All things being equal, a bonking C who can filed is a much harder find than a LH HR hitting 1B. However, if Smoak is the real deal, then you have a 30 HR guy for the next 10 years, if you're willing to re-up him at some point.
Smoak and Saunders are certainly guys who pencil out to potential 30 HR's. (Although Saunders extreme split...he's hitting .097 vs. lefties with a .345 OPS may mean he needs a RH platoon.) Mike Wilson and Halman happen to be smashing RH hitters...a nice marriage to Saunders that Earl Weaver of Gil Hodges would love. By the way, Wilson is outslugging Halman in AAA this year. I don't know what has happened to Bradley...but Wilson needs to be up now and swinging vs. LHP. He's 27...either he's a late bloomer or he's a AAAA guy. Let's find out...soon.
Guti and Lopez are still young. Ackley will be up in then next year.That's a bunch of young guys. A fine lineup to build around.
And I wonder if Z is influenced( Montero-wise) by the fact that all his best pitchers have LOVED to throw to R. Johnson. If you can fill in hitters in the rest of the lineup then asuperb receiver, ala tim McCarver can be usable in a line-up.
Z has obviously decided to go young.....minus Ichiro and figgins in the lineup. Good for him, but let's quit fooling around and see Wilson and Ackley, as well.
Go team. Youth can be a very exciting thing. But you need to use it to make it exciting.
=== Sense of Proportion ===
There were eleventeen packages reportedly out there, and only two of them were reported to have ML-ready difference-makers of Montero's and Smoak's magnitude.
It's like arguing about the difference between Joey Votto and Mark Teixeira. That's what the 14-year-olds argue about before Draft Day in roto: which first rounder can reallllly carry your ballclub.
The biggest difference in baseball is between safe and out. :- ) The biggest difference in Zdurencik's options was whether he got a player he could count on to make an impact.
The difference between Montero and Smoak doesn't matter. The difference between Smoak and Hicks matters.
=== Jesus Montero ===
As argued here before the Yankee talks became public, Jesus Montero is no less than a 20-year-old Gary Carter, and he could be more like a Mike Piazza or Jose Canseco.
Dr. D thinks that Jesus Montero is a clear four lengths past Justin Smoak, but...
=== Justin Smoak ===
... is left-handed* in Safeco and is an OBP player first. That's huge.
It is important to consider your park if you run the club in Boston or Kansas City. But in Safeco it is life and death to fit your players to your park.
Now, you can't get ridiculous. You're going to take Nick Johnson over Albert Pujols because you play 81 of your 162 games in Safeco? Of course not. And Jesus Montero is the kind of all-around, line-drive/upper-deck, pull-field/off-field monster who absolutely would hit well RH in Safeco.
But you've got to pencil Montero's OPS+ for a 10-point hit in Safeco, and you've got to pencil Smoak's for a 10-, maybe 20-point boost in Safeco. That difference may just push the two even.
=== Nationally ===
For reasons well past my perception, baseball considers Justin Smoak a better hitting prospect than Jesus Montero. It says here that all of baseball is wrong and SSI is right, just as all of baseball was wrong to have Michael Pineda outside the top 25 before 2010.
But full disclosure in this case is tasty, and there are 100's of baseball scouts who believe that Justin Smoak is an epic, epic hitting prospect.
This includes my heroes at BaseballHQ, by the way, who put Smoak behind only Strasburg and Jason Heyward, giving Smoak a thunderous 9B rating (i.e., that he'll probably be an MVP candidate).
=== Capt Jack ===
Adjusting for Safeco, anyway, your fearless leader Jack Zduriencik also values Justin Smoak considerably more than he does Jesus Montero.
The secondary packages cancel out -- McAllister is a wash for Beavan, and David Adams was a throwin just like the other two Texas guys are throwins.
In fact, consider that Capt Jack paid the following heavy toll to switch from Jesus Montero to Justin Smoak:
- He could have had David Adams, who will probably start in the majors some day for KC or SD, instead of two guys who definitely will not.
- He incurred the long-term wrath of the justifiably furious Yankees to switch to Smoak. This will cost in trade talks later.
- He could have kept Mark Lowe, and he paid that toll also, to switch away from Jesus Montero!.
So as your cheery thought of the day, remember that all of baseball had only Strasburg and Heyward ahead of Justin Blinkin' Smoak, and Jack Zduriencik couldn't agree more.
Enjoy those 12 starts boys,
All things being equal, a bonking C who can filed is a much harder find than a LH HR hitting 1B. However, if Smoak is the real deal, then you have a 30 HR guy for the next 10 years, if you're willing to re-up him at some point.
