Ex-catcher Erik Kratz explains why Dodgers' player development is on another level

It doesn't get classier -- or smarter -- than the way the Dodgers treat their minor-leaguers.
New York Yankees v New York Mets - Game Two
New York Yankees v New York Mets - Game Two / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

There's a reason the Dodgers are always at or near the top of most farm system assessments, and it's not just the talent.

It's also the way the players are treated and taught like big-leaguers, regardless of perceived skill level. Providing upper-echelon development tools to players up and down the talent spectrum may not always pay off, but it might spark something unforeseen in one forgotten athlete and, if it does, it will be worth it.

But forget even that potential payoff. Even if no star is born, the Dodgers will still have created a generation of young athletes who'll remember how they were treated and will hopefully pass those teachings on (or, at least, assure athletes from the ensuing generation that Los Angeles' operation is the gold standard).

That's what veteran minor-league catcher Erik Kratz -- who's certainly seen his share of MiLB clubhouses -- made clear about the Dodgers' operation on the Foul Territory podcast this week. Some organizations treat their minor-leaguers like fodder, expecting them to strive for big-league accoutrements and work harder to someday reach them. The Dodgers? Every athlete is given the same resources. The same meals. The same technology. It's on them to find their way up from there.

Dodgers treat minor-leaguers better than other MLB organizations

Considering how many horror stories the minor-leagues have provided in recent years -- and still continue to provide -- it's refreshing to hear that the Dodgers seem to be attempting to set the bar high.

It sounds simple, right? Access to analytics programs the big-leaguers use. Why shouldn't all minor-leaguers in a given organization be provided the same rights? Healthy, targeted meals created in line with the dietary program employed by the MLB roster. Why shouldn't that trickle down?

The fact that it often doesn't tells you plenty about how the minor-leagues have come to be viewed, both before and after they were consolidated under the MLB umbrella. The Dodgers have consistently made the right choices here, and even if they don't become the pace-setter for the rest of the league, they've at least shown it's possible to outshine their competition by being forward-thinking at every level.