Yankees fans, like most fans, form judgments on players very quickly. A prospect makes an error or gives up a homer (or four) in his first few games, and he’s is branded as garbage and tossed aside as a bust or a “trade chip” (give me Utley and Howard for Melky, Kennedy, and maybe Edwar. Is that DeSalvo dude still on the team? Throw him in too). Unfortunately, management often acts with similar haste, and teams that put plenty of time and effort into a player’s development watch as another club reaps the benefit. Giving up on a prospect who has had plenty of minor league success after a few hundred AB’s or a couple of starts is short-sighted and a waste of resources. Dave Cameron of Fangraphs used players such as Elijah Dukes and Carlos Quentin to make this point, and I think Carlos Pena, Gavin Floyd, and Brandon Phillips fit the model as well. As Cameron says:
Organizations aren’t the only ones. Fans, too, often give up on players who don’t immediately hit like they did in the minors, as they only see the struggles and usually didn’t see the successes. However, giving up on a young player with a good minor league track record based on a few hundred at-bats is hardly ever the right call.
The point? Try to be a bit more patient with guys like Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy. There was a reason for their extreme success at the minor league level, and their talent should shine out eventually. Otherwise, we may end up watching them pitch with success for another club in a few years.
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