MovieChat Forums > Bull Durham (1988) Discussion > does AA not exist in this world?

does AA not exist in this world?


Crash Davis bought out from AAA and goes directly to A. Once bought out from A he goes to another A team.

Has MLB ever recalled a a single A player directly skipping over two leagues?

I guess I kind of get why they made the team a single A team; to emphasize it being the lowest league to get paid to play ball and does kind of make Crash the envy of the team when he reveals he'd been to the show. I guess I think they should have put the team in AA or had Crash come from AA and have Nuke recalled to AAA to make it more realistic.

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It is rare but not unheard of for a player to jump from high A (which is what the Carolina League is) to the majors. It is quite common for a AA player to jump AAA on his way to the Show. There is no rule that says players must progress through every level of pro ball.

The Carolina League is not actually the lowest rank of pro ball. It is in the middle. There are the short-season rookie leagues, then low A ball, high A ball (Carolina League), then AA and AAA.

A player like Crash definitely belongs in AAA. AAA ball is mostly veteran players who lack the talent to play full-time in the majors. They draw decent salaries and get called up for a week or two when a major leaguer gets injured and the club needs a temporary replacement. AA ball is filled mostly with the best young players, many of whom will jump right to the majors when the club thinks they are ready. If they fail in the Show, they'll end up in AAA, waiting for another chance and some will end up like Crash.

Crash is probably what is known as a quad-A player, good enough to succeed in AAA but too flawed to make it in MLB for whatever reason. He is too old to be considered a prospect; he'll never be any better than he is now. As a veteran ballplayer with a fair amount of talent and baseball smarts and one who actually played in the majors once, Crash would command the respect of the young A ball players both on and off the field. I think the writer got these details quite right.


"You didn't come into this life just to sit around on a dugout bench, did ya?" - Morris Buttermaker

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Gee, I'm glad you explained that! And explained it well.

I'm not American, but have loved this movie since I saw it the cinema in my early 20's.

I have never, until now, understood the reference to his AAA contract being bought out so he can play in the `bush leagues' (I think that was the expression he used).

I was never quite sure where Crash had come from and where he was now.

I got the general concept, but not the finer detail.

For example, I understood perfectly when Crash said it was a dubious honour to have hit the record number of home runs in Minors.

Here is a Australia, we have cricketers who have fine records playing for their State, but they would trade all the records at State level for even an average record playing for Australia.

By having a great record in the Minors, it meant Crash spent too much time playing in the Minors and not enough in the Majors. Hence the `dubious honour'.

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Glad it was useful.

For the record, 20-year old Jose Fernandez jumped from high A (Florida State League) to the majors last year. He pitched 173 innings, made the All-Star team and won the NL Rookie of the Year award. So, rare, but it happens, in this case, spectacularly.

"You didn't come into this life just to sit around on a dugout bench, did ya?" - Morris Buttermaker

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Such a terrible loss! RIP

108 193 23 8114 246* 47.73 22 42

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Excellent analysis, drnossal.

Coupla questions. Why would he be a "quad-A" type player, as you put it? Why couldn't he succeed in the majors? He was doing okay in triple-A, right? Yeah, I know we're talking about a fictional character, but please speculate.

And second, wouldn't he be absolutely eating up the single-A pitching? Yeah, I know he had a really good season with the Bulls and all, but going from triple-A to single-A, wouldn't he become astounding?




I want the doctor to take your picture so I can look at you from inside as well.

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My guess has always been that at Crash's age, his skills had degraded below AAA levels. However, his team still had to pay his contract and jumped at the opportunity to sell when the Bulls' Major League affiliate made the offer to buy it out. Their investment in Nuke, made it worth paying a A player a AAA salary.

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A player can acquire a quad-A label in any manner of ways. They are often one-dimensional players that dominate minor league competition with a single above average skill, for example power or speed, but who find that skill blunted when facing major league competition. Or their flaws are exploited by major league opponents to the point that the quad-A player is unable to contribute positively to the team.

