Experience… How Much Does It Really Matter in the Frontier League?

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The Frontier League is the only independent league (of the top four – Atlantic, American Association, Can-Am, and Frontier) that has a maximum age for players.

The league prides itself on being a league for younger players who are looking to get promoted, either to affiliated baseball or to a “higher” independent league.

This results in a wide range of experience for players on Frontier League rosters.  While they have their own designations for experience levels (Rookie-1, Rookie-2, Experienced, Veteran), these levels are broken down by total pro experience including both affiliated and independent playing time.

This article breaks it down a step further and disregards total years of experience, while focusing solely on the type of experience. Each roster is broken down by the number of players who have regular season affiliated experience, independent league experience only, and then the players who have college only experience and are true professional rookies.

Here is the break down of every Frontier League team’s active roster as of 5/15/17.

 Affiliated
Experience
Indy
Only
 College
Only
 Joliet
Slammers
 13  7 3

 Lake Erie
Crushers

 9  13  2

 Schaumburg
Boomers

 13  8  3
 Traverse City Beach Bums  9  10  4

 Washington
Wild Things

 14  6  4
 Windy City
Thunderbolts
 8  12  4
 Evansville
Otters
13 6 5
Florence
Freedom
4 15 5
 Gateway
Grizzlies
 12  4  8
 Normal
Cornbelters
 13  6  5
 River City
Rascals
 8  12  4
 Southern
Illinois Miners
9 10 5

*Roughly half of the affiliated players were just released from an organization and have no independent league experience, the other half have been in indy ball for at least a full season, including some for multiple seasons.

Throughout the season, Indy Ball Island will check these numbers. Do they stay at relatively the same ratio, or will one specific group’s numbers fall or rise as the season continues.

We’ll also look at if the type of experience on each team matters when it comes to the overall league standings.

Currently the team full of the least amount of affiliated experience players (the Florence Freedom) are 6-0 and at the top of the Frontier League West Division standings.

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2 thoughts on “Experience… How Much Does It Really Matter in the Frontier League?”

  1. General thoughts:

    The intangible is — define the skill sets that the players bring to the roster. I assume most young players are not too versatile in hitting (yet) which means bunting, hitting behind the runner … etc … mainly because if they are good enough to be drafted, they usually hit for a high average and with a bit more pop in their bats.

    Once they get to the pros, those averages seek their own level. At the Frontier or any indy league, a good hitter won’t stay long.

    Players who have a couple of years in the pros are likely to have developed some versatility. Teams that have a lot of players with the same skill set are not likely to be as successful. An example: You can’t have 8 singles hitters in the lineup or 8 guys who strike out twice a game. You need a mix.

    That’s more about roster construction than individual talent, but it’s part of the conversation.

    “Small ball,’ by the way, is not simply a walk, a stolen base, a bunt and come home on a dribbler.. You do need a couple of hammers in the lineup.

    Pitching is its own separate topic.

    Like

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