A few things about errors in the minor leagues and why they happen so often:
1. Some times it’s because the player is learning a new position and has some glaring fault that he repeats. Sometimes this can be a throwing error to first on a repeated basis; other times it can be more serious like inability to field balls cleanly within range. Both can be worked on with time, so long as the player takes the time to adjust. But trust your club’s judgment (and the judgment of scouts) on whether or not he should stick there.
1a. Some times it can be because the player is learning a different part of fielding his position and boots a ball now and again learning to adjust. This can include going for balls outside of his comfort range, working on glove-to-throwing hand transfers, moving his feet faster, working on fielding the ball a DIFFERENT way, etc. Same with 1, trust the club’s and scouts’ judgment.
2. Some times it’s because the player is a fish out of water. Changing leagues and facing harder competition can cause a learning curve for position players.
3. Some times it’s because the player isn’t fit for the position and the team wants to try and prepare him for the position anyway.
1. The Orioles’ Josh Bell. While there was talk of moving him off third base when he was traded from the Dodgers (he put up 38 errors in 2007), he worked hard to make his defense at 3B average and later above-average. His bat on the other hand is not so good.
1a. The Dodgers’ Dee Gordon has had 30+ errors almost every year in his minors career, but because he has superior range and worked on fielding the ball smoother, he was a major league short stop.
2. I got nothing.
3. The Pirates’ Pedro Alvarez. Similar to Bell, there was talk of moving him off first, but because he lacked the range and was called “lazy”. The Pirates decided to keep him at 3B though for whatever reason.
Looking at stats in the minors is an OK way to get to know your team’s prospects, but expectations have to be tempered when looking at stats.