Friday, May 28, 2010

Byron Wiley has been released

Well, time to play a bit of catch-up on a few topics that have escaped mention on this blog.

I've been holding off a bit on writing about this particular topic in hopes of getting a bit more information that might serve as an explanation. Unfortunately, no such information has been forthcoming. In fact, it's barely been mentioned at all. So, let's just dive right in:

The Reds have released Byron Wiley.

Now, as I have previously written, I'm a fan of Byron Wiley, probably more so than most. I like his well-rounded hitting skills. He controlled the strikezone better than the vast majority of the prospects in the system and (I suspect) he has additional power projection to his game.

Admittedly, he was limited defensively and was likely to be relegated to leftfield. As a result, he would have to make it as an offense-first type prospect, if he was to make it at all. And, while there were legitimate questions revolving around whether his bat could bear that particular burden, there seems to be no obvious rationale for not letting him prove it one way or the other.

Nevertheless, the Reds elected to cut ties with Wiley just a short time after he was promoted to high-A Lynchburg. To start off the 2010 season, perhaps in a sign of his tenuous standing in the organization, the Reds made the decision to send Wiley back to Dayton for another unnecessary go around with low-A competition.

He had yet to really find his stride in 2010, but still managed to post an OPS of .787 for Dayton. He was promoted to Lynchburg where he racked up a grand total of 13 lackluster games played and 44 uninspiring at bats before he was handed his walking papers. Obviously, his OPS of .558 indicates that he wasn't producing at the necessary level, but the sample size was so small as to be essentially meaningless.

At this point, it's difficult to believe that the decision was based solely on performance, as the sample size is simply too small to be meaningful. If so, then it would be reasonable to infer that the Reds simply do not value on-base skills very highly. They would be rejecting the player profile that Wiley represents, rather than the player himself. And, quite obviously, you never want an organization to reject something as fundamentally important as "out avoidance" (aka: on-base percentage).

On the other hand, if the decision was not based on performance, then it is difficult to imagine what rationale could be underpinning the decision. You simply don't let value leave the organization without getting something in return. So, either the Reds simply don't view Wiley as having any value (which seems a troubling conclusion) or something else was driving the decision. Either way, it's a move I don't understand.

A bit more information and a bit more clarity might make the decision a bit more palatable, but regardless I am sorry to see Wiley leave the organization.

12 comments:

  1. Maybe the guy is just an ass

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  2. Anon,

    I haven't heard anything like that. There have been unconfirmed whispers/rumors about his work ethic, but nothing confirmed or substantiated. As a result, I'm hesitant to even mention it, but I do think his release had to be tied to something other than his on-field performance. He had upside and talent, and you don't give up on that for no apparent reason.

    I'm surprised there hasn't been more explanation for the release, but maybe we'll find out someday.

    Best,
    Lark

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  3. not trying to burst your bubble but you overvalued wiley way to much he would have had a tough time even making any AAA team he will be a A or High A player his whole career. still respect that he was one of your diamond in a rough favorites tho Lark

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  4. Anon,

    Obviously, I don't agree. I had him slotted in at number 20, but Baseball America rated him as #29 in the system in their 2010 Prospect Handbook. So, he was not without skill and ability. Given his very strong ability to control the zone and the additional power projection to his game, I don't think I overrated him.

    Still, something certainly happened to bring about his departure from the organization.

    Best,
    Lark

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  5. Byron Wiley has already caught on with another organization. He signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks and is currently playing with the Visalia Rawhide in the high-A California League.

    He's logged 6 games and 23 At Bats in which he's posted a slash line of .348/.483/.478/.961 with 1 homer and a 5/6 K/BB ratio.

    I wish him the best and hope he comes back to haunt us. At the very least, I will always wonder why he was cut loose.

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  6. yea that anonymous up there has no idea what hes talking about and hes a idiot! Byron had said that everything he did the coaches would critique him like he was out to get him, and when he released him, the coach told byron he was the worst outfielder he has ever seen, which is highly unlikely. But lark as you said byron is doing good with the diamondbacks and says he feels alot better than he did with lynchburg.

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  7. Anon,

    Thanks for the update on Byron. Something just seems really strange about the whole situation.

    As you mentioned previously, Byron's starting level for 2010 was to be determined by his spring training performance. Even so, they sent him back to Dayton to start off the 2010 season. In my opinion, he had nothing left to prove in low-A ball, so that struck me as strange (and, perhaps telling) right off the bat.