BA preseason had Montero #4 and Smoak #13, but Montero has slipped (he's #5 midseason, but guys like Strasburg and Heyward and Smoak are not on the list anymore). But no matter how you slice it, Montero and Smoak are among the top 10 guys who started the year as prospects, and both are in the group a notch below Strasburg and Heyward.
Beavan is apparently disappointing because people thought he would be throwing 95. Instead, he throws low-90s and walks no one. He could be Fister already, but with a level of upside Doogie doesn't have.
Lueke doesn't look like a throw-in. He looks like a guy undervalued because of legit concerns about his criminal incident. But he throws mid-90s, seems to have pretty good command and strikes out tons and tons and tons.
Lawson does look like a throw-in.
And, Adams did have a "setback" in his ankle rehab that may have caused some legit concerns, or it may have been "cover" to step back and see what the Rangers would give up.
Whatever, Z played the bidding war to the hilt and struck it big.
Boggles the mind...
We say "throw-in" on Lueke only in that he's a minors RP who isn't Joshua Fields... certainly not implying that he's worthless; he isn't...
A lot of times you say "throw-in" on a player whose value is at org level, a player who will not play in the bigs. NOT what we meant here.
Lueke is by consensus outside the org top 20, which is where I'd have him too, but he's worth having...
I'd recommend everybody take a look at Smoak's video page at MLB.com. Very exciting to see that type of swing. He is such a quiet hitter and the ball just explodes off his bat. I really agree with HQ, this kid is going to be a star for us. A wonderful #3 hitter. That swing to me is gorgeous, would just like to see more results from the right side going forward.
The guy I like in this deal is Beavan. The kid just knows how to pitch. He's advanced for his age in that area, and what I love is that he's a cocky SOB. The age and size also lends you to believe he's gotta an extra couple of MPHs on that fastball to get back (apparently he threw mid to high 90s in HS). It's not inconceivable he's sitting 92-94 with tremendous command of the fastball, and it sounds like both the changeup and slider could be solid enough to turn him into a #3 starter. His numbers against lefties are excellent, which indicates he's got that changeup working quite well.
And as I said, I like the cockiness. I've had issues with the M's for awhile in regard to the laid back and boring players we throw out on the field. Too many nice guys. I want more passion and arrogance out there. I want some players who will pump a fist or give a firm high five after a big home run. This organization is too polite for my liking, therefore I like what I've heard about Beavan.
This is a tough call.
Montero has a slightly higher ceiling while Smoak is safer and further along in his development.
Ultimately, Smoak is already a good MLB hitter (while Montero is still struggling a bit in AAA), hes the better fit in Safeco as a 1B spec, and hes from a division rival.
ONLY question is whether it has enough arc to it, or whether he gets on top of the ball a bit much, in Rauuul fashion. NO question whether he can clear the 10th row.
Zduriencik on TV tonight nailed it: he has to get to the point to where he knows which pitches to dry. When you're confused you're not aggressive.
I'm huge on Smoak. Don't want the Jesus Montero comp to reduce the glare off Smoak's grill whatsoever. :- ) You might as well say you're iffy on Lincecum because you wanted Strasburg.
and PC, that most the time a Beavan-type attitude is a turn-off for them, but like you say for fans wanting a winner the attitude is a plus.
Org and area are much too correct for my liking also.
Just last night was listening to an argument on the radio: (1) Hey the M's didn't even take a shot at signing Lee! (2) DJ #1 how come fans here don't pressure the org to win? (3) M's reporter #2 "what's wrong with my sister just wanting to raise three kids and come to the park once a year?"
Three words for ya: Oklahoma City Thunder.
And your position is reasonable, but I think that Montero's X-RC rectangle is somewhat wider and a good bit taller -- just bigger all around.
Even having yet to conquer AAA I give Montero a better % chance of hitting the 6.0 RC mark in the big leagues, which is saying a lot.
But, of course, Jack Zduriencik completely disagrees, which is a comforting thought :- )
Bigger all around is a good way of putting it.
He could be Vlad on the upside or Delmon Young on the downside. His Mid is still great.
is moorrrrrrrrre than enough consolation for me, even if you grant me that Jesus Montero is going to be Jose Canseco.
Even presuming that Montero were going to be a 150 righty and Smoak a 130 lefty* with a slick glove, I'm 100% fine with Smoak in Safeco, between the two of them. And that's unusual for me...
