It’s funny how quickly guys in the minor leagues go from being someone of promise to no one in particular. It happens all the time and it’s why it’s important to have a sense of patience and even a bit of skepticism with each of these guys. Conor Dowley of ProballNW/Section331 fame, wrote about this very subject on the ESPN Sweetspot Blog just a few weeks ago.
We could name prospect after “cant-miss-prospect” that did miss and just wasn’t what people had hoped or dreamed of becoming. That’s why there is so much money that is dumped into scouting and player development every year. Studies are being conducted and have been produced on this very subject to get a better understanding and an idea of what makes and breaks young players.
Billy Beane talks a lot about the issue of make-up in Moneyball. Why it’s so important and how he himself felt that it was the difference in his career as a major league ballplayer. I offer no great insight but I will point out that sometimes guys fall off the radar due to injuries, other times it’s perception.
Last year was Steve Baron’s first full year in the Mariners organization and while he started off strong in Spring Training, receiving plenty of praise from the major league coaching staff, by the end of August there was a common belief around the blogsphere that at 19 he was a draft flop and wouldn’t ever amount to much of anything.
Now, I’m not here to argue about Steve Baron and what he won’t or will become. But, I certainly think that we as a group take something that someone with respectability says and we make it golden. I’m not taking any cheap shots at either Dave Cameron or Jason Churchill. Both are the reasons why I started blogging (along with Jon Shields), so I generally don’t take shots at guys I really respect. But even with that in mind we don’t have to agree 100% with people that we respect, there is an option to politely disagree.
The problem with that theory is more often we don’t. I’m not saying to disagree with something just to disagree with it. But in the case of some prospects lets have an opinion and stick by it. This is wise and obviously not my own advice but something someone told me a little over a month back and it’s changed the way I look and evaluation things.
I have my own crazy opinions and that’s all they are opinions. I’m still rather new at this so I’m going to be wrong with these opinions from time to time, infact I’ll go so far as to say I expect it. But as Sir Ken Robinson once said “If you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original”.
With that said I’m optimistic in Baron. Not because he’s hit a home run last week or that he’s 2-4 in spring training. I think at this point most everyone knows how I feel about spring training stats. But, with that said the level of play is much higher than low-A ball and he seems very comfortable at the plate.
I don’t know for an absolutely certainty that he’s going to have a good year. He struggled mightily both down at Everett and Clinton, and the chances are against him ever seeing AA ball but I’m holding out hope. So, here is to hope and here is to betting against people that know better.