In writing the PreStros, and knowing that the Astros have what some say is the #1 farm in baseball, I am kind of surprised that most of the teams are wallowing around .500. I also noticed, when looking up individual players on Baseball-Reference.com (which has player-age estimates) that many of the players seem young. I wondered whether this was a reflection of the whole Astros system, and if so, may explain the less-than-juggernautish performance of a number of the affiliates.
So, in celebrating the Prospects' (and Orbit's) Birthday, I thought I would do some investigative digging.
I believe that July 1 is the date at which all prospects suddenly age a year, regardless of date-of-birth (I know, because BatGuy told me this). So lets use the awesome blogger.com graph function (hint - there isn't any, so I will recreate each of these graphs in a mobile phone-friendly format) to look at the ages of the Oklahoma City RedHawks, assigned per age-range.
RedHawks Roster, Age of Players, as at 29 June 2014
X X XXX XXX
XX XXX XX RXX XXX XXX X
Older Age Range: -5.5 | -4.5 | -3.5 | -2.5 | -1.5 | -0.5 | +0.5 | +1.5 | +2.5
Younger Age Range: -6.5 | -5.5 | -4.5 | -3.5 | -2.5 | -1.5 | -0.5 | +0.5 | +1.5
This awesome graph probably requires some explanation. Each of the X's is a player on the RedHawks Roster. The hyperlinked X's denote a player in the top 43 consensus Astros prospects (via Beyond the Box Score), and the hyperlinks will take you to that player's B-R page. The age range, compared with the league average is spread along the bottom - for example the X on the far right represents Gregorio Petit, who is between 1.5 and 2.5 years older than the average age of player in the PCL (he is actually 2.3 years older).
As you can see, the RedHawks have a comparatively young roster, compared with league average. I concede that contending clubs often stash veteran depth players in AAA, pushing up the average age of the league, but still, the effect is striking. The lone R is Robbie Grossman - a reminder of how young he is compared to others in the PCL. The two X's way to the left are Domingo Santana and Ronald Torreyes - together, they nearly broke my graph, damn them.
In terms of the methods that Baseball-Reference use to calculate the age of each player, they calculate the average age of the the age of the league that the player plays in, then subtract the age of player at July 1 in years. So, for example the average age of the PCL is 26.7 and Robbie Grossman is 24 as of July 1, then he is -2.7 years below the average age. I am not sure whether B-R uses whole years or exact age to calculate the average age - but they do have the exact age on their website - i.e. Robbie Grossman is aged 24.287 at the time of writing.
Going to do the rest of the affiliates over the next few days. Please feel free to leave a comment.