Difference between Montero and Smoak doesn't matter. Difference between Smoak and Hicks is what matters.
Yes, yes, yes.
There was only one player who could have gotten the Ms off of Montero IMO, and that was Smoak.
As you say, he's a better park fit. He's a plus 1B instead of a convert. And he's further along.
After this disastrous year Jack doesn't have 3 years to get it right. Montero has another setback in AAA and Jack's goose is cooked. Some other GM is gonna get to eat the pie he baked in trade.
I like Montero a little more...but only a little. And the fact that we took what should be a .900 OPS bat from a rival that we have to catch in order to make the playoffs helps the equation.
By the end of the year Smoak is gonna be 500 ML at-bats ahead of Montero. And Smoak is the only batter available that would have let us skip the waiting period on Montero without feeling much pain in the end.
I can't argue with Jack about this, especially since I think he got us 2 pitchers who will help as well. The secondary pieces were no worse, and probably under-rated due to the strength of the Rangers system.
Jack pulled the elephant of the hat that we needed.
Now we just need to arrange the rest of our roster and play it.
I'll say again - I would never play poker with JackZ. The guy has nerves of steel. I like that he evidently went back to the Yankees once the Rangers package was in place and tried to get them up sub the SS Nunez for Adams. The Yankees balked and he pulled the trigger on the Rangers deal. Jack could do a seminar at Harvard Business School on multi-party negotiation.
After letting things sink in a little I think I prefer Montero's upside to Smoak's readiness.
Smoak's splits vs LHanders are a little troublesome and kind of cancel out his advantage in "safeness" a bit:
Tex is excellent at both sides of the plate and this may be what seperates them.
That said, Smoak is still a beast and getting him from Texas is great extra bonus. Both are excellent specs.
Doc, whats your take on Smoak's swing?
I'm getting a little concerned.. His RH swing against Sabathia looked awful, but even his lefty swing is looking really long.
Is it a mechanical issue, is he musling the bat right now, or is his batspeed really this slow? Can anyone who has seen him in the minors confirm?
Short answer is that he's confused and distressed up there, which is what we are seeing in his swing.
Smoak's swing is pretty much above reproach, but when a Jeff Clement, Miguel Olivo or what-have-you are panicking at the plate, the swing is always going to look alarming.
Zero issues for this kid other than pitch recognition and confidence.
Agreed. Smoak has plenty of batspeed. He's not Sheffield or anything, but he has far more than Kotchman.
Right now he's just not comfortable. He'll adjust. He always has. If you've seen him adjust to offspeed pitches and crush them (ie, looking FB and still able to recognize and power through the pitches), or power HRs with an easy swing, he has power and batspeed to spare. He's not Jeff Clement with elephant sized holes and no ability to adjust.
He'll get comfortable. And then he'll start clubbing with authority again. When a guy's in a slump he looks terrible. He was in a slump before we got him, but I trust the player.
Teixeira and Chipper Jones both walked into the bigs at 23 and posted an OPS+ over 100. Adrian Gonzalez and Tino Martinez both had an OPS+ of about 70 at 23. The next year it was over 100 just like the other phenoms and they never looked back.
Slightly different paths, same result. Adrian and Tino just took a little extra time to adjust, and I think Smoak will be the same way. Let him play, let him ride it out
The second half should be interesting to watch and see if he can climb out of his rut this year. We'd all feel better if that would happen sooner rather than later, but IMO it will definitely happen.
Ron Fairly on the broadcast last night, talking about Smoak (paraphrasing):
' I've always said, it's going to take 1500, 2000 at bats to learn how to hit. There are exceptions to this, sure. But if you've got the talent, it just takes time and repetitions'.
Something along those lines. Smoak's sitting on about 750 AB's, combined minor and major leagues. And of course college, with metal bats...
Sometimes it takes time. The AGone and Tino comps are good. I'm encouraged by the overall consensus that the mechanics and underlying ability are very sound.
Agreeing with Ron Fairly makes me feel dumber.
Gonzalez: 2480 minor league ABs plus 150ish pro before he became decent.
Chipper: 1700 minor league ABs.
Tino: 1400 minor league ABs, plus 200-700 pro (depending on your definition of decent).
Teixeira: 300 in the minors, then to the pros where he was immediately decent. Also, was the only one who was a college player.
Smoak: College + 750 minor league and pro ABs.
Justin is not really trailing any of those guys yet, except maybe Tex, and that's pretty forgivable.
