Originally Posted by Lip Man 1
I suspect that's part of it (i.e. launching pad) and that this is also part of the Sox philosophy (i.e. home run or nothing...)
Daver knows about as much about the minor league system as anyone and he has said in the past another issue is the Sox (unlike say the Twins) move players from team to team, from level to level based strickly on hitting. And they'll move guys up to multiple levels in a single year to boot. Daver says things like knowing the strike zone, fielding, fundamentals are being ignored simply because a guy 'can hit.' And if I've misquoted Daver he can clarify his thoughts if he wishes.
Also remember the Sox have had by my count three different scouting directors in the past 10 years and probably three different minor league directors. Continuity doesn't seem to be a strong point in this regard for the organization.
This is an interesting point, Lip. I'd also add that the Sox, perhaps because of the approach you mentioned, have a tendency to promote players before they're ready for the Major Leagues, often because they need to fill a hole in the lineup or in the starting rotation. How many times over the past decade (at least) have we complained about the lack of pitching at the back end of the rotation, or the lack of production from certain spots in the lineup?
It has been a problem nearly every season that I have followed this team, save for the 2000 and 2005 seasons. The '02 and '03 teams had problems with consistency from their fourth and fifth starters, and the '04 team was devastated by injuries to its two best offensive players (Thomas and Ordonez), forcing Paul Konerko and Carlos Lee to be the primary run-producers for the team. Konerko grew into that role, and eventually succeeded Thomas as the team's best hitter, but Lee was too undisciplined for the role, and as he was traded to Milwaukee after the season, it's unclear if he would have progressed as Paul did in later seasons. In any case, the absence of the team's number three and four hitters was more than enough to knock the Sox out of first place, as it would likely be for any team (as the 2012 Phillies about that).
Ironically, the events of 2004 were the impetus for Williams trading Lee and allowing Ordonez to leave via free-agency, moves that ultimately paved the way for the team that won the World Series. It's impossible to know how the Sox would have fared had either or both remained with the team in 2005, but I find it hard to believe that either would have contributed to the extent that Jermaine Dye or Scott Podsednik did. None of the players I mentioned were young, but Williams' willingness to find players who approached the game differently had a tremendous impact on how the Sox played. Why he was never able to recapture that dynamic with future groups is something I don't understand, as it was clear that reliance on team baseball produced far better results than the "home run or die" approach of Jerry Manuel's teams.