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Has expansion resulted in diluted talent?

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  • Has expansion resulted in diluted talent?

    I hear it almost weekly, people saying expansion has resulted in diluted major league talent, pointing to if there were only 16 teams most of the major leaguers would be in AAA or AA, thus resulting in better competition... so my question is simple: has expansion resulted in diluting the talent pool?

    If yes, compared to when?

    If no, why do you feel this way?

  • #2
    Compared to the 60's, 70's, and 80's, yeah. I believe it's on par with the 50's, and better than pre-expansion baseball.
    AL East Champions: 1981 1982
    AL Pennant: 1982
    NL Central Champions: 2011
    NL Wild Card: 2008

    "It was like coming this close to your dreams and then watching them brush past you like a stranger in a crowd. At the time you don't think much of it; you know, we just don't recognize the significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, 'Well, there'll be other days.' I didn't realize that that was the only day." - Moonlight Graham


    • #3
      One would think that the expanding markets from which players are drawn would compensate for the additional players required to fill post expansion rosters.

      The problem, IMO, is not a lack of talent at all. Dispersion of talent and lack of development and studious approach to the game are bigger issues. In fact, it is often the over-reliance on talent that is the downfall of the underacheivers.

      In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die


      • #4
        Originally posted by digglahhh
        The problem, IMO, is not a lack of talent at all. Dispersion of talent and lack of development and studious approach to the game are bigger issues. In fact, it is often the over-reliance on talent that is the downfall of the underacheivers.
        Perfectly put

        Forget about the letters...if they just called the friekin' belly button high strike, and backed hitters off the plate by letting pitchers come inside it would go along way toward letting these pitchers develop cerebral talent.


        • #5
          --I agree with both Dude and Dig. If baseball was still drawing most of the best talent then the population, expecially with the expanded pools in Latin American and elsewhere could easily keep pace with expansion. Since the game has to share so much of the talent with other sports that is more questionable. The problem is especially true with pitchers since not only are there more teams, but each is carrying a bigger staff than ever before. Still I think the talent is sufficient to make todays game better than it was back before fully developed farm systems and integration.


          • #6
            I think that expansion hasn't diluted the talent. The reason? I think the influx of black players (of course, not recently) and those from Latin America have provided enough talent to counteract the separation of talent caused by expansion.


            • #7
              Gotta agree with you.

              It's only natural that more teams=more players=more players who would have been in the minors if there were fewer teams. But the real problem is the development of their talent. Where several years ago a player was signed to a minor league contract and expected to spend a career with the team of the scout that discovered him, now it's almost a foregone conclusion that once a player is signed he might NEVER see the big leagues with that club. The only way he will, in fact, is if he is rushed through the system! Teams can't afford to give a guy big bucks when they are expecting a lot out of him and leave him in the minors.

              How many players skip from A ball to AAA and are in the majors the same year they first see AAA pitching? I don't have the answer, but my guesstimate is "too many."
              "Someone asked me if I took steroids. I said, 'No. I had a contract with Wheaties.'"
              --Bob Feller


              • #8
                I don't just the expansion on dilution, I judge it on the output by teams.

                Since expansion in 1993, three of the teams have made it to the playoffs. Two have won the World Series. One has won three division titles in their first eight seasons.

                The last round of expansion in the AL in 1977: It took 9 years to reach the playoffs and 16 years to reach the World Series for Toronto, 19 years to make it to the playoffs and LCS for Seattle.

                Before that in 1969: It took eight years for Kansas City to reach the playoffs, 12 years to reach the World Series, 17 years to win the World Series. It took Milwaukee and Montreal/Washington 13 years to reach the playoffs and just a year later at 14 year for Milwaukee to reach the World Series. Lastly it took San Diego 16 years to reach the playoffs and World Series.

                Even before that in 1962: It took just nine years for the Mets to make it to the playoffs and World Series and at the same time win the World Series. It took Houston 19 years to get to the post season and 44 years to get to the World Series.

                And finally, the one that started it all way back in 1965: It took the Angels just 19 years to make the playoffs and 42 years to make it to the World Series and to win it. On the other hand you have Texas which took 36 years to make it to the post season, they have yet to reach the LCS.

