Taylor: The M’s should keep Saunders in Tacoma for as long as he needs for full development.
Saunders ought to be in Tacoma for at least several additional months because he just needs some more seasoning. I base this not off of his short time and paltry offensive stats in the majors, but off the fact that he’s only had around 350 at-bats in AAA. With Langerhans and Bradley around, the M’s have the freedom to let Saunders marinate down in Tacoma through June or so. Or, really, for however long it takes him until he’s truly major league-ready.
The kid’s only 23. Another 3 months without him — even though every little improvement helps the 2010 M’s — will still be great for the M’s in the long term. As Tony Blengino and Z keep saying, you can’t rush your prospects. Bavasi did, and he practically ruined Brandon Morrow and Jeff Clement.
Harrison: Saunders needs more time in AAA to work on pitch recognition.
I’m actually in agreement with Taylor and here is yet another thing to think about. Looking at his stats in the Venezuelan Winter League, he had 21K’s in just 85 At-bats and I would really like to see him work on his contact.
I’d like to watch some video to see if it’s just something to do with his swing. Which I’ve heard he is still trying to work out or if it’s something to do with his pitch recognition. I know there were some concerns earlier this season about it. Either way … Langerhans can really hold it down in left and I like what is being rumored. That the Mariners could very well bring in a solid right handed bat for left field. I’d like to get Griffin to weigh in on Saunders before changing the topic. So just know i’m not trying to go there just yet.
Griffin: It depends on whether or not the M’s get another outfielder.
I’m not so sure I agree here. Obviously, a little bit more time in the minors wouldn’t hurt Saunders. He’s only 23, and as Taylor pointed out he hasn’t had much time there. However, I think there’s a real possibility that he’s ready to be a full time big league player. I mean, it’s a tough call. It’s going to depend on a lot of things, like what the roster looks like at the end of the off season, how he does in spring training, and then, if they do give him the nod as at least a platoon big leaguer, what kind of start he gets off to.
Each route has it’s pro’s and con’s. The Saunders issue is one of the toughest calls for me, every time I start to think I’m forming a solid opinion, I remember something I had tucked a way and all the sudden I’m back to neutral ground. I think in the end it’s going to come down to whether or not the team adds another outfielder before the end of the season.