008, 11:17 AM
This and That:

Melido Perez was NOT home grown, he and Greg Hibbard came via trade with K.C.



Nor, fot that matter, was Wilson Alvarez.

W

TommyJohn
10-09-2008, 05:12 PM
As long as we're being technical here, Magglio Ordonez wasn't homegrown either. If I remember correctly he was drafted from the Astros organization.

btrain929
10-09-2008, 05:15 PM
How many championships did those teams bring us again?

Daver
10-09-2008, 05:22 PM
As long as we're being technical here, Magglio Ordonez wasn't homegrown either. If I remember correctly he was drafted from the Astros organization.

You don't remember correctly, he was signed to a minor league contract from South America and left unprotected by the Sox in the rule 5 draft.

Brian26
10-09-2008, 07:08 PM
Maybe Lip or an older poster can confirm or not if Larry Himes could be the reason for the White Sox drafting success in the 80's before Schueler took over.

Himes gets the credit because it happened under his watch, absolutely. McDowell, Ventura, Frank and Alex were back-to-back #1's from '87-'90, with Fernandez actually skipping through the minors and making the major league roster in August of 90. I think he in fact came up on the same day as Frank during that big series in Milwaukee at County Stadium, and both guys contributed immediately. It was a pretty exciting time to be a Sox fan. Yes- Himes definitely should get credit for the Sox success of the early 90s. Hemond and Schueler had nothing to do with it.

Brian26
10-09-2008, 07:15 PM
1986-1989 the Sox went 299-357 and failed to play .500 ball a single time. It was the worst 4 year stint in JR's stewardship of the team.

They had years with 72, 71 and 69 wins during the stretch which happens to coincide with a certain broadcaster tenure as GM.

Not to defend Hawk's GM stint, although history has proven that it wasn't *that* bad, but Harrelson had very little to do with the state of the minor league system when he took over, and the moves he made didn't cripple the franchise for the next four years. He was the GM for only a year (end of '85 season to Sept of '86). The bottom line is that Hemond let the minor league system go to crap under his watch. After Walker and Kittle came up at the beginning of '83, how many players did the Sox develop that actually showed any sort of success at the big league level? It was a six year period until McDowell and Ventura were even on the radar screen. Between Walker & Kittle and the late 80's draft picks by Himes, we were stuck with guys Tim Hulett and John Cangelosi.

slavko
10-09-2008, 08:38 PM
Still, since Schueler refused to trade for talent, the team was pretty much home grown until KW took over.



You can't be saying that Steve Sax wasn't talent!

Bucky F. Dent
10-09-2008, 10:03 PM
I am in no way complaining either.


Not sure why you're not complaining. The lack of homegrown talent makes KW's job far more difficult.

Daver
10-09-2008, 10:13 PM
The lack of homegrown talent makes KW's job far more difficult.

He has no one to blame but himself.

Sox4ever77
10-10-2008, 12:34 AM
Not to defend Hawk's GM stint, although history has proven that it wasn't *that* bad, but Harrelson had very little to do with the state of the minor league system when he took over, and the moves he made didn't cripple the franchise for the next four years. He was the GM for only a year (end of '85 season to Sept of '86). The bottom line is that Hemond let the minor league system go to crap under his watch. After Walker and Kittle came up at the beginning of '83, how many players did the Sox develop that actually showed any sort of success at the big league level? It was a six year period until McDowell and Ventura were even on the radar screen. Between Walker & Kittle and the late 80's draft picks by Himes, we were stuck with guys Tim Hulett and John Cangelosi.


What about Ron Karavice, I know I spelled that wrong.

Ozzie was aquired in the Hoyt deal, so that doesn't count. Losing Bobby Bonilla, can't remember how the Sox got him in the first place, also hurt.

But yes, not a lot of talent developed from the mid to late 80's. The Daryl Bostons and Joel Skinners of the world never living up to their hype.

The biggest draft mistake they made was taking a HS catcher, Kurt Brown, over guys like Bonds and Palmeiro, pre-steroid days of course.

WhiteSox5187
10-10-2008, 01:10 AM
Himes gets the credit because it happened under his watch, absolutely. McDowell, Ventura, Frank and Alex were back-to-back #1's from '87-'90, with Fernandez actually skipping through the minors and making the major league roster in August of 90. I think he in fact came up on the same day as Frank during that big series in Milwaukee at County Stadium, and both guys contributed immediately. It was a pretty exciting time to be a Sox fan. Yes- Himes definitely should get credit for the Sox success of the early 90s. Hemond and Schueler had nothing to do with it.
Well, to be fair now, Hemond was gone by '85.

TommyJohn
10-10-2008, 07:57 AM
You don't remember correctly, he was signed to a minor league contract from South America and left unprotected by the Sox in the rule 5 draft.


Oh. I thought it was Houston that left him unprotected.

Britt Burns
10-10-2008, 09:53 AM
While there is no doubt the Sox scouting department (and the overall drafting philosophy, i.e. low upside college pitchers, no Boras clients, etc.) has slid of late, people overlook that even for the best scouting systems around the draft is a crapshoot at best.

The Red Sox 2005 draft is often held as what a late-drafting team can do given a smart staff and unlimited resources. With Lowrie, Bucholz, Ellsbury, and prospect Mike Bowden all coming from that class it is an earned reputation. Remember however that Craig Hansen was supposed to be the star of that class, the 'can't miss' guy...there was talk he would go straight to the majors, and indeed he did pitch in 4 games after 12 minor league innings. Now? His ERA for Pittsburgh after he was traded this season was in the 7's.

The '87-'90 draft run was by far the best for the Sox, yet consider who was drafted in the slot they selected from '04-'07:

87 Jack Armstrong (#18)
88 Royce Clayton (#15)
89 Jamie McAndrew (#29)
90 Robbie Beckett (#25)

Instead we got McDowell, Ventura, Thomas, and Fernandez. Replace any one of those four with someone listed above and the '90s would lok a lot different for the Sox. Incidentally, 2008 was the earliest the Sox had drafted since 1990, and by all accounts Gordon Beckham has the makings of a star.

Baseball is a very difficult game to learn and master. Evaluating how an 18 or 21 year old will grow to learn the game when they are in their mid 20s and beyond is like asking a weatherman to forecast today what it will be like on May of 2010. In general they can be pretty accurate, but ask for the specifics of a particular day...well, you get the idea.

What you do have to give Kenny and the scouting staff credit for is trading the talent we had so shrewdly. I admit I used to be in the 'hoard and never trade talent' camp, and I have completely changed my tune. TCQ for Carter? Danks for McCarthy? Even Javy for Young and, hopefully, in time, Swisher for Gio, DLS, et al. have to be considered net positives for the Sox.

That being said, I do hope that the KW has learned his lesson and the McCulloghs and Broadways are a thing of the past in favor for risker but higher upside players. I think they have and Poreda, for instance, bears witness to that.