    Then, he gets bumped up to high-A Lynchburg and promptly gets released. He wasn't hitting well, but the sample size was so small as to be meaningless. I just don't see why you would cut loose a player who possesses legitimate upside.

    Surprising to hear the coach was so down on him. Obviously, the stats don't support his statement about Byron's defensive skills. The defensive metrics peg him as average or, at worst, a tick below. Was Byron ever disciplined? Or, was he really just released out of the blue based on a single coach's dislike? If the latter, then the organization may need to take a closer look at how it operates.

    Anyway, I appreciate you letting me know what happened. I've been searching the internet for some explanation of any kind, but I haven't found anything at all. It would be nice to actually understand why the Reds felt the need to part ways with a talented player.

    Also, any reason why Byron hasn't been in the lineup for Visalia the past few days? I've been following the boxscores, but haven't seen him in there lately.

    Thanks for the comment!!

    Best,
    Lark

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  8. He's having back problems and the trainers wanted to take him out for awhile and stretch him out real good. He said the trainers up there dont believe in the short term process of ice and shock therapy, their looking at the long term.

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  9. Anon,

    Thanks for the info! I figured it had to be a short term injury, but nothing serious enough to land him on the DL. Here's hoping he's back in action soon.

    Best,
    Lark

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  10. Its a shame, but ive seen this happen too many times. For some reason players sometimes do not gel with a certain coach and it effect that players career so drastically. Sometimes the reputation of being a trouble maker or having no work ethic is warranted but in other situations the coach is way out of line and taking his authority to a level of that underminds everyone elses opinion or opinions on any matter. I myself was was of the hardest workers ive ever played with and was someone that kept his mouth shut and really never had anything to say. I was a jokester on the field but that was a way for me to keep loose. Ive always had issues with coaches that had one way to hit and one way to pitch. Different players have differt values to a team. I was an undersized prospect that both hit and pitched. I went against all logic.Being so small i should have been a slap hitter and a control pitcher. On the contrary , i hit for power and threw over 90 miles per hour. That being said for some crazy reason i was given the label of having no work ethic by a couple of coaches.However there were many a day when i was in the batting cage and gym after working out with the team i played for.I never even was given a chance to make it as a a baseball player because of my health, but my last experience with coaches in higher level baseball left a sour taste in my mouth. Im not going to throw anybody under the bus, but when i was a kid playing little leaugue i really had a different outlook on baseball the when i essentially retired. I thought the coachig would get better as i progressed to higher levels of baseball , but i honestly thought that it degressed.

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  11. Thats the kind of respect i have for some coaches in professional baseball. Sorry for the horrible grammar but i really just wanted to get the paragraph over with .Ive had too many conversations with too many people about what happended to my baseball career. My health is what took my career away from me, but i really was having a rough go of it with coaches when i stopped playing. i think i had to do with the fact that i was always not able to play because of my sickness. Its not something many coaches can understand because they do not have to deal with it. Most of the time when somebody is injured they can see that persons injury however the problems that i had were not visible. I got ulcerative colitis and had to take anti inflammatory steroids to get control of the symptoms. ITs a horrible disease and a horrible drug to have to take. I lost most of my muschle mass and lost 10 miles an hour on my fastball.Im guessing thats where the comments about my work ethic came from. But i still think that coaches sometimes have too much to say and put too much in thier authority. I can say this i played with someone who hit 190 in high school and had the worst work ethic that ive ever come across and is currently a manager in the minor leaugues. Its who you know not what you know, "I GUESS"

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  12. Anon,

    Interesting take, thanks for sharing. I suspect you're right about some coaches and I can't help but wonder if something like that happened to Byron Wiley. Labels are tough to shake once they land on you. Still, it's odd that Wiley hasn't played anywhere in 2011. And, it's even odder if he's healthy, but still not playing this year.

    But, I think your comment illustrates the importance of timing in any professional baseball career. A lot has to go right for a player to hit the majors and then succeed. And, not all of those factors are within the player's control.

    I'd still love to see Wiley get his game back on track and climb the ladder, but I'd also love to know what derailed his career. Even in the internet age, it's not always easy to find out information on the non-elite prospects.

    Anyway, thanks for the comment! It was a good read.

    Best,
    Lark

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