                Basically, it looks to me like they have improved with the "dilluted" talent. It takes them less time now to reach the playoffs than prior expansion teams and considering that a few have actually made it to multiple LCSs and World Series I think it's a mute point. The game simply changed and adapted to the new teams. Adaptation is part of the game, every generation has to deal with it.
                Best posts ever:
                Originally posted by nymdan
                Too... much... math... head... hurts...
                Originally posted by RuthMayBond
                I understand, I lost all my marbles years ago


                • #9
                  --Expansion doesn't just affect the new teams. The Mets had a much tougher time catching up than the Rockies because the league was much deeper and stronger then (and also because there was no free agency and they could only pick up players other teams no longer wanted). I see the ability of expansion to quickly compete as evidence for the "yes the talent base is diluted" side, not the "no it isn't".


                  • #10
                    I don't believe expansion "dilutes" the overall talent pool of MLB. If you think about it, the minor league system is full of players who are talented enough to play in the majors. But, due to guaranteed contracts and other things beyond the players control, they languish in the minors until a roster spot opens up - usually from either retirement or injury. There are some guys who have been playing in the majors for years who don't belong there at all.

                    All I seem to hear is expansion waters down pitching - the reason we have high-scoring, 3+ hour long games. Did anyone ever think about the way baseball was in the 40s & 50s and earlier? The bullpen pitcher was a "hanger-on" pitcher. Not good enough to start, but too valuable to let go. The weren't relied on nearly as much as they are today. Relief pitchers can command higher contracts than those of a utility infielder or in some cases a starting position player.

                    Also, "back in the day" because there wasn't as many teams in each league, they would play each other over & over again in just 8 games fewer than the current schedule. The batters saw the same pitchers all the time. They got to be able to figure out tendencies of every pitcher. And the pitchers would stay in the game longer even after they got too tired to carry on. Thus batters had the late inning edge. Today it is highly possible with the use of the bullpen for a batter to see 3 different pitchers in his 4 at bats in a game. He has more pitchers & tendencies to remember. Not to mention that each year brings a new crop of pitchers he's never seen before. Look at today's player stats versus each pitcher in the league. You'll be hard pressed to find more than a handful of batters with more than 20 careers against any one pitcher. Pre-expansion hitters would have 20+ at bats against several pitchers EACH YEAR!!

                    The way baseball has been played has changed over the years. I have been a fan for 40 years & it is amazing how much things have changed even though the rules have -for the most part- remained constant. Great strategy like pitching high & tight like Bob Gibson & Don Drysdale has now become Pedro Martinez & "headhunting". A hard take-out slide at second base like Kirk Gibson would do has now become an "I-won't-do-it-to-you-if-you-won't-do-it-to-me-because-I'm-in-a-contract-year" half slide. We just need to look at baseball for what it is currently & look back to the past with fondness. After all, this IS THE GREATEST GAME EVER!!!!!!!


                    • #11
                      There is always a talent deficit for the first 2, 3, 4 years after expansion, but after that things level out. The population has more than kept up with expansion. When you factor in the players from south of the border there just isn't any problem getting enought.

                      The overutilization of one-inning pitchers has made it seem like there was a dearth of pitchers. Too many teams are lock stepping themselves into allowing their 10th, 11th and 12th best pitchers to pitch too many innings. Why would you allow those goobers to pitch more innings than your "closer"??
                      Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball


                      • #12
                        I think the use of extensive stock video of hitters and pitchers has also added this theory of dilluted talent. Players can now easily know the weaknesses of hitters and the pitch tendencies of pitchers simply by watching a video. Teams have employees whose job it is to come up with these videos, the player just has to show up and watch it.

                        Scouting of players and teams in advance to a level teams of the old days would have never dreamed of has also, I believe, pushed more players down as their weaknesses can be more readily found and used against them.

                        It could be argued that it has also pushed some players up as they can study hard so to speak and help their abilities with in-depth knowledge of their opponent. But I believe this happens much less frequently as the level of dedication that takes would be higher (time and effort).

                        For proof of that just look at how many rookie players go on a tear after their first callup as opposing teams don't have a very good 'book' on them. Adaptation is the new much have 'talent' these days, if a player has it, along with solid skills of course, they have a much better chance of playing at a higher level.
                        Last edited by grizzly451; 04-13-2006, 10:59 AM.


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