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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The historic risk of Manny Machado’s promotion

THE RISK IS HISTORIC!!!

While the decision to promote Machado may have no adverse effect on his career development, you can’t deny the inherent risk in the move. And given his role as the future of the franchise (and with a realistic ceiling as shortstop and number three hitter for years to come, that’s exactly what he is, the Orioles are taking a risk with an extremely valuable piece.

Edit: link fixed.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 15, 2012 at 09:51 AM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: orioles, prospects

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   1. JJ1986 Posted: August 15, 2012 at 09:57 AM (#4208625)
Link doesn't work.
   2. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: August 15, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4208632)
   3. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 15, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4208642)
Flags fly forever. Take the shot, I respect that.
   4. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: August 15, 2012 at 10:34 AM (#4208645)
There have been just six other first-round picks since 1997 who were drafted as position players out of high school and were called up to the majors with fewer than 1,200 plate appearances.
So... an insignificant sample.

Don't lots and lots of great prospects flame out? I think it's a stretch to say that a rushed prospect who flames out flamed out because he was rushed. I haven't done the research, but I would guess that he's more likely than not to flame out anyway.
   5. JJ1986 Posted: August 15, 2012 at 10:37 AM (#4208649)
So... an insignificant sample.


And 3 of the 6 (or 2 of the 5) were successful and J-Hey looks like he will be.
   6. NattyBoh Posted: August 15, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4208683)
Matt Wieters has willed that Manny Machado be successful.
   7. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 15, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4208701)
Mike Trout had fewer than 1200 AB. So did Bryce Harper.

edit: He did say "out of high school", so technically Harper doesn't count.
   8. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 15, 2012 at 11:37 AM (#4208703)
Gio Stanton had just over (1211), but was a second round pick, so I guess he doesn't count.
   9. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 15, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4208716)

Eric Hosmer is another.
   10. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: August 15, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4208788)
If he's not overmatched, then what's the downside?
   11. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 15, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4208796)
If he's not overmatched, then what's the downside?

Even if he is overmatched, that can be a good thing. Mike Trout obviously took the lessons he learned last year to heart. I can see not wanting to rush a pitcher because pitching in the bigs may cause him to overthrow to the point of injury or lose confidence in a big time way. But I just don't see much of an issue with hitters. If he's not ready, he at least gets to see why he's not ready and can work on that next year in AAA.

This was a sweet move by the O's, he's helped the team so far, and yes, eventually pitchers will figure him out and he will have to adjust.
   12. UCCF Posted: August 15, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4208804)
One of the arguments for why Corey Patterson never panned out was that the Cubs called him up too early. They brought him up in 2001 at age 21 despite his not really having hit much at all in AAA (his AAA OPS was under .700 in half a season). He struggled in the majors pretty badly (.602 OPS), but they ran him out there for a pretty bad full season at age 22 (.253/.284/.392, and 142 Ks vs only 19 BB).

He had obvious plate discipline issues that plagued him his whole career, and one wonders whether he might have fared better being given a couple of years at AAA to focus on learning the strike zone. And it's not like the 2001 Cubs were fighting to get into the postseason. I think they called him up because there was general excitement about having the first decent Cub position player prospect in about 15 years.

(It's all speculation, of course. He might never have amounted to anything, or he might have overcome his strike zone issues and become a .300 hitter with 25 HR power and good speed.)
   13. Walt Davis Posted: August 16, 2012 at 03:20 AM (#4209455)
UCCF -- you could say the same thing about Dunston. But pretty much the same thing about Reyes.

I think there are 3 reasons why "rushing" a guy doesn't help. First I suppose relates to the definition of "rushing" -- Patterson had major problems with his game, can he learn at the ML level? Are you sending the wrong message promoting guys who haven't "earned" it? Second is that the team always seems reluctant to send him back down after struggling -- and any such demotion is immediately labelled a "failure" by media and fans. Third is when the fans are counting on the player to be something of a savior or the prospect has been heavily hyped, putting too much pressure on the guy to perform -- and I'd think less likely to learn the lessons he should be learning because he's trying to hard to do too much.

But I know I'm not in a position to judge that sort of thing and I'm sure that, under the right circumstances, the majors is a better place to learn than the minors. Obviously they have to make the transition at some point or another. As long as you're not asking somebody who reads at a grade-2 level to read at a grade-8 level, I doubt it does much harm.

I know he'll turn out awesome but folks really need to stop throwing around Harper's name like he's a major success story. He's carrying a 97 OPS+. The BA is under 250, the ISO around 150. He had a 619 OPS in July and 518 so far in August. 97 for a 19-year-old is of course fine and dandy and very promising, and it's not far off Griffey and it's better than Yount. But then it's also a bit worse than Renteria and Kranepool. He's not a counter-example to anything yet.
   14. Rants Mulliniks Posted: August 16, 2012 at 09:27 AM (#4209507)
Yup, Harper has really been slumping. He hasn't even stolen any bases lately.
   15. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: August 16, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4209522)
Ok, maybe I’m way off here, but every time I see Walt do his “told ya so” Bryce Harper rant I can’t help but think…isn’t being league average a really good thing for a rookie? Much less an exceptionally young one? Perhaps, I’m biased by my Yankee fan experience, but I always thought the realistic best case scenario for young players was to be roughly league average your first year and then develop that second year. Off the top of my head, that’s how I remember the Nick Johnson, Alfonso Soriano, Robinson Cano experiences being.
   16. DKDC Posted: August 16, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4209537)
Well, Machado has a 193 OPS+ and a UZR/150 of +62 runs.

So league average is not a best case scenario for a very young rookie.
   17. tjm1 Posted: August 16, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4209562)
I think there are 3 reasons why "rushing" a guy doesn't help. First I suppose relates to the definition of "rushing" -- Patterson had major problems with his game, can he learn at the ML level? Are you sending the wrong message promoting guys who haven't "earned" it? Second is that the team always seems reluctant to send him back down after struggling -- and any such demotion is immediately labelled a "failure" by media and fans. Third is when the fans are counting on the player to be something of a savior or the prospect has been heavily hyped, putting too much pressure on the guy to perform -- and I'd think less likely to learn the lessons he should be learning because he's trying to hard to do too much.


I don't buy the "earned it" thing. Once you're a better player than anyone else your organization has available, you've earned it. The other questions are more serious - whether you trade off short term gains against the long-term player development. My suspicion is that a player will develop best if he's playing against the highest level of competition he can handle. On the other hand, maybe the guy can't handle it, and maybe an organization's minor league coaches are better than its major league ones at fixing whatever the deficiencies are that the player has. There can also be cases where a minor leaguer can work on things without worrying as much about winning, the way big leaguers do in spring training - e.g. a pitcher throwing a lot of change-ups to work on the pitch when his fastball is really what will get guys out - but this will be less common for position players.
   18. Cabbage Posted: August 16, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4209582)
But pretty much the same thing about Reyes.

Or Hanley.

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