I don’t have a deep thought for the day. It is more of an honest question, posed directly to fans of teams other than the St. Louis Cardinals. Ideally, I’d like to hear from those who closely follow successful organizations that have also recently been among those ranked as having some of the best collections of prospects in the game.
Q: When your team’s system was its fullest with top prospects, did a segment of your fan base develop unreasonable expectations about how soon these players should be brought up to the majors?
Here is why I ask. I see it occurring with the Cardinals right here and now – and it isn’t happening with just one player. Even before last year’s phenoms have been established, a new wave of bright and shiny youngsters have become the rage.
As any of the regular readers here already know, St. Louis has been placed on the top pedestal – the number one minor league system – among the 30 Major League organizations for 2013.
Of course, to ascend to that spot means the Cardinals system sports a number of very good prospects getting close to the major leagues. The current batch includes right-handers Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal, both of whom made their MLB debuts in 2012.
The upper echelon of the Cardinals top prospect list also features three players yet to have set foot on a Triple-A field in Michael Wacha, Kolten Wong and Oscar Taveras. Solid showings by all three players during the first week of their initial major league spring training camp should be considered a positive.
So why do I find myself concerned?
The reason is the overreaction I am seeing from some in articles, on message boards and via twitter. It is one thing to be excited about the future. It is another to go off the deep end in the present over a few good spring training games in February.
The minority who at least seem to understand that rosters are not unlimited in size still appear ready to cast aside incumbent major leaguers without concern of ramifications – to make room for these youngsters.
For me, it has been building up since spring games opened. It seems like a different prospect moves to the front of the hype line each day.
My tipping point occurred during Thursday afternoon’s contest. Carlos Beltran was hit by a pitch and had to leave the game with a bruised toe. There were some who actually tweeted hope that Beltran would miss time with his injury, allowing Taveras more opportunity to play in his place. We’re not talking about a fringe player in Beltran. He is one of his team’s best and still among the game’s best.
But rooting for anyone – star or not – to be injured is just plain sick – and I mean that in the most traditional sense of the word.
Don’t get me wrong. Prospects are my main business. I have ranked these particular players highly and think they will enjoy long major league careers ahead.
But I also understand their time will come soon enough. It doesn’t have to be this instant.
Followers of successful teams like Washington, Texas, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and San Francisco, did you see this kind of behavior when those clubs also ranked among the top minor league systems in the past few years?
Please offer your comments, experiences (and I hope encouragement) below.