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Piggy Back Thought…

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This is just a thought that kind of piggy backs on my post yesterday on Michael Saunders. At what point DO you give up on a prospect? Take for instance Saunders, as Keith pointed out he does already have more than 600 PA and is well below the line of a functional hitter at the big league level. But then again we see things that the stats in those 600 PA don’t tell us. For instance we can see that he has above average raw power, a long with great speed and natural athletcism.

Looking at his AAA stats from his time spent in Tacoma last year we can see that he still posted a wOBA+ of 110 and a wRC+ of 123. This of course is his numbers retrospective to the rest of the league. Despite the PCL being an offensive minded league Saunders still turned up on the right side of it. Despite dealing with tremendous stress and tinkering with his swing.

Looking at his major league numbers there are still some positives to look at. For instance he still walks at a league average pace (8.3%)and had even higher clip, 10.7% in his 327 plate appereances in 2010. According to UZR he is a +10 run defender in center field over 150 games. There was a total of 4 such defenders in all of the major leagues last year.

He just turned 25 this past November and is a couple of years away from still reaching his physical prime. I’m not saying the Mariners have to keep him around but one would think with the effort they are making with trying to collect young talent that Saunders, while not being a corner stone, is still somewhat in the frame work for this team. Even if it’s nothing more than being a useful 4th or 5th outfielder.

Doesn’t it make sense to at least try and keep him around rather than using someone like Trayvon Robinson who it would only seem to benefit from more time in Tacoma? This is just my thinking. As it stands it’s already going to be a tough sell to get Saunders on to the 25-man out of spring training.

This question is less about Saunders himself and more about prospects. When do we get to a point to where we are ready to cast a side these young players? When has Justin Smoak shown too little progress as a first basemen? Smoak who has 800 plate appereances and a wRC+ of just 91. Should he be cast a side? I think the majority of fans would say “no”.  I know a few who would say otherwise.

But again there is another question here that needs to be answered outside of Smoak or even Saunders. At what point do we give up on a prospect? Personally, I believe it’s subjective. You can’t draw a specific line. What do you all think?