*sighs, and puts on dunce cap to side with Fairly*
By that pace (and 1500 is a standard set of professional ABs to give a hitter in order to properly judge em numbers-wise) we've got another year and a half with Smoak before we may know what we've got in Smoak. Hopefully he can get ahead of the curve.
Smoak, on cue, lauches one off of Weaver. :-)
Its not so much the results or POWER I've been concerned with (Hes got legit 30+HR type pop), but his batspeed in particular. I was expecting more of a Tex-clone, but he doesn't seem to have that kind of batspeed from either side. He seems like the type of hitter that anticipates pitches and crushes one into the seats when he gets what hes looking for.
His righty swing is pretty long though. I'm not really sure how thats going to work out.
Heh :- )
Detail noodlings on your mark, Champ. Makin' it so.
In TEN years people will be told that the M's could have had JM for cliff lee, and they will shake their head in disbelief.
I think Smoak will have an all star career.....................and STILL not be on the same PLANET as Montero. It is now August 9 2010.......look at this guys stats....at 20 years old, in a tough park............can you say SCARY???
Jesus Montero, AAA pitcher's park, age 20:
Adam Jones, AAA pitcher's park, age 20:
Adam's first 1500 pro at-bats:
Jesus is a 1B/DH. Adam is a CF. As a CFer, Jones is doing just fine - but he's not yet what the hype said he would be and it's 4 years later and it hasn't grown exponentially from his minor league showings.
Do I think Montero is gonna be worth the hype? Yes.
Would I call him on a different planet than Justin Smoak because he didn't fold in AAA? Nope.
If you can call Montero light-years ahead of Smoak and all other prospects, then you're better than guys who get paid 6 and 7 figures to do this, because many of them disagree with you. Props for calling your shot though. We'll reconvene in 3 years and see how it's going.
Actually I think this may be something we look back on and regret.
Montero's swing is superior to Smoak's IMO, hes developed far quicker despite being a C, and hes 3 years younger to boot.
Apparently the Yankees were messing with his swing mechanics early in the year and had him go back to his old swing a couple months ago.
Montero has a 1.100+ OPS since then and is BB'ing like crazy. Montero is one of those rare 80+80 type hitters and right now, either than defense, it looks his "polish" at the plate is already surpassing Smoak.
You can't tell.
Smoak has at least a season's-fewer ABs with a wood bat. Smoak has been rushed up the minor league ladder to the bigs and back. His minor league patience and eye numbers far exceed Montero's.
Does the fact that he's 3 years older help him? I'm sure it does. Would you normally put a higher arc on the younger player with similar stats? Yes.
But Smoak didn't spend his post-HS years in the minors, getting full-season instruction. He spent them in College, getting far fewer ABs than he would have as a pro and with lesser instruction and metal bats, and he killed it there, so I'm not sure how Montero is the "faster developing" one other than being allowed to sign a pro contract before any US born player can.
College + minor league + pro ABs:
Their experience levels are basically the same, even if their ages aren't. Smoak has done everything asked of him - everything - and with the exception of 60 ABs as a Mariner has done them as well as could be expected. Better than Montero (yes, Jesus is younger).
I don't mind people calling their shot. "I would have preferred Montero over Smoak" is fine. In a vacuum I would have taken Montero over Smoak.
That doesn't mean I regret taking the overall package, from a division rival, that would seem to be more ready for immediate use and a better fit for this park.
Would I rather Smoak was not slumping at the moment? Sure. But judging Smoak in a slump versus Montero in a hot streak and calling Montero the winner is sample-size and coincidental hogwash. If Smoak is in Tacoma posting the 1.000 OPS he was in the minors earlier this year are we even having this conversation?
We might regret not taking Montero. We might be grateful we took Smoak instead. But you can only tell me who you'd feel more comfortable betting on at this point, not who's better. Nobody's better, yet, and calling Montero an 80/80 hitter is, frankly, crazy at this point. Paul Konerko was in AAA at 20 and CRUSHING AAA pitching at 21. He put up .600 SLG numbers in a season and a half at AAA with a BA around .335. He was also a converted catcher. Was he an 80/80 hitter? No.
Jack obviously believes Montero is not an 80/80 hitter. If he did believe it, he would have taken it and run to the bank. Is he wrong? Maybe. But I'm not betting against him.
Ya, but the difference is ceiling. At the time of the trade I was only relying on scouting reports and numbers and thought they were basically a push prospect-wise.
After looking at Smoak's swing, my opinion on him has changed a bit. I feel hes a high% shot to pan out, but his ceiling isn't nearly as high (especially from the right side).
