Olney On The Battle For Young Talent

Baseball's becoming younger and teams are changing the way they operate, as ESPN.com's Buster Olney shows. In the steroid era, teams relied on players older than 30 for their production. With the help of Baseball Prospectus, Olney shows that teams have become much more reliant on younger players. Here are the reasons why teams rely on young talent and the effect this reliance has around the league:

  • Players are cheapest for their first six years in the majors, before they become free agents.
  • As Oakland GM Billy Beane says, "everybody" is now working to develop their own talent.
  • Even Yankees GM Brian Cashman prefers to develop his own players.
  • Since teams are heavily invested in their top minor leaguers, they're providing them with better nutrition and more ways to stay in shape. 
  • Teams are willing to spend considerably more on amateur players, internationally and in the draft.
  • There's now less information sharing between rival organizations, as the competition for talent has increased.  
  • Some teams, like the Red Sox, are sending multiple scouts to watch players since they want to be more confident in their evaluations.
  • Teams have adopted a "broader use of statistics in evaluating players."  
  • Teams will poach the best coaches from other organizations to maximize their return on every player. 
  • There's more of a personal emphasis on players than before.  

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