Examples of quad-A types are

-hitters with decent hitting ability, but cannot play a defensive position reliably. There are jobs for guys who do nothing but hit, but if that's all you can do, you have to be very, very good at it, not just decent.

-hitters who are spectacular fielders, but can't hit at all (good glove no hit)

-hitters with good power, but who strike out a ton or are extremely slow

-hitters who get by with speed, but lack power

-hitters who feast on fastballs, but can't hit quality breaking pitches (Pedro Serrano effect)

-pitchers with "trick" pitches that fool minor leaguers but get walloped by big leaguers

-pitchers with big fastballs, but who lack movement on their pitches, or have poor control

-pitchers with excellent control, but don't throw hard


Quintessential quad-A players will reliably excel at the AAA level, but consistently fail in the majors due to their significant faults. You can often spot them by their statistics. The guy who hits 25 homers, but has an OBP of .290. The pitcher with the 2.95 ERA who strikes out only four hitters per 9 innings. The reliever who saves 30 games with a 4.00 ERA. Guys like this usually end up shuttling back and forth through their career, mostly as temporary subs and backups. Sometimes a quad-A player can correct those faults and become a viable major league player in their late 20s, but most do not.

And, yes, as a general rule, older more experienced players like Crash will excel against young A ball players. The average A ball player is probably 21 or 22 years old, some are younger. Occasionally, you'll see a guy who is 25, 26 or older playing in A ball and they'll usually do very well. This can excite the fan base who see only see the statistics and think they've found the next All-Star for the big league team, but those players fall to earth (and sometimes below) when matched up with their peers.

Crash is probably a hitter with above average power (he sets the minor league home run record), but who has significant holes in his swing and/or has sub-standard defensive ability as a catcher. His swing would be carved up by major league hurlers ("ungodly breaking stuff, sliders that just explode") negating his power other than the occasional mistake and without sterling defensive ability to fall back on, a big league club would have little use for him.



"You didn't come into this life just to sit around on a dugout bench, did ya?" - Morris Buttermaker

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Good stuff. Thanks again.




I want the doctor to take your picture so I can look at you from inside as well.

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No sex no drugs no wine no women no fun no sin no you know when

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You can often spot them by their statistics. The guy who hits 25 homers, but has an OBP of .290.


This alone seems to be covered by Crash telling Nuke about the difference between .250 and .300. One more dying quail, and you're at the show. One more hit a week. Obvious its a self reference, or more accurately a general reference to all the losers trapped where Crash finds himself, too good for the minors, not good enough for the majors and here's Nuke with the raw talent soar to the show without even realizing why.

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The Carolina League is not actually the lowest rank of pro ball. It is in the middle. There are the short-season rookie leagues, then low A ball, high A ball (Carolina League), then AA and AAA.
Were A leagues divided into "low" and "high" classifications during the 1980s, though? I know the Rookie/short season leagues existed then but I thought the division of A into low/high didn't happen until about 15-20 years ago.

(Admittedly minor point)

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The current designation has been in place since the mid-60s.

Prior to that, minor leagues were classified A, B, C, D. The same general structure existed, only the nomenclature differed.

"You didn't come into this life just to sit around on a dugout bench, did ya?" - Morris Buttermaker

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Right, but nowadays, A ball is further subdivided into "high A" (such as Carolina League or Florida State League) or "low A" (such as the Sally League or Midwest League). I don't remember that distinction being made in the 1970s or 1980s.

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It isn't now, except by common acceptance of which A ball leagues are "high" and which are "low". Look up every A ball league in any context, they are all listed simply as A ball. High and low designations are simply common parlance and not official divisions of play, even if the clubs treat them that way.


"You didn't come into this life just to sit around on a dugout bench, did ya?" - Morris Buttermaker

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You answered a question I had. Since the Bull Durham team was a single A team I wondered where they got the catcher to replace Crash. I always figured that BD was the lowest level in baseball, now I see there were a couple of other places he could have come from

I'll just stand over here being happy

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