Carleton: Minor leaguers are barely adults; what are teams doing about that?

From Russell Carleton at Baseball Prospectus on August 19, 2014:

The transition from adolescence to adulthood is a gradual one. For example, I knew how to cook a little bit when I went to college, but it took the summer that I wasn’t on the meal plan when I was 21 for me to be able to plan out and execute actual meals. I fed myself that summer. I moved into my first apartment (in another city!) when I was 22. But I opened my first bank account when I was 18 and met my wife when I was 19. Then again, my parents were still supporting me financially (at least a little bit) until I was 25. At what age did I finally become an adult?

That range of somewhere between 18 and 25 sounds about right. It doesn’t fit for everyone, and some people might be further along in their development, but it’s at least a good guideline. Now let’s take a look at Jason Parkspreseason Top 101 prospects list, also known as the players who will determine the fates of all 30 teams. Take note of the ages of those players. Oh look! Smack dab in that 18 to 25 window!

We often encounter baseball players as little blobs of pixels that run around our TV screens or as characters in video games who politely swing when we tell them but don’t do much else. The reality is that players do not go into hibernation between the hours of 10 pm and 7 pm the next day. In fact, they’re busy doing other things, including developing as human beings. Consider the youngest members of a major-league family. There are plenty of players drafted directly out of high school (20 in the first round, including supplemental picks, in the most recent draft) and plenty more signed at the age of 16 internationally. While these players most certainly have great baseball talent, they are often being sent to live in minor league cities, potentially for the first time ever on their own, and potentially in a foreign country.

Not only that, but the data show that among US-born high school seniors (who make up a good chunk of the draft pool), teams are very likely drafting kids who come with risk factors already built in. Data from the 2013 version of the nationally representative Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), which is administered by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) paint an interesting picture.

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Originally published: August 19, 2014. Last Updated: August 19, 2014.