Don't Give Up On The Young

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.

0 thoughts on “Don't Give Up On The Young

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Young pitchers often require even more patience than hitters.
    The Yankees current team should realize it has the luxury of winning while allowing young players to develop.

    The guy I’m most interested in will have to recover completely from a rotator cuff injury (Horne), so even more patience could be required in his case.

  2. Patience can only go so far. I think this should be hughes last chance to prove himself. And i never like kennedy and his weak velocity fastball so few pitchers can actually be successful with that. My minor league pitcher i want to see is dellin betances nxt year that boy should be a beast.

    • Hughes is younger than Bucholz, Joba, and Price, to name a few. Cameron’s point was that giving up on a guy who has had crazy MiLB sucess, like Kennedy, after less than 100 innings is shortsighted. oldpep makes a strong point in that a team with the resources of the Yankees has no reason not to give these guys time.

  3. Moshe, thanks for listing the guys younger than Hughes-I was going to, but I would have had to look them up. (And as Krusty says: ‘I’m a lazy, lazy man.’)

  4. Hughes is young and has a ton of talent. I think injuries have been the problem with his velocity. He didn’t kill it in the minors with subpar stuff.

    • Exactly. I think you can make the same argument with Kennedy. His numbers in the minors are spectacular. People try to pass him off as a minor league control guy, but his control is really overrated, while his stuff is underrated. I still think he will pitch in this league for a long time.

  5. I’ve always said if Andy Sonnanstine can be a legitimate major league player then so can Ian Kennedy (Kennedy has better stuff, too). Also, with regard to Hughes, he’ll be fine he just needs to continue polishing his mechanics in the minors. Further, you can’t say this will be Hughes’ “last chance” to prove himself, not when he’s 22 years old.