Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Why Farm Systems Matter in the World Series

The Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals both have rookies from their farm systems that have made important contributions in the World Series. Some have been positive and some have been negative. Xander Bogaerts has started every game at 3rd base for Boston so far after not even playing a month at the Major League level this season.

For the Cardinals, rookie Kolten Wong left himself hung out to dry at first base after getting picked off to end Game 5. With his team down by 2 runs and Carlos Beltran at the plate, Wong was picked off by Red Sox closer Koji Uehara. The fact that players such as Wong and Bogaerts are even playing in the World Series with such a lack of playing experience is a characteristic specific to baseball.

The great thing about baseball is that players can come out of nowhere and contribute right away. It is a team game that can be dominated by the performances of one or two individuals. There are also very few plays that a team can implement that any given player has not been a part of in all his years of playing.

In the NFL and NBA, you rarely see players make an impact with a new team in the playoffs.  There isn’t enough time to learn play books and establish a repertoire with players on the field and court. This is a luxury that baseball does not have to worry as much about. There may be some miscommunication between a shortstop and second baseman that have played little together, but the basics are still the same no matter who is in the field.

Bogaerts has played primarily 3rd base. His responsibilities are independent of other position players for the most part. Wong is a 2nd baseman, but his main concerns at this point are knowing what Red Sox pitchers pick off and when. His role is primarily a pinch hitter and pinch runner, but hasn’t been needed as much as Bogaerts has been needed for Boston.

You might think that the rest of the Cardinals and Red Sox farm system players are at home watching the games on TV. You should be wondering how much they are working out and staying in shape in case someone were to get hurt and that club had to make a roster switch. Age obviously doesn’t matter, as two September call-ups already proved themselves worthy of making the playoff roster for each round leading up to and including the World Series. There could be other farm system products who are an injury away from getting their chance.

Tags: Kolten Wong MLB Playoffs World Series Xander Bogaerts

comments powered by Disqus