Montero is basically the only hitter in the minors with the "tools" to approach 80 hitting and 80 power.
Given that everything else is bascially a push (slightly favoring Montero even) either than defense, you HAVE to go with the special talent. You just have to IMO. I love pieces like Lueke and Beavan, but I'd still rather go with the guy that has a shot to OPS 1.000 in his prime.
But if you're talking top-end projections and Montero is somehow an 80/80, what is Smoak? 75/70? Or do you think he's significantly less now that you've seen more of him (while he's slumping, and not as much of Montero)?
If Smoak winds up being a 55/50 or something and Montero hits his 80/80 then yes, obviously we're idiots and Jack is fired and we're lamenting this trade forever while being miserable about Montero's HOF career.
But even if you're right and Montero is Frank Thomas, and Smoak is "only" John Olerud (who, btw was 140 points worse against LHP for his near-HOF career)...are we really whining about that?
"We could have had Mike Piazza but instead we only got Justin Morneau?" What's that? Morneau is 130 points worse against lefties too? You'd think you can be a perennial All-Star with the exact skillset that Smoak shows. :) And I can't complain about a perennial All-Star. That would be like drafting Tulowitzki and complaining he didn't hit like Braun. You can build a team around EITHER player. I know the Ms and Astros weren't regretting that Edgar and Bagwell weren't QUITE what Frank Thomas was.
If Smoak is Kotchman redux, we're boned. If you're not arguing that, then we're talking about one man's chances to hit his 130-140 OPS+ sweetspot versus another man's ability to get to his 150ish one.
Personally, I think both guys will be in the 125-135 range, and Smoak's better glove and better park fit should outweigh the extra 5-10 OPS points Montero might find.
And I don't think it's unbelievable that Smoak winds up as the better bat.
...the Yankees were offering Montero and...???
While the Rangers offered Smoak + awesome fireball reliever (Lueke) + decent MOR starter prospect (Beaven) + org filler. And we got all of that from a division rival who I believe to be very unlikely to be able to afford to sign Lee long term. He'll end up a Yankee anyway. Which means...the Rangers gave us a ton of talent for half a year of Lee and weakened their position against the Mariners' position long term.
I do like the fact that we weakened the Rangers. With all the trades and their ownership sitation, their long-term outlook doesn't look all that overwhelming anymore.
I don't think Smoak is Kotchman. He has power that Kotchman just doesn't have.
I think 125ish is a reasonable guess for Smoak's prime, but Montero has that shot at 150+. Its a rare thing.
when the M's took smoak over montero, montero was JUST beginning to hit. Its now november and JM season is over. His second half was NOTHING short of monster. if the trade was NOW, the M's not even breathe in Smoaks direction. Barring injury to JM, smoak will not even be in the conversation......and thats not even saying he will be a bust. Smoak could be an allstar and still be way way behind.
Montero's an absolutely great prospect.
Montero: .351/.396/.684/1.080 in 171 ABs, 13BB/34K
Smoak: .290/.390/.574/.964 in 183 ABs, 30BB/43k (minors and pro)
And Montero's 3 years younger. It's really too bad NY wouldn't cough up another prospect for Cliff Lee. It cost the Yankees a title, and gave the Ms only the 2nd best 1B prospect available.
Since the Yanks won't use him at 1B with Teixeira there for the foreseeable future, that means Montero needs to be a catcher to play for them. Hope he brings them what they want in the future, because he's not sticking at catcher.
And I hope Smoak can be the 2nd best 1B in the league for us for a long time to come. I'd hate to regret not getting Montero if Smoak busts out.
But I can still be happy that the Yankees didn't get their title with our help.
Impossible that Capt Jack failed to realize who Jesus Montero was. And it makes his determination to 'upgrade' to Justin Smoak, that much more thrilling.
As the original article here emphasizes, I thought that Montero was a no-brainer between the two of them, but .... to fully realize just how much Z thinks of Smoak is great.
Zduriencik thinks that Smoak is going to be Stan Musial, or something.
If Smoak is a Safeco cleanup hitter with a high OBP, I won't care how good Montero is. Make sure you're happy with what you're getting, and you'll never regret the purchase :- )
If Montero is Frank Thomas or something, then yes, Smoak would have to be an insane HOFer to beat him value-wise. Or maybe Jack thinks Montero is Paul Konerko, which would be a very good add...but not a world-beater.
I remember Konerko laying waste to AA at 20 and AAA at 21 and being the best hitting prospect in the land.
