My favorite what-if player: Adolfo Phillips. In 1967 he was 25, and according to WAR, was the 5th best position player in the NL that year (behind Santo, Clemente, Aaron, and the MVP, Cepeda). His manager, Leo Durocher frequently said he was the best young player since Willie Mays, and Durocher knew young Willie Mays. What happened?
As I remember, he started striking out a whole lot, and became the new Jim Hickman.
‘What if’...Bo Jackson didn’t play in the NFL?
We’d have saved a lot of trees.
Yeah, is easier for hitters making adjustments. Some players will succeed and some players will make bad adjustments, or any ot them at all. Think about Yoenis Cespedes. He didn’t play in the minors; well, just 3 rehabs games AFTER his debut in the bigs. A lot of people expected from him 20-25 homers, but 160 strikeouts and something like .240 batting average. A lot of people thought he would have problems with the breaking/off-speed pitches, but… he found a way to hit .292 with power and a good OBP, thus a good OPS. It was that predictable or was just a surprise to you? Do you see him improving even more or will the league be able to adjust to him?
I am told that Cespedes body changed dramatically after he came to the states. I honestly didn’t have any expectation for him at all. My expectations are based on minor league performance; if a player has no minor league performance he is a black box to me. But the scouts say that Cespedes is much, much bigger in the chest, forearms and shoulders than he was two years ago—thus, that what he has done is not what anyone would have been able to project.