When is it the right time to bring a player to the Major Leagues
Let me start off by saying that I believe each person can handle situations differently. That is obvious, and in my time around major league baseball you realize that these men are just human beings. I have had jobs where a guy looked the part but mentally just could not handle success, failure or lacked drive. Major League baseball players have plenty of examples of guys that you work next to every day. The difference is not many of us are working next to instant millionaires (some at the age of 18)
Let me also note how much the game has changed. Before baseball free agency and arbitration and super two’s many players were challenged at the next level…some ready some not…some hall of famers and some busts.
Let’s take a look:
Robin Yount- Brewers starting SS at 18 years old. He was drafted in the 3rd round in 1973 out of high school and made his big league debut after just 64 games in Low A ball. He made the Brewers opening day roster and hit .250 as a 18 year old (he turned 19 in mid September) He was a very good player until the age of 24, at which point he became a star.
George Brett- 20 years old to start the 1974 season (had cup of coffee in 73) batted .282 with 2 home runs. He really emerged as a force in the major leagues in just his 2nd season.
Jeff Francouer- Called up from AA as a 21 year old and had a very good 1st season batting .300 with 14 home runs and looked to be an emerging star. He drove in 100 runs each of the next 2 seasons but has really bottomed out since then.
Jason Heyward- One of the great stories in all of baseball. He turns 21 in April was drafted in 2007 and is the starting RF for the Atlanta Braves and currently hitting .276 with 8 home runs in 105 at bats with 27 k’s and 22 walks.He has been described as a kid that is mentally beyond his years.
I realize that I could just start listing 100′s of players that went either way…But, i will leave that up to you…
So, here is the question when is it to soon? What if you heard the Royals had called up Mike Moustakas to play in the big leagues. I know they would have to remove a player to make room for him…But, what if this were to happen…what would you say?
Mentally he is a tough son of a gun…He had the great incident at Burlington where he literally put his arm up against a tough player with a poor demeanor for challenging a coach who had asked him to bunt. Moose was the youngest guy on this team and people still talk about this move. The player he went after had been a pain in the butt for some time and after the incident I heard even that player followed Moose around like he was George Washington crossing the Delaware. This is a kid that was born to play baseball as he grew uo in the baseball rich valley of Southern California and went to one of the most decorated schools in the country. Chatsworth high school. He grew up dominating the older kids in the neighborhood like the Cassel brothers who were all good friends.
I have gotten to know a rival high school coach of Moose recently. To me, it sounds like the stories about Moose in high school are almost like hearing stories about Big Foot. The Chatsworth high school coach batted Moose leadoff to get him more at bats. He crushed 800 foot homers to CF and ate fastballs for breakfast, curveballs for lunch, and sliders for dinner. You could not beat him and now he is a Royal,
Last season he struggled mightily in the pitching dominated Carolina league but this season he has been a monster at AA Northwest Arkansas. He has 7 home runs in 107 at bats with 15 k;’s, 13 bb’s and is batting .365 with a .705 slug.
He is 21 years old and will be 22 in September….The Royals would be bringing a guy up that would instantly ignite a fan base and receive national talk (from National Baseball people…I am not saying he will be featured on Late Night or Good Morning America) it would show the fans that there is a light at the end of the tunnel if he succeeds. But, what if he doesn’t and you ruin him.
I am a big believer in there is no reward without risk…If a guy can mentally handle a situation and the scouts believe he can handle the bat than let’s do this. If he hits .270 with 15 home runs the rest of the way Â that is great but he is a very important piece to the process puzzle. Soon, Montgomery, Lamb, Hosmer will be here. All 3 have shown advanced skills beyond their age. All 3 have big time potential. Myers, Arguellas, and Crow all do too but they are not quite there yet…I believe the other 3 are.
Now before you start getting into contract status and accelerating his big league time towards free agency I want you to take a step back. Yes, I realize economics are part of the game but would we not be contradicting ourselves about what we throw out at the Glass family if we said he should not come up for those reasons.
I look forward to your thoughts
other players that came up very early good and bad
Shawon Dunston, Darryl Strawberry, gary Sheffield, Al Chambers, Shawn Abner, Brad Komminsk, Sammy Khalifa
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