It was particularly interesting to hear Rhymes's thoughts on the competitiveness of each minor league level. He feels that there is not a big difference between Short season ball (Connecticut Tigers), level A (West Michigan WhiteCaps) and high level A (Lakeland Flying Tigers). While he thinks that the jump to double-A (Erie SeaWolves) is the first really big challenge, he does not feel as if it's as big as the jump to Triple-A (Toledo MudHens:)
To me the lower levels are roughly equivalent, short season through high A. Obviously you are continually learning at each level and people can make improvements or struggle at different levels but from a competition stand point, it is very similar. AA begins to separate the men from the boys a little but I disagree with the jump to AA being the biggest. To me AAA is a whole different animal. You have a lot of veteran pitchers who really know how to pitch. You also see a lot of major league-ready arms, and the bullpens are much improved. Overall defense is better, and all of these things make it harder to hit.