I did some research over the last few days looking at those who make it to the big leagues from the Appy and the age at which they made their Appy League debut. The results were interesting. In this post, we will look at the number by year, the number by age, the number by affiliate, and the number by position player vs. pitcher.
Year to Year
I looked at 2004 - 2009 rosters. Here are the numbers of players on those rosters who have made it to the show. If a player repeated, I only listed them in their first season unless their second season was 2004 (there were six such players).
2004 - 31 (16 teens/ 15 older)
2005 - 21 (9 teens/ 12 older)
2006 - 19 (9 teens/ 10 older)
2007 - 16 (8 teens/ 8 older)
2008 - 12 (6 teens/ 6 older)
2009 - 3 (0 teens/ 3 older)
That is a total of 102 players who have made their MLB debut. Sixty of the 102 have been pitchers and 42 were position players. One, David Carpenter, started in the Appy as a fielder and then returned when converted to pitcher. Since he made his MLB debut as a pitcher, I used his pitching debut for his age.
The diminishing number is not a surprise as it takes time for most players to climb the ladder. It is surprising that the teen to older ratio stays around 50% for all years except 2009. There were some fast moving teens in 2008. That group includes Salvador Perez & Kelvin Herrera of the Royals, Julio Teheran & Randell Delgado of the Braves and Jordan Lyles & Jose Altuve of the Astros.
You can see from the chart below the the most common ages were 18 (26), 20 (22), 21 (19) and 19 (17) . You can also see that if you are over 20 in the Appy your chances of making the big leagues decline if you are a position player.
Overall, teens make up 47% of the players who have made their MLB debut
from the Appy since 2004. Teens make up 55.6% of the position players
and 40% of the pitchers.
In terms of affiliation, the Braves and Twins have had the most players make the majors with 20 each. With the Braves nine of the 20 made their debut as teenagers. Elvis Andrus made his debut as a 16 year old. He is the youngest of the 102. Other teens in the Braves pipeline included Jason Hayward, Julio Teheran, Randall Degado, Neftali Perez and Matt Harrison. (note that three of those are now Rangers thanks to the Texeira trade)
With the Twins, they have only had four teenagers make it to the majors. They accounted for seven of the 19 players who were 21 when they made their Appy debut and four of the 10 players who were 22 when they made their Appy debut.
The Astros and the Cards each had 12 players make it from the Appy to the major leagues. Six of the 12 Astros who made it all the way were teens when they made their Appy debut. However, four of those repeated the level (Paulino, Gutierrez, Barthmaier and Altuve).
The Cards' dozen includes four teens. With Colby Rasmus being the big name in the bunch. They had three players who have made it who were 22 during their Appy debut, with David Carpenter being one of those.
The only other affiliate to have at least 10 players was the White Sox. Seven of their 11 have been 18 or 19 when they made their Appy debut. Current Astro Lucas Harrell is in this group. He was 19 when he made his Appy appearance in 2004.
The other affiliates had the following amount of success.
Rays 7 - all teens
Orioles 6 - five teens
Mets 5 - three teens
Indians 3 - no teens
Jays 3 - one teen
Royals 2 - both teens
Mariners 1 - no teens
In fairness, the Indians, Royals, Mariners and Jays have not had continuous presence in the league. The Indians left Burlington after the 2006 season and the Royals moved in. The Jays left Pulaski after the 2006 season and the Mariners moved in for the 2008 season.
These numbers will continue to change over time as more players from 2007, 2008 and 2009 make their path to the majors; be it for a cup of coffee or a hall of fame career. However, the numbers lead me to the following conclusions:
1. Watch teens in the Appy, especially position players.
2. Pitchers can be slightly older and still be worth watching.
3. Position players over the age of 20 are a long shot.
4. It is okay for teens to repeat but not 20's.
This backs up what my gut and common sense told me but it is always nice to have some facts to back it up.
Does this raise any questions you want answered? Let me know appyastros(at)gmail.com or on twitter @AppyAstros
Welcome to Appy Astros, a blog dedicated to following current & former Greeneville Astros, the Appalachian League affiliate of the Houston Astros. Here you will find reports on current G-Stros, updates on the development of former G-Stros and occasionally an update on what has happened to the guys who have hung up their spikes.