And then Paul became a very good, very steady - but non-HOF - first baseman.
Kind of what we expect Smoak to be. Konerko's a career 30/32 man. A Mark Teixeira is a 40/37 man. Frank Thomas was a 35/35. Frank just walked a ton to boost his value, which Montero will not do, and as Konerko did not do.
I dunno - it's done, so we'll see where the chips fall now. Smoak is not fast enough to leg out tons of doubles, IMO, so I'm not expecting more than his being a 30/30 man. Still, 30 doubles and 30 HRs with what I expect to be an OBP between .370 and .400 is quite pretty.
Especially when it's from the park-appropriate side of the plate.
I'd like him to be that now, though. I'm so tired of the Mariners offense circa 2004-present. We have Smoak instead of Montero, and we need him to be a leader on the field and in the clubhouse, sooner rather than later. I hope he's ready.
Our roving reporter caught up with Eeyore (of Winnie-the-Pooh fame, now retired) the other day to get his take on the 2011 M's. Here are excerpts of that interview:
REPORTER: Eeyore, it's great to see you after so many years. You look...terrific!
EEYORE: Well...I dunno...the rheumatiz...silage just doesn't taste so good anymore...my fetlocks ache...I dunno.
REPORTER: Hmmm, well, I'm sure everything's gonna be fine, Eeyore. Hey, what's your take on the M's for 2011?
EEYORE: Well...it will be...the same old...thing.
REPORTER: What do you mean?
EEYORE: Well...Doc will get us...all hyped up...about some rookie.
REPORTER: Go on.
EEYORE: He'll do his schtick...this guy comps to Eric Davis...that guy is Wade Boggs with power...another is like Steve Carlton, or one is like Miguel Tejada...the talk...the dreams...the 30% caveats...to us they'll seem likely outcomes...and then...
EEYORE: And then...things will turn out like they always do...we'll be walking behind the other animals looking at their...their...you know.
REPORTER: Does it always have to be so glum, Eeyore?
EEYORE: You tell me...how many times have we been through this...the last time it turned out any different was before my rheumatiz.
REPORTER: But what about Jack Zduriencik? All that bad stuff was under Bill Bavasi.
EEYORE: I'm telling you, we'll get all hyped up by spring. He'll do a trade, he'll sign some guys, Doc will do his thing, and we'll get all hyped up, and then...splat.
REPORTER: But this time it's different, people say.
EEYORE: Well, I don't know about people...they think things change...but they don't...the M's are losers...they will...lose. I've gotta end this...my fetlocks are hurting...and I'm hungry...and I've gotta settle down and eat some of the silage...that tasteless...awful...silage...again.
(Eeyore trudges off)
(The reporter notices that stuck behind Eyore's ear is a crinkled picture of Brad Garret.)
I default to being suspicous of any Yankee prospect. Especially those being hyped and shopped.
The views expressed above are stricly those of Eeyore, and not myself. Trouble is, there IS a BIT of Eeyore in me.
*grins* I can't argue with the sentiment.
I'm pretty sure Doc is with me on this one, though: with regard to the kids, we could talk about how it is more likely that they will not work out than that they will, but that doesn't give me much to look forward to after a long year.
I'd rather be optimistic with 4 months until Spring training rather than pessimistic. There's already plenty to be pessimistic about with the Ms, they don't need my help tamping down prospect expectations just because most prospects don't work out.
We've seen em work out and we've seen em fail. The reason you want multiple great prospects is because WHEN one of em fails, you have a success story to write about. We're lucky enough right now to have multiple great prospects.
When the Mariners went in the tank this year I immediately turned to the minors again. Some years we're stretching to find premium prospects. Blake Beavan is a Bobby Livingston/Travis Blackley type - and there are times when that would be our top starting pitching prospect.
Blake was the AA Texas League pitcher of the year, and he might not be in our top 5 minor league starters. That's good - and that means that if someone like Robles doesn't work out as a starter we have more arms ready and willing to try to take his place.
All we can do is give ourselves a shot with GOOD prospects, instead of the athletic junk prospects or crafty left-handers of years past.
Ackley is a GOOD prospect. So is Smoak. So is Pineda. Failure is possible with any player, at any time, rookies or vets. Pineiro came out of the gate like a monster and regressed to near-patheticness before rebounding in the NL with a new pitch and approach.
But you hope for the best regardless. In-season is about reality. Off-season is about hope.
If Bavasi was still running this farm system we would have none, so I'm very grateful for Jack's farm efforts in this case giving me some of that hope.
